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April 12th, 2013
12:01 PM ET

Want your ashes spread where Jesus walked?

By Sara Sidner, CNN

Sea of Galilee (CNN) - When I am visiting the United States and tell people I live in the Middle East I generally get one of two responses:

“Seriously? Isn’t it dangerous? Stay safe out there.”

Or some version of:

“Wow. There is so much Biblical history there. I have always dreamed about going to the Holy Land but doubt I’ll ever get the chance.”

I never thought I’d be able to give the latter this option for a visit.

A new business called Holy Land Ash Scattering is targeting U.S. Christians as customers.

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Company president Larry Deverett says he has found the perfect spot for people of the Christian faith to have their own or their loved ones cremated remains scattered.

The spot is located in a small garden in an orchard on a hill above the Sea of Galilee, the area where the New Testament says Jesus prayed, taught and performed many miracles including walking on water.

“I researched the market and found that there is a strong need and demand for this type of service and the No. 1 location on the planet, when you are talking about spirituality, is the Holy Land,” Deverett said.

Deverett knows there will always be potential clients. The funeral industry will always have a source of clients since we all have to go sometime, and many of us will likely have a funeral of some sort.

U.S. Funeral Directors Association statistics show the rate of cremation has doubled in the past 15 years. The association says in 2011 about 42% of people who died were cremated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show about 2.5 million people die each year in the United States.

Most folks in the funeral industry are well aware that with the baby boomer generation headed into its “golden years“ there will likely be a ballooning number of funerals on the horizon.

One reason for an upswing in cremations may be economics. Simply put, cremation is cheaper than a burial.

As Deverett found out, there are also business opportunities to be had with remains that are already cremated.

"There are literally tens if not hundreds of thousands of urns sitting in people's homes, and people really don't know what to do with those ashes. You know at some point in time whether they are moving or after a few years they want to do something proper with the ashes," he said.

For $750 after cremation, you can have your ashes shipped and scattered near the “Jesus Trail,” where a bearded man resembling a person right out of the Bible performs a ceremony. It is all put on a DVD and sent to the family.

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The company is looking into trying to do a live feed over the Internet so you can watch it in real time.

“It’s a great privilege to be able to do this act of loving kindness for our Christian brothers and sisters, ” said Benzion Lehrer, who says the prayer and scatters the ashes.

Deverett is hoping to draw business from far and wide.

But the President of Holy Land Ash Scattering can’t use the service for himself or his family. He is Jewish and adheres to the traditional belief that his faith forbids cremation.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Israel • Judaism

soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. JJ

    Christians are such gullible suckers. I wished I didn't have a conscience or I would take them for a ride too.

    April 12, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  2. Jeffision

    lol. Jesus was a character in a fictional story that tried to get people to act nice. Xtians have fallen inside this fiction and are wandering around lost in it. But don't try to wake them up because they get cranky and darned mean then. 🙂

    April 12, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
  3. Answer

    Another opportunity for someone to make a quick buck off the religious idiots. Hurrah!!

    –>>"This path is the real path that 'jeebus' walked through.. it'll cost ya $1000. No refunds."

    Scam them good. Let the suckers pay.

    April 12, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Answer

      I wonder when CNN will add an update to this story, highlighting the jeebus freaks complaints, that they're breathing in too much of their fellow christards' ashes.

      "Incidents of Christards CHOKING on ashes on path of Jeebus" << news at 6:00pm EST

      April 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
  4. biggles

    Morn baby, morn

    Told ya

    April 12, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  5. SixDegrees

    Lots of christian sects believe that cremation violates god's will. I guess because it makes that whole resurrection thing a whole lot harder for him, come judgment day, what with the ashiness and scattering and all.

    April 12, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • Jeebusss

      Yup lol. Apparently their magical sky daddy was good enough to create the universe but he sucks at putting things back together. Maybe God should practice on some jigsaw puzzles.

      April 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • lol??

      "Jhn 12:10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;"

      April 13, 2013 at 5:14 am |
  6. Raj Alexander

    Lot of ridicule on CNN or any other internet board for anything christian these days and this section is no exception but it is to be expected and me and my family would rather stand with Christ in the minority .Having said that, I would worry more about my salvation in Christ than where my ashes reside after I die as I am going to be raised with all my sisters and brothers in Christ when the "LIon of the tribe of Judah" returns in His Glory.Amen.

