Convicted Child Molester Still ‘Enthroned’ by Millions of Faithful Churchgoers

(Photo: Before his imprisonment for sex crimes, Naasón Joaquín García preached to large audiences in the United States, Mexico and in Central America.)

By Pete Evans, with Luís Treviño

A moment in time: A warm Sunday morning, spring, 2019. 

We (Luis and Pete) go to a Dallas church and realize it’s far from your “normal” sanctuary.  We are ushered into a temple and amidst the expensive architecture—probably worth millions, we immediately notice a gilded, velvet-covered throne front and center-stage, raised up several steps as if it were a true king’s throne.  On the throne are emblazoned the initials—not of Jesus Christ as one might expect—but of N. J. G., Naasón Joaquín García, the 3rd generation “anointed apostle” of the world-wide La Luz Del Mundo (LLDM—“Light of the World”) church organization.

(Photo: La Luz Del Mundo in Dallas after worship has ended.)

Little did we know at the time, that this so-called apostle (of apostasy) was already under investigation by various law-enforcement agencies in the United States for sex-trafficking, child molestation, psychological torture, statutory rape, child pornography, forcible oral copulation of a minor, control by manipulation, etc., etc.  Just a few weeks before Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges, Naasón Joaquín García was arrested when he stepped off his own private jet in Los Angeles.[1]

As obvious newcomers, including one non-Latino, we are intercepted and given special treatment and placed on a back row of wooden pews.  Friendly Hispanic ushers encourage us to use our printed bulletins, reading and singing along with the apparently poor but well-dressed and probably hard-working congregation.  The women are dressed modestly in white, wearing long skirts and transparent headdresses of different colors, and the men are dressed in formal business attire, wearing coats and ties.

The sermon and singing appear to lead to a climatic central point of the service when, row-by-row, under direction from the ushers, every single member of the congregation—except us two visitors—begins to form two single-file lines, one section for women and another for men, and pass in front of the throne depositing their tithes and offerings and returning to their seats.  We were not forced to do so.

LLDM’s history, its leadership

(Photo: The main temple of La Luz Del Mundo is located in Guadalajara, Mexico.)

In 2008, Trinity Foundation investigated La Luz Del Mundo.  A summer intern named Abby Morehead authored our report, but unfortunately the report went no further at the time due to a larger investigation we were involved in.  However, our report presaged what was to come years later.

Here are some of our findings as of 2008, then and now:

The church was started by Eusebio Joaquín-Gonzalez, the father of Samuel Joaquin Flores, in 1926.[2] It is a Pentecostal-like church that claims to be the only ‘true’ Christian church.[3] According to the church’s theology, Joaquín-Gonzalez believed himself to be a prophet, apostle and the direct link on earth to God.

He believed he was put on this earth to restore Christianity to how it was originally intended to be by Christ.[4] Because he held prophet status, his son, who took over the church in 1964, and his nine children were considered quasi-divine and Samuel Joaquín Flores held that direct link to God.[5] Joaquín required complete obedience of the members; they were and still are God’s chosen people to restore the church. They were also required to take a yearly pilgrimage to Guadalajara to pay homage to the prophet Eusebio.[6]

As of 2008, there were several thousand church members referred to as “un-conditionals” because they had pledged their lives unconditionally to the church and Samuel Joaquín. They took verbal oaths pledging “my life, my soul, and all my unconditional service until the end of this world” to Samuel Joaquin, the apostle of Jesus Christ.[7] By the end of Samuel Joaquín’s ministry, the church was present in over 50 countries.

The “un-conditionals” have arranged marriages and are closely monitored for loyalty and (ironically) morality. This practice continues under Naasón Joaquín García’s leadership.  Generally, those who came to Texas to work on the Silver Wolf Ranch were the un-conditionals, according to the San Antonio Express News.[8]

A Huge Presence …

The church claimed over 5 million members worldwide in 2008 (un-confirmed). As of February 2023, we located 35 different church congregations, large and small, in Texas alone, including some cities with more than one, under the business name Iglesia Del Dios Vivo Columna y Apoyo De La Verdad.

The church has become extremely wealthy from the tithes of its members around the world—including a steadily growing number of U.S. members.  And now, wealth is also generated from plenty of real estate owned by the church—much of it here in the U.S.  The church, as LDM Central USA Evangelical Ministries, owns a 272-acre site near Gainesville, GA that amounts to a small city-within-a-city of mixed-use development.

It should be pointed out that many of the rank-and-file members have legitimate and compassionate outreach programs in their own communities.

A Texas Connection—Silver Wolf Ranch, its secrecy, its “zoo”, its bodyguards, etc.

In 1997, LLDM purchased land in Guadalupe County and soon named it the Silver Wolf Ranch.  According to the Texas Secretary of State, Wildlife Refuge & Sanctuary Silver Wolf, the official title of LLCM’s ranch property applied for incorporation as a non-profit in May of 2002.

When we investigated the property in 2008, it consisted of a man-made lake, a large white mansion, many exotic animals, a wild-west themed “town,” horse stables, an airplane hangar, and a warehouse of classic automobiles.[9] The classic cars and the mansion were a part of the family’s private assets.

It was ambiguous as to what else on the ranch was considered part of the non-profit, and what was considered part of the Joaquin family’s personal property. Security guards protected against people driving onto the property at the time; and the only vehicles allowed through were certain SUVs with darkly tinted windows, according to the San Antonio Express.[10]

Though they had been working on a ‘public’ zoo on the property for ten years at that point, it had not been officially opened to the public and there was no date scheduled.  Eventually, it did open to the public.  However, a Google search now shows the refuge as permanently closed; and we found mixed reviews about the property, some of them quite critical.

