John of God or Is John From Hell, More Appropriate?

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João Teixeira de Faria is better known as “João de Deus” or “John of God.” He dwells in the Brazilian village of Abadiania, an otherwise unremarkable countryside transformed into a fanciful spiritual tourist mecca for his believers, where everybody wears white and waits in line for a moment with the celebrity healer they’ve all come to see. He has recently been accused of abusing hundreds of women.

Faria became famous for his intense methods of healing. Though he doesn’t have a medical license, he performs both spiritual healing — praying intensely for believers and placing hands on them to cure their afflictions — and what appear to be actual surgical procedures without anesthesia. Faria has been written about for years, since his practice started in 1978. But an episode of Oprah in 2010 devoted to him raised his profile exponentially.

Zahira Lieneke Mous was among many of his followers. The Dutch dance choreographer made the pilgrimage four years ago, seeking to heal sexual trauma she said she had suffered in the past. She had read books about “John of God” and watched YouTube videos about his alleged powers and saw his 2010 interview with Oprah Winfrey, an episode that brought the faith healer international fame. The series, since removed from Winfrey’s website, was titled, “Do You Believe in Miracles?” Mous believed she did.

She went by herself to see “John of God,” whose real name is João Teixeira de Faria and who claims to have treated millions of followers since the 1970s. She recounted in an interview with Brazil’s Globo TV last week how she waited in line twice to experience his healing. On the first visit, he scribbled a prescription for an herb she was told would help her. The second time, he offered a private consultation — a “spiritual cleansing.” Mous agreed. “You’re made to feel special somehow,” she told Globo TV.

She waited until everyone else in line had their turns, until finally she was alone, and “John of God” invited her into his office. And then into his bathroom.

That’s where Mous said he raped her — all while leading her to believe it was part of her healing.

She is among hundreds of women who have recently come forward with sexual abuse allegations that have razed Faria’s image as saintly miracle worker and replaced it with one of a suspected fraudster who exploited his celebrity to take advantage of female believers. On Sunday, Faria, 76, turned himself in to Brazil’s Civil Police on suspicion of sexual abuse, the State Delegation of Criminal Investigation confirmed to The Washington Post.

More than 300 women from around the world have contacted prosecutors to accuse him of abuse, largely after Globo TV aired the stories of numerous women in Brazil’s first major #MeToo scandal, the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported. But prosecutors told Estadão newspaper that investigators have focused on 15 cases. Faria has denied all of the allegations.

“I really hope to help other women to come out of their shadow, because we don’t have to feel ashamed,” Mous told Globo TV on Dec. 6. “He has to feel ashamed, and all the people that protect him to continue doing what he’s doing.”

The sexual abuse allegations have been percolating for years, but until now have done little to deter the thousands of visitors in white in the small town of Abadiania. Journalists have attempted to address the allegations for more than a decade.

The women who have come forward publicly to accuse Faria, many anonymously, have told similar stories of alleged abuse. First, he told them they were special, they say. Then, he pulled them into a bathroom, where he allegedly would grope them, place their hands on his penis, or, as Mous said, penetrate them.

The sexual abuse allegations have been percolating for years, but until now have done little to deter the thousands of visitors in white in the small town of Abadiania. Journalists have attempted to address the allegations for more than a decade.

In a 2005 ABC News “Primetime Live” segment titled, “Is ‘John of God’ a Healer or a Charlatan?” he was asked about accusations that he had taken advantage of an unnamed woman who came to be healed. “There is a lot of jealousy. People talk,” Faria said. “What dictates is the conscience toward God.”

In 2014, a reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald traveled to the Casa de Dom Inácio, the name of his spiritual compound, to interview him, squeezing in just a few questions before Faria got angry and stormed off while shouting. One question was about sexual abuse allegations. “I thought you came to talk about me,” Faria said. “Not other people.”AD

His most famous media segment was with Winfrey. In addition to her 2010 “Do You Believe in Miracles?” segment, featuring interviews with both skeptics and believers, she traveled to Abadiania in 2012 to witness the works and controversial methods of “John of God” in an interview that again boosted his profile. His nterview by Oprah was released in conjunction with a profile of Faria for O Magazine by then editor-in-chief Susan Casey. In 2012 Oprah went to Brazil for a second time to tape an episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter, that explored more of the controversial healing methods of John of God. The episode aired in 2013. In a statement to Reuters on Sunday, she acknowledged the segment and said, “I empathize with the women now coming forward and hope justice is served.”

