South African preacher claims he went to heaven—and took photos with his cellphone

There’s a reason they call religious believers a “flock”—because they’re so easily fleeced. In this case, though, the attempted removal of wool met with pushback. The miscreant here is one Pastor Paseka Motsoeneng of Incredible Happenings Ministries in Katlehong, South Africa.

The pastor, also called “Prophet Mboro,” is said to have healed many people, and delivered stones and fish through the private parts of women impregnated by demons. Here are two headlines (go to screenshots to see original articles):

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Here’s a video of the Prophet delivering stones from a woman apparently impregnated by a demon. It’s very convincing, no?

Motsoeneng has a long history of this kind of chicanery, and I feel sorry for the helpless people who believe his scam. In fact, they believe it to such an extent that they’ve enriched him considerably. As the BBC reports:

The pastor, reportedly a multi-millionaire who owns a fleet of luxurious cars and was once the subject of a BBC documentary, is no stranger to scrutiny over his financial affairs. In 2015, he was questioned by a public commission investigating the commercialisation of religion. He denied all wrongdoing, remained defiant, and told his supporters that he was determined to go to jail if that is was is necessary to protect his church’s image.

His methods are, let us say, somewhat unsettling. From iol.co:

According to the Sunday World newspaper, the pastor acts out carefully staged and managed situations on his weekend television show.

Motsoeneng has also been labelled as a “pervert” because of the unusual way he heals people, as well as a “thief” who steals the church’s money.

The newspaper reported that thousands of people had attended his service in Katlehong last week to witness his miraculous demon-banishing service which “resembled a porn movie”, rather than a religious service.

The self-styled prophet Motsoeneng put his fingers into the vaginas of two female congregants as part of a ritual to expel the demons that had allegedly possessed them.

Motsoeneng’s unorthodox demon-banishing methods, which may constitute indecent assault, alarmed other miracle-seekers who attended.

Sitting on the lap of a 17-year-old girl, Motsoeneng placed his hand on her head, and started praying for her.

Motsoeneng told the congregants her tummy had swelled up because some sorcerers had cast an evil spell on her.

As he was praying for her she collapsed. Motsoeneng then told the teenager to open her legs, which she did.

He then plunged his fingers into her vagina.

As he was busy with his “healing process”, Motsoeneng ordered her to call him by his nickname, Mboro.

“Mboro” she said, with a stifled cry.

He was interrupted by a female congregant who brought him a glassful of what looked like ice-cream, which she spoon-fed him. He was still sitting on the woman’s lap.

Despite the huge outcry following Motsoeneng’s “demon banishing” service last weekend, Katlehong police say they are not investigating the matter.

Now, however, comes a scam of epic proportions. According to the same report by the BBC, Motsoeneng actually visited heaven and took pictures with his cellphone:

But Motsoeneng, popularly known as “Prophet Mboro”, may have gone a bit too far with his latest otherworldly boast.

A South African news site quoted a church spokesperson on 30 March saying that “the prophet did go to heaven” during an Easter church service and that while there “he took pictures” using his smartphone.

But here’s the rub: you don’t get to see those photos for free.

Those eager to see photographic proof of the afterlife will have to open their wallets though. Mboro has asked those who wish to view the pictures for a donation of 5,000 rand (about £240 or $340).

This has, predictably, led to a spate of mockery on social media. Here are a few tw**ts reproduced by the BBC (more at the site):

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There are none so blind as those who cannot see—or who wish to see only what they believe. I hope someone manages to reproduce those pictures taken by Motsoeneng during his sojourn in Heaven.

h/t; Barry

 

35 Comments

  1. Ian Clark
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Apparently he’s the only person who can interpret the guy that did the sign language for Mandela’s funeral.

  2. Colin
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Believing is easier than thinking, thus so many more believers than thinkers.

  3. Randy Schenck
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    There is praying and then there is prey. In the con game they call it the mark. The entire business is so disgusting it almost makes Trump look classy.

  4. Rob Aron
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    April Fools?

  5. Posted April 2, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Surely this is an April fools’ joke? If not; I’m frightened, Auntie Em; I’m frightened!

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted April 2, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Well, the film “God’s Not Dead 2” did get released to theaters yesterday….on April 1st.

