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Growing in Grace

News Summaries from ICSA Periodicals

Josefina Torres announced via YouTube in August the death of her ex-husband, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, founder of the Florida-based international Growing in Grace, which she calls a cult. She says Miranda, who claimed to be both Jesus Christ and the antichrist, died of cirrhosis of the liver at a Sugar Land, Texas, hospital in early August. Torres has made a video calculated to expose what she characterizes as the lies behind Miranda’s business, and has accused church leaders of profiting financially from naïve followers. The leaders deny that Miranda is dead; one of them told international media that he is still alive and encouraged followers to prepare for the great transformation, when, according to Miranda’s last video, he and his followers will become immortal. (Christian Post, 8/19/13) [IT 5.1 2014] 

Growing in Grace, founded by Puerto Rican Jose Luis Jesus Miranda, who calls himself “Jesus Christ the Man,” encourages the tattooing of both children and adults with the number 666. A YouTube video made in Havana, where the cult has gained followers in recent years, shows a mother holding her 3-year-old son as he is being tattooed while crying hysterically. A member says that 666, which has apocalyptic associations in Christian traditions and sometimes represents Satan, identifies followers “as God’s people and with God.” Miranda says he started the movement in 1984 after a visitation of angels persuaded him that he was being chosen. Based in Miami, Growing in Grace has spread to more than 20 countries and has a strong presence in Latin America. (Huffington Post, 1/31/13) [IT 4.2 2013] 

A 37-year-old Colombian, Elkin Ameth Espinosa, who was a member of Growing in Grace, committed suicide at the age of 37 on the 27th of December after having waited for the end of the world on the 21st of December. Several adepts of the cult were convinced that something was supposed to happen, and they were awaiting a sign; for Espinosa, this was a sign to kill himself. [IT 4.1 2013] 

The ex-wife of Jose Luis de Jesús Miranda, founder and leader of Growing in Grace, affirmed that on August 8, 2013, he who is called by the adepts “Jesús Christ Man” and the Antichrist, had died due to hepatitis/cirrhosis of the liver. A spokesman for the cult denied such a statement and affirmed that the group was waiting for the transformation of their leader, who had turned radioactive. [IT 4.1 2013] 

Jose Luis de Jesús Miranda, leader of the group Growing in Grace, announced that on June 30th he would be transformed into an immortal and therefore symbolize the beginning of the end. It was said that on that day Christian churches would disappear, a false declaration according to the sect, and that part of humanity also would disappear. The unfulfilled prophesy discouraged some of the followers. [IT 3.3 2012]

The president of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo, in January asked the Secretaries of the Interior and Population and Human Rights to take over the investigation into the group Creciendo en Gracia (Growing in Grace), in accordance with the Constitution. This was done after the suspension of the activities of the group in Tegucigalpa at the end of December, when the state administration considered that they were deceiving the members. [IT 3.3 2012]

High-living Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda, the Miami-based head of Growing in Grace ministry, who calls himself the second coming of Jesus Christ, testified in court, during “nasty” divorce proceedings involving his second wife, that he used charitable donations to pay $144,000 in alimony to his first wife and buy property in his and his relatives’ names. The judge said he was “ethically compelled” to bring this to the attention of federal prosecutors. “I really don’t know where the personal property starts and where the church property ends,” he remarked. In addition, the IRS has told Miranda that it wants to audit his personal tax returns for the past three years. A Miranda spokesman said, “We have been growing so fast. If we made mistakes in the past . . . they were honest mistakes.” Three hundred churches worldwide make donations to Growing in Grace, mostly small sums from Latin American followers, but some quite large, such as $5.5 million from a Colombian benefactor. Miranda’s first wife, Josefina De Jesus Torres, told the court of her husband’s sexual relations with female church members. But a Miranda lieutenant said of this adultery, “The procedure, our obedience to the Apostle, our gratefulness toward him — she [Torres] never understood that.” She asks half his wealth in a divorce settlement, listing expenses of $400 a month for beauty treatments and $6,000 monthly for food for her and a lady companion, who dine at the “very luxurious restaurants” she frequented with Miranda.[csr 6.2 2007]

The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand lower court denials of the Local Church’s six-year, $136 million suit against Harvest House Publishers. The Local Church alleged it was defamed in the Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions when it was lumped together with other groups accused of various crimes. A Texas appellate court had ruled, “nothing in the book singles out The [Local] Church as having committed [those actions]. A Harvest House attorney said that the Texas court “correctly applied well-established law to the facts of this case in reaching its decision. The position taken by The Local Church would have created a totally subjective standard for interpreting written or spoken language — a standard that would have threatened all media communications.” [csr 6.2 2007]

Dr. Luis de Jesus Miranda, 61, a former evangelical pastor and founder-leader of Creciendo en Gracia, or Growing in Grace, says he is both God and the Antichrist. Meeting with believers at a storefront “gathering place” packed with more than 100 followers in Central Florida — he has 12 such centers in the state — the funny, warm and charismatic Miranda said, “I am upstaging Jesus Christ.” Miranda, a rich man, claims followers in some 23 countries, who shower him with gifts and money. Although some of his congregants are tattooed with “666” or “SSS” on their arms, legs, ankles and necks, he says the number 666 is not the devil’s mark — he does not believe the devil exists — but that “It’s the best way to get the world’s attention.” “SSS” means “salvo, siempre salvo” — once saved, always saved — and is the basis for a belief system which holds that there is nothing members could do that would prevent them from being among God’s “chosen ones.” Miranda, who says his mission is to establish a world government — he calls his church the “Government of God on Earth” and uses a seal similar to the United Sates’ — is barred from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. [csr 6.2 2007]

Growing in Grace, the Miami-based international church led by millionaire evangelist Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda — who preaches the benefits of a lavish lifestyle while denouncing sin and denying the existence of the devil and Hell — now has four churches in Massachusetts. Growing in Grace reportedly asks members to burn the holy books of other religions in order to “shut down what is not truth.” A representative said members, as the chosen people, are immediately forgiven their sins. [csr 5.3 2006]

Growing in Grace - Supplemental News


World Religions & Spirituality Project - Growing in Grace