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May 07 2012

Jose Luis de Jesus: Canada’s own Harold Camping

Billboards proclaiming 666 as the number of wisdom, the day of transformation being June 30 2012, and that there "is no sin".

Tone-deaf billboard photos courtesy of Aaron Lynett of the National Post

Brace yourselves, fellow Canucks, for the day of reckoning is nigh! The National Post covers how, on June 30, 2012, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda and his followers will bodily transform into superhumans with X-Men-like powers, while the rest of us mere mortals will suffer from the worldwide collapse of currencies and governments and the rise of the “new government of the 666″.

[...] Mr. de Jesus also predicts that the “transformation” will endow him, and his loyal followers, with superpowers, such as the ability to fly and walk through walls, said Axel Cooley, the bishop’s daughter.

“[We can] run and not get tired. Go through fire and not get burned…. I could be talking to you right now, and then I could go through that wall. So, you’ll know there is a difference,” Cooley said.

This sounds pretty much like a supervillain origin story to me. I’d better get to work on my Iron Man suit post-haste. Of course, thanks to corner-cutting owing to a lack of funds, so far the best I’ve managed is a Cardboard Man suit. Offensive technologies include throwing toilet paper tubes, and for a mega-attack, a paper towel tube. Yeah, I know, it needs work. But someone’s gotta stand up to the New World Order of religious practitioners suddenly endowed with No Clipping reality-hacks.

The global economy will collapse as currency markets “fail” and governments around the world will be forced to resign. These predictions are based on biblical passages, she adds.

“The world’s not going to end. What is going to end is the system…. All the governments and the currencies will fall. The new government of the 666 will take over,” she said.

Oh, but don’t get him wrong. He and his cult members believe the number 666 is the number of wisdom. Never mind that this is, naturally, going to cause followers of Christianity to believe he is the Biblical Antichrist. No, he’s going to embrace that stigma wholeheartedly while his followers lavish him with expensive watches, cars, and monetary gifts. A previous

The group has come under fire and accused of being a cult.

YOU’RE KIDDING. Who would do THAT?!

I’ve said it before. Hell, greater folks than me have said it before. The difference between a religion and a cult is number of adherents. That’s ALL.

Regina Albarracin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., whose son Alvaro became estranged from his family after he joined Growing in Grace, said its members are “brainwashed.”

“They’re stupid people who believe in stupidities,” she told the Miami New Times in 2006. “They’re like those people in Waco, Texas. When you go there, you get brainwashed.”

Not that these accusations will faze its adherents.

Canadian member Ana Guevara, 20, brushes the cult claims off.

“All our lives have been enriched with this…. If we were a cult, then I guess we’re a pretty awesome cult. Because it’s teaching you how to live happy. How to live in a good mood,” says Ms. Guevara, whose family is also part of Growing in Grace.

If by “pretty awesome cult” you mean a great way to give all your money to a slick-haired charlatan preying on your need for false hope, by all means, keep it up. I just hope you realize when the transformation doesn’t occur on June 30th, or on some future to-be-determined date that “dad” comes up with in the future, the problem was not some lacking on your part, but rather the severe lack of grounding in reality of your faith.

Maybe that’s hoping too much. How many failed end-times predictions have come and gone in the past few years? And how many of the faithful have realized they’ve hitched their wagons to an imaginary horse and returned to reality thereafter?

At the very least, their website is throwing 403 Forbidden errors, suggesting that the webmaster might have repented of his anti-reality bias, or their webhost has shut them down to keep more people from giving over their life savings to this grifter. That might give me more time to get my Cardboard Man prototype armor up and running.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Eamon Knight

    Geez, I’ve been involved in a couple of publicity campaigns for various causes (both atheist/secularist and others), and have been dismayed by how much it costs to purchase things like bus ads, billboards and radio spots. You wind up trying to market yourself as community news, or begging PSA freebies.

    But some fringe-cult wacko can just pony up the cash and do it? And get national news coverage too? TANJ.

  2. 2
    Philip

    I’m looking forwards to seeing his reaction on the 1st of July when he tries to walk through a wall and realises he can’t tunnel through it :)

  3. 3
    The Artful Nudger

    @Philip – I predict “Ow”.

  4. 4
    steve oberski

    Cult – a small, unpopular religion.

    Religion – a large, popular cult.

  5. 5
    Art

    The real, interesting and substantial, question here is not ‘will this guy get superpowers’. The big question, the one we can place bets on, is: what is going to happen when he, and his followers, don’t get their upgrades?

    A few that come to mind, I will leave it to others to set the odds and take bets:

    1: He will claim that they delayed for some time the event. This made to sound like he gave us all more time to ‘come to Jebus’.

    2: He claims that it did happen but he is not allowed to show his powers. Joseph Smith was not allowed to show the golden tablets.

    3: There is a silence for a time. Nothing said, nothing offered. This might be combined with other options.

    4: He talks his loyal followers onto a secluded compound and they drink the poison Koolaide. ( Joke: Why aren’t there jokes about Jonesville? A: The punch line is too long)

    5: On the decided day he goes quiet and reschedules. Perhaps several times. This may be combined with option (1). After a number of restarts he quietly gives up his role as public figure.

    How many other variations are there? Is there some better way to organize this? Some way to make it clear who wins and loses?

  6. 6
    doncates

    “Never mind, lads, same time tomorrow… we must get a winner one day.”

  7. 7
    Eamon Knight

    @2: I picture it kind of like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOOl8qWN4u0

    (For those who didn’t watch Angel, the back story is that Spike was a ghost who walked through walls, and he’s just been magically corporealized but doesn’t realize it yet).

  8. 8
    rikitiki

    Sooo…is the magic something to do with him using the Cub-scout salute?

  9. 9
    Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    Some days, I wish I was evil and charismatic enough to pull off a scam like that.

    Also, I suggest getting some wrapping paper, the cardboard tubes in those can sting pretty good if you flail hard enough.

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