This Man Claims He's The Reincarnation Of Jesus, And He Actually Has Over 5,000 Followers

Most people who believe they are Jesus present bigger threats to themselves than others, but most modern prophets are not like Sergey Anatolyevitch Torop, aka Vissarion, the self-proclaimed reincarnation of Jesus Christ. As the Soviet Union crumbled in the early '90s, the Russian people worried about the future of their nation, if such a future existed. The miasma of uncertainty and fear allowed Vissarion and the Church of the Last Testament to emerge as figures of benevolence and hope.

Facts about Vissarion, the cult leader who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus, remain few and far between. His name roughly translates to "he who gives new life," and he looks like the West's revisionist version of Jesus: white. Even though he records all his teachings to his own Bible, Vissarion's teachings practically feel intentionally obscure, giving open-ended ramblings more confusing than Old Testament lingo.

Out of all the cult leaders who claim to be Jesus - be it Space Jesus or Russian Jesus - Vissarion, or "the Teacher," appears particularly creepy and dangerous. Over the course of his "second coming," he frequently makes note of the doomsday in store for his followers, which rarely ends well for cult members.

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  • Their Ideology Includes Aliens And Two Separate Creation Theories 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

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    The followers of Vissarion adhere to a set of beliefs that feel part theistic and part sci-fi. They're vegans who don't smoke or drink, and they believe the universe formed from two separate big bangs. They essentially believe the natural world spawned from one catalyst, while the human soul arose from something else, possibly God. Vissarion remains vague about the specifics.

    They also believe in the "outer space mind," a kind of extraterrestrial presence Vissarion is also vague in explaining. "The outer space mind does not have a soul," Vissarion told Vice. "Technological progress for them is a natural form of development."

  • His Followers Think An Apocalyptic Flood Is Imminent

    Vissarion records nearly everything he ever says in the "Last Testament." This never-ending collection of thoughts takes up thousands of pages and 10 volumes, and while its diction is reminiscent of the Old Testament, its content is rather vague and circular.

    One of the group's core beliefs outlined in Vissarion's text states that an apocalyptic flood is imminent. According to their theory, when the flood washes over the Earth, the only people who will survive are those living with Vissarion on his Siberian compound. After the waters recede, the Vissarions will repopulate the Earth and turn it into paradise.

  • His Followers Pray To His Portraits And Celebrate His Birthday As A Holy Day

    Vissarion has thousands of acolytes in Russia. Depending on who you ask, they number between 5,000 and 10,000, though the former estimate is likely more accurate. His followers refer to him as "the Teacher," and portraits of him adorn every follower's home, as well as public spaces such as classrooms. 

    According to Newsweek, Vissarion's followers pray to his portraits and celebrate his birthday, January 14, as their most holy of days. The Vissarions strictly follow his every proclamation in order to ensure their prime spot during the end of the world.

  • Vissarion Encourages Polygamy Among His Followers

     

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    The Church of the Last Testament allows men to take on more than one wife so they can have more children, thus boosting the group's numbers. However, if a male wants to take on a second wife, he needs to follow the Teacher's ground rules.

    In order to form a "Triangle" with one man and two women, the husband must ask the first wife's permission to allow the second wife into their home. Once she gives her blessing, everyone gets together and starts building a bigger, happier family.

    Vissarion himself fathered six children between two wives, though he "rejected" his first wife for an unknown reason. His second wife started living with Vissarion when she was 7 years old, and they married when she was 19.

  • Vissarion's Followers May Have To Give Him All Of Their Money

    The Vissarions live in the woods near Sukhoi Mountain in a collection of log houses and yurts with minimal accoutrements. The Teacher has his own living quarters called the "Abode of Dawn," where he lives with 50 of his chosen followers. 

    Many believe the only way Vissarion can afford to live on such a palatial estate is by making his followers sell all of their belongings and give him the profits.

  • Many Of The Cult Members Have Never Met Vissarion

    Even though Vissarion makes many speeches to his people, many of his followers have never met with him. In a Vice write-up on the group, a follower who goes by Tamriko claimed she first heard about Vissarion at age 18, although she waited until she was 23 to officially join the group.

    Despite Tamriko's enthusiasm for joining, Vissarion never introduced himself to her. Despite never meeting him, Tamriko managed to set up an interview with the Vice reporter and her messiah.