IURD stands for Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God), a Pentecostal church founded in Brazil by Edir Macedo de Bezerra in 1977. Despite its youth, it had attracted as many as six million members by the mid-1990s - but those numbers have not climbed as quickly in recent years due to a number of scandals which have revealed that the church leadership has been more interested in getting money from the people than in saving souls.
Nevertheless, the IURD has continued to be a powerful religious force in Brazil. Even more interesting is the fact that the IURD has engaged in missionary activity in Europe and North America, attempting to convert people to its brand of Pentecostalism and to "re-christianize" what they regard as a spiritual wasteland. IURD also engages in missionary work in Africa.
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