In 2019, a megachurch leader stepped off his private jet with two of his female followers and was arrested in a Los Angeles airport. Three days before his trial was set to start, 53-year-old Naasón Joaquín García pled guilty to three counts of sexually abusing girls from his congregation.
Now, HBO has released a documentary "Unveiled" diving into a 5 million member church that is claimed to be run as a cult-like mafia.
La Luz Del Mundo (LLDM) or Church of the Light of the World, was founded in 1926 by Eusebio Joaquin Gonzalez. Their influence runs deep and wide across the world. They claim to have members in 57 countries.
The documentary exposes claims of abuse that have been covered up and tucked away for three generations.
LLDM believes in an event called "The Election." A divine process where God chooses one leader to represent Him on the earth to reveal His divine will. The church believes God hand-picked Naasón Joaquín García and vehemently defend his conduct to this day.
The church claims "The Apostle" pleaded guilty to protect the church and his family.
A BBC report says, "The unexpected plea deal means that his trial has been dropped and the church leader will not face other charges including raping and trafficking girls from his congregation, which he has denied."
The church released a statement at that time saying "We publicly manifest our support for the Apostle of Jesus Christ; our confidence in him remains intact in the full knowledge of his integrity, his conduct and his work."
Survivors have fought long and hard to expose their experiences with Garcia and the LLDM church. Because Garcia took a plea deal, he is no longer facing life imprisonment if he is found guilty in the trial.
According to Advocate Magazine, "Five women, known as Jane Does, testified that he sexually abused them between 2015 and 2019 and were told they if they went against Garcia, they would be going against God."
Garcia is now facing up to 16 years in a California prison. Two women were also charged for assisting him in his crimes.
"Unveiled: Surviving La Luz Del Mundo" is streaming on HBO.
Ephesians 5:27 says that God will present to Himself a "glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish."
More and more megachurch pastors and leaders within the church are being exposed for crimes, misconduct and abuse. Matthew 24 says the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. Verse 25 says, "But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away."
When the wheat shot up out of the ground and produced fruit, the weeds also appeared. The same can be said about modern church leaders in this world today. There are incredible God-fearing men and women of God who seek to glorify Jesus across the earth. There are also those who use their power to abuse and manipulate people hungry for biblical teaching and leadership.
Pray for those who have been effected by harmful church leaders that God would heal their hearts and show them the love of the Father. Pray that wickedness lying in darkness between the walls of the church would be brought to light and fear of the Lord would fall on leaders across the body of Christ. Jesus is coming back for a pure and spotless bride and anything else will be cleansed out before His soon coming return.
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Shelby Bowen is an assistant editor for Charisma Media.
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