A spokesman for Faria maintained his innocence in light of the accusations in a statement to O Globo newspaper last week, saying the faith healer “vehemently rejects any improper practice in his care” and calling the accusations “false and fanciful.” Likewise, an attorney for Faria told Globo G1 Sunday, “We continue to vehemently contest all the charges,” citing a “total lack of evidence.”

Faria’s phenomenon dates to the 1970s. Since then, he has claimed to have treated millions of people and is either considered the best healer since Jesus or a total hoax, depending on whom you ask. Faria, a second-grade dropout and son of a tailor, says that he has performed life-altering surgeries on his followers while the spirits of doctors or biblical figures are channeled through him, such as King Solomon, the biblical king of Israel. He routinely stresses that God, not he, is the one performing the operations. These surgeries include forcefully shoving a pair of forceps up people’s noses to the point that it is nearly poking their brains, as his followers have described it, or slicing people open without anesthesia. Alternatively, he is perhaps best known for performing “psychic surgeries,” supernatural invisible procedures involving no scalpels or forceps whatsoever, using only the power of what he calls the “Entity.” By channeling these spirits, he has claimed to treat the blind, the paraplegic, and those ill with cancer, leprosy and other diseases. He has no medical license and has previously been jailed for practicing medicine anyway.

“There has been criticism of me,” she told Globo TV. “[People have said], ‘why are you coming out with your story? He’s healing so many people.’ That’s also part of the reason I never said anything. If it’s just me,” she thought, “let me suck it up, because he’s healing so many people, right?”

Joao Teixeira de Faria was arrested a week after over 600 allegations were made against him in what prosecutors say could be the worst serial crimes case in Brazil’s history.

The 77-year-old’s renowned spiritual world crumbled in December after he was accused of sexually abusing a Dutch woman on live TV.

The woman’s claims prompted over 600 similar allegations to arise from around the world from countless women — all of which Faria has denied.

Brazilian activist Sabrina Bittencourt has now sensationally claimed the celebrity medium ran a baby trafficking operation, in which children were “farmed” in Brazil before being sold to childless couples around the world.

Bittencourt’s previous investigations led to the spiritual leader’s arrest in December.

She claimed young girls were held captive in remote farms, where they were forced to produce babies.

She added that the women were murdered after 10 years of giving birth.

In a video, Bittencourt, whose organization, Coame, helps women report sexual assault by religious leaders, said she has spoken to women from at least three continents who claimed they bought Brazilian babies from John of God for as much as $50,000, the Mirror reported.

Bittencourt claims she has collected testimony from former members of the “John of God” cult.

She claims Faria would offer money to poor girls aged 14 to 18 to go and live in mineral mines or farms he owns in the Brazilian states of Goias and Minas Gerais.

There they would become sex slaves and be forced to get pregnant and their babies would be sold to the highest bidder from other continents, Bittencourt alleges.

“In exchange for food, they were impregnated and their babies sold on the black market,” she said.

“Hundreds of girls were enslaved over years, lived on farms in Goias, served as wombs to get pregnant, for their babies to be sold.

“These girls were murdered after 10 years of giving birth. We have got a number of testimonies.

“We have received reports from the adoptive mothers of their children that we sold for between $20,000 and $50,000 in Europe, USA and Australia, as well as testimony from ex-workers and local people who are tired of being complicit with John of God’s gang.”

Bittencourt appealed to others who may have knowledge of Faria’s alleged crimes to come forward.

“I ask that the embassies of Holland, USA and Australia demand impeccable conduct from the Brazilian authorities,” she added.

The Brazilian healer became a prominent spiritual figure in 2010 when Oprah Winfrey visited him and said she almost fainted during the “blissful” encounter.

His popularity and fame began to rise, and soon after, he became the country’s most celebrated faith healer and became renowned around the world.

After his arrest in December, however, Winfrey said in a statement: “I empathize with the women now coming forward and I hope justice is served.”

Among the hundreds of allegations against Faria, his own daughter, Dalva Teixeira, came forward with a shocking statement that she was a victim of her father’s crimes.

In an exclusive interview with Brazilian magazine Veja, she said that under the pretense of mystical treatments he abused and raped her between the ages of 10 and 14.

