History

People Claiming to Be Jesus

With so many different people claiming to be the messiah, finding Jesus Christ is now easier than ever, it would seem.

With so many different people claiming to be the messiah, finding Jesus Christ is now easier than ever, it would seem.

Last month, Discovery News' Sheila Eldred reported on an Australian man named A.J. Miller who claimed that he was the second coming of Jesus Christ, an identity he claims he first recognized in 2004.

And he's not the only one out there to get into the Son of God game. Take a look at some of the other contestants looking to claim the crown of thorns.

Sergey Anatolyevitch Torop, also known as Vissarion, claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. A Siberian son of God, Vissarion certainly dresses the part, as evidenced by this photo, which may be why he's been able to attract over 10,000 followers.

His sect, the Church of the Last Testament, exists in the deep forest of Siberia. It blends "elements of the Russian Orthodox Church with Buddhism, apocalypticism, collectivism, and ecological values," according to Atlas Obscura.

Former spy, whistleblower, anti-war advocate, cross-dresser, self-proclaimed messiah: David Shayler has certainly had a dynamic career.

Achieving public notoriety after leaking information to the press, claiming incompetence and inefficiency in MI5, Shayler has a conspiracy theory for just any major act of criminal or terrorist violence in the past couple of decades, including the attacks of September 11 and the London bombings on July 7.

In 2011, 21-year-old Idaho resident Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, believing himself to be a "modern-day Jesus Christ" and President Barack Obama to be the anti-Christ, drove up the 1600 block of Constitution Ave. in Washington, D.C., and fired nine rounds at the White House from about 700 yards away with a Romanian Cugir SA semiautomatic assault rifle. One of those shots landed near the living quarters of the first family, but didn't penetrate the protective glass.

At the time of the shooting, the president was not at the White House, instead attending an event in Hawaii. Ortega was later arrested at a hotel in western Pennsylvania.

Inri Cristo of Brazil has been traveling the world since the late 1970s, speaking and claiming he's the reincarnation of Christ. Like many others on this list, Cristo has had his share of trouble with the law, even being kicked out of some countries, including the United States.

Unlike many other Jesus Christ claimants on this list, Cristo's arrest record doesn't come from violent crimes, but rather disorderly conduct from his public appearances.

Known for both mass weddings and successfully merging business, religion and politics, Sun Myung Moon proclaimed himself the messiah and had a large congregation of followers in the Unification Church that supported his claim. He even declared himself and his wife "true parents of all humanity."

As reported in the New York Times obituary upon his death in 2012, Moon's theology was "a mix of Eastern philosophy, biblical teachings and what he called God's revelations to him."

Wayne Bent had everything a self-proclaimed Jesus could want to reinforce his delusions: a church compound, known as the Lord Our Righteousness Church, and a group of devoted followers. Bent, who claimed that God told him he was the messiah in 2000, exploited the trust of his congregation and had sexual encounters with his followers, including minors.

In 2008, Bent was arrested for three counts of sexual contact with a minor, and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to CNN. Bent claimed that God told him to do it, but that didn't hold up in court. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Originally founded as a Protestant Christian congregation, the Peoples Temple, established by Jim Jones, evolved into a cult that blended religion and politics under the direction of its charismatic leader, who believed himself to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, Buddha and other historic figures.

Jones used his followers' devotion to be physically and sexually abusive toward them. In the end though, his greatest crime was leading the mass suicide and murder of more than 900 people, including over 200 children, in Jonestown, Guyana.

Like Jones, David Koresh built a cult, known as the Branch Davidians, around himself with the belief that he was the son of God. He also was convinced that he, like Jesus, was a prophet and would die a martyr.

In 1993, after a prolonged siege with federal agents at his cult's ranch in Waco, Texas, Koresh's prophecy held a degree of truth when he and more than 80 people died in a blaze. The tragedy at Waco would inspire domestic terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols to commit the Oklahoma City bombimg.