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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

Ellos no son de Naasón Joaquín García

Four years ago on June 3, 2019 at the Los Angeles airport getting off his private plane, a man named Naasón Joaquín García was put into handcuffs and was taken to the Los Angeles county jail where he was charged with “36 crimes including human trafficking, rape, child pornography and forcible oral copulation, and was held on 90 million dollar bail”, among other charges, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

For three generations, a grandfather, a father, and a son have led the church. 

Eusebio (Aarón) Joaquín González founded La Luz Del Mundo (LLDM) in 1926 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He started the church by taking advantage of the Cristero War that was happening at the time. He began to gather people who had a different belief other than Catholicism. Considering that Guadalajara is one of the most Catholic cities in Mexico, making it so that during Gonzalez’s time anyone that preached a different belief was put under observation or in some cases persecuted. 

He took this as an opportunity to find and buy land where everyone could move to. His vision was that anyone that came to his land belonged to the church. Aarón González continued to grow and build the church until his son Samule Flores took over after Gonzalez died. He continued to build his father’s legacy. 

Samuel Flores was the second leader of the cult LLDM. He began the construction of the big temple located in Guadalajara, Mexico that still continues to grow regarding the situation. We are to believe that Samuel Flores started the abuse in the church, because in 1997, a victim came forward about the abuse. Flores was the ‘apostle’ at that time of the allegations and disappeared. Soon after, the accuser was stabbed 69 times. 

Although the abuse, mentally and physically didn’t get full recognition until just recently. Naasón García was the third leader of the cult La Luz del Mundo (LLDM), a Christian based ‘church’. LLDM has temples in more than 58 countries and has churches in all 50 states with over 5 million members and has a total of 15,000 temples. Naasón García began his reign as soon as his father Samuel Flores died in December of 2014. 

“Naasón Joaquín García siervo de Dios vivo y Apostol de Jesus Christo ‘’ Naasón Joaquín García, servant of the living God and Apostle of Jesus Christ, the members called him. They believed he was the direct connection to God himself, and he could communicate with him. Garcia followed in his fa- ther’s footsteps, but the abuse started to get progressively worse and be- came known when he became leader. Many members tried to talk about his abuse, but some of them went missing. When he abused the survi- vors, he proclaimed everything was done in the name of God, because God is the one the members turned to in their time of need. He used God as a fear mechanism and as a mean to justify his actions, suggesting that “God wanted me to do this and you’re a child of God.” 

The apostle is considered the most important person in LLDM, the entire doctrine and teachings are based on the apostles, the hymns, and the sermons they teach. The members were told that without an Apostle, there’s no church and if there’s no church, then there is no salvation. The church can’t exist without them. The members were told plain and simple that God chose the Apostle. If the members were having second thoughts, they were told not to question the Apostle. They were told not to have doubts, because if you did, it meant you were questioning God. This was considered a sin. 

The Apostle’s targeted people who were going through a vulnerable time in their life, such as people who had financial problems, and those who were in need of comfort in their life, “they took someone’s darkest part of their life and brought them in the ‘light’. He promised us answers and offered a place of comfort. He preyed on the vulnerable,” said Yesenia, an ex-member. 

Although this cult got recognized because of its abuse, there is a lot more going on. The members were required to give ten percent of their checks to the church as an offering to help build more churches around the world. The members’ lives around the world were influenced by the church. “We couldn’t do worldly things, because we were told it would stray us away from the path of God and from the church” said Yesenia. 

The members couldn’t do daily events that we do everyday, such as going to the movies, being able to go to the nail salon. The members were required to marry within the church. They couldn’t have friends outside of the members of the church, and they also couldn’t go out of town without permission from their pastor. If the pastor let them, then they would encourage/force them to go to the church in the state they were visiting. “The cult may have manipulated us to go to the ‘church’ but the people who are still there, it’s their ‘faith’ that continues keeping them there, their loyalty to this man who should be behind bars for the rest of his life.” said Yesenia. 

There are currently two documentaries about this cult. One is on Max, and it centers a few survivors spreading awareness about the church and brings to light the acts that Naason Garcia and Samuel Flores have been committing against the young members in the cult for many years. The other documentary recently came out on Netflix and has interviews from both perspectives: those who are still loyal to Garcia and the ex-members. It goes more into what the members had to go through and talks about more than just the abuse, which is still continuing in the cult. Naason Garcia is currently serving his 16 year sentence at the California Institution for Men in Chino, California.

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