Naason Joaquin Garcia was referred to by press outlets this week as “Mexico’s Joel Osteen.” Garcia is the ‘apostle’ of the Light of the World Church, which has 15 thousand affiliated congregations, five million worldwide followers, inside of 59 countries. And when he landed at LAX several weeks ago, he was arrested for sex trafficking, child porn, and child rape. He is currently being held on 25 million dollars bond, which is a record for Los Angeles. Garcia’s extreme wealth, global reach, and private aircraft make him a high risk for fulfilling bond.
Garcia allegedly had underaged girls dance around him semi-nude while his assistants filmed and photographed them to sell as online pornography. Each dancing session would end when Garcia would engage one of the young girls sexually. They were told that if they disobeyed the “Apostle”, they were disobeying the will of God.
Garcia has done much to help the world media understand the dangers of the New Apostolic Reformation, a dubious sub-Christian sect led by American televangelists, which teach that its leaders are “apostles.” And as “apostles,” they are often seen as above reproach. Many press outlets have covered, in amazement, the way that Garcia’s church members believe him in spite of the allegations against him (like these church members in Arizona).
Garcia and Light of the World Church hold to the Oneness Pentecostal tradition, which deny the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. They also teach that speaking in tongues is a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and is required for salvation. Their ontological doctrine seems indistinguishable from that of Oneness Pentecostal, T.D. Jakes.