Using real footage, John of God: The Crimes of a Spiritual Healer is an insightful documentary highlighting the tragic events of one of the world’s biggest sex assault scandals.
Netflix documentary series John of God: The Crimes of a Spiritual Healer was released on the streaming service on August 25, 2021.
Documentary series John of God: The Crimes of a Spiritual Healer details how one man caused the biggest scandal of sexual assault in Brazil, if not the world.
It follows the story of a Faith Healer, João Teixeira, who offered alternative treatments for different ailments and rose to international fame before the abuse was revealed by survivors, prosecutors, former employees, and the press. The celebrity healer was arrested for rape by deception and was accused of sexually abusing hundreds of women over a number of years; over 300 have come forward, some as young as age nine. Dealing with over 10,000 patients a week, we can only imagine how many people he was able to abuse.
Brazilian culture includes blessings, witchcraft, healing, freedom, it is a place where spiritualism became a religion and it features a lot in the everyday family home. Therefore, once John the God’s reputation grew, many would travel from all over Brazil to see him. There is something quite fascinating about mediums/spiritual healers and holistic healers, who claim they can use the power of God, spirits, and entities, to heal the sick. Hearing many, many stories, both unsuccessful and successful, I’m not sure what to believe. What I do know and believe here is that this specific healer abused the vulnerable and took advantage of their desperation. People were searching for support, answers, and something bigger than themselves and instead were sexually, physically, and mentally abused. John would also rinse people out of their money, targeting the rich. Some men had reportedly paid over $20,000 for a crystal that was due to heal them.
John of God: The Crimes of a Spiritual Healer consists of multiple stories from previous victims; one victim discusses how she had a tumor in her brain, which doctors could not remove, so when she went to John he put scissors up to her nose, rotated them 21 times, then she threw up blood the size of a stake and felt cured. We hear about the story of a man who had a heart transplant, with rusty tools, and many other cutting surgeries.
Therefore, this is not just all spiritual, they are physically conducting surgeries on people, daily. Other stories range from people with cancer, multiple sclerosis, bone marrow infections, stomach pains, digestive problems, many who have claimed they have been healed just by being touched. It’s no wonder that John’s fame grew rapidly, causing visitors to come from Australia and Europe; even Oprah Winfrey went to visit him. This for me clearly shows that John was interested in money and notoriety. His self-importance stands out the more footage we see of him.
There is a disturbing scene where we have a video of John making jokes when accused of raping a girl. Joking that he would have to marry her if he had raped her because she is young. Employers talked about how the abuse got worse, he was abusing women in public, whilst they were waiting in line, and he would claim that the entities were doing it, which was confusing a lot of people. Trying to justify the abuse through spirituality. “You’ve got to cure me,” one victim says John said to her, that he needed her “energy” and proceeded to force her to perform sexual acts on him. Stories from previous employees are very eye-opening as to what went on behind closed doors and how John was manipulating his staff and everyone around him.
John of God: The Crimes of a Spiritual Healer uses real footage which is filmed at his base, seeing everyone dressed in white, lining up to be seen, doctors with surgical instruments, using them on patients. It is very graphic and disturbing. We are able to watch real interviews conducted with John of God himself. John is rude and volatile on these tapes. Swearing and yelling when confronted and/or questioned.
I feel horrendously sorry for the victims/survivors and I am glad these documentaries give them a platform to express and share their stories. Many women felt/feel devalued and were/are afraid to come forward. This is due to victim shaming, personal shame, vulnerability, spiritual threats, physical threats, and oppression of women. A powerful movement has been created here, similar to #metoo, where women were and are still able to come forward and together share, make bonds and survive, and more importantly, stop someone in a higher position from taking advantage of people.
John of God: The Crimes of a Spiritual Healer is a must-watch. I highly recommend it; there is a lot to unravel and learn in this story. This documentary makes you think and allows you to create your own opinions on many subject matters. With four episodes, each episode lasting roughly 50 minutes, this is a great binge watch. Each episode is intriguing, informative, and evokes emotion. In 2019, John was imprisoned and given 19 years for the abuse. He is now on house arrest, and as of 2021 is sentenced to more than 64 years.
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