    • Posted April 2, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      I’m willing to bet that it’s real. Any takers?

  6. DrBrydon
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I thought they were called sheep because they were led so easily, but I like “fleeced” better.

    I hope he had the GPS location information enabled for the photos. Then we can use it to find heaven for ourselves! Or, conversely, show they taken in a warehouse nearby. Good heavens.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted April 2, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      They’re getting fleeced with shear madness.

  7. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    So there is a stairway to heaven? Is Roger Plant a prophet?

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted April 2, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Robert Plant.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 2, 2016 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        There is no guitar god but Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant is his prophet (peace be upon the Zeppelin)?

        • Posted April 4, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          Though another prophet tells us heaven has a door …

          So you go up this stairway and there’s a door at the top? Sounds like Montreal’s low-rise apartments. 😉

  8. merilee
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    sub

  9. Frank Bath
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Spooks at The Gates Of Heaven – is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Love it. What a hoot!

  10. Mark R.
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    So many humans are mind-flocked.

    Joking aside, it really is a profound tragedy.

  11. kategladstone
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    If it was really heaven, I’d expect to see — somewhere — huge swarms of all the billions of human fetuses, embryos, and zygotes who do not survive to conception.
    Aborted fetuses, as well as miscarriages and failure-to-implant — Where are they? SOMEBODY in the afterlife has got to keep those billions of disconcertingly disenwombed little ones from floating randomly around the Heavenly skies and getting in the way at picnics!

    The logistics problems are, of course, multiplied exponentially by consideration of the Heavenly housing situation for those who actually ever got born.
    To wit — Contemplate certain housing-in-the-afterlife implications of the following Gospel quote:
    “I tell you the truth…everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:27-29, Luke 18:29,30).
    In other words, there are people in Heaven who (on arrival) were issued 100 replacement moms, 100 replacement dads, and 100 (at least) replacement kids. It’s anyone’s guess what kind of home-life this creates.

    Presumably, some of the initial-stage logistics (assigning the appropriate numbers of add-on family-members to each newly-deceased Christian who’d chosen Jesus over kinfolk on Earth) could be handled by matching people up at the Pearly Gates, like something between computer-dating and military barracks billeting …

    (“John Q. Smith, Saved Soul #142857143? Left your 60-year-old Jewish mom with Alzheimer’s, your 50-year-old atheist dad with cancer, and a handful of younger siblings, to become a street preacher at age 16? No problem — you’re one of the huge bunch we’re moving in with 200 senior citizens who all died in a suspicious nursing-home fire soon after writing their kids out of their wills and leaving everything to the church that owned the nursing-home!” …

    Heaven is bound to be an interesting place.

    Likewise, most of the folks needing hundreds of extra children or siblings to fulfill that Gospel promise could be assigned to tend a few hundred orphans (not to mention the above-referenced aborted fetuses, miscarriages, and never-implanted zygotes. That solves _one_ problem … except that the numbers are unlikely to always match up in neat round hundreds — what happens if there WAS no convenient nursing-home fire to provide John Smith #142857143 with his complete Guaranteed-By-Jesus brigade of 200 new moms and dads?

    Either Jesus carefully arranges for exactly the right numbers and types of Loyal Christian Deaths/Innocent Baby Deaths [baptized babies, if the sect requires infant baptism]/Innocent Fetus-Miscarriage-and-Zygote Deaths to satisfy the arithmetic, and/or Jesus has meticulously created [in Heaven] the exactly right number of shiny new souls to assign to “parent / child / sibling” positions by hundreds — much as the Muslim Heaven involves Allah having specially created what amounts to a quite large 24-hour service-staff with sex-slave duties [the houris, along with — so I am informed by various Muslims of my acquaintance — an equivalent-but-male service-staff for righteous female Muslims] apparently in similarly large numbers.
    It would be interesting to know which option the various Christian sects believe Jesus has chosen to fulfill his promise (specially created housing staff? or exactly calculated predestination to make the numbers come out right?)

    • somer
      Posted April 2, 2016 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      Heaven sounds like Hell to me … imagine putting up with the crushing bores trapped forever in the bland fluffy clouds? Would make Jane Austen look interesting.

