Statement Regarding John of God

João Teixeira de Faria also known as John of God, speaking to a group of patients seeking healing in Abadiania, Brazil in 2011 (Photo by Gregg Kirk)

For those who have read my book “The Gratitude Curve” or who know me personally, you are well aware that I first went to Abadadiania, Brazil in March of 2011 to see the healer known as John of God. While there, I experienced what could be called a “miracle healing” that actually changed my physical appearance and helped facilitate my recovery from a long battle with Lyme disease.

Over the next seven years, I continued to visit Abadiania while also organizing small groups to see John of God when he made appearances in Rhinebeck, NY at the Omega Center.

To briefly sum up the situation, João Teixeira de Faria is a trans-medium healer who was nicknamed João de Deus or “John of God” by local Brazilians after he began performing healing miracles on the locals and eventually more than a million patients worldwide. Actually, John of God himself has always deferred direct responsibility for these healings stating, “I’m not the one who heals. Only God heals.” He began performing these acts around the age of 14, and initially was persecuted and beaten by local authorities until he began bringing about healings to his persecutors.

In the late 1970s, he established the Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola in Abadiania, and soon after hundreds of thousands of sick patients from around the world came to this place for healing. I have visited this location six times, staying at least two weeks each time. As an energy healer who also believes that all true healings come from the Creator, I can tell you the location and energies in this place are supernatural and very powerful in a positive nature.

I was always impressed and overwhelmed by the palpable energies that were being drawn to both the Casa in Brazil and the Omega Center locations whenever John of God scheduled his healing practices. These energies were enhanced by hundreds of patients and volunteers who meditated for hours to hold space and attract the hundreds of positive spirits and entities who facilitated the healing miracles. From my perspective, I never once thought it was John of God actually doing these miraculous things. If he is to be given credit for any of this, it is for the amazing structure he put in place (both physically and energetically) that enabled these healing miracles to transpire. 

However, all of this came to a halt in December of 2018, when John of God was indicted and ultimately arrested for allegations of sexual abuse from a number of young women who had come to the trans-medium for healing. What started out as a few dozen allegations eventually grew to more than 300. Like many who had spent a good deal of time in Abadiania, it was initially difficult for me to believe the healer had been abusing women to this extent. But after I watched the compelling testimony of a handful of women who tearfully related their stories in English on Brazilian TV, it was apparent to me that these women were telling the truth. A range of emotions overcame me… remorse for the victims at first, and then outrage at John of God for squandering his amazing gifts, and eventually grief for the hundreds of thousands of the world’s sick and infirm who would never be able to experience the miracles I had experienced.

John of God has been sentenced to 64 years in prison for the sexual assault of nine women, with 14 lawsuits pending. His daughter Dalva Teixeira de Sousa also launched a civil action against her father in 2018, seeking compensation for moral damages.

It didn’t take long for the victim count to grow to more than 600, followed by a UK Daily Mail article further piling on with outrageous claims that the “faith healer” had run a “baby farm” where young women were imprisoned, raped and had their babies sold into child slavery. It became clear that some media outlets were less concerned with the truth and more interested in making the trans-medium out to be a cult leader who tricked his patients into fake healings, while taking their money and abusing the women. Why? I knew some of these things weren’t true because I had experienced an actual healing and witnessed hundreds of others, but I decided to keep my mouth shut. Even as people around me asked if I would remove the chapters in my book that related my experiences with John of God, I didn’t feel that was the right thing to do. Why would I remove an account of something that was true? At the same time, these allegations against John of God were also true, and I certainly didn’t want to be associated with them or have anyone think I was defending them because of my silence.

When the news hit social media, I saw many almost gleefully exclaim, “I knew this guy was a fake and he ran a cult!” from those who had clearly never visited the Casa in Brazil. I thought to myself, when famous guitarist Chuck Berry was prosecuted for videotaping women in the bathroom of his restaurant in 1989, I didn’t hear a single person exclaim, “I always knew he was a terrible guitar player!” Can’t it be true that these men were both sexual predators, but they also brought something great into the world? And doesn’t it also seem to follow that whenever a person has huge amounts of fame, notoriety, and free access to temptations that that person usually succumbs, even while brightening the world with their gifts?

For anyone interested in trying to make sense out of this, I recommend watching a recent Netflix series called “John of God: The Crimes of a Spiritual Healer.” It is currently a four-part series that very well documents the positive things John of God built and pursued in Brazil, along with disturbing detail of his crimes that went beyond simply abusing women at his healing facility. He also had a history of abusing his own daughter, and his money and fame had apparently negatively influenced the way he conducted business in Brazil.

After watching the series, I was deeply disturbed by a number of incidents I had no idea were occurring in Brazil, even during the times of some of my visits. Not only did it make me want to distance myself from John of God — the person —  but it also made me want people to understand that miraculous healing on that massive level is still a possibility. I’ve witnessed it, and it is a reality. But human beings are complex, and we live it a world where it is entirely possible for a woman abuser to bring about the miraculous healings of thousands of people in a single day. I know that may be a difficult thing for some people to understand, but it is true. I also believe that there are no coincidences and we live in a time where it is being revealed that some of the people we had once put on pedestals are being torn from their lofty perches in dramatic ways. It is a time for us to realize that we don’t need these heroes or saviors anymore. It’s time for us to save ourselves and to actualize our own personal strengths and innate healing powers. It’s also time for us to forgive, while learning from the dreadful mistakes of those we once respected. I don’t defend John of God’s horrible actions towards women in any way, but I also can’t ignore the incredible impact he had upon the world with the healing gifts he brought. This is not a black-and-white situation, and if anything, it’s a lesson to us all that the world is not made up of absolutes. Instead, it’s a nuanced place where we have the power to view it with our own personal judgment and mercy.

If you’ve read this far and you are still confused about where I’m coming out on this, I’d like to make three final points:

  • I condemn and distance myself from John of God, the man, especially his actions towards women in the way of sexual abuse.
  • I acknowledge the miraculous healing John of God was able to bring to hundreds of thousands of people for more than 50 years. I know, because I was one of the people who received a miracle healing.
  • The two above statements aren’t mutually exclusive and need to be made together to tell the full picture. When I condemn John of God’s actions of sexual abuse, I do not claim his healing practices were not legitimate; and likewise, by acknowledging John of God’s healing results, I do not ignore or defend the horrible things he did to some of the women who asked to be healed by him. This is a complex situation.

May God bless and heal all of the victims… every one of them.