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THEY THINK THEY LOVE YOUSO, DAVID CASSIDY, WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF? C'MON GET HAPPY

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But if Shirley was involved in an orgy, how could she still be a virgin?
Shaun has the answer. "It was a miracle," he says.

According to the Temple spokespersons, teachings like these are making their way around the country and the world. They claim to have temples--meaning a residence in which a Temple member lives--in several locations across the U.S., including Seattle and Kenosha, Wisconsin. There are also international branches in Japan and Germany, though Shaun points out, "The guy in Germany is having kind of a tough time getting the temple started. That's because nobody in Germany really knows that much about The Partridge Family, including him. But he's coming along."

"Everyone is a Partridge," Reverend Dan volunteers. "You're born a Partridge, so we actually have over 5 billion members. But only a few of us so far have gotten in touch with our inner Partridge. It doesn't really matter, though. You'll still go to Albuquerque. But you might as well have fun before you get there."

With so many citizens of the globe ignorant about these matters, Reverend Dan yearns to introduce Temple wisdom to the masses--and he would like to do so through the mass media.

"You know, the gods have a lot of articles written about them, they're on TV, they have all this merchandise," Reverend Dan says. "We want to imitate the gods--and being on TV and in magazines and newspapers makes us more godlike."

The Temple's first major success in this realm came as the result of a 1991 concert in Connecticut headlined by Cassidy, with Bonaduce opening as a stand-up comic. Reverend Dan, Shaun and two other Denver disciples traveled to the venue and began passing out stickers to ticket buyers prior to showtime. "They were a little leery of us," Shaun alleges. "They were primarily Yale students, so they weren't all that swift."

The situation began to deteriorate when the Reverend asked a young woman if he could lay his hands on her. She subsequently raced to a nearby policeman and complained. Reverend Dan was promptly ejected, and Shaun was grabbed by a cop a short time later.

"He was telling me to leave," Shaun testifies, "when all of a sudden I was overtaken by the spirit of Danny. I started yelling at the guy, telling him he was a square and a geek, and he grabbed me, cuffed me and tossed me on my stomach, causing me to vomit. He was a very rude person."

The altercation prevented the Partridges from seeing the performance, but it earned a writeup in the Hartford Advocate. There, in the paper's religion section, was a photo of Dan (identified as "Reverend Placenta Rising Partridge") and an interview that laid out the religion's tenets in broad strokes.

This notoriety led to a smattering of Temple items in Denver dailies, including a brief mention of Shaun's momentous meeting with Maureen McCormick, who co-starred on the Seventies sitcom The Brady Bunch as big sister Marcia Brady. Even though McCormick never acted on The Partridge Family, Shaun explains that Marcia is especially important in the Temple's ideology: "The Brady Bunch was just a TV show, but Keith found favor with Marcia. She was a mere mortal, but he fell in love with her and gave her some of his powers and took her as his bride. So right now, Marcia's reigning over all of us."

Shaun encountered his queen several years ago when McCormick was in Denver for a personal appearance. He successfully convinced her to sign a section of his arm near his colorful Marcia Brady tattoo and "a sacred parchment"--actually a photocopy of a Brady-era McCormick photograph that he'd soaked with his own blood. He adds that Giddle snagged for him a water glass that McCormick had left behind; he used it as his "holy chalice" for a year--until a former girlfriend broke it. "I pointed my finger at her and said, `You've been cursed,'" Shaun notes. Needless to say, the relationship ended then and there.

Around the same period, the Temple was videotaped by a crew from the syndicated tabloid-news program A Current Affair. Producers eventually shelved the footage, Shaun feels, "because I think they thought we were just people collecting stuff. They filmed us and everything, but when we started preaching the word and giving vanilla-fluff sandwiches to homeless people, I think they got a little confused."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts