Mexican faith leader jailed for sex abuse; flock stays loyal


              Commemorative cups featuring the La Luz del Mundo, Spanish for The Light of the World, church leader Naason Joaquin Garcia, are displayed for sale at the church’s home base that includes cafeterias, clinics, and a recreation center, in the Hermosa Provincia neighborhood of Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. La Luz del Mundo is sometimes described as evangelical, but its members do not embrace this term. (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)
            
              Congregant Sailem Castillo poses for a photo outside the La Luz del Mundo, Spanish for The Light of the World, in the Bethel neighborhood of Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Castillo said she remains upbeat despite the imprisonment of their church leader Naason Joaquin García who is serving a 16-year sentence in California after pleading guilty to sexually abusing minors. (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)
            
              Merchandise for celebrating the Santa Cena or Holy Supper are displayed for sale on the grounds of the La Luz del Mundo or the Light of the World flagship temple in Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Thousands gathered to pray for their absent leader, Naason Joaquin Garcia, during their Holy Supper, the most sacred festivity for La Luz del Mundo. Garcia addressed the congregation by telephone from his Los Angeles prison, where he is serving a 16-year sentence after pleading guilty to sexually abusing minors. (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)
            
              Faithful sit in contemplation on the grounds of the La Luz del Mundo or the Light of the World flagship temple in Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Congregation members in the neighborhood call each other “brother” and “sister” and take pride in helping one another. The church’s media relations office claims there is no crime in the area. (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)
            
              Congregant Sara Pozos stands outside the La Luz del Mundo, Spanish for The Light of the World, church’s home base, during an interview in the Hermosa Provincia neighborhood of Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Bethlehem and Nazareth are among the names of roads converging on the white temple that locals call “the cake,” for its white tiers that diminish in size as they rise upward. (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)
            
              La Luz del Mundo or the Light of the World church members exit a service in the Bethel neighborhood of Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Female church members wear dresses and skirts that are not form-fitting, eschew makeup and earrings and wear their hair long. The religion is ”very demanding,” said Arlene M. Sánchez-Walsh, a professor of religious studies at Azusa Pacific University. “It is not sufficient to say ‘I have converted’ or “I have baptized’” she said. “You have to follow certain steps to prove your loyalty.”  (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)
            
              Faithful attend a Santa Cena or Holy Supper service in the La Luz del Mundo or the Light of the World flagship temple in Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Thousands gathered to pray for their absent leader, Naason Joaquin Garcia, during their Holy Supper service, the most sacred festivity for La Luz del Mundo. Garcia addressed the congregation by telephone from his Los Angeles prison, where he is serving a 16-year sentence after pleading guilty to sexually abusing minors. (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)
            
              A sculpture hashtag that spells out the English word for innocent in reference to church leader Naason Joaquin Garcia, stands in a pedestrian walkway that leads to the La Luz del Mundo or Spanish for The Light of the World flagship temple, in Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Garcia, 53, was arrested in 2019 in California. He initially faced more than 20 charges, but most were dismissed after a plea deal with prosecutors. He is currently serving a 16-year sentence in a Los Angeles prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing minors. (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)
            
              FILE - Naason Joaquin Garcia, the leader of the La Luz del Mundo, Spanish for The Light of the World, appears in Los Angeles County Superior Court, on June 5, 2019. The leader of the multinational, Mexico-based Christian church is imprisoned in California after pleading guilty to sexually abusing minors. Yet legions of followers in his home city of Guadalajara remain fervently loyal to him. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Mexican faith leader jailed for sex abuse; flock stays loyal