Controversial South African Pastor Penuel Mnguni, who made his followers eat live animals, admitted he was wrong to lead his congregation astray and attributed his excesses to a misinterpretation of the Bible.
Pastor Mnguni of the End Times Disciples Ministries in Soshanguve, Pretoria, expressed his admission Sunday, when he visited the Synagogue Church of All Nations headquarters of famous Nigerian televangelist Prophet T.B. Joshua in Lagos.
According to the Citizen, Mnguni said he had misinterpreted the Bible and had traveled to T.B. Joshua’s church for deliverance.
Mnguni, nicknamed the “snake pastor,” first made headlines in 2015, after shocking images of him making members of his congregation eat live snakes and rats surfaced online.
Mnguni — who claims to have unlimited healing and miraculous powers — also convinced his worshipers during his wild church services to eat grass, clothing, and their own hair, telling them it was chocolate.
Despite a series of arrests by authorities and outrage on social media, Mnguni continued with his religious antics.
On Sunday, however, an apparently contrite Mnguni told the congregation at the Synagogue that he had misinterpreted certain scriptures, such as Mark 16:17-18, which led him to believe that he could feed his congregants with strange items to prove the power of God.
He added that he only recently came to realize his wrong doing after watching T.B. Joshua preach on TV. That realization, he said, prompted him to visit T.B. Joshua’s church all the way from South Africa.
Mnuguni, 26, established the End Times Disciples Ministries in 2014, when he was barely 23 years old. Using the advantage of his charismatic personality, he succeeded in convincing his followers — some of them several times his age — to engage in the most bizarre acts as proof of their faith.
Other images from Mnguni’s website and Facebook page show the self-styled prophet feeding his members stones, which he claimed to have turned into bread. He also locked up one of his members in a freezer for more than 30 minutes, made some strip off their clothes, and rode on a congregant as if he was a horse.
Following his actions, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) charged Mnguni with animal cruelty but later withdrew the case for lack of evidence in 2015.
However, in 2016, angry locals offended by Mnguni’s antics attacked and destroyed his church, chasing him out of Soshanguve, a township north of Pretoria where his church was located.