I Was a Faith Healer
By “Awake!” correspondent in Guadeloupe
MY PATIENT is sitting in front of me. Between us, on a table, there is an ordinary plate on which are three burning candles. Under the plate there is a large sheet of white paper with three initial letters lined up in a direction parallel with the candies. The first candle represents the patient herself; it corresponds with the initial letter of her name. The second candle represents her house or family. The third, her outside interests. While I am listening to her account, I observe intently the color of the flame of each candle, the smoke, the wick, whether it tilts left or right and the flow of the running wax.
This woman has been ill for one year. Her leg is badly swollen and, though she has been given medical care, she is still in pain. So she has come to ask me to cure her disease.
After having observed intently the signs in the candles, and after calling upon the spirit, I touch her bad leg, saying: “In the name of the three persons of the Holy Trinity, be cured.” Then I prescribe for my patient some potions made of herbs and I enjoin her to pray to the Holy Trinity when burning candles at home on certain days that I designate.
In times past, such sessions were common in my house. People would come to me from all over the island of Guadeloupe here in the Caribbean, bringing with them their own particular problems. Some were physically sick, while others wanted me to “look into their business.” A man might be searching for work, or he might be wanting to marry and so be looking for a good wife. Or a woman might be having marital difficulties. Still others, convinced that their enemies had cast a spell on them, were asking for protection.
So it was that for almost twenty years I was a faith healer, being convinced that God had given me this power. Now, however, nobody comes to call upon my power. Do you wonder why I am no longer a faith healer? Let me tell you.
Early Religious Training
I was born here in Guadeloupe in a small fishing village on the Atlantic side of the island. My parents were humble peasants of Hindu extraction and, although they were sincere practicing Catholics, nevertheless they also kept the worship and religious rites that their forefathers had brought from India.
Alongside our house was a ten-meter-high bamboo pole with a red rag on its top in honor of the divinity “Maliemin.” Early in the morning, and for several hours, the drum would be sounded to attract Maliemin’s attention and to notify him when preparations were being made to offer up sacrifices. My father lit candles, offered first the prayers and then the sacrifices, consisting of such foods as rice pudding, coconuts and bananas. Sometimes a kid of a goat was offered, and until I was twenty years old I was the one that held the rope while its throat was cut. A fire of dried boughs gave off smoke toward the divinity. Then the foods were served to the women and the children, because they were regarded as sacred. The woman, for her fecundity, and the children, for their innocence.
Though my whole family practiced this worship of Maliemin, they all attended the Catholic Mass, for the priest never found fault with Maliemin worship. As for me, at my birth I was baptized a Catholic. I was taught the catechism, I attended Communion, and I was confirmed and married according to the rites of the Catholic Church. And, for his part, the divinity Maliemin never prevented me from practicing my Catholic worship.
I always liked to read, and when I was fourteen years old my uncle gave me a little Catholic missal. Later I went to see the priest and asked him for a copy of the Gospels. One day when I was reading in the Gospel of Mark I found this passage: “Furthermore, these signs will accompany those believing: By the use of my name they will expel demons, they will speak with tongues, and with their hands they will pick up serpents, and if they drink anything deadly it will not hurt them at all. They will lay their hands upon sick persons, and these will become well.” (Mark 16:17, 18) I did not know at the time that these verses at the end of the Gospel according to Mark (16 verses 9 through 20) were spurious, since they are not found in the oldest manuscripts of the Christian Greek Scriptures. I also read many books dealing with astrology and horoscopes. I associated with friends who were “spirit-rappers.”
Soon I was convinced that I too could cure sick persons as well as solve their other problems. I began making fetishes to bring people good luck. When I invoked the three persons of the Trinity by means of the three candles my body would shake all over. Now I felt I was in contact with my god and that I could help people with their problems.
However, I read in the Gospel how Jesus cured sick persons, cripples and paralytics instantaneously. As for me, I could never cure in this way. I needed several days and sometimes several séances. So I wondered whether I would manage someday to imitate Jesus.
It was about that time that a terrible calamity befell me. My young son fell ill. I tried everything to cure him, but without result. “The Holy Trinity” did nothing for me. Several doctors looked after him for three years, but at last he died at the age of twelve. This certainly was a terrible shock. I asked myself: “Why is God so unjust to me? Maybe I did something bad to him. If I could cure others, why could I not cure my son?”
