João de Deus (medium)

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João Teixeira de Faria.

João Teixeira de Faria (born June 24, 1942), known also as João de Deus ("John of God"), is a medium and psychic surgeon. He is based in Abadiânia, Brazil, where he runs the Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola, a spiritual healing center where he sees thousands of visitors every week from all over the world.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

João Teixeira de Faria was born in Cachoeira da Fumaça, Goiás (now Cachoeira de Goiás [1]). There are no records of his early life and De Faria has not provided precise details.[2] His best known biography is The Miracle Man, written by Robert Pellegrino-Estrich, who runs tours to Abadiânia.[3]

De Faria has no medical training and describes himself as a 'simple farmer.'[4] He completed two years of education and spent a number of years travelling from village to village in the states of Goias and Minas Gerais.

Abadiânia[edit]

De Faria says he was told by his spirit guides that he must expand his work to reach more people and spiritist medium Chico Xavier told him he should go to the small Goiás town of Abadiânia to fulfill his healing mission. Around 1978, when João first performed healings there, he just sat outdoors in a chair near the main road where people began to arrive seeking cures for their various illnesses and conditions. Gradually the numbers increased to thousands per day and he developed his centre, Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola.[5] The Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola has since been visited by millions of people seeking healing. He also owns a nearby cattle ranch, which covers about 1,000 acres.[6]

Claims of spiritual healing powers[edit]

João on stage after performing a "psychic surgery".

De Faria claims to act as a vehicle for God's healing, and to have absolutely no recollection of anything during the procedures. He states:

"I do not cure anybody. God heals, and in his infinite goodness permits the Entities to heal and console my brothers. I am merely an instrument in God's divine hands".

Millions of people have consulted with de Faria since 1965.[citation needed] Up to 3,000 people per day stand and wait in line to see him individually.[citation needed] De Faria claims to encourage research into his healing abilities in the hope that medical science can make use of his success in the treatment of humankind.[citation needed] At the Casa de Dom Inácio, where treatments take place, De Faria invites medical doctors to come onto the stage to observe his work.[citation needed] De Faria also regularly prescribes meditation and walks to a nearby waterfall as part of treatment. The Casa also sells herbs, blessed items and artefacts such as magic triangles.

When called for a 'spiritual surgery' by De Faria, patients are offered the choice of 'visible' or 'invisible' operations. If they select an 'invisible' operation (or are younger than 18 or older than 52) they are directed to sit in a room and meditate. De Faria also claims that spiritual physicians can perform surgery on the actual patient via a surrogate when the actual patient is unable to make the trip.[7]

A very small percentage of people choose a 'visible' operation where De Faria operates without traditional anesthetic. Instead he says he uses 'spiritual anesthetic' involving energized mineral water and the spiritual energies present, the latter which are provided by groups of volunteers who meditate in a separate room called the 'current room'.

De Faria tells people not to stop taking their medicine and says not everyone he serves will be cured. Often the treatment includes capsules containing pure passion flower that are claimed to carry special blessed spiritual energy to support the individual's healing process.[citation needed]

De Faria has undergone trials and scrutiny of his work. He has been arrested several times for practicing medicine without a licence and has been jailed once.[6]


Live Events Outside of Casa[edit]

John of God has travelled to other countries to perform healing ceremonies called Live Events. A Live Event is arranged similar to the Casa in Brazil so that the people can experience the same healing energy in other parts of the world. It has been stated that the entities that incorporate in Brazil are the same ones at Live Events. Additionally other entities or healing spirits (some say thousands) are doing healing work.[8]

Many consider the Entities of John of God advanced benevolent spirits, far above earthly laws and not subject to human regulations. However, The Entities have made various changes for Live Events.[9]

The Entities do not do physical surgeries outside of Brazil. Further, all “invisible surgeries” are to be called "Spiritual Interventions". No mention of the medical word 'surgery' or 'medical healing ' in connection with John of God because of possible litigation.[10] [11]

No prescribed herbs. Because of the medical laws around the world , the Entities use blessed water instead of the herbs. It is available for about $3 a bottle. Everyone who receives a spiritual intervention must drink this blessed water.[12]

