Los Angeles Times

La Luz del Mundo's leader faces charges, but 'God has his plan,' congregants say

LOS ANGELES - For its faithful, the leader of La Luz del Mundo is "the apostle" of Jesus Christ. God made it so.

Hundreds of thousands of parishioners gathered in Guadalajara last month to celebrate their leader's 50th birthday. They filled the streets around the organization's towering temple - headquarters to the largest evangelical church in Mexico, with a strong religious presence in parts of Southern California.

When the apostle, Naason Joaquin Garcia, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport this month on multiple counts of sexual abuse, including forcible rape of a minor, many of his disciplines held firm.

They rushed to church - including those in East and West L.A. - to pray and proclaim his innocence.

"When David was going to fight Goliath, it looked like he was going to lose," said Robert Pelegreen, a parishioner and retired

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