The memoir of one man’s apparently superhuman life.
Hedgepeth writes that, even as a child, he was a magnet for unusual occurrences. In 1971, he says, he witnessed a UFO flying past his bedroom window, and he felt that the evil forces surrounding the cylinder were the first sign of the spiritual warfare that would consume his life. Although he despised organized religion, he was convinced by missionaries to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He says that he went on to perform many miracles as a church elder, calling on the authority of the Melchizedek priesthood to heal the sick. Still, he was a free-spirited member of the congregation and was often chastised by church leaders for fixating on the “mysteries of God” rather than “sticking to the basic principles of the Gospel.” Such inflexibility caused him to part ways with the Mormon religion. This plunged him into a deep depression, he says, during which he attempted suicide in an effort to “explore other worlds.” Though he survived, he continued to struggle with diagnosed bipolar disorder. As a “last-ditch effort for personal peace,” he says, he set out on his first of four “vision quests,” which he says only made Christ’s power more apparent to him. He aligned himself with the Christian church and became a freelance minister. Overall, Hedgepeth’s testimony is fantastically engaging, shaped by sharp humor (“The state of Florida had always been ahead of the rest of the American South in number of assholes per square mile”) and refined prose (“It felt as if the radiance of my soul had been siphoned out of my body”). Nonreligious skeptics, however, will need to suspend their disbelief to get the most out of the book. The overall narrative structure also weakens the storytelling, as Hedgepeth devotes large blocks of text to flashbacks to his childhood and early adult years, which continually disrupts the narrative flow.
An often riveting remembrance, especially for readers intrigued by accounts of supernatural experiences.