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Flowery Branch is a ‘huge part’ of HBO documentary about LLDM. Here’s why
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Naasón Joaquín García leads a service at his church "La Luz del Mundo" in Guadalajara, Mexico on Aug. 9, 2018. García, the leader of the Mexican megachurch La Luz del Mundo, pleaded guilty Friday, June 3, 2022, to sexually abusing three girls, California state prosecutors said. - photo by Associated Press file photo

Flowery Branch figures in prominently in an upcoming HBO documentary series looking at La Luz Del Mundo, a church that saw the fall of its leader to sex abuse crimes.

The South Hall city “is a huge part of the story,” said Jennifer Tiexiera, director of “Unveiled: Surviving La Luz Del Mundo,” in a phone interview Friday, Dec. 2.

When the church bought 272 acres off Hog Mountain Road, a couple of concerned residents started reaching out to survivors “and forged this very unlikely but powerful friendship of trust,” she said.

That grew into outrage that “this is the (same) organization that’s trying to move into our town,” Tiexiera added.

A couple of journalists picked up on the story and approached HBO.

“All these things sort of culminated into where we are now,” said Tiexiera, who visited Flowery Branch as part of the filming. “It was really the community activism that was a huge part of getting the story the traction it needed” to catch the attention of California officials and become a court case.

The series is set to air beginning Tuesday, Dec. 6.

The show “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,” according to the network’s website.

Earlier this year, the leader of La Luz del Mundo church, Naasón Joaquín García, was sentenced to 16 years and eight months in a California prison for sexually abusing three girls. The sentencing followed Garcia pleading guilty to three felonies on the eve of a long-awaited trial. García, who is considered the “apostle” of Jesus Christ by his 5 million worldwide followers, had vigorously fought the charges before the plea.

As of 2019, the church was proposing a 272-acre campus at 5071 Hog Mountain Road, near Wade Orr Road.

“We own the property, and we have full intentions on going forward with the project,” said Jack Freeman, spokesman for the church, in an interview at the time.

“Our team’s engineers and architects are still in the process of refining both the conceptual master plan, as well as elevations for the houses and the various commercial and institutional  buildings,” he said in an email. “At this point, there is no definitive timetable for submitting any type of application to the city.”

Freeman couldn’t be reached for comment about the HBO program or development updates.

Public records show that LLDM, or more specifically, LDM Central USA Evangelical Ministries, still owns the property, which is in Flowery Branch, as well as five other tracts on Hog Mountain Road and two tracts each on neighboring Blackjack Road and Oakfern Trail.

Records from Hall County Building Inspections show permits for demolition of single-family houses at 5510 and 5610 Hog Mountain Road. Other details weren’t available.