She claimed he stopped after she became pregnant by one of his employees, after which her father beat her so severely that she suffered a miscarriage.

“My father is a monster,” she said.

After an arrest warrant was issued for him, Faria was on the run for a week.

He allegedly withdrew $9 million from several bank accounts, leading police to believe he was planning to flee Brazil, or hide the money in case of compensation claims.

Investigators also found firearms and large quantities of cash in a house used by Faria as a spiritual retreat.

He eventually handed himself in on Dec. 16, telling officers: “I surrendered to divine justice — and, as promised, I now place myself in the hands of earthly justice.”

Faria has been charged with two counts of rape and two counts of statutory rape, as detectives continue to look into the abuse claims.

On December 19, 2019 John of God , received his first prison sentence following a deluge of sex abuse allegations from 2018. A A judge in Goias state issued a sentence of 19 years and four months for four rapes of different women, according to a statement from the court. Lawyers for the 77-year-old João de Deus said in a statement that they will appeal the decision. João Teixeira de Faria who drew people from all over the world to his small city two hours west of capital, Brasilia, with promises he could treat everything from depression to cancer, and attended to as many as 10,000 patients per week. Hundreds of women, including his daughter, alleged he regularly engaged in abuse ranging from groping to rape. João de Deus is facing additional cases related to 10 sex crimes, according to the court’s statement.

At last report Faria has been sentenced to 19 years in prison after being convicted of four counts of rape. He is still appealing from prison.

Conclusion

If even half of the accusations made against Faria are true, of which I have no doubt that they are true, is certainly not from God but from the Devil or Hell. This abused his gift of charisma to take advantage of and abuse countless women and children. He is responsible of ruining countless lives, the last of which was Sabrina Bittencourt who took her own life at the tender age of 38 in 2019. This man deserves not prison but the death penalty.

Resources

washingtonpost.com, “Celebrity Brazilian healer ‘John of God,’ once featured by Oprah, surrenders on sexual abuse charges,” By Meagan Flynn; buzzfeednews.com, “John Of God Was Once Hyped By Oprah. Now He’s Accused Of Abusing Hundreds Of Women. More than 200 women have accused Brazil’s João de Deus — or John of God — of sexually abusive behavior at his “healing center.” By Hayes Brown; nypost.com, ” ‘John of God’ cult leader allegedly ran child sex slave farm, By Nika Sakhnazarova; dailymail.co.uk, “Woman behind the arrest of faith healer John of God after claiming he was running a ‘sex slave farm’ commits suicide at her home in Barcelona,” By Natalia Penza; abcnews.com, “Brazil spiritual healer sentenced to 19 years for four rapes,” By David Biller; thesunuk.com, “MONSTER OF THE CHURCH Infamous celebrity faith healer ‘John of God’ jailed for 19 years in Brazil for raping four women,” By Lottie Tiplady-Bishop;

Addendum

Woman behind the arrest of faith healer John of God after claiming he was running a ‘sex slave farm’ commits suicide at her home in Barcelona

Sabrina Bittencourt, 38, a woman who helped bring down the Brazilian faith healer died at her home in Barcelona just days after accusing John of God – real name Joao Teixeira de Faria – of running a ‘sex slave farm’. She claimed young girls were held captive in a farming operation which exported babies on the black market. She claimed young girls were held captive in a farming operation which exported babies on the black market. 

Ms Bittencourt left Brazil and was forced to live under protection after receiving death threats.   

Her eldest son Gabriel Baum confirmed her death, writing on Facebook: ‘She took the last step so that we could live. They killed my mother.’ 

Sex abuse victim support group Victimas Unidas, who worked with the 38-year-old, said: ‘We announce with regret the death of Sabrina de Campos Bittencourt, which occurred around 9pm on Saturday on February 2 in Barcelona where she was living.

‘The activist committed suicide and left a farewell note explaining the reasons why she took her own life.’  

Before her death she was quoted as saying: ‘Hundreds of girls were enslaved over years, lived on farms in Goias, served as wombs to get pregnant, for their babies to be sold.’

 ‘These girls were murdered after 10 years of giving birth. We have got a number of testimonies.’

Ms Bittencourt had received reports of children being sold for between £15,000 and £40,000 in Europe, Australia and the United States, she said.  

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