The Righteous Remnant: The House of David

The Righteous Remnant: The House of David

The Righteous Remnant: The House of David

The Righteous Remnant: The House of David

Excerpt

The Babe won't be required to wear whiskers, either.

Ray Doan, manager of the House of David

barnstorming baseball team, 1936.

In 1936, the House of David offered Babe Ruth $35,000 a year to play for its barnstorming baseball team. The Babe declined, in spite of the waiver in his case of the rule that all players wear beards.

This sort of information contributed to my perplexity about the House of David. The impressionistic notions of this religious colony I had formed over several years seemed contradictory. On the one hand, there was a description of the group in William Hinds's American Communities and Cooperative Societies (1908) which emphasized the messianic pretensions of its leaders, Mary and Benjamin Purnell, and sketched its adventist theology. According to Hinds, the colony was filled with dedicated believers who thought themselves part of the elect 144,000 children of Israel forming the ingathering at Benton Harbor, Michigan, in anticipation of the millennium. They were characterized as being "not only sane, but intelligent, and are assuredly, so far as the observer can judge, morally sound."

Yet there were two other notions—certainly less well defined, though equally compelling—that I had about the House of David. The first revolved around a childhood memory of going to see the Harlem Globetrotters play and seeing a bearded basketball team take the floor for the preliminary game. All I can . . .

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