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7 people who claimed to be Jesus

By / 02.06.13
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People Who Claimed to be Jesus Christ

midiman, Flickr

It’s one thing to compare yourself to Jesus. Lots of people do that – egomaniacs, drama queens, Chris Brown – but it’s a whole different ballgame when you start actually claiming to be Jesus. That particular flight of delusional fancy is the province of mentally ill psychotics and cult leaders. And Chris Brown. But thankfully for our comedic palates, there have been plenty of these nuts over the years. And here, for your amusement and your spiritual education, are seven of the most noteworthy.

Photo credit: midiman, Flickr

Krishna Venta

Krishna Venta, Wikimedia Commons

Yeah, he sounds kind of mysterious and vaguely spiritual but “Krishna Venta” was actually a dude named Frances Herman Pencovic who founded a cult in California in the late 1940s. The cult had a lot of weird but mostly harmless goals – one of their passions was apparently battling wildfires and they liked to grow their hair out which basically just makes them hippie environmentalists so no big deal, right? Well, they probably would’ve been just fine if ol’ Frances hadn’t changed his name and started claiming to be Jesus. If that wasn’t bad enough, he claimed that as Jesus he led a squadron of rocketships to Earth from the extinct planet Neophrates because if you’re gonna go nuts you might as well go full throttle with that sucker. Sadly for him, though, his rocketeer aliens weren’t enough to save him from a couple of pissed off cult members who killed him via suicide bombing. Apparently they were upset because the messiah stole all their money and boned their wives, which makes sense because I believe that’s the same reason why Judas betrayed Jesus in the Bible. It all comes full circle, you see.

Photo credit: Krishna Venta, Wikimedia Commons

Arnold Potter

Dave Catchpole, Flickr

This poor idiot was a 19th century Mormon leader who began to believe that he was Jesus and eventually started referring to himself as “Potter Christ.” Somehow he managed to get a fairly decent amount of people to follow him – people were simpler back then, what can I say? – and he led this band of renegade Mormons to Iowa (Yeah… Iowa.) where the men walked around in solemn black robes and the women were said to have abandoned normal grooming practices. Apparently, Jesus liked his ladies to have a full bush. The whole comical escapade ended in hilarious fashion when “Potter Christ” decided to ascend to heaven by riding a donkey to the edge of a cliff where he jumped off and promptly plummeted to his death. So maybe he wasn’t Jesus after all, but he was a Darwin Award winner.

Photo credit: Dave Catchpole, Flickr

Mitsuo Matayoshi

Tokyo election administration committee, Wikimedia Commons

Mistuo Matayoshi is actually still alive and kicking. He’s a conservative Japanese politician who has taken “conservative values” to a whole new level by actually claiming to be Jesus. He claims his full name is “The only God Matayoshi Mitsuo Jesus Christ” and he has run in at least nine different elections in Japan, losing every single time which makes sense when you consider that his stated goal is to get himself elected Prime Minister of Japan so he can bring about the Biblical apocalypse - but only within the current political system because apparently it’s important that the apocalypse follows proper legislative rules. He then plans to be offered the post of Secretary-General of the United Nations, from which he will reform the world and “throw the corrupt into the Fire.” Makes sense. He’s still out there campaigning, which means – and I swear I’m not making this up – that he drives around in a van with giant loudspeakers and shouts campaign slogans in a stylized Kabuki-inspired voice. Screw it, I’d vote for him.

Photo credit: Tokyo election administration committee, Wikimedia Commons

David Shayler

JK the Unwise, Wikimedia Commons

David Shayler is kind of an odd case (well, aren’t they all?) because he’s actually a former MI5 agent which means that yes, Jesus is actually a former British spy. And that’s just amazing because it conjures up the image of Jesus battling Octopussy and then telling Mary Magdalene that his name is “Christ. Jesus Christ.” Shayler eventually left MI5 and has since been embroiled in all manner of controversies and outrageous claims. He’s particularly active in the 9/11 Truther movement which holds that 9/11 was an inside job so… yeah, that’s what Jesus is up to nowadays. He announced that he was Jesus in an article in Britain’s Daily Mail, and claims to have divine powers which allow him to influence the weather, prevent terror attacks and most importantly, predict soccer scores. As a postscript to this claim, he also claims to currently be living as a woman named “Delores Kane” which makes sense since Jesus basically also wore a dress. I mean, the dude wasn’t tooling around Bethlehem in blue jeans even though he was a carpenter, now was he?

Photo credit: JK the Unwise, Wikimedia Commons

Founder of the infamous Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, best known for being behind the deadly Sarin gas attack on a Tokyo subway back in the ‘90s, Shoko Asahara also claimed to be Jesus because that’s just Cult Leader 101. It’s been speculated that the attack was carried out in order to destabilize Japan so Asahara could steal the office of Prime Minister, which makes sense because of that part in the Bible where Jesus tells his apostles that his ultimate goal is to rule over a chain of islands in the Pacific. He does have one legitimate thing in common with Jesus though: like JC, Asahara was slapped in cuffs and brought before a judge who has sentenced him to death. I just wonder if the Japanese courts will go all the way with it and crucify him. Then again, the only sins this weirdo will be dying for will be the sins of his own insanity. Great, now I’m probably going to open my mailbox tomorrow and find a nice canister of Sarin gas waiting for me. Forgive me, Jesus.

Photo credit: Time

You all remember this joker, right? He led the infamous Heaven’s Gate cult who all committed suicide when Applewhite convinced them that he was Jesus and that they would all go to heaven on a spaceship that was hiding behind a comet. Applewhite apparently believed that the OG Jesus was actually an alien who traveled to Earth in order to spread the Good News and take everybody to heaven but found that nobody was ready for that shit and ended up getting strung up before a spaceship came and took him home so it makes a twisted kind of sense that he would try to make it happen again. When authorities found the bodies, they found that all 39 members of the cult wore black uniforms that said “Heaven’s Gate Away Team” and Nike tennis shoes, which is kind of sad because if Applewhite would have lived he and Nike could have marketed his shoes as “Air Jesus” which is all Jesus ever really wanted if I remember my Sunday school classes correctly.

Photo credit: YouTube

Jim Jones

Jonestown Institute, Wikimedia Commons

Speaking of insane cult leaders…

Jim Jones is infamous for being the cult leader who led his followers to commit mass suicide down in Guyana in 1978. Naturally, he claimed to be Jesus even though he was said to personally be an atheist. Don’t ask me how in the hell that makes sense. He also claimed to be the reincarnation of Buddha and Lenin (the Russian dude, not the Beatle, although if you would have asked Jones he probably would have claimed that too.) Somehow, people actually bought into all this gibberish and sadly the result is that the phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid” became commonplace after they all drank up and the Kool-Aid guy crashed through their walls and killed them. Sure, it’s weird but maybe the Bible was just mistranslated and Jesus and his bros actually drank Kool-Aid at the last supper instead of wine. Or maybe, just maybe, Jim Jones was actually completely nuts and his followers were all idiots. Who’s to say?

Photo credit: Jonestown Institute, Wikimedia Commons

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Neil Bulson
About Neil Bulson... Neil Bulson writes words for money. Some of them are even funny. Hey, that rhymed! As you can see, it is probably best not to encourage him.
TAGSArbitrary RankingsArnold PotterAum Shinrikyocult leaderscult leaders listDavid ShaylerDelores KaneegomaniacsfeaturedFrances Herman PencovicHeaven’s GateJesusJesus Christjesus complexJim JonesJonestown MassacreKrishna VentaListsMarshall ApplewhiteMitsuo Matayoshipeople who thought they were jesusPotter ChristShoko Asahara

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