Monday, May 14, 2007
The Next Jim Jones?
Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, a 61-year-old Puerto Rican preacher
who or a few years has been creating himself for several years now, is quickly gaining notoriety as the cult leader most likely to succeed Rev. Jim Jones as the leader of the most dangerous doomsday cult in America.
The strange and apparently charismatic de Jesus Miranda, began his cult activities benignly enough by simply declaring himself "Jesus Christ." This pronouncement didn't exactly stop the presses. It's not like no one has ever done that before. But this time, Jesus Christ accompanied the announcement of his presence with the great news that with his return to earth, Satan has been defeated and for his followers, there is no such thing as sin.
Gullible Latino believers have come to this cult in droves, giving the man who calls himself Jesus money, jewelry, cars, boats, houses and even a multi million dollar business. There are now said to be some 300 congregations across the USA, Central and South America, who believe in de Jesus Miranda. With more Rolexes that one man can wear and his own private jet, the would-be Jesus decided to take his new religion to yet another unbelievable height -- he declared himself the anti Christ and had the number "666" tattooed on his body. That should have sobered up some of his followers drunk on the prospect of an end to sin, right? After all, the anti-Christ, he's muy mal, no?
No, his claim that he is both Christ and anti Christ only increased the fervor of his believers. They began getting "666" tattooed on their bodies.
de Jesus Miranda tells his followers that the Catholic Church, which a good many of them used to belong to, was evil. Proof of that was the fact that celibate priests participate in pedophilia and other sexual perversions. Perversions members of de Jesus Miranda's Growing in Grace cult movement are exempt from -- no more sin, remember.
He encourages his followers to picket and demonstrate outside traditional churches from other religions and they do. They even have been known to disrupt services. De Jesus's tactics are not unlike Jim Jones, who also used his temple members to protest as well as to support politicians, an activity de Jesus has yet to get involved in.
But he obviously exhibits control over his sheep much the same way as Jim Jones did over his Peoples Temple. Could Growing in Grace become the next Peoples Temple? There are many who believe it already has.
Three Central American countries have banned de Jesus from visiting their countries and having meetings there. However the thousands of followers de Jesus has in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras still can see their leader by satellite.
Growing in Grace bears watching. If a cult leader can convince his congregation to get the anti Christ's number tattooed on their bodies, what is keeping him from telling them to whip up some cyanide laced grape ade and partake? Or worse yet, what's stopping him from getting more physical with his actions against traditional churches?