The ex-wife of Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, who claimed to be Jesus Christ and founder of the Florida-based Growing in Grace cult movement, confirmed his death via YouTube last week. However, his organization assured the media that he is still alive because they believe Miranda is immortal.
Miranda claimed to be Jesus Christ and the antichrist, telling his followers to get "666" tattooed on their hands at one point as a sign that they believed in him. Josefina Torres, who was married to Miranda for seven years, made the video with the purpose to expose the "lies" behind her ex-husband's "business," and called out his church leaders who have made a profit from "naive followers."
"I am confirming his death and I'm the only one making it publicly known because I don't want to be a part of the lies that have betrayed people for so long. I can't continue people's faith, beliefs and feelings to be hurt any longer," said Torres, in her video.
Miranda allegedly died from liver cirrhosis at a Sugar Land, Texas hospital on Aug. 8, and Torres says she was informed of his death through former members of his church who have family members that remain a part of his movement.
"These people were told about his death but they don't want to publicly show their face; but this is the purpose of my life, to uncover the lies of what religion is, and this business of trafficking people's feelings," said Torres.
Despite Torres' revealed confession, Miranda's church reject news of his death and one leader addressed the international media during a recent gathering to inform the public that Miranda is still alive while encouraging his audience to continue believing the Bible, which according to him, speaks the truth about Miranda.
"His days will not end. He is here to reign, govern and pretty soon, he will bring change to all nations. We're all waiting for the word in the scriptures to become a reality because as the church we will be transformed and be made like the glorious one whose days will never end," said the unidentified man in a video on the organization's website, as he points to an image of Miranda.
According to Torres, Miranda's cult leaders continue to deny his death because admitting it would bring negative repercussions to their organization.
"They're keeping shut because they want to continue fabricating lies while taking pieces of the Bible to impart their false doctrine onto their followers since they make money off of them. They're just afraid to be embarrassed by admitting his death because the 'great transformation' that they preach about is false," said Torres.
The last public appearance made by Miranda was in an April 27 video where he appeared thinner and frail, and he urged his followers to prepare for the "great transformation," where according to him, he will become immortal along with his followers, according to a Hispanic news outlet, Mundo Cristiano.
Miranda was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, in 1946, and claimed his conversion in which he became Jesus Christ and the antichrist occurred in 1973 when two angels descended upon him and suddenly transformed his body and mind.