Samuel Joaquín Flores: Who Was He? How Did He Die?

The Cinemaholic [Port Coquitlam, Canada]

December 6, 2022

By Stuti Gokhale

HBO’s ‘Unveiled: Surviving La Luz Del Mundo’ delves into the shocking sexual abuse allegations levied against the leaders of La Luz Del Mundo, a Mexican Christian megachurch. With almost all the victims being minors, the family that founded and led the organization came into the spotlight for being the perpetrators of the abuse.

This includes Naasón Joaquín García, the minister AKA the Apostle, who was eventually apprehended and sentenced for numerous counts of sexual abuse, rape, and trafficking. Apart from him, the docuseries features his father, Samuel Joaquín Flores, who led the church till his death and faced similar allegations. Now, if you want to know more about Samuel’s life and how he died, we’ve got you covered!

Who Was Samuel Joaquín Flores?

Born on February 14, 1937, Samuel Joaquín Flores was the youngest of eight siblings. His father, Aaron Joaquin Gonzalez, founded La Luz Del Mundo in 1926. It is a non-trinitarian Christian organization, which translates to Church of the Living God. Samuel served as a minister in the church, while his father led the congregation as the Apostle. When Aaron died in June 1964, his 27-year-old son took over the organization’s reigns and became the second Apostle.

In 1962, Samuel married Eva García López, and the couple had eight kids, including his successor, Naasón. Under Samuel’s dynamic leadership, La Luz Del Mundo grew exponentially, reaching around 72,000 members by 1972 and touching 4 million in 1993. He engaged in many philanthropic activities and social services, including constructing educational institutions and hospitals and cultural and social projects. This strengthened the congregation’s faith in the church and multiplied their respect and love for their Apostle.

Not just that, the church soon began expanding to other countries outside Mexico, and by the end of Samuel’s tenure in 2014, there were several followers in fifty countries. However, things took a shocking turn in the 90s, when 31-year-old Amparo Aguilar, a former congregation member, alleged that Samuel had raped her in the 70s when she was a minor. Along with three other accusers, all ex-members of the organization, Amparo approached the state and federal authorities around 1997 and filed a complaint.

Later, two other former La Luz Del Mundo followers, Moisés Padilla and Fernando Flores, also went public with their sexual abuse accusations against Samuel. Surprisingly, though the prosecutor’s office did receive Amparo’s complaint, no formal action was taken, reportedly because almost two decades had passed since the alleged abuse happened. Nevertheless, Samuel blatantly denied all the accusations against him, and the entire matter was buried.

How Did Samuel Joaquín Flores Die?

Samuel Joaquín Flores died at 77 on December 8, 2014, in his home in Hermosa Provincia, Guadalajara. While the cause of his death was not shared, he reportedly passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and loved ones. Since Guadalajara houses the world headquarters of La Luz Del Mundo, countless followers from all over the world attended Samuel’s funeral, a large-scale public event. Thousands of congregation members grieved his death, and even the Governor of State and the Municipal President came to pay their respects.

Samuel’s son, Naasón Joaquín García, who succeeded him as the third Apostle of the church, was shockingly arrested in 2019 following several allegations of sexual abuse, rape, and trafficking. In February 2020, former La Luz Del Mundo member Sochil Martin also sued the church and its leaders for sexually abusing her for 22 years. She claimed she was forced as a minor to serve Samuel as a sexual servant for many years till his death. She further claimed that his son followed suit and continued abusing her.

Interestingly, Alondra Ocampo, who was arrested with Naasón and charged with sexually abusing minors and grooming them to be abused by him, made an explosive claim in her testimony. She alleged that Samuel had raped her when she was eight, expressing how it had traumatized her life and made her believe that abuse was normal. Nevertheless, while Naasón was convicted for his crimes in 2022, all allegations against Samuel sadly remain unanswered, given the lack of evidence due to his death.