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|Rev. Leonard Copeman|
Lubbock, Texas, United States
|Home town||Houston, Texas, United States|
Reverend Leonard Copeman (September 3, 1912 - October 12, 1994) was the spiritual leader of The Messerschmitt Institute of Spiritual Studies. He was an American mystic, poet, occultist, and philosopher.
Copeman was born in Lubbock, Texas. His parents were members of the Church of Christ. His family settled in Houston, Texas when Copeman was just nine years old. When he was twenty-five, Copeman became the minister of a small liturgical, non-denominational church known as Christ the King. Copeman's early teachings were marred by bitter fundamentalism. "Most people would agree that Fundamentalists are Christians who look to Scripture alone for (fundamental) guidance as to how to live a Christian life, and who, for the most part, interpret Scripture literally...Fundamentalists are characterized by an intense, unrelenting evangelism, an almost obsessive need to have other people believe exactly as they do...Fundamentalists maintain that they are "in the know with God." Copeman certainly believed himself to be a unique mouthpiece of God. His fundamental obsessions drove him to save "lost sinners" at any cost. Some of his more controversial methods place him on the razors edge between freedom of religion and breaking the law. While his actions today would certainly place him within the realm of hate crimes, during his time as pastor at Christ the King he was shielded by a devoted congregation of believers. Copeman's outlook was considered hateful and grim.
Copeman was notorious for his hellfire and brimstone sermons. He was an incredibly gifted speaker whose persuasive homilies led many a person to convert and follow him as a doomsday prophet. Copeman never claimed to be Divine, though he did claim to receive "messages" directly from God. Many of these said messages promoted Copeman and his faithful followers to disrupt the free flow of society. Often he and his flock would protest outside of other places of worship, denouncing the holy places as Satan's Throne. While many religious leaders from different spiritual backgrounds, namely Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and other Christian denominations sought to dialogue with Copeman in an effort to restrain his mission of hate, Copeman would just become reclusive and surround himself with members of his congregation, always refusing to meet with any other religious leader. Copeman's ability to use emotionalism to drive his congregation to action made Christ the King a formidable religious foe among other more ecumenical denominations.
In 1963 Copeman decided to begin foreign missionary work. His first stop was Leh, India. Copeman was taken aback when he realized that the indigenous people, who for the most part practiced the gentle ways of Buddha were not responsive to his message of fear and intimidation based wholly upon a sacrificial system. Copeman was used to the way things worked back home in the Bible Belt and he withdrew initially during his first missionary efforts. Ignorant of Buddhism he had no way to reconcile the Buddhist ideals with those of his version of Christianity. Confused he secluded himself to a small room he was renting and began a fast and devotional exercises to ground himself in his fundamental beliefs. After about two weeks he felt prepared to go out and convert the Buddhists, though he was still ignorant of what he was converting them from. His destiny however was to take an unexpected turn. It was while in Northern India that Copeman encountered the mountainous nomads called the Vargus (meaning nomadic). The Vargus were nomads who held to a teaching they claimed was over 8,000 years old. They referred to it simply as Quinqae. The principal chieftain approached Copeman, who had just begun a diatribe on the merits of salvation, when the chieftain held up his hand and silenced Copeman. What other religious leaders had tried to do before with so much effort now happened instantly and brought Copeman to complete receptivity. The chieftains name was Radhakanta. Radhakanta took Copeman to his people, and he would begin learning the first gleamings of the traditions known as Quinqae. The role of disseminating the ancient traditions of Quinqae were in fact the duty of a specially developed training body made up of the best teachers who were able to supernaturally impart great wisdom and compassion with very little effort. This elite group of teachers began via the evolution of a number of Vargus so that a smaller community of teachers was formed known simply as the Ignotus (meaning the Unknown).
It was from these Ignotus that Copeman, quite possibly the first Westerner to be taught the Way known as Quinqae, occurred. Quinqae was radically different from anything Copeman had previously known among religions and/or spiritualities. After spending approximately one year with the chieftain Radhakanta and a further nearly three years with the Ignotus Copeman completely converted and was fully enlightened in what is known as The Legend of Sanctus Calceus (The Sacred Boot).
