José Luis de Jesús

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José Luis de Jesús
José Luis de Jesús at a CEG meeting
José Luis de Jesús at a CEG meeting (November 2008).
Born José Luis de Jesús Miranda
(1946-04-27)April 27, 1946
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Died August 8, 2013(2013-08-08) (aged 67)[1]
Sugar Land, Texas[1][2]
Nationality American
Other names The Antichrist
Jesochristo Hombre
Melchizedek
Father/Dad/Daddy[3]
Occupation Pastor
Organization Growing in Grace International
Known for Eschatological preaching, founding religious sect
Salary $228,000 (in 2007) [4]
Religion Creciendo en Gracia
(Growing in Grace)
Criminal charge
Petty Theft,[3] DUI
Criminal penalty
Incarceration - 9 Months [5]
Spouse(s) Josefina Torres (Divorced),
Nydia Vélez (Divorced)
Children Four daughters, one son[6]
Website
www.cegenglish.com

José Luis de Jesús Miranda (April 22, 1946 - August 8, 2013)[1][2] was the leader of the Creciendo en Gracia sect, based in Miami, Florida. He claimed to be both the returned phase of Jesus Christ and the Antichrist; he was known for making statements that opposed the precepts of the Roman Catholic Church but that followed his interpretation of the Bible.[7] He was previously known as el Jesucristo Hombre (which translates, roughly, to "the Jesus-Christ Man") but shortly after his death his followers granted him the title of Melchizedek because, as stated by his official site, he attained his new and final name which means king of justice and king of peace.[8][9]

Early life[edit]

José Luis de Jesús was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico to parents Antonio de Jesús and Ana Luisa Miranda. He claimed that during his youth he served stints in prison for petty theft because of the poor conditions he was living on and that he was already addicted to heroin at age 14.[5][10][11] He stated that it was the "power of God what took me out of my drug addiction" and he soon joined a Baptist Church in his city.

Creciendo en Gracia[edit]

José Luis was promoted to minister after serving several years in the church. Miranda claims that in 1973 he had a vision in which he maintains that he was visited by a pair of angels. The impact on Miranda was significant; as he later told ABC News: "The same spirit that was in Jesus of Nazareth, and the same spirit is in me. He came to me. He [integrated] with my person in 1973."[5] It wasn't long before Miranda started preaching his own ideals and teachings. José Luis moved his then-wife Nydia and five children to South Florida, where he secured a 15 minute time slot from the radio station WVCG-AM to begin preaching.[6] He started to assemble a select number of followers which culminated in the forming of Ministerio Creciendo en Gracia (Spanish for Growing in Grace) in 1988.[12] At first, José Luis was only preaching according to the Four Gospels that narrate the life and teachings of Jesus Christ but in 1998 he claimed that he was the reincarnation of apostle Paul and changed his focus into reading and preaching about Paul's gospel.[13]

Movement Outreach[edit]

Creciendo en Gracia first started in Miami, Florida and soon expanded into different places in the United States and Latin America. On April 22, 2002, he married Josefina Torres, a woman he met during one of his trips to Bogotá in 1999. In 2005 he announced that he was the next phase of Jesus Christ on Earth and self-proclaimed Jesus Christ Man. In 2007 the Dallas Morning News reported that de Jesús "preaches to followers in some 35 nations, mostly in Latin America, and has 287 radio programs and a 24-hour Spanish and English-language TV network ."[14] He claimed to have two million followers in 30 countries by 2008.[15]

Death[edit]

José Luis de Jesús Miranda died of cirrhosis of the liver on August 8 of 2013 in Sugar Land, Texas.[1][2] Miranda's death has remained controversial among his followers. Publicly, his church has continued to insist that Miranda has not died and that he is immortal.[1][2] He was buried on November 22 of 2013 in a ceremony in which only his family and certain followers assisted.[16] His followers granted him the title of Melchizedek after his death.[17]

Beliefs[edit]

Antichrist[edit]

