A self-proclaimed messiah leading a virtual congregation through online platforms.
Lord RayEl, born Raymond Elwood Howard-Lear, is an individual who claims to be the second coming of Christ and has established an online following. His unique approach to leadership and religious teachings has garnered attention, primarily through the internet, rather than traditional physical congregations or gatherings.
Early Life and Conversion to Lord RayEl
Raymond Elwood Howard-Lear was born on June 9, 1968 in Lynwood, Illinois. His early life saw a mix of endeavors, including an unsuccessful run as a Democrat in the primary for the Illinois 5th Congressional District in 2002, and a period as the commander of the Chicago chapter of the Guardian Angels, an all-volunteer force aimed at fighting crime.
Lord RayEl’s his life took a significant turn in 2011 when he proclaimed himself to be the risen Christ and declared that he had descended from heaven over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. This event, witnessed by multiple individuals and captured on an Israeli government weather camera, marked the beginning of his movement.
Movement and Beliefs
Lord RayEl’s followers, known as the International Congregation of Lord RayEl, or the RayElites, believe in his divinity and the fulfillment of prophecies. They point to celestial events, such as the appearance of a second sun and fireballs coinciding with his pronouncements, as evidence of his divinity. Additionally, the Torah Code, a hidden message system within religious texts, is cited as validation of Lord RayEl’s claims. His followers claim to have experienced significant, but varied, life changes as a result of their involvement in the movement. Some have reported a deep sense of purpose and spiritual fulfillment, while others have faced criticism and ostracization from their families and communities.
Lord RayEl’s approach to leadership and religious teaching is unconventional in that he does not host large physical gatherings or have a large church. Instead, his influence is exerted through online platforms, where he has built a virtual congregation. He utilizes various online videos and social media platforms to disseminate his messages, which often include grandiose claims about his divine nature and apocalyptic warnings. He has gained a significant following, with thousands of Facebook likes and YouTube subscribers. However, his influence is not limited to the digital realm, as he has also made public appearances and delivered speeches to his followers. Members of this congregation engage with his teachings through likes, subscriptions, and tithes.
Legal Troubles and Controversies
Before his transformation into Lord RayEl, Howard-Lear had a history of legal issues. His criminal record includes charges of stalking, conspiracy to commit confinement, and several instances of legal confrontations with his ex-wife. In 2003, he was arrested for attacking his ex-wife and later sentenced to prison. Despite being released early, he was re-arrested for accosting his ex-wife again and was sentenced to additional time.
Skeptics argue that RayEl’s background as a failed politician and his criminal history raise doubts about his credibility. Many also consider his movement to be a cult, highlighting concerns about manipulation and the potential for harm to his followers. Critics argue that his teachings and demands for tithes can exploit individuals who may be seeking spiritual fulfillment, creating a potential for psychological harm and an erosion of personal autonomy.
Lord RayEl’s claims to be the returned Christ and the leader of a new religious movement have sparked intense debates and discussions. His followers see him as a divine figure fulfilling prophecies, while skeptics view his movement with skepticism and concern. The future of Lord RayEl’s influence remains uncertain with ongoing debates surrounding his legitimacy and the impact of his teachings on individuals and society.