Lenny Copeman would return from his trip to India a completely transformed man. No longer did he dictate division, hate, fear and religious fanaticism. Now he advocated unconditional love, the mutual harmony among all positive religions working toward a world ecumenism, alternative spiritualities, and perhaps most interestingly - a pursuit of the occult. "Quinqae is the synthesis of all the great inspired thoughts". Copeman understood Quinqae via the Hindu teaching, with interpretations, of Divine Ground as one first of Unknowing and secondly manifesting as Goddess and God hence (Copeman's Quinqae translations are shown in parentheses), "First and quite central is the concept of Brahman(Apophatic Unknowable Deity, pouring forth the light and love of the Goddess and God), the metaphysical absolute. Out of Brahman come all things (first the Goddess and the God); to Brahman all things return. In himself (herself), Brahman is unknown and unknowable, but as taking form and meaning for us men he is Sat-chit-ananda - the source and embodiment of reality, knowledge, and bliss. Second, there is the concept of atman, the soul or self. And the very meaning of the concept is determined by the central Hindu (and Quinqae) conviction that the true self of each human being is identical with Brahman (Unknown Ground of Being), and that when that identity is realized the quest for salvation is fulfilled." From then on the mystical tradition known as Quinqae, taught to Copeman while in India, would become the basis for all his further personal spiritual studies as well as lessons shared through the University begun by Copeman, namely The Messerschmitt Institute for Spiritual Studies (MISS).
Messerschmitt Institute of Spiritual Studies (MISS)
Copeman founded MISS (ten miles south of Merkel, Texas) at the age of 64. Initially people were skeptical of Copeman and his new revived Way of Living. He had gone to India a tyrant and returned nearly four years later gentle and kind and offering teachings for the common people. His emphasis on Quinqae's value of folk traditions drove Copeman to find many spiritual paths intertwined into the lives of ordinary people all who were looking for a Unified Single Peaceful Purpose (USPP) or "Highest Common Factor, which is the Perennial Philosophy". Copeman believed Quinqae was the answer common folk were looking for. Copeman wanted to convey the depth of his religious experience that he had had while studying directly with the mountain people known as Vargus, in particular Radhakanta, and the Ignotus, their direct line of succession. Through mystical means of instruction, Copeman returned home to Texas and began the ground work of the Messerschmitt Institute. While initial classes were offered in comparative religion, ecumenicalism, and basics of the occult it would not be until two years later that the then current courses would be offered. Copeman had followed the instructions of the Ignotus who suggested he take a handful of his greatest colleagues and students and begin to teach them Quinqae. This initial group became known as the Guild of Secret Knowledge (GSK). These advanced teachers and students would then teach Quinqae via classes in MISS. Members of the GSK still continue the work of Leonard Copeman and MISS via field research and analysis. Studies involving Quinqae still continue to be published and disseminated to those willing to learn.
While giving an outdoor lecture on October 12, 1994, a disgruntled member of the church Copeman had belonged to prior to his mystical conversion, opened fire with a .38 caliber handgun, killing Copeman instantly and wounding two others. The gunman, Briggs Collier, had been a faithful elder of Copeman's former church Christ the King. Believing Copeman to have been "lost to the devil", Collier came early to get a front row seat to Copeman's lecture on Quinqae and the Kabbalah. When Copeman reached a certain point in his talk whereby he validated the belief in a Goddess, Collier made his move. Witnesses say Collier rose, held the gun straight out and shouted, "I rebuke thee Satan", while simultaneously firing four shots, two of which struck Copeman, in the head and chest, respectively, while one of the other two shots struck Fr. Augustus Chompa and the other hit Prof. Robert Deeming.
Messerschmitt Institute Today
For two years after Copeman's death MISS continued to teach and instill a compassionate and wise spirit among students and the community at large. Tensions continued to build between MISS and the enormous influence of southern style Christianity known as The Bible Belt. In 1992 Messerschmitt Institute caught fire after a candle representing the perpetual light of Love fell from the altar in the main chapel, catching fire first to the tapestries and eventually destroying the entire campus.
Deciding that the school would not be rebuilt, teachers continue the mission of MISS by conducting field research and then assimilating their data into a common repository for study and publication by former MISS staff or interested parties.
- Messerschmitt Institute of Spiritual Studies, www.messerschmittinstitute.org.
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