Many cultures around the world believe in healing by faith, whether invoking the energies of the earth or channelling the healing light of god, it is a long standing fact that people have been healed by means other than science.
Yesterday’s episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show focused on the topic of spiritual healers and included a number of extract from a documentary made by Fergus Tique about the Brazilian spirit doctor, John of God.
Fergus Tigue has captured a small window of John of God’s life in a documentary which was shot between 2003 and 2005. The documentary clearly shows John of God healing people without the use of anaesthetic, making painless incisions and removing all manner of things from their bodies. His healing has yielded great results in the past but many people still question the validity of his work, many believing him to be a fraud.
Who is this miracle man they call John of God?
Joăo Texeira de Faria, known as Joăo de Deus (or John of God), was born on June 24, 1942, in a small village in central Brazil. His father was a tailor, and made little money to support his family. The family lived in poverty; he only went to school through second grade. He was clairvoyant at a young age.
Joao left home as a teen to Campo Grande to work also as a tailor but it lasted one day. He was devastated, and not knowing where his next meal would come from, decided to go swimming in a creek. It’s been told, while swimming, Joao heard a beautiful woman’s voice call out his name. Near a tree, a light haired woman stood and he began a conversation with her.
After a long exchange, Joao had more questions and returned the next day. The lady’s voice emerged from the day light and asked him to walk to a spiritual church in this tiny town as there were people waiting for him. Joao was baffled with the instructions but honored her request.
He walked into a church filled with people. He didn’t remember losing consciousness. He woke up hours later. He apologized for passing out after this realization. An elder told him that he instantly healed many people in those few hours and performed amazing surgeries. Joao felt this wasn’t true but as time and conversation deepened over a meal, it began making sense. It came to be known, the angel like woman- was Saint Rita of Cassia.
Over the past 43 years, he has healed thousands of people from all over the world. He emphasizes that he does not do the work himself, but lets the “entities” work through him, and has no recall of the work they do. The records of John of God’s healing are filled with astounding results from the physical surgeries including cures from trauma, cancer, paralysis, and degenerative diseases of all types. No one has ever suffered infection or complication from a physical surgery performed by John of God.
Yesterday on Oprah, Oprah’s guests described their experiences with John Of God. Susan Casey, O Magazine editor-in-chief, said she began her journey as a neutral party hoping to obtain information about “the truth” surrounding performed healings. After her visit, her life changed significantly. She spoke about the effect on her life and also shared that in spite of John of God’s commitment to help others with his gift, he advocates doctors as well.
“They’re very careful not to ever pit themselves against the mainstream medical profession,” Susan says. “He’s never going to do a heart transplant up there. He’s going to do whatever he can do with his ability to heal, and then you might have to go to your doctor for the rest.”
Generally, a charlatan will aim to use their craft to make money from people, and faith healing is something that should not be profited from. John of God however does not charge for his ‘faith’ surgery or healing, which leads to another question, what does he get out of it if not money?
There’s fame and related wealth of course, but if you look at his past it’s clear that he is a humble individual who is here on earth to serve god – as he sees it. He also encourages patients to continue seeing a regular doctor and stay on medication as it is prescribed.
There have been many cases of fraudulent faith healers, for instance Peter Popoff who was an evangelist. It was discovered that he and his wife were running a huge scam, filling large halls with sick people, asking them to fill out prayer cards. Popoff’s wife had a radio transmitter and sent the information from the cards to a receiver in Popoff’s ear. After investigations into his practises, Popoff was declared bankrupt in 1987.
So what of St. John of God? Is he another charlatan using people’s faith to scam them, or is he a genuine faith healer who channels the healing power of the universe in order to fix the ailing?
Watch this video clip and decide for yourself.