John of God / Joao de deus

On Feb. 10, 2005, the ABC News show, “Primetime Live” broadcast a program titled, “Who is John of God?” It was an uncritical program regarding the Brazilian “healer” João Teixeira da Faria, known popularly in his country as João de Deus, which translates into English as, “John of God.”

Teixeira claims to be a medium who, while in trance, performs psychic surgery that allegedly results in miraculous healings.

A web site set up to support John of God’s appearance in Atlanta, Georgia, states:

John of God is a medium in trance. He literally goes into an altered state of mind and “lends” his body over to 30 spiritual entities – these are beings who once inhabited this earth. They are the spirits of deceased doctors including such famous Brazilians as: Dr. Orvaldo Cruz, Dr. Fritz, Dr. Jose Valdivino, Dr. Augusto along with other surgeons, healers, psychologists and theologians who are working through John to help mankind.
– Source: The Beliefs and Teachings of John of God, John of God in Atlanta. Last accessed Feb. 28, 2006

John of God’s work is heralded on a several web sites, and is sensationalized in the book, The Miracle Man: The Life Story Of Joao De Deus

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NEXUS magazine – which describes itself as “an international bi-monthly alternative news magazine, covering the fields of: Health Alternatives; Suppressed Science; Earth’s Ancient Past; UFOs & the Unexplained; and Government Cover-Ups” – published an excerpt from that book:

João is a humble man who has a twofold purpose in life: to heal the sick; and to make people aware that we are here on Earth to improve our level on the ‘other side’, to elevate and better the position of our souls in the hereafter by what we do in this physical life.

To see João pass his hand over the cancerous breast of a woman who has been diagnosed with malignant carcinoma and then lift her blouse to reveal a fresh incision, neatly stitched, and the tumour gone, requires even the most reluctant observer to ask, “Who did that?”. The answer to this question is connected to the one we ask ourselves on those dark quiet nights: “What’s it all about?”. Perhaps the life story of this extraordinary man will help you find the answers to those questions.

João Teixeira da Faria is arguably the most powerful medium alive at this time and must surely rank amongst the greatest of the past two thousand years.

A “medium”, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is a person who is “a spiritual intermediary between the living and the dead”. João not only communicates with spirit, he incorporates the spirit entity; he is literally taken over by the spirit and, in doing so, loses consciousness, ‘waking’ a few hours later without any knowledge of his actions during the incorporation. Whilst ‘in entity’, his body is used as a means of conducting physical surgery and seemingly miraculous healing of the sick by the spirit entities who work through him.

The mark of João’s success is observable in the thousands who flock to his hospital-style healing centre every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. When he travels, he heals as many as 25,000 in three days. The sick queue for hours, and sometimes overnight, to see him. He never refuses anyone who is clean of heart and pure of intent. Although a devoutly God-loving man, he accepts all without prejudice or religious bias. He heals the poor precisely the same as he heals the rich or famous.

The world’s elite seek his help when western medicine fails. Actresses Shirley MacLaine and Janet Leigh, congressmen, statesmen, priests, nuns, rabbis, the poor and the wealthy find their way to the tiny village of Abadiânia in central Brazil to seek the help of João Teixeira da Faria, known throughout Brazil as João de Deus (John of God).

To call him “the Miracle Man” is in a way a misnomer, because a miracle implies the absence of a natural law, when in fact his achievements are only the results of the law of reincarnation and the subsequent use of spirit doctors from the spirit plane. He is classified as miraculous only because we in the western world are reluctant to accept that a spirit world exists and therefore that his work is the result of this natural law.
– Source: The Amazing Cures of a Brazilian Miracle Man, Nexus Magazine, Volume 5, #2 (February – March 1998).

The Primetime Live program also included noted skeptic James Randi, a retired magician who is a recognized expert on quacks, psychics, fraudulent faith healers and other scam artists.

In the present case with ABC-TV, I was called in well after all the “research” and footage had been obtained — not in advance, when I could have told them what to watch for and what to keep track of. I was included in the program only as a high-profile representative of the skeptical community, and even then I was allowed only a token appearance because what I’d provided them with was not in tune with the song they were singing. That 19-second flash was their way of showing the audience that they had tried to present a contrary point of view, in accordance with the “balanced treatment” requirement which they should observe. I was interviewed and videotaped for over an hour, I contributed pertinent observations for the use of the ABC-TV producers and editors, and everything I told them was ignored because it did not suit the needs of the network; they wanted a “gee-whiz-we-just-don’t-know-folks” show, and that’s what they turned out and broadcast to their public on February 10th, 2005. And, ABC-TV News could have turned to Dr. Stephen Barrett, MD of Quackwatch, to Joe Nickell of CSICOP, or Michael Shermer of the Skeptics Society — they’re all easily available. They could have done a simple Internet search and come upon such items as, to be alerted to the truth behind John of God, before they began their project. Yes, they did call upon me, but fumbled from then on.
– Source: The ABC TV informercial for John of God, James Randi Educational Foundation. Last accessed Feb. 28, 2006

While Primetime Live fumbled the opportunity to truly investigate the claims made by John of God, on his web site James Randi debunks the alleged ‘miracles.’ (See also this follow-up)

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Category: John of God
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First published (or major update) on Tuesday, February 28, 2006.
Last updated on January 13, 2022.

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