Learning the Truth That Sets One Free
I went on practicing my faith healing, but from then on with less enthusiasm, until 1969 when a great change began to take place in my life. I had bought a Bible from an Adventist peddler and I attended a few meetings in the temple of the Seventh-day Adventists. But I proceeded no further. I held to my Catholic worship and to my gifts of faith healing.
Then one day one of Jehovah’s Witnesses let me have a book, “Things in Which It Is Impossible for God to Lie.” I set about reading it at once, and though I did not understand everything I realized that the Adventists were wrong. Not long afterward I began to study the Bible seriously with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This study was made easy with the aid of the book The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life. This man knew who I was and what I practiced. So he was tactful in explaining how the miraculous gifts possessed by first-century Christians had to end when the Christian assembly came to maturity, as shown in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, where Paul says: “Whether there are gifts of prophesying, they will be done away with; whether there are tongues, they will cease; . . . when that which is complete arrives, that which is partial will be done away with.” (1 Cor. 13:8-10) This caller taught me too that just doing something that may be viewed as miraculous does not prove that it is by the power of the true God. He asked me to read Jesus’ statement at Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
As the study progressed I became aware of the difference between my works of healing and those performed by Jesus Christ. I was really ashamed of myself when I thought of how I used to take money on the pretense of curing people, and yet Jesus said to his faithful followers: “You received free, give free.”—Matt. 10:8.
You can just imagine how amazed I was when Deuteronomy 18:10-14 was called to my attention. There it is written: “There should not be found in you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, anyone who employs divination, a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer, or one who binds others with a spell or anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead. For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah, and on account of these detestable things Jehovah your God is driving them away from before you. You should prove yourself faultless with Jehovah your God. For these nations whom you are dispossessing used to listen to those practicing magic and to those who divine; but as for you, Jehovah your God has not given you anything like this.”
I was really moved and decided at once to renounce these practices. I now understood that I had been serving the Devil and his demons through astrology and the practice of magic and by relying on some so-called “Holy Trinity” for assistance, which trinitarian idea was actually a hand-me-down from ancient Babylonish religion.
For several nights thereafter I could not sleep. I had dreadful nightmares in which sick persons were imploring me to cure them. Sometimes I heard dreadful noises, like stones falling on the roof, or I felt someone touching me. In my fright I would pray to Jehovah, begging him to rescue me, for I realized that I was suffering from demon attacks. For a whole month I suffered like this. In fact, I began to recover only after taking the advice of one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who urged me to burn all my old books on faith healing, astrology and magic, just as those people in Ephesus did in the days of the apostles.—Acts 19:17-20.
Two months after I began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses I was attending the meetings at the Kingdom Hall. After nine months of study I dedicated my life to Jehovah and was baptized in symbol thereof in 1970. From being a so-called “faith healer” of others, I myself had been cured. The truth had set me free—free from being a slave to the demons and their lies. (John 8:32) From my own experiences I know that all sorts of lying works, signs and prodigies can be done by demonic powers, even as the apostle Paul says at 2 Corinthians 11:14: “Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.” Thanks be to Jehovah, who has called me out of darkness and the trap of the Devil into his wonderful light!—1 Pet. 2:9.
When my former patients would come to me, I would tell them: “I have stopped working for the Devil and his demons. I have burned all my books. Now, if you would like I can help you to know the true God and his way to perfect health as set forth in the Bible.”
Now you know why people no longer come to me seeking a cure for their ills. On the contrary, I go to them. Before, I wished vainly to imitate the instantaneous, miraculous cures effected by Jesus. Now I have become an imitator of Jesus in another way—preaching from place to place the good news of God’s kingdom. Sometimes people ask me: “What! You are not this man who cured people . . . ?” And then I show them that eternal release from bodily pain will take place according to God’s promise in the new and perfect system of things, according to Revelation 21:4, which says: “And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
Formerly I kept my magic-practicing secrets to myself. I did not want people to know how I was able to “cure” them. Today I am convinced that I have found the truth and I want everyone to know from what source I have learned it. I am thankful to Jehovah because he has made me know and appreciate his precious Word and promises and I enjoy the privilege of working for the spiritual cure of mankind, this being more advantageous to them, leading on to eternal life in the earthly Paradise with perfect health and happiness!