A South African priest is facing animal cruelty charges for feeding his congregation live snakes in a grotesque ritual to test their faith.
Quoting verses from the Bible, Penuel Mnguni told his followers that eating the reptiles would taste like candy.
In bizarre photos, the controversial priest is captured performing “miracles” by turning one worshiper into a horse and climbing on his back. Other images show him feeding a young girl the hair of another worshiper and putting a purple rag into the mouth of another. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. The priest was arrested after South Africa’s largest animal charity, the SPCA, brought charges of animal cruelty against him.
2. The popular pastor told his congregation that the snakes would taste like chocolate, before telling them to eat them alive. He told another believer to eat a fellow worshiper’s hair (right).
Mnguni styles himself as the “Prophet Penuel” and his congregation claims that he is a “man of God”, who performs miracles.
His followers claim that he has the power to put worshipers into a trance and turn them into horses. He can also turn live snakes into chocolate.
The self-proclaimed “prophet” was arrested after South Africa’s biggest animal charity, the SPCA, alerted the police.
3. Pastor Penuel Mnguni fed live snakes to his congregation at the End Times Disciples Ministries Church, north of the capital Pretoria, in South Africa.
4. Controversial priest Mnguni also feeds his congregation with pieces of paper and items of clothing including this piece of purple cloth.
SPCA inspector Andrew Kekana explained that Mnguni had captured protected snakes from the bush near the End Times Disciples Ministries Church in Shshanguve, which is located to the north of Pretoria, South Africa. He said:
We are conducting a preliminary inquiry with an intention of opening a criminal case against him. What we saw in the pictures is cruel.
Imagine being eaten alive! This has to stop. He [the pastor] has now been charged with animal cruelty and will appear in court on Monday.
The Interfaith Council of South Africa has also condemned Mnguni’s practices. However, while speaking out against the acts, they say they are powerless to do anything about them, because of South Africa’s freedom of religion.
The Council adds that it is up to the religious leaders in the local community to intervene if Penuel Mnguni is to be brought to justice.
5. The “Prophet” boasts about being able to transform his congregation into horses by putting them in a trance-like state, and riding them around the room.
6. Facebook comments about the service claim that the “man of God” transformed the flavor of the snake, so that it would taste like chocolate.
The last snake to be eaten during one of Mnguni’s rituals was a Striped Skaapsteker and that prompted the SPCA to act.
A protected species, the Striped Skaapsteker can grow to around of 24 in. It is indigenous to South Africa and does not pose any threat to humans.
After a brief court appearance, Mnguni has been released on a bail of the equivalent of about $120 and will have to appear in court at a later date.
7. “Prophet” Penuel Mnguni’s case is struck off pending further investigation.
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