Anchoring the documentary is the testimony of Sochil Martin, a former church member who says she was abused for years by García. She described La Luz del Mundo as an insular cult, a characterization echoed by Atlanta-based former members of the church in interviews with the AJC.
“They want to build a whole community in Georgia,” Martin says early in the documentary. “They have so much power … but they want more and more, including cities of The Light of the World.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reached out to La Luz del Mundo for comment.
In the documentary, the story of LLDM’s eye-catching Georgia building plans is told largely from the perspective of a longtime Flowery Branch resident identified only as Kate.
A survivor of sexual assault herself, she said she was moved by a “passion for justice” to look into the church’s track record when she first heard of its proposed expansion into her community. She spread word of her findings among Flowery Branch locals, and reached out to media outlets to continue to raise awareness.
“The reaction from most [people] was, you know, ‘We don’t want this.’”
According to Shelia Cooper, city clerk at Flowery Branch, local authorities have yet to receive a rezoning application needed before the church can move ahead with their ‘City of Light’ project on their 272-acre tract, located at 5071 Hog Mountain Road.
The church owns five other tracts on Hog Mountain Road, according to reporting from the Gainesville Times.
Records from Hall County Building Inspections show permits for demolition of single-family structures at 5510 and 5610 Hog Mountain Road. Another permit has been filed to build a church building at 5533 Hog Mountain Road.
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