In Brazil if you receive a spiritual intervention you must remain in your room for 24 hrs. At the live event you are only required to go to your room and rest for the remainder of the day but can return the next morning (if you have registered and paid for the next day.)The Entities know if you need to leave right after your surgery and do not have time to rest. In this case you will be given the spiritual protection to fly or drive home, but you must go straight home to rest.[13]


April 2-4,2006 - Atlanta, Georgia, USA

May 12-14,2006 - Town Hall, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

September 28-October 1,2009 - Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York, USA

September 26-30,2010 - Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York, USA

September 26,2011 - Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York, USA

November 9-13,2011 - Alstead (Frankfurt) Germany

July 16-20,2012 - Winterthur Switzerland

November 23-25,2012 - Salzburg/Austria

November 30- Dec2,2012 - Alstead, Germany

March 15-17,2013 - Toronto, Canada[14]

July 19-21,2013 - Basel, Switzerland

September 30-October 2,2014 - Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York, USA[15]

November 22-24,2014 Sydney, Australia[16]

Media coverage[edit]

ABC news report[edit]

On July 14, 2005, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) ran a news report about de Faria on Primetime Live.[6] The programme featured five people with various medical conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, Lou Gehrig's disease and an inoperable brain tumour. Each patient saw de Faria and ABC claimed that in three of the cases there had been an improvement. A young female athlete who had been paraplegic was shown beginning to move her legs.

ABC's update on the five subjects,[6] while not mentioning one of the subjects, indicated that two are making either slow progress or none at all, one is worse, and one is much better. According to other sources, Matthew Ireland is now free of his brain tumour and one has since died.[17]

Skeptic James Randi, spent about an hour in New York being interviewed and taped for the report. James Randi later critiqued ABC for having cherry picked his comments to show more credibility for the 'faith-healer' than justified. Randi went gone on to have given scientific explanations for all the activities observed.[18] Randi revealed the natural explanations for activities ranging from putting forceps in the nose, random cutting of the flesh, 'scraping' of the eyeball, the subsequent absence of infection, and other activities one by one as age old parlor tricks. However, he was dismayed that none of his critical comments were shown in the final segment. This was cut down to under 20 seconds of screen time.[19]

The Oprah Winfrey Show[edit]

2010 Show 'Leap of Faith: Meet John of God

On November 17, 2010, Susan Casey wrote in O Magazine about her trip to see de Faria in Brazil and was subsequently covered on the The Oprah Winfrey Show. The article was entitled "Leap of Faith: Meet John of God" while the show was entitled "Do You Believe in Miracles?" In both she discusses her need to deal with the traumatic loss of her father. After he suddenly died in 2008, Casey experienced a "tsunami of grief" that she says she couldn't escape from. She wondered if de Faria could help heal her grief. She met him twice and later stated, "Three hours went by like 20 minutes, and it was blissful--it was like I was floating." Casey claims she was able to speak with her dead father. "It was very real," she says. "More of a vision than I had ever had before. ... I got this feeling like I shouldn't be sad, that everything was okay."

While Casey stated that the whole experience sounds unusual, she claimed that she is "not a woo-woo person" and that de Faria helped her find healing. Casey stated that she was a neutral observer.[20] Jeff Rediger, a psychiatrist from Harvard Medical School in Boston, was provided as a skeptic.[21] Rediger was astonished to discover bleeding from his torso after "invisible" surgery. The show did not provide scientific or medical explanations for the procedures performed. There is no established medical or scientific reasoning for these procedures.[22] In depth critical investigative reports followed this broadcast.[23][24]

2013 Oprah's Next Chapter: 'John of God'

On March 17, 2013, Oprah's Next Chapter, Season 2, Episode 116 aired a televised show entitled 'John of God'. Oprah traveled to Brazil to meet and talk with de Faria , and see his unexplained miracles firsthand. She also interviewed Magnus Kemppii, from Sweden about his 'surgery' and five Americans who hope to be cured from their ailments.[25][26]

CNN coverage[edit]

On the December 22, 2010, episode of CNN's AC360, Sanjay Gupta interviewed two of the researchers Oprah Winfrey had sent to meet de Faria.[27][28][29]

2014 60 Minutes Australia[edit]

