Cover

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Contents

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pp. ix-x

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A Note on the House of David

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pp. xi-xiv

In the spring of 1903, a preacher named Benjamin Purnell and five followers arrived in Benton Harbor, Michigan. They were “following a star” and fleeing a scandal. Within a few years, their message had spread across the world, and a thousand more followers of King Ben had joined those first five at his colony, which he named the House of...

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Prologue

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pp. 1-4

An inquiry by Sheriff Bridgeman of Benton Harbor, Michigan, revealed a gravedigger who told of receiving a frail, undecorated casket to bury with the information that it contained a 68-year-old follower of “King Benjamin” Purnell, and that her death was due to apoplexy. As he pushed the box into the grave the top broke off, revealing the body of ...

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Part 1

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pp. 5-37

Are you satisfied to be a spirit—an angel—when you die, or do you “House of David,” who have a colony at Benton Harbor, Mich., on a fine fruit farm of 800 acres, and are traveling over the world gathering Carriage No. 5, with Lulu, Grace, Frank, Myrtle and John, passed this way on an evangelizing tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Their faith...

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Part 2

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pp. 39-76

Owing to the desire of many to come to the House of David faster than we are able to build and prepare for them, we wish it understood by all such that in order to save us and themselves much unnecessary trouble, that they should correspond with us before making arrangements to come. ...

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Part 3

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pp. 77-134

The way Ruth Bamford had long had an interest in playin’ the flute, Lena McFarlane had long had a daydream about a dress: It was a green satin dress with a row of pearl buttons down the back that stretched clear from the nape...

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Epilogue

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pp. 135-143

He looked like a sapling on Eden Springs’ stage, blown around in the breeze. She had an hour free from the concession stand and heard that he was going to make a rare appearance, lead a prayer. Maybe, she thought, he might glance up, see her there when he said Amen. But there were close to thirteen...

Acknowledgments

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p. 145