In late 2006 he claimed that he was the Antichrist. He stated that the term was appropriate because people are no longer required to follow the "Jewish teachings" of Jesus of Nazareth, but rather to follow the apostle Paul's teachings through De Jesús. According to de Jesús, "Antichrist" means "no longer following Jesus of Nazareth as he lived in the days of his flesh".[7][18][19] Followers showed their support by getting "666" tattoos on their bodies. One of Miranda's followers in Havana, Cuba tattooed the symbol on her three year old son. A YouTube video of the mother holding the child as he was tattooed was widely circulated in January 2013.[20] "666", de Jesús said, is not a sign of the Devil (he preaches that the Devil was destroyed) but instead is the number of the Antichrist and that the number is "a number of wisdom and it displays who is really following the truthful words of Jesus Christ".[21]

Christmas[edit]

His followers celebrate Christmas each year on April 22, as this is the day de Jesús was born and therefore they claim it is the "real" Christmas.[22]

Transformation[edit]

According to his followers, there was to have been a Transformation day in which members would have supposedly been able to walk through walls and go through fire and not get burned, this because they would have been "fully enlightened and living with an immortal body". José Luis stated that his transformation and that of his followers would occur between 30 June 2012 and 1 July 2012 (sources Huffington Post and Miami New Times dispute the exact hour).[23][24] Some of his followers left full-time jobs and took their children out of their schools because many thought that they "wouldn't need to do those things anymore".

Controversies[edit]

Divorce[edit]

José Luis separated from his wife in 2007 because, according to her, "he started to say that he was God; I wasn't comfortable with that so he threatened me by sending death-angels to my sons if I didn't do whatever he wanted". She also alleged that he liked to send her far away from home for long periods of time because "he was seeing other women, some of them from Creciendo en Gracia".[25] Documents provided to the court by Josefina's attorney demonstrated that José Luis spent extravagantly during the time of the marriage, and used church funds to maintain his lifestyle. One gambling debt to Hard Rock Casino was over $46,000 dollars. Jo-Ann De Jesus, José Luis' daughter and Church treasurer, testified that de Jesus' first wife Nydia Vélez receives $12,000 in monthly alimony paid for by the church. Finally, the church bought multiple properties for José Luis in Florida, Texas and Colombia using Church funds and signing the title over to José Luis or Jo-Ann De Jesus.[26] Roberto Piñeiro, the judge in charge of the divorce case, gave an unfavorable verdict towards de Jesús in 2008 and, according to the Miami Herald, Josefina Torres received $2.2 million in properties and estates as compensation.[4] José Luis stated afterwards that he sent "angels of fair retribution to seek for justice" against the judge. Roberto Piñeiro died on December 9 of 2010 of a stroke, much to the delight of Miranda's followers.[27][dubious ][disputed (for: Roberto Piñeiro died on December 9 of 2010 of a stroke, much to the delight of Miranda's followers)  ]

Popular Culture[edit]

