José Luis de Jesús
José Luis de Jesús Miranda
José Luis de Jesús at a CEG meeting (November 2008)
|Died||November 17, 2013 (aged 67)|
|Other names||The Antichrist |
|Organization||Growing in Grace International|
|Known for||Eschatological preaching, founding religious sect|
|Criminal charge(s)||Petty Theft, DUI|
|Criminal penalty||Incarceration - 9 Months |
|Spouse(s)||Josefina Torres (Divorced), |
Nydia Vélez (Divorced)
|Children||Four daughters, one son|
José Luis de Jesús Miranda (April 22, 1946 – November 17, 2013) was the leader of the Creciendo en Gracia cult, 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. He was previously known as el Jesucristo Hombre (which translates, roughly, to "the Man Jesus-Christ") 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. Footage from one of his sermons as well as an interview with comedian Bill Maher are included in the 2008 documentary film Religulous.
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 that he was living on, and that he was already addicted to heroin at age 14. 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
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." It was not 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.
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. 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 Paul the Apostle and changed his focus into reading and preaching about Paul's gospel.
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 that 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 ." He claimed to have two million followers in 30 countries by 2008.
On August 8, 2013, Miranda’s ex-wife, Josefina Torres, claimed that Miranda had died in Sugar Land, Texas on August 8, 2013, apparently of cirrhosis of the liver. However, on September 11, Miranda reappeared in public, proclaiming himself in good health. On November 15, Miranda actually died in Orlando, Florida, with his death confirmed by both his movement and his family. 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. He was buried on November 22, 2013 in a ceremony in which only his family and certain followers assisted.
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". 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. "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".
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.
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 June 30, 2012 and July 1, 2012 (sources Huffington Post and Miami New Times dispute the exact hour).
José Luis de Jesús Miranda separated from his wife in 2007 because, according to her, "he started to say that he was God; I was not 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".
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. Jo-Ann De Jesús, José Luis' daughter and Church treasurer, testified that de Jesús' 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 Jesús.
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. José Luis stated afterwards that he sent "angels of fair retribution to seek for justice" against the judge. Roberto Piñeiro died on December 9, 2010 of a stroke, much to the delight of Miranda's followers.[dubious ][disputed (for: Roberto Piñeiro died on December 9, 2010 of a stroke, much to the delight of Miranda's followers) ]
Disappearance of "Creciendo en Gracia" and groups emerged from this sect
After the death of José Luis de Jesús Miranda, the great majority of the followers did not want anything more to do with the sect, but some decided to remain united. However, because of the internal struggles for leadership and rival ambition of their leaders, after six months the group had already divided into four factions with different doctrinal positions and social agendas. As a result, it can be said that the sect really ended with the death of José Luis de Jesús Miranda, and that the four factions, which have only retained a meager influence, constitute new movements. These are:
(1°) "La Amada de Jesucristo" ("The Beloved of Jesus Christ") or "Paloma" ("Dove"), directed by Andrés Cudris [Already deceased],
(2°) "La Ciencia de JH" ("The Science of JH"), directed by Emilio Gramajo,
(3°) "TV Gracia" ("Grace TV") directed by Luis Martín Guío, and
- "World Religions and Spirituality Project". Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
On August 8, 2013, Miranda’s ex-wife, Josefina Torres, claimed that Miranda had died in Sugar Land, Texas on August 8, 2013, apparently of cirrhosis of the liver. She reiterated this claim in the following weeks, with Miranda’s followers refusing to confirm his death. Finally, on September 11, Miranda reappeared in public, claiming his health was as good as ever. However, on November 15, Miranda actually in Orlando, Florida. His death was confirmed by both his movement and his family.
- Julio César Clavijo Sierra, Luis Enrique Polo Bello (November 1, 2016). ""Creciendo en Gracia" - El Principio y el Fin de una Secta Destructiva" (PDF). Pentecostales del Nombre (in Spanish). Unibautista. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
- 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.
- John Zarrella; Patrick Oppmann (February 19, 2007). "Pastor with 666 tattoo claims to be divine". Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Jim Avila (March 6, 2007). "Jesus of Suburbia -- Has He Risen Again in Houston, Texas?". ABC News. ABC News Internet Ventures. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Mariah Blake (February 9, 2006). "Jesus Redux". Miami New Times. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Lisa Arthur; Jack Dolan (June 27, 2007). "Judge flags preacher's use of donations". Miami Herald. Miami Herald Media Co.
- "He Calls Himself God". Newsweek. October 11, 2007. Archived from the original on May 23, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- "Una Nueva Familia" (in Spanish). Creciendo en Gracia. November 18, 2013. Archived from the original on December 15, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- "Crowd Packs Amphitheater For Man Claiming He's Jesus Christ Reincarnated". local6.com. May 6, 2007. Archived from the original on May 8, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2007.
- "Miami-based 'Antichrist' banned from Guatemala". Dallas Morning News. Guatemala City. April 22, 2007. Archived from the original on October 23, 2007. Retrieved April 25, 2007.
- David Van Biema (May 9, 2007). "A Different Jesus to Believe In?". Time Magazine. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- "Muerte Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda". Acontecer Cristiano (in Spanish). Noticias del Acontecer Cristiano. November 29, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- "Miami Church Brands Members With '666' Tattoos". Doral, FL. February 24, 2007. Retrieved March 4, 2007.
- Ileana, Varela (reporting) (September 12, 2006). "The Man Who Claims To Be Jesus". Archived from the original on February 17, 2007. Retrieved February 22, 2007.
- "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."
- Zarrella, John (reporting) (February 15, 2007). "Man who would be king". Archived from the original on May 6, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- Craig Malisow (April 23, 2009). "Jesus Christ Celebrates his Birthday Yesterday on Bissonnet". Houston Press. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- 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
- 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.
- "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. June 23, 2011. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
- Patrick Oppmann (July 17, 2007). "Wife seeks divorce from 'Jesus Christ reborn'". Anderson Cooper 360. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Nínro Ruíz Peña (December 10, 2010). "Muere el juez del divorcio de Jose Luis de Miranda" (in Spanish). Noticias Cristianas. Retrieved December 15, 2013.