John of God's first visit to Australia and a 'Live Event' scheduled November 22-24, 2014 at the Sydney Showground in Sydney Olympic Park gathered much media attention.[30][31]

After visiting John of God at his "Casa" in Abadiânia, Brazil, the Australian 60 Minutes television program aired a critical investigative report on Oct 25,2014, examining John of God's healing treatment practices, the amount of money being made and raising questions about sexual assault allegations against him.[32] The recent 2 part program hosted by reporter Michael Usher was a follow-up to Liz Hayes' 1998 investigation of João Teixeira de Faria.[33] Mr de Faria, better known as "John of God" gained worldwide media attention after being popularized by Oprah Winfrey in 2010, as a medium who channels the spirits of dead doctors and saints to perform miraculous medical healings.[34][35]

Part 1 of “John of God” Report

In Part 1 of the follow-up, reporter Michael Usher revealed that a woman declared as cured of breast cancer by a spirit entity channeled by John of God died in 2003. A woman in a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis who, in the 1998 report said she visited to John of God with the expectation of walking again didn’t feel any effect, is still in a wheelchair, and her condition deteriorated. Her trip to the Casa cost $5,000. Usher reported that none of the other people [forty Australians] who made the pilgrimage that Hayes joined for investigation improved.[36]

Usher’s report mentioned that some of the thousands in Mr de Faria's audience hope to receive “spiritual surgery” from him. These practices such as inserting scissors or forceps deep into a nose and scraping an eye without an anesthetic or antiseptics have been scrutinized by medical authorities and skeptical investigators ( James Randi and Joe Nickell have described these procedures at length as old carnival tricks). In an extended interview, Emergency medicine specialist Dr. David Rosengren personally examined and reported these practices as horrendous and barbaric, stating ' “… the modern medical world could not condone this behavior in any way whatsoever”.[37] The prospect of de Faria coming to Australia had also alarmed the Australian Medical Association, reported Ean Higgins , in an October 04, 2014 article in The Australian “I am extremely sceptical about this person[ Mr de Faria]; I can find it hard to see any motivation apart from personal profit for him and his organisation,” AMA vice president Stephen Parnis said. “If he undertakes any of these surgical procedures they should be reported to the health complaints commission ..."[38]

Part 2 of “John of God” Report

In Part 2 of his report, Usher stated that there were two deaths in recent years at the Casa that warranted investigations, but no one was charged. He also reported that in 2010, when de Faria visited Sedona, Arizona, the police department investigated him because a woman said he took her hands and placed them on his genitals; Mr de Faria also tried to pull down her skirt. The case never went to court; one of his associates encouraged the woman to drop the allegations.[39]

Usher continued to interview Mr de Faria, but the exchange became testy after Usher asked if de Faria is more about money than miracles and if he ever sexually assaulted his followers. The video report shows that de Faria walked away, responded sarcastically to the interpreter following him that he sexually assaulted her mother, and returned to the interview insisting to see what has been recorded.

The Catholic Church, through its representative Father Brian Lucas issued an televised verbal warning, stating ' John of God doesn't have any official affiliation with the Catholic Church'. He cautioned all to be very skeptical of people seeking publicity with claims of miracles and faith healing, more so when there is a lot of money involved.[40]

Reports that John of God is making tens of millions of dollars;[41]

