With Netflix’s ‘The Darkness Within La Luz del Mundo’ delving deep into how this church’s leaders have always abused young girls in the name of religion, we get a documentary unlike any other. After all, apart from archival audio-video footage to explore the background of these self-proclaimed Apostles of Jesus Christ, it also comprises first-hand testimonies of some brave survivors. Amongst them was actually Betsabé Gonzalez — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about her, her upbringing, her experiences, as well as her current standing, we’ve got the details for you.
Who is Betsabé Gonzalez?
Although California native Betsabé wasn’t born into the sect of La Luz del Mundo (The Light of the World), she did grow up surrounded by it owing to her parents’ eventual interest in its teachings. “My whole life was the church,” she candidly elucidated in this Carlos Osorio-directed original production. “I did not know anything outside of the church. No other teachings whatsoever.” Her routine thus consisted of attending school, completing chores, doing homework, and spending quality time with family, all the while arguing with peers because they didn’t believe in the apostle.
The reason behind this is the fact Betsabé had essentially been taught from day one that the apostle — Samuel Joaquín Flores at the time — was “the ultimate. There’s nothing above him.” She said in the production, “You are just told, plain and simple, ‘God chose Samuel to be [his emissary]… Even if, in the back of your mind, you think of questioning, something automatically shuts you down because [it] is a sin. You can’t question God’s decisions.” It hence comes as no surprise that when she was called to his Los Angeles rest house to help run it on a daily basis at the age of 14, she was genuinely excited as it brought them closer.
“Whenever I would see [Samuel or] a picture of Samuel, it would be love what I would feel,” Betsabé expressed at one point. “That’s all I knew growing up. He was my father. More than my biological father. He was the father who will guarantee my salvation.” Therefore, she considered the house staff opportunity a blessing, unaware it would soon become much more and she wouldn’t even realize it until years later — she believed in the blessing. She stated, “We were blessed. I know I use this word a lot, but it was used a lot [on young followers]. ‘You are blessed.’ ‘You are chosen to serve the apostle.’ And serving him in everything.”
Betsabé later revealed, “At the beginning, they just tell you are going to serve him the basic; his food, entertainment. We would do dances. Just think of like in a school concert. So, nothing provocative, nothing sexy or destructive. No, no, no, it was just innocent.” Though little did she know all this was done solely to help Samuel handpick some girls for his private group, who would then allegedly be groomed into offering him their virginity as a “gift.” She actually asserts this first-hand since she became part of the inner circle, where she provided him coffee in his room and gave him massages before unwittingly being lured to his bed.
Where is Betsabé Gonzalez Now?
The truth is Betsabé didn’t understand Samuel had abused her until US officials arrested his son/successor Naasón Joaquín García on 26 counts of rape, human trafficking, and child pornography on June 3, 2019. She had hence grieved him following his December 8, 2014, demise from an ailment too — “I took the next flight to Guadalajara when they told us he was sick,” she somberly conceded before adding. “I actually flew to go see my abuser, but I didn’t realize it. Back then, he was still my savior… There was a long line of brothers to go into the temple to see his body, and I stayed there for maybe five hours, making a line to go in.”
Coming to Betsabé’s comprehension, this Los Angeles resident voiced, “I did cry when they announced Naasón’s arrest. But it was more of a relief, like, ‘Finally – – finally, this is going to happen… I was already doubting Naasón as an apostle, so that made the wheels start turning. Then maybe Samuel was not an apostle either. That’s when I started realizing, ‘Wait a minute, this wasn’t a blessing, this was abuse.'”
Therefore, despite the fact Samuel died before his alleged reality ever came to light, Betsabé is content with how things have proceeded since both he as well as his son have been exposed as predators. She’s actually satisfied with just the former’s name, his legacy not continuing as “a man of God,” which she believes he never was — so today, she’s simply focusing on moving forward while surrounded by loved ones.
Read More: Karem Leon: How Did the Survivor Die?