De Jesús appears in the 2008 documentary Religulous where he was mocked by host Bill Maher.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "World Religions and Spirituality Project". Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved March 28, 2014. "Miranda died in Sugar Land, Texas on August 8, 2013, apparently of cirrhosis of the liver." 
  2. ^ a b c d Jessica Martinez. "-Wife of Man Claiming to Be 'Immortal Jesus Christ' Confirms His Death". Christian Post. Retrieved March 28, 2014. "The ex-wife of Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, who claimed to be Jesus Christ and founder of the Florida-based Growing in Grace cult movement, confirmed his death via YouTube last week. However, his organization assured the media that he is still alive because they believe Miranda is immortal.[...]Miranda allegedly died from liver cirrhosis at a Sugar Land, Texas hospital on Aug. 8, and Torres says she was informed of his death through former members of his church who have family members that remain a part of his movement.[...]According to Torres, Miranda's cult leaders continue to deny his death because admitting it would bring negative repercussions to their organization." 
  3. ^ a b John Zarrella; Patrick Oppmann (February 19, 2007). "Pastor with 666 tattoo claims to be divine". Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Lisa Arthur; Jack Dolan (June 27, 2007). "Judge flags preacher's use of donations". Miami Herald (Miami Herald Media Co). 
  5. ^ a b c Jim Avila (anchor) (March 6, 2007). "Jesus of Suburbia -- Has He Risen Again in Houston, Texas?". ABC News. ABC News Internet Ventures. American Broadcasting Company.
  6. ^ a b Mariah Blake (February 9, 2006). "Jesus Redux". Miami New Times. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "He Calls Himself God". Newsweek. 2007-10-11. Archived from the original on 2010-05-23. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  8. ^ Scarborough, Joe(host) (August 25, 2006). "'Scarborough Country' for August 25". Scarborough Country. Voxant, Inc. MSNBC.
  9. ^ "Una Nueva Familia" (in Spanish). Creciendo en Gracia. 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2013-12-14. 
  10. ^ "Crowd Packs Amphitheater For Man Claiming He's Jesus Christ Reincarnated". local6.com. May 6, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-07. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Twelve Tribes" (in Spanish). Twelve Tribes. 2010. [dead link][self-published source]
  12. ^ S. Michael Houdmann. "Who is Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda? Is Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda the antichrist?". Got Religion Questions?. Got Questions Ministries. 
  13. ^ "La Secta Creciendo En Gracia". Blog de Christo (in Spanish). [self-published source]
  14. ^ "Miami-based 'Antichrist' banned from Guatemala". Dallas Morning News (Guatemala City). April 22, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  15. ^ David Van Biema (May 9, 2007). "A Different Jesus to Believe In?". Time Magazine. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Muerte Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda". Acontecer Cristiano (in Spanish). Noticias del Acontecer Cristiano. 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2013-12-14. 
  17. ^ "Melquisedec: Rey de Gloria". Creciendo en Gracia Official Site. 2013-12-14. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Miami Church Brands Members With '666' Tattoos". Doral, FL. February 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  19. ^ Ileana, Varela (reporting) (September 12, 2006). "The Man Who Claims To Be Jesus". Archived from the original on 2007-02-17. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  20. ^ "Mother Tattoos Religious Sect Symbol On Her 3-Year-Old Son". The Huffington Post. January 31, 2013. Retrieved March 28, 2014. "A video circulating on YouTube showing a mother holding her 3-year-old little son as he gets tattooed with the symbol of a Puerto Rican-born religious sect while crying hysterically is causing alarm around the web. The tattoo drawn on the kid’s arm is the symbol of three sixes identified with the "Growing In Grace" cult, whose founder is Puerto Rican Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda or "Jesus Christ, the Man" as he prefers to call himself, reports TV show "Sevcec a Fondo."" 
  21. ^ Zarrella, John (reporting) (February 15, 2007). "Man who would be king". Retrieved May 7, 2010. [dead link]
  22. ^ Craig Malisow (April 23, 2009). "Jesus Christ Celebrates his Birthday Yesterday on Bissonnet". Houston Press. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  23. ^ Cotroneo, Christian (May 2, 2012). "Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda: End Of The World Is Nigh (Again)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 6, 2012. "It's going to be a busy year for end-of-the-world aficionados, now that Jose De Jesus Miranda has weighed in. The U.S.-based religious leader is penciling in June 30 for the end of days" 
  24. ^ Francisco Alvarado (July 22, 2010). "The Crazy Man Christ Jesus Predicts Exact Day World Will End In 2012". Miami New Times. Retrieved March 28, 2014. "José Luis de Jésus Miranda, leader of Miami-Dade-based congregation Creciendo en Gracia and the self-proclaimed "Man Christ," has announced the world will go all apocalyptic July 1, 2012. That's when Miranda claims his physical body will be "transformed, dressed in immortality and incorruptibility." It also happens to be Miranda's 66th birthday." 
  25. ^ "La ex esposa de "Jesucristo Hombre" cuenta el calvario que vivió con José L. de Jesús Miranda". Acontecer Cristiano (in Spanish). Noticias del Acontecer Cristiano. 2011-06-23. Retrieved 2013-12-15. 
  26. ^ Patrick Oppmann (July 17, 2007). "Wife seeks divorce from 'Jesus Christ reborn'". Anderson Cooper 360. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  27. ^ Nínro Ruíz Peña (December 10, 2010). "Muere el juez del divorcio de Jose Luis de Miranda" (in Spanish). Noticias Cristianas. Retrieved 2013-12-15.