Self-Proclaimed Messiah Has Four Congregations in Massachusetts
(CBS4) BOSTON — Is he a religious savior or a cult leader? A self-proclaimed messiah from Florida says it’s his job to save humanity. His church is called “Creciendo en Gracia” — or Growing in Grace Ministry — and there are four congregations here in Massachusetts.
The church’s leader is Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda and when asked who he is, he replies “I am Jesus Christ Man. . . the second coming of Christ.”
There are now 300 congregations across the world. Annette Diaz belongs to one in Mission Hill. She says “he’s transformed my mind.” She is not alone.
Miranda’s followers in Boston truly believe they have seen the light. “We know where we came from,” said Clara Diaz. “We were angels with God that came to this earth to have a physical experience and he has taught us, he has taught us that we are perfect.”
Luis Miranda is a 60 year old former heroin addict and convict. He operates what he calls “God’s Government on Earth” from a warehouse in South Florida. Like any head of state, he is protected by a security detail that mimics the Secret Service. “I will be the President of the biggest government that this Earth has ever experienced,” Miranda said.
Miranda tells his followers they are free to indulge, to have it all. According to this modern messiah, there is no sin, no devil, and no hell to pay. Miranda says “the devil is destroyed, hell doesn’t exist, no condemnation for the chosen ones”.
Luis Miranda is certainly willing to enjoy his earthly pleasures. His followers don’t seem to mind his lavish lifestyle. I asked them, “does it make sense that Jesus Christ would drive a BMW or wear a Rolex, does that make sense to you?” Clara Diaz replied “definitely, we are in 2006.”
Cult expert Steven Hassan says this is a step by step seduction. Considered one of the nation’s top authorities on cults, the Newton based author wrote “Releasing the Bonds.” When asked what it is about this group that makes it destructive, he says, “it seems to have the top figure who claims to be God, who is perfect and is quoted as saying he has nothing to learn from anyone else. He wants to takeover the world.”
Regina Albarracin says make no mistake, this is a cult. She and her husband left the group five years ago, but their son Alvaro did not. A web entrepreneur, he has donated more than one million dollars to the church. He even left his first wife to marry another church member. He is now estranged from his family. “He destroyed my family,” Albarracin said of Miranda. “He’s the devil.”
Jennifer Casasola, a church member from Boston, disagrees. “Well if it is a dangerous cult, then it is the most wonderful cult that was ever established. Our lives have been transformed because of him and we owe him everything.”
The followers of Crescendo en Gracia have also organized marches — sometimes violent — against other religions which they say have been deceiving people for 2000 years. Although they won’t burn the Bible, they will ignite just about anything else that goes against their beliefs.