How does one come to understand their messianic blessings? For DO, that journey began in a Houston psychiatric hospital in 1972. Marshall Herff Applewhite, or Herff, as the charismatic son of an itinerant Presbyterian minister was then called by his friends, had been a talented musician, well-liked teacher, choir director, and singer with the Houston Grand Opera. But those days were over. He’d left his wife and children after a tryst with a male student led to his requested resignation from a university position. Herff was adrift, torn by his sexual desires, and shaken by voices in his head.
In the hospital, Herff met Bonnie Lu Trousdale Nettles, a registered nurse whose investigations into astrology and theosophy were guided by communications with a 19th-century monk named “Brother Francis.” Bonnie became instant friends with Herff, giving him a crash course in metaphysics. In the folie à deux that ensued, Bonnie and Herff decided they had known each other in previous lives, and hit the road to discover their joint purpose.
Dr. Margaret Snow Coopersmith: Barney, look at the way you eat pancakes!
Wally Bunting: How does he eat pancakes?
Dr. Margaret Snow Coopersmith: He has a system for eating pancakes.
Barney Coopersmith: So the bottom pancake gets the same amount of syrup as the first.
Dr. Margaret Snow Coopersmith: He has a system for everything!
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