Doris Rosado watches her teenage daughters, Ninette and Kiara Mongrut, get the numbers “666” tattooed on their wrists, beaming with pride. The number typically conjures up biblical symbolism tied to the Antichrist, but this St. Catharines, Ont., family belongs to a obscure Christian sect for which “666” is a positive symbol of their group’s messianic leader.
“They wanted to do it,” Ms. Rosado, 45, said at the St. Catharines tattoo parlour where her daughters were inked. “But now it’s more important because we’re counting down… I’m so proud.”
For this family, and other members of Growing in Grace International, these tattoos are a way of demonstrating their faith as true believers of Jose de Luis de Jesus — who they fervently believe is the second coming of Jesus Christ — before a day of reckoning they believe will wipe out most of humanity.
To spread the word, Growing in Grace put up billboards in Toronto this week featuring Mr. de Jesus.
“That day, the body of Jose de Luis de Jesus, who is a human like you and me, his flesh is going to be immortal…. He’s going to be living forever. And that will happen to him, but also his followers.”
But, said Mr. Poessy: “All those that are not believers are going to be destroyed.”
Growing in Grace International is not the first to prognosticate that the so-called end of the world will come this year. The Mayan calendar famously picks Dec. 21, 2012.
But Mr. de Jesus also predicts that the “transformation” will endow him, and his loyal followers, with superpowers, such as the ability to fly and walk through walls, said Axel Cooley, the bishop’s daughter.
This is, to use a tired cliché, a win-win situation: if Mr. de Jesus is wrong – and I can’t see how a man careless enough to glue two of his fingers to his forehead could be right about the end of the world – we’ll all still be around on July 1st and his followers will be lined up to have their tattoos removed. If he is right, destruction is a more appetising prospect than seeing Mr. de Jesus flying and walking through walls.
The added benefit to his being wrong is that, on July 1st, we can all enjoy watching him try out his newly acquired superpowers.