- The HBO Original three-part documentary series UNVEILED: SURVIVING LA LUZ DEL MUNDO, directed by award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Tiexiera (“P.S. Burn This Letter Please”) and produced by Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions in association with Law & Crime Productions, debuts TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) with parts one and two, with part three debuting December 7 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. All three episodes of the series will be available to stream on HBO Max on December 6 with the linear premiere.
- Synopsis: UNVEILED: SURVIVING LA LUZ DEL MUNDO explores the horrifying, yet relatively unknown story of the Christian church La Luz del Mundo (LLDM) and the sexual abuse that scores of members, many of them minors, say they have suffered at the hands of its successive leaders, known as the “Apostles.” Told from the point of view of the survivors who met on Reddit to share their stories of abuse, the series chronicles the history of one of the most powerful religious groups not only in Mexico where it was founded, but also in the United States, while giving voice to the men and women who were brave enough to stand up and call out the heinous crimes.
- Under the guise of the only true church offering eternal salvation, LLDM, which claims to have congregations in over 50 countries and over five million followers, was founded in 1926 by Aarón Joaquín Gonzalez. Joaquín Gonzalez was succeeded by his son and then grandson, all three Apostles said to be appointed by “divine revelation.” Now, scores of former members have come forward to describe how the Apostles built and maintained a system to procure and groom children for abuse. The series culminates in the events leading up to the 2019 arrest of the current Apostle, Naasón Joaquín García and his present-day trial, shedding light on a story that was all but ignored by mainstream media, and illustrating the positive power of social media to unite and provide agency to the survivors.
- Episode Descriptions:
Episode 1: “Darkness in the Light of the World”
Debut date: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6 (9:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET/PT)
In 2017, former members of LLDM form an online community on Reddit sharing stories of abuse at the hands of the church’s venerated “Apostles.” Groomed as children, and psychologically imprisoned within a cult-like society through indoctrination, familial pressures and strict, religious dogma, they were taught to surrender their free will (mind, body and soul) in return for eternal salvation. The survivor community expands and increases awareness while the church grows in prominence and spreads globally.
Episode 2: “Unconditional”
Debut date: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6 (10:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Despite the church’s expanding power and influence, award-winning investigative journalists Rhonda Schwartz and Brian Ross report on the decades-long scandal as law enforcement also takes note. Risking their own safety, ex-LLDM members come forward to speak out as the church plans the construction of a fundamentalist community in Georgia, USA.
Episode 3: “A Fight for Justice”
Debut date: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7 (10:00 – 11:20 p.m. ET/PT)
In 2019, LLDM’s incumbent “Apostle,” Naasón Joaquín Garcia is apprehended along with two of his alleged handmaidens and charged with crimes relating to five Jane Does. In a heartbreaking turn of events for Joaquín Garcia’s victims, prosecutors unexpectedly offer him a plea deal depriving the victims of their day in court. While Joaquín Garcia is sentenced to just 16 years and eight months in jail, the survivors are determined to keep fighting for justice while grappling with their trauma.
- Featured Participants: UNVEILED: SURVIVING LA LUZ DEL MUNDO unfolds through a combination of candid, emotional interviews with survivors and other former LLDM members, many of whom are speaking out for the first time, never-before-seen footage and intimate, present-day vérité as wrenching courtroom victim statements are heard during sentencing.
- HBO is working with reputed non-profit organizations in the United States and Mexico, to help provide resources for audiences.
- Credits: HBO Documentary Films presents UNVEILED: SURVIVING LA LUZ DEL MUNDO. Directed by Jennifer Tiexiera; produced by John Jordan; executive produced by Stacey Offman, Richard Perello, Rhonda Schwartz, Brian Ross, Evan Lerner, Alex Lowry. For HBO: executive producers Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, and Sara Rodriguez.