      • somer
        Posted April 2, 2016 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        I mean there’d be billions of people droning on about how good they were

        • kategladstone
          Posted April 2, 2016 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

          From what I see in Jewish and Christian descriptions of Heaven, the billions of residents actually spend most of their time (maybe all of it) going on and on about how good _God_ is.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted April 3, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      an equivalent-but-male service-staff for righteous female Muslims

      Presumably the female Muslims will have their genitals fully restored so that they can enjoy the male service staff.

      • kategladstone
        Posted April 4, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        So one must presume: after all, the Qur’an explicitly states, re the afterlife, “Enter the Garden, ye and your wives, to be made glad.” (surah 43, verse 70). The wives (and I’m told this, in the context of that Sarah, also includes any other righteous women) presumably wouldn’t be “made glad” unless they were properly equipped.

    • Posted April 4, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      But wait! I thought Johnny having two daddies was a bad thing!? 😉

      • kategladstone
        Posted April 4, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        If Jesus gives Johnny two daddies (or 100 daddies and 100 mommies), that’s different, because (according to most Christians) Christian Heaven has no sexual intercourse, so the daddies (or mommies) are not doing anything homosexual with each other. Besides, if anything in the situation causes Johnny some kind of trauma, Jesus (being God) can undo it by miracle, de-traumatizing Johnny as often as required.

  12. Posted April 2, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    It would be interesting if someone sues him for fraud and his cell location data is subpoenaed.

  13. Heather Hastie
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    It is a sign of our society that fraud perpetrated under the guise of religion is rarely prosecuted. At the end of the day, what’s the real difference between Mboro’s exorcisms and those performed by the Roman Catholic Church, for example?

    The religious, as we all know, are very good at seeing what’s wrong with the religions of others but not so good at a critical evaluation of their own. Also, these days they tend to stick together despite their opinions of each other in the face of the real threat: logic and reason.

    If you look at the practices of any religion too closely, you’re going to question them. Unlike other religionists, atheists are an existential threat from their point of view.

  14. Posted April 2, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I’d make an exception and order this pastor to be branded with the letter ‘P’ with a hot iron…. ‘P’ for pedophile! Disgusting piece of work.

  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    *Incredible* Happenings Ministries?

    For once, quite literally true.

    🙂

    cr

  16. Posted April 2, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    to the “serious” theologians, accommodationists and retail theists who can find it easy to dismiss sideshows like these as obvious scams, i say: you miss the forest for the trees — you’re ALL an obvious scam!

  17. Somer
    Posted April 2, 2016 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    So sending photoshopped holiday snaps makes you a “Prophet” … and you can charge for their miraculous healing power! Must bear that in mind next holiday

    • Somer
      Posted April 2, 2016 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      Re the sorcery “exorcism” its so depressing that evil people can take advantage of ignorance and desperation in this way, and obviously do this with considerable support in some places. I do hope he goes to jail

  18. Posted April 3, 2016 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    There was a trashy newspaper when I was a student that used to run articles like this regularly: Hubble Finds Pearly Gates: B52 Bomber Found on the Moon; My Girlfriend Had Sex with an Alien. I thought they were hilarious and could never figure out if the whole thing was a giant collective joke or if anyone believed it. People beleive in astrology, witchcraft, magical healing and other illusions, but could anyone really believe that a B52 bomber made it to the moon? It’s all just behaviour in the end, though, and an interesting study could be done of it.

  19. Linn
    Posted April 3, 2016 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    What would be so surprising about “delivering” stones and fish from the vagina anyhow? As anyone of us working in health care can report, there is no limit to the number of things that people put in their vaginas or elsewhere. 🙂
    The ones who think this is a sign of demonic possession must lead very sheltered lives indeed.

    Anyhow, those pictures he took from “heaven” look suspiciously like pictures you can download from any computer art website to use as desktop backgrounds.
    The depressing thing is some people actually fall for it, like with the neurosurgeon who claimed he was in heaven and saw a pretty girl with blue eyes. A lot of people actually believed him, completely forgetting about all the dreams they’ve had themselves.

    I wish this pastor had messed up when posting pictures and included pictures from his porn folder instead. Would have lead to some interesting theological discussions. 🙂


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