    April 12, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • Saraswati

      In the US Christians are the majority. World-wide they've always been the minority, so nothing has changed. What population are you talking about?

      April 12, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • JJ

      You are just the gullible idiot they are targetting, you imbecile.

      April 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  7. Mitzy

    According to my gospel, Jesus never walked. He skipped wherever he went, with his hands fluttering and a stupid grin on his face. "La- la-la," he used to sing, "No one comes to The Lord but through me."

    April 12, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
  8. Tessel

    Uh huh, the likelihood that Jesus even existed is very slim, given that he was modeled after Horus and a few other old legends of that time. I guess people love throwing money into the trash to support the belief that they aren't really going to be a corpse soon.

    April 12, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
  9. hmmm

    Wow really CNN? THIS is considered n"ews" these days? What a joke.

    See tomorrow's top story: Eat lunch at the exact spot Noah built his Ark!

    April 12, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Katherine

      Ummmmm ... I think this is called the "special interest" part of the news, but news it is, anyway. If you don't like it, why in the world don't you just skip over the article and move on to something else !?! Ummmmmm

      April 12, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  10. Blessed One

    I for one am signing up! I was considering having my ashes dumped in your meatloaf, but this sounds better.

    April 12, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  11. lexgreen

    Why would I want someone walking all over my ashes in their bare feet.... (or sandals)?

    April 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  12. Southernsuga

    It was probably the Garden of Gethsemane. What a lovely thought, it's commercializing death. No thanks. The soul leaves the body shortly (minutes) after death, so this is just another gimmick.

    April 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  13. Chris

    Now I've heard everything. What a gigantic crock of bat guano. People that believe this stuff is the reason why the world laughs at America.

    April 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Skalamoosh

      Actually, this is a worldwide company. America is probably one of the top customers though there are Christians worldwide. You must be liberal to be embarassed of your country and put it down.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Scaramouche

      Actually, this isn't political in the least, Skalamoosh...until you made it one.
      "I'm a Patriot! I'll kill anyone who says I'm not!"

      April 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  14. JJ

    No problem, we have plenty of places in Mexico where plenty of Jesus' have walked. Happy to take your money to satisfy your religious delusions! 🙂

    April 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Rick H

      Well played, well played.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
  15. Anon

    Why no send then directly to "Jesus" as in directly to the Sun.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  16. blf83

    How is it that the garden is atop a hill but is where Jesus walked on water? Now that's a miracle or Noah and Jesus were buds.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  17. Ben

    How about letting Christians settle in our Holy Land while we're still alive?

    April 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Uh – christians don't have a "holy land". The entire notion flies in the face of their belief.

      April 12, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
  18. blf83

    Hoax and huckster for the gullible right-wingers who have never thought – or even thought they needed to think.

    April 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Skalamoosh

      Such hate from a "free" thinker. Liberals are the ones that fail to think. They "think" they can just do whatever they want and there are no consequences.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • gager

      Hello, atheist right winger here.

      April 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • blf83

      To Skalamoosh: I intend and have no hate. I just find unquestioning,religious right-wingers too often accept unthinkingly whatever is handed out from the pulpit. I grew up in that milieu and watched the hypocrisy and gullibility of the non-thinking.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Scaramouche

      "Don't take my guns! I'm a Patriot, dagnabbit! I am not a free-thinker, I don't think! Yehaw!"

      April 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  19. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    In the long tradition of misquoting P.T.Barnum: " "There's a sucker born every minute."

    We can now say "There's a sucker that dies every minute."

    A fool and his money are soon parted. There's nothing quite like preying on the faithful.

    April 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • PaulH

      "I'm a con artist in that I'm an actor. I make people believe something is real when they know perfectly well it isn't."
      John Lithgow

      April 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Scaramouche

      Funny, I never for one moment thought that Lithgow was a actual cross-dresser on "Garp" or an alien on "3rd Rock". Guess he overestimated his acting prowess.

      April 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  20. Honey Badger Don't Care!

    So you give this guy almost a grand, he dumps your ashes in the trash and sends you a copy of a DVD that he sends to every other family? I need to get into this racket.

    Anyone want to buy a bridge? Cheap!

    April 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Skalamoosh

      You're working on assumptions. Perhaps there are ways to ensure he is spreading your relatives ashes- like holding the container you send- (whether it is just emptied before shipping to save cost is another issue)

      April 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.