(Jose Luis: “6…6…6”)
His name is Jose Luis Dejesus. His followers call him daddy or father. Jose doesn’t just preach about Jesus. He tells his people: he is Jesus.
“In the Bible it says Jesus Christ was gonna come back again — right? So he came back on Jose Luis.”
Yor Neglia is twenty-five-years-old and moved to the U.S. from Venezuela seven years ago. It was her father who introduced her to Jose Luis a few years back.
“A lot of religions make you have fear. You know, make you believe that there is a devil, that there is sin, so what Jose Luis — our daddy — preach is that there is no devil and he proved in the Bible and there’s no sin, so what he says make me believe that I like what he says.”
When you talk with Jose Luis’ followers, the common theme you hear is that there’s no sin and no devil.
So when they hear Christian music and Christian ministers , what they hear is deception
“You always have to be forgive of the sin forgive me of the sin, the devil is here the devil is there. So you know, give me money, money, money.”
Alvaro Albarracin is kind of like an assistant pastor. While Jose Luis broadcasts his ministry via satellite from Miami or wherever he happens to be traveling at the time, people like Albarracin run the individual services in Houston and other cities.
“I fell in love with his voice first. And I saw on the tape the address and I went to his church in Miami and I went to his church and since then I am here.”
(sound: tattoo machine)
Jose Luis tells all of his followers they must be marked with 666. The Bible calls it the mark of the beast, but in this band of believers its meaning has nothing to do with evil. So they tattoo their arms, legs, you name it. They even have a book to pick which design they want.
“Do you have 666 on you?”
” You want to see it? And I’m gonna get another one today.”
In the Bible Jesus was said to have performed many miracles. Yor Neglia says Jose Luis may not turn water to wine, but he performs more natural miracles.
“We’re healthy. Lets say that I have a headache, you know what OK my headache will go away I’m healthy it goes away so those are the kinds of miracles he does.”
So while on any given Sunday there are millions of Americans in churches, singing and praising Jesus and waiting for his return, the followers of Jose Luis say they’ve got it all wrong. They accuse the media and even some of their friends of calling them crazy, but they say Jose Luis bring them peace and joy. And to them he’s the one people should worship.
Bill Stamps, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.