As a documentary living up to its title in every way conceivable, Netflix’s ‘The Darkness Within La Luz del Mundo’ can only be described as equal parts bewildering, disquieting, and haunting. That’s because it carefully incorporates not just archival footage but also exclusive interviews to really shine a light upon the way a line of church leaders took advantage of countless young girls in the name of religion. Amongst them was unfortunately Alethea Sua Mendoza-Coronado — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about her as well as her current standing, we’ve got the necessary details for you.
Who is Alethea Mendoza?
Reportedly born into the infamous sect of La Luz del Mundo (or The Light of the World) to relatively well-known pastor David Mendoza and his wife Olga, there was a time Alethea was devout in every sense of the term. In fact, she was the church’s lovable choir director — a position she’d admittedly proudly held since she was 11 thanks to her father’s guidance plus the sheer musical talent running in her veins. “My great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, they all sang in choir,” she candidly stated in this original production while omitting the fact her brother David Jr. is quite a famous singer too.
“Music is powerful,” Alethea continued. “Poetry is powerful, if you understand it. Songs have a very strong pull in inspiring devotion and instilling adherence to the doctrine. [The church leaders] even told us that we, the choir, were like part of the ministerial body because through our singing, through our voice, we called souls to us. Our purpose is to captivate them, to bring them in.” However, this vibrant image of her background as well as their so-called apostle Samuel Joaquín Flores they’d painted in her mind wasn’t entirely accurate, and she began seeing glimpses of it while she was still a young girl.
“When I was in charge of the choir, they finally called me [to help run the apostle’s rest house],” the once Siloe Hospital doctor elucidated in the documentary. “‘Alethea, the servant of God asked for you.’ Oh! My whole world changed. ‘Yes, he said you’re very pretty. Not just anyone has this blessing. It’s something you shouldn’t share with anyone.'” Though little did she realize this “blessing” would soon evolve from innocent things like serving him food or providing him entertainment in a group to “gifting” him “the most precious part of her being” at that time — her virginity.
Nevertheless, owing to how Alethea was brought up and her surroundings, she still grieved when Samuel passed away in late 2014 — “we prayed, we sang, we didn’t eat,” she conceded in the film. It actually wasn’t until one of his sons, Naasón Joaquín García, was appointed leader/apostle a few days later that her “mind completely broke down” because she knew his reality too. In other words, she only realized she’d been abused as an adult, following which came her attempts to step away from the sect for good — she reportedly succeeded in doing so around the early 2020s.
Where is Alethea Mendoza Now?
As per Alethea’s own accounts, the day US officials arrested Naasón on 26 counts of child pornography, human trafficking, and rape/sexual assault of minors in 2019 was the happiest of her life. “I thought, ‘This is really going to open my family’s eyes’,” she expressed in the original before adding, “I read the accusations [against him]. That’s exactly what’d happened to me. Why didn’t I open my eyes? Is something wrong with me? How could they see it was wrong and I didn’t? So, instead of blaming my predator, Samuel Joaquín Flores, I blamed myself [for sinning by being deceived].”
Yet, today, from what we can tell, Alethea is doing her best to move forward without carrying the baggage of her past, meaning she’s gradually coming to terms with it by opening up to the world. As for her personal standing, it seems like this doctor and apparent family woman is currently based in Dallas, Texas, where she prefers to keep her daily experiences well away from the limelight. So, all she has to say following Naasón’s 2022 plea deal conviction is, “He’s a predator that had a predator for a parent as well; [a predator] who produced a predator child. That’s what it is.”
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