Throughout the history of mankind, many men (and women) have claimed to be the flesh and blood incarnation of God. As time has worn on, the general populace has grown savvy to such outlandish claims, but not everyone. Even with the onset of cutting edge technology to help the population sort through the allegations of such charlatans, they still pop up all over the world and fool a handful of simpletons. That being said, this list is the Top 10 (False) Modern Gods. For those of you who wonder why Charles Manson isn’t included on the list, technically he claimed he was Satan.
10. Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921-present)
a.k.a Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark
In his defense, Prince Phillip does not claim to be a god. On the island nation of Vanuatu, though, there is a movement afoot that claims Prince Philip is a god. Despite being a direct descendant of Queen Victoria, and being in the line of succession of 15 other countries, the Prince’s resume contains no miracles or even claims of supernatural powers. It is believed that the Prince Phillip Movement branched out from the John Frum Cult, which is one of numerous cargo cults that popped up in South Pacific Islands throughout the past century.
9. A woman currently in prison in Indonesia with the birth initials of L. A.
There are a few recent examples of people who claim to be the Messiah in the Islamic religion, but I’m no fool, I dare not type, nor speak, their names. L. A. is currently in jail for blasphemy and false Koran teachings. She is an author who claims to be a modern day messiah.
8. David Shayler (1965-present)
A former journalist and British Military Intelligence officer, David Shayler has spent the past 15 years spouting all sorts of nonsense. Whether passing secret documents to British newspapers, or being a plaintiff suing George Bush for the 9/11 attacks, David Shayler proclaimed divinity on July 7, 2007 (7-7-7) and is currently using his powers to protect Great Britain from terror attacks.
7. Warren Jeffs (1955-present)
The jailed president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jeffs has been in and out of the courtroom for the past decade. Charges of polygamy and felony sexual assault have dogged the FLDS church leader as he and his followers have had sexual relations with their underaged, arranged ‘brides.’ As information leaks out from the excommunicated members, some of whom thought Jeffs was God, others who thought he was the President of the United States, it is clear that Jeffs was brainwashing his flock.
6. Mitsuo Matayoshi (1944-present)
Matayoshi is the leader of the World Economic Community Party. What is the World Economic Community Party’s political platform, you ask? Well, it basically states that politician Mitsuo Matyoshi is God and to please vote for him. Seriously. He has run multiple unsuccessful candidacies in Japan, often urging his opponents to commit suicide.
5. Alan John Miller (1962-present)
The leader of the Divine Truth religious movement in Australia, Alan John Miller was formally an elder in the Jehovah’s Witness faith. Over a one week period, Alan John Miller discovered that he was, in fact, the living reincarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Coincidentally, he married the reincarnation of Mary Magdalene. As Miller’s, ahem, religion, grows, he has backed off statements that he is God in the press, stating only that he is a vessel of God, but if you go to his church’s website, it is clear that he thinks of himself as Jesus. (And Mary Magdalene has a blog!)
4. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994)
Schneerson was a prominent Hasidic rabbi who, late in life, was surrounded by sycophants that believed he was the Jewish Messiah. Despite passing away in 1994, Rabbi Schneerson is still considered the head of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. His followers continue to argue whether he will return as the Messiah, whether he is just “hidden,” or if he has moved beyond the confines of his earthen vessel continuing to weld God-like powers. Strangely, the Jewish Schneerson never visited the State of Israel, rarely leaving the confines of New York City.
3. Jim Jones (1931-1978)
Founder of the Peoples Temple headquartered in San Francisco, the church and its followers famously relocated to Guyana by Jones’ decree and in 1978 a massive murder suicide ensued at his hands. At different times, Jones’ teachings declared him to be the reincarnation of Jesus, Buddha, Vladimir Lenin, and, of course Father Divine. Jim Jones’ defection to South America coincided with claims from the religion’s defectors of widespread physical and sexual abuse. The Jonestown Massacre claimed over 900 lives and has the distinction of being the only event to have an assassination of a congressman in the line of duty. There’s not one, but two, movie documentaries that outline the horrific details of Jonestown.
2. David Koresh (1959-1993)
In 1993*, the American people watched as the leader of the Branch Davidians, David Koresh, holed up in his Waco, Texas compound with his followers and defied the demands of the FBI. As with Warren Jeffs, Koresh’s downfall seemed to be his affinity for teenage girls. Jeffs was convicted in a court of law of indiscretions, whereas rumors circulated of Koresh’s activities, seeing that in 1993 the age of consent for minors in the State of Texas was 14. Prosecutors were unable to secure a conviction with uncooperative young cult members. With multiple shades of gray surrounding the entire David Koresh saga, different accounts have Koresh either being the Christ, or the Final Prophet. Either way, and no matter which story of the subsequent siege that you believe, Koresh and 82 others died in the Branch Davidian raid.
*For the record, the ATF was attempting to execute a search warrant for weapons violations on Feb. 28, 1993, not for any of his god-like claims (which are not illegal in Texas). If alive today, Koresh would have been 53 years old, probably making music from his prison cell.
1. Vissarion (1961-present)
Deep in the Siberian wilderness, there is currently a man named Vissarion who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. He founded, and is the leader of, the Church of the Last Testament in Russia. Of course his church teaches reincarnation, but also more pedestrian beliefs such as veganism and to refrain from vices such as drinking and smoking. Oh, and that the world is imminently coming to an end.