There are many types of spiritual options in Brazil. Yes, options. You can watch people dance for a spirit, make offerings to one, be taken over by them, and talk directly to some. Brazil is a very religiously open place when it comes to this kind of thing. It wouldn't be unheard of to see your hardcore Catholic neighbor leaving a spiritualist church. Some just like to cover all their bases.
And Rio de Janeiro is no different. I have been to or have received in my own home numerous figures of the spiritual group here. No, not to any credit of my own. They all know and adore my Mother-in-law. She has taken me places where I am able to go (apparently I'm too open to attend everything) and has brought her friends to do work in my home. A baby gift from one of them was a spiritual/energy cleaning of my home before the baby arrived.
Anyway, the thing that is different about the people who I have met first hand and John of God is the lack of a PR machine. There seems to be a level of unsaid respect. It is not for publicity. They will not accept cameras or tourism. No lookie loos are allowed to enter.
So when asked if I know who João de Deus is I said I don't. I looked him up the way I look up everything, with Google. What did I find? I found that the number 1 site when you goggled him in English was a site selling his DVD. If you search in Portuguese the #3 is the same site, in English.
Yeah, that's a red flag for me. He's from a small town and should obviously not be expected to heal for free. Oh wait, I thought that's what a healer did. A healer heals because it's their mission. It's their purpose in life. Yes, they have mouths to feed. Obviously healers are also able to procreate. But isn't the second thing written in the book of "All that is Sacred" that you can't whore out your gifts?
Oh yes, I just called John of God a bit of a money whore. He was on Oprah for heavens sake! He's on Google. He has his own paypal account. Something in there does not make me scream out second coming of the lord.
An article I read about him just made things worse for me. All the "results" these foreigners felt were either circumstantial or a placebo effect.
And fine, everyone needs their opiate. I get it. But there are some key points in looking for a healer. I think the number 1 would be that they don't appear on Oprah. Just call me crazy but I think that's against everything and anything they believe in.
To clear things up, it's not that I doubt that he could possibly do miracles. I have yet to meet him and thus can't say for sure. At the same time, there is a PR machine. Any PR machine makes me nervous. You don't see me going to Coka Cola for advice do you?
It's just that once you live in Brazil for a while you gain an understanding about healers and spiritualists. You meet and learn about people who house other spirits. It's no longer a "weird thing."
There is a magnetic level of energy in this country. The entire place seems to vibrate at a frequency that just sets stuff in motion. As Brazilians you see these healers as amazing humans with God-like gifts. As foreigners we tend to see these people as infallible God-like people.
That difference is where the question lies. They are amazing people attempting to help others with their gifts from God, not demigods acting as men. I feel there is a danger in not realizing the difference. The spread of his name and movement is one that creates an air of holiness that I think needs more than a few testimonials to confirm. I don't care if he has a stack of crutches as proof. I have seen that stuff at a "healing" in a crazy ass cult/church in Washington State. Not sold.
I would like to believe that John of God is a man with a mission. His mission being to heal as many as he can. I would love to believe that in a few visits his incarnations can breath new life into a failing body.
I honestly do not have enough information to say either way. In a debate with a friend she called me out on all reasons why I would not believe in him. Why not believe in someone just because he has become a public figure. He is not living in a mansion. He does not have 10 jags or a room full of virgins. He is a man with a plan trying to reach as many as he can.
And that does deserve some respect.
Regardless, remember that this is not Ancient Greece and the Gods are not walking among us. He is a man like everyone else, with potentially extraordinary gifts. Then again, even if his gifts are just the power of suggestion, isn't that all we need sometimes.
What do you guys think of João de Deus (John of God)? Have any of you met him? Would you meet him if given the opportunity?