Hundreds of thousands of members of the Light of the World church have travelled to Mexico to take part in their traditional mass baptisms. The organisation is embroiled in a sex crimes scandal, with its leader Naasón Joaquín García absent from the celebrations after his arrest in the US.
Some 600,000 followers from 58 countries have descended on the city of Guadalajara, where La Luz del Mundo has its international headquarters, for their week-long “holy convocation”, when leaders hold mass baptisms and a “holy supper”.
The fundamentalist Christian organisation was founded in 1926 by Mexican Eusebio Joaquín González, Mr García’s grandfather. It claims to have 1.8 million followers in Mexico and millions more worldwide, although many religious experts question these numbers.
The church describes itself as a “resurgence of the early Christian church”, and their followers believe 50-year-old Mr García is an apostle of Jesus. In recent years, the organisation’s influence has spread to the US, particularly in parts of California with large Hispanic populations.
Women cover their heads during services and sit separately from the men. Emotions often run high during their mass events and it was not any different this year, despite Mr García’s arrest in June. Read more