Usher revealed that ...'Meeting John [de] Faria is free, but he often prescribes visits to these crystal beds. At $25 a session, they earn him around $1.8 million a year. Then there’s the blessed water, a dollar a bottle. There’s a gift shop and next door to that, a pharmacy. It sells one thing: blessed herbal pills, only available by a John of God prescription apparently. They’re $25 a bottle and would make Mr. de Faria about $40,000 a day. That’s more than $14 million a year.' (An Australian dollar is currently valued at $.88 American.)[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://biblioteca.ibge.gov.br/visualizacao/dtbs/goias/cachoeiradegoias.pdf
  2. ^ Pellegrino-Estrich, Robert (February–March 1998). "The Amazing Cures of a Brazilian Miracle Man". Nexus magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2006-11-18. 
  3. ^ Walker, Gary (October 5, 2008). "Assistance". www.johnofgodhealng.com. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  4. ^ "John of God: Investigating a Brazilian faith healer". Beliefnet.com. 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-18. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ a b c d "Is John of God a Healer or a Charlatan". ABC News. July 14, 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-18. 
  7. ^ http://www.friendsofthecasa.info/index.php?page=intervention
  8. ^ http://johnofgodlive.com/about-events/
  9. ^ http://www.indocanadaoutlook.com/index.php/archives/2013/april-2013/627-john-of-god-performs-healing-work-in-toronto
  10. ^ http://www.csicop.org/si/show/john_of_god_healings_by_entities/
  11. ^ http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/controversial-faith-healer-schedules-atlanta-visit/nFBnp/
  12. ^ http://johnofgodlive.com/live/faq/
  13. ^ http://johnofgodlive.com/live/faq/
  14. ^ http://www.indocanadaoutlook.com/index.php/archives/2013/april-2013/627-john-of-god-performs-healing-work-in-toronto
  15. ^ http://www.eomega.org/workshops/john-of-god?source=ePromo.OM#-workshop-description-block
  16. ^ October 2,2014 article in The Austalian by Ean Higgins http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/critics-show-little-faith-in-healing-powers-of-brazilian-trickster/story-e6frg6so-1227079512656
  17. ^ "AMES, David Carver". San Francisco Chronicle. September 7, 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  18. ^ http://www.randi.org/jr/021805a.html
  19. ^ http://skepdic.com/johnofgod.html
  20. ^ "Leap of Faith: Meet John of God". Oprah.com. November 17, 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  21. ^ http://www.drrediger.com/%7C date=December 10, 2010 |
  22. ^ "How Low Can Oprah Go?". ScienceBasedMedicine.org. November 22, 2010. 
  23. ^ http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/11/19/for-shame-oprah-winfrey-shills-for-faith/
  24. ^ http://www.skepdic.com/johnofgod.html
  25. ^ http://www.oprah.com/own-oprahs-next-chapter/Oprahs-Next-Chapter-John-of-God
  26. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/19/john-of-god-oprah-faith-healer-spiritual-surgery_n_2903520.html
  27. ^ John Of God "The Miracle Man" on YouTube
  28. ^ http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/22/o-magazine-meet-john-of-god/ O Magazine: Meet John of God
  29. ^ http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/23/video-john-of-god-a-faith-healer/ Video: 'John of God' a faith healer?
  30. ^ Controversial Brazilian faith healer John of God visits Sydney http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/controversial-brazilian-faith-healer-john-of-god-visits-sydney-20141122-11rrty.html
  31. ^ October 2,2014 article in The Austalian by Ean Higgins http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/critics-show-little-faith-in-healing-powers-of-brazilian-trickster/story-e6frg6so-1227079512656
  32. ^ Extended 60 Minutes Intro http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/60minutes/extraminutes/3859303292001/
  33. ^ Rewind- John of God 1998 http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/60minutes/extraminutes/3859303296001/
  34. ^ http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Spiritual-Healer-John-of-God-Susan-Casey
  35. ^ ...John of God' Follow up Investigation by William M London, 11/3/2014 http://web.randi.org/swift/no-healing-miracles-found-in-john-of-god-follow-up-investigation
  36. ^ Part I video 60 Minutes: John of God
  37. ^ 60 Minutes: Extended Interview with Dr David Rosengren http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/60minutes/extraminutes/3859303294001/
  38. ^ Nelson Groom for Daily Mail Australia, 25 October 2014 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2807437/Meet-spiritual-healer-Brazil-claims-cured-millions-people-including-Oprah-Winfrey-hes-coming-Australia.html
  39. ^ Part II video 60 Minutes: John of God http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/60minutes/stories/2014/october/john-of-god/
  40. ^ Part II video 60 Minutes: John of God http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/60minutes/stories/2014/october/john-of-god/
  41. ^ John of God: Miracle worker or charlatan? by Tim Elliot, October 4,2014, Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/john-of-god-miracle-worker-or-charlatan-20141003-10jl7q.html
  42. ^ Part I&II 60 Minutes: John of God http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/60minutes/stories/2014/october/john-of-god/

External links[edit]

Criticism[edit]

Media[edit]