WKFL (Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith and Love) Fountain of the World

A once-thriving religious group known for its communal living, humanitarian efforts, and a dramatic end in a suicide bombing.


Introduction

The WKFL (Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, and Love) Fountain of the World, often simply referred to as the Fountain of the World, was a religious group founded in the late 1940s in Simi Valley, California by Krishna Venta (born Francis Herman Pencovic). The group gained notoriety for its communal living, humanitarian efforts, and a controversial leader who met a dramatic end.

Early Years and Beliefs

Krishna Venta, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, established the group with the intention of gathering 144,000 “Elect” to survive an impending apocalypse. The group’s ideology was centered on the principles of wisdom, knowledge, faith, and love, and Venta prophesied a cataclysmic event, a racially motivated civil war in the United States, followed by a Russian invasion. After this turmoil, Venta’s followers believed they would emerge to build a new world of equality, justice, and peace with Venta as the world messiah.

Communal Living and Practices

The Fountain of the World members lived communally, often working long hours to maintain their properties and support their lifestyle. Members were required to donate all worldly assets to the group upon joining. The group was known for its distinct appearance, with male members required to grow their beards and wear their hair long, and all members typically dressing in robes and going barefoot. They were involved in various humanitarian efforts, including aiding victims of a plane crash in 1949, fighting wildfires, and providing shelter and food to the needy.

Controversies and Scandals

Despite the group’s humanitarian image, Krishna Venta’s leadership was marked by controversy. Allegations of financial mismanagement and sexual misconduct were rampant. In particular, Venta was accused of being intimate with the wives of some of his followers. Additionally, Venta faced legal troubles, including a child support lawsuit and accusations related to issuing fictitious checks and violating the Mann Act.

The Tragic End

The group met a tragic end on December 10, 1958, when two former members, Peter Duma Kamenoff and Ralph Muller, carried out a suicide bombing at the Fountain of the World headquarters in Box Canyon, California. The attack killed Venta, the two perpetrators, and seven other members, including children. The explosion also caused a significant fire, destroying the headquarters and injuring several others.

Aftermath and Legacy

Following Venta’s death, the group struggled to continue. Some members, including Venta’s widow, Sister Ruth, moved to a compound in Homer, Alaska, but the group’s influence and numbers rapidly declined. By the mid-1970s, the WKFL Fountain of the World had effectively ceased to exist. However, the group’s legacy briefly intersected with other notorious figures and groups, such as Charles Manson, who resided at the Fountain of the World site for a time, and several former members who later joined Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple and perished in the Jonestown massacre.

Venta’s legacy is further marked by rumors and legends, including stories about his birth and claims of having no navel, as well as a mysterious stone monument in Kaysville, Utah, known as Kay’s Cross, which is associated with his name. Despite its relatively brief existence, the WKFL Fountain of the World remains a notable example of mid-20th-century religious movements and the potential volatility inherent in charismatic cult leadership.