Trinity Foundation investigators found a warranty deed in Guadalupe County indicating that approximately 80 acres of land previously owned by the Samuel Joaquin Foundation were given to his eight children in 2005, but it’s unclear whether this acreage is a part of the Silver Wolf Wildlife Refuge or adjacent to it.

More charges pending…

Naasón Joaquín García originally faced 36 charges, including human trafficking, rape, child pornography, and forcible oral copulation of a minor, but took a plea deal prior to his upcoming trail.

Naasón Joaquín García is currently serving 16 years and 8 months in prison for three charges related to sexually abusing children.

The docuseries, ‘Unveiled: Surviving La Luz Del Mundo’, directed by Jennifer Tiexiera included five women who testified that he (N.J.G) sexually abused them between 2015 and 2019.    According to Wikipedia, he continues to be named as Legal Representative of the church in Mexico despite having been convicted of child sex crimes.  A number of women have also publicly accused García´s father, Samuel Joaquin-Flores of sexual abuse as well.

“A federal investigation is now under way,” The Guardian’s Lauren Mechling reported, “and there is a very real possibility, no doubt aided by the release of Tiexiera’s film, that he will be preaching from behind bars for a whole lot longer.”[11]

Naasón remains the apostle and the church from top to bottom apparently is still standing by him. A local publication in Dallas Texas, the Advocate reports, “the Dallas church, with joy and gratitude, shows its firmness to the Election, demonstrated by church and Sunday school attendance, that its faith remains firm in what it has believed.”[12]

The docuseries ‘Unveiled’ explains that “The Election” is the belief that “God chooses one person to represent him on earth and let the people know his divine will.”  The Guardian and other sources report that the convict is now leading sermons from his jail cell.

Five of Naasón Joaquín García’s accusers have filed a civil suit against him in Los Angeles, the Religion News Service reported.[13]

Political Connections, May 19th, 2019 Gala—“The Guardian of the Mirror” (El Guardian del Espejo de Palacio de Bellas Artes)

Before his arrest, the now-convicted leader of LLDM, Naasón Joaquín García, enjoyed apparent help from Mexican politicians.  He celebrated his own birthday (May 7) with a gala concert in Mexico’s Palace of Fine Arts, roughly equivalent to Carnegie Hall in New York City.  The symphonic concert was attended by prominent politicians such as Martí Batres Guadarrama, president of the Mexican Senate in 2018 to August 2019, and Sergio Mayer, Member of the Congress of the Union for the 6th district of Mexico City.

(Photo: Sergio Mayer with Naasón Joaquín García.)

Postscript:  February 5, 2023, A Second Visit to La Luz Del Mundo, Dallas, TX:

Another warm Sunday.  We are welcomed with open arms by several different people and a man comes to sit with us and translate if necessary or answer questions.  A few things have changed since COVID came to town.  Everyone entering without an N95 COVID mask is given one to wear and everyone must place his hand over a temperature monitor to make sure no sick persons enter the sanctuary.

The throne has been replaced with a different slightly smaller one, but equally ornate.  Naasón Joaquín García’s initials are no longer on the throne but are now placed above the throne.

As the sermon comes to a final crescendo, the pastor raises his voice and urges the faithful to remember that the “Elect” Naasón Joaquín García brought them the gospel and is their special appointed emissary from God.

At this point, as before, separate lines form—one for men and the other for women, but this time the congregants pass in front of the stage to deposit their tithes and offerings, somewhat distant from the center stage throne.

As we get ready to leave, we are intercepted by ushers and the pastor comes to greet us as well to let us know we are always welcome.  A photographer who has been taking pictures of the service takes our pictures as well.

Photo Credits

Photo of Naasón Joaquín García standing among followers is a cropped screen capture from video Brian Ross Investigates – The Apostle.

Photo of inside La Luz Del Mundo Dallas taken by Pete Evans, Trinity Foundation

Photo of outside La Luz Del Mundo temple is a cropped screen capture from documentary trailer Unveiled: Surviving La Luz Del Mundo.

Photo of Sergio Mayer with Naasón Joaquín García is cropped screen capture from video Sergio Mayer se deslinda de Naasón Joaquín, líder de La Luz del Mundo (which is translated to Sergio Mayer dissociates himself from Naasón Joaquín, leader of La Luz del Mundo).


[1] Article: Lauren Mechling, “We were hiding in plain sight: the horrifying story of La Luz Del Mundo” the, Dec 6, 2022

[2] La Luz del Mundo official Website as of 2008

[3] La Luz del Mundo official Website as of 2008

[4] La Luz del Mundo official USA website as of 2008

[5] Article: BENSMAN, Todd. San Antonio Express News, 05/24/08. Article: GUNSON, Phil. San Francisco Chronicle. “Powerful Cult Brings Controversy, Fear in Mexico.”

[6] La Luz del Mundo official Website as of 2008

[7] La Luz del Mundo official Website, originally in Spanish, translated by Abby Seibel as of 2008

[8] Article: BENSMAN, Todd. San Antonio Express News, 05/24/08.

[9] Guadalupe County Appraisal District, Article: BENSMAN, Todd. San Antonio Express News, 05/24/08.

[10] Article: BENSMAN, Todd. San Antonio Express News, 05/24/08.

[11] Article: Lauren Mechling, “We were hiding in plain sight: the horrifying story of La Luz Del Mundo” the, Dec 6, 2022

[12] Article: Christina Hughes Babb, “La Luz del Mundo Church is the Unflattering Subject of HBO Documentary, ‘Unveiled’,” the Advocate, January 26, 2023

[13] Article: Alejandra Molina, “La Luz Del Mundo Leader, Naasón Joaquín García, faces new lawsuit in Los Angeles”, Religion News Service, September 12, 2022