[A mother1] watches her teenage daughters, [xyz] and [XYZ], get the numbers “666” tattooed on their wrists, beaming with pride. The number typically conjures up biblical symbolism tied to the Antichrist, but this St. Catharines, Ont., family belongs to a obscure Christian sect for which “666” is a positive symbol of their group’s messianic leader.
For this family, and other members of Growing in Grace International, these tattoos are a way of demonstrating their faith as true believers of Jose de Luis de Jesus — who they fervently believe is the second coming of Jesus Christ — before a day of reckoning they believe will wipe out most of humanity.
The group, which they say has branches in five Canadian cities and members in more than 130 countries, believes that on June 30 (or July 1 across the international dateline), their Texas-based leader and his followers will be transformed, said Alex Poessy, the group’s bishop in Canada.
To spread the word, Growing in Grace put up billboards in Toronto this week featuring Mr. de Jesus.
“That day, the body of Jose de Luis de Jesus, who is a human like you and me, his flesh is going to be immortal€¦. He’s going to be living forever. And that will happen to him, but also his followers.”
But, said Mr. Poessy: “All those that are not believers are going to be destroyed.” […]
“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,” [the bishop’s daughter] said. […]
The group has come under fire and accused of being a cult.
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.” […]
JosÃ© Luis De Jesus Miranda has previously said, “I am Jesus Christ man …The second coming of Christ.” He also refers to himself as the ‘Antichrist.’
Carlos de Jesus Miranda says his brother, JosÃ© Luis De Jesus Miranda, is a phoney, and that his followers are being brainwashed into tattooing themselves and giving money to a slick salesman, who has become a very wealthy man.
Theologically, Miranda’s movement — Creciendo en Gracia (Growing in Grace) — is a cult of Christianity, due to the fact that it rejects essential doctrines of the Christian faith and promotes extra-Biblical teachings.
Research resources on Creciendo en Gracia (Growing in Grace)
- This article has been edited to remove three names for privacy reasons ↩