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iReporter captures 'holy supper' scenes in Mexico
iReporter Isaac Manriquez photographed this scene in Guadalajara, Mexico, of church members gathering for a "holy supper."
August 13th, 2013
01:57 PM ET

iReporter captures 'holy supper' scenes in Mexico

By Sarah Brown, CNN

(CNN) - Every August, devotees from the Light of the World Church, or La Luz Del Mundo, based in Guadalajara in central Mexico gather for a “holy supper,” or “santa convocation.”

The event is a remarkably colorful occasion for the church, which says it follows the beliefs of the “primitive” or early Christian traditions.

Crowds of worshipers who had traveled to the country from as far afield as Israel spill out into the city’s streets, holding parades and festivities that go on for days.The event reaches its peak Wednesday when the actual holy supper celebration is held in the church’s main building in Hermosa Provincia in Guadalajara.

The supper, says church member Isaac Manriquez, represents “the maximum expression of faith” for worshipers attending the event. Manriquez, from Deming, New Mexico, where the organization has a congregation, says he has been helping out at the ceremonies since he was small. He sent in these images of the church’s members parading down the main thoroughfare called the Calzada, which leads to the main temple.

Sharing photos of his fellow church members was, for Manriquez, a chance to inform others about his faith. For him, the event is about reuniting with international friends and reaffirming his commitment to his religion.

“The event is very important for me and for those who share this faith,” he said.

“What inspired me … was seeing thousands of people from different nations with the same faith united as if they were one. Even though they were from different races and spoke different languages - there seemed to be nothing that separated them.”

Read Manriquez' iReport submission and see more of his photos here

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Americas • Christianity • Church • iReport • Mexico

soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. Likeallother4535

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    August 22, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  2. Likeallother4535

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    August 22, 2013 at 9:19 am | Report abuse | Reply

    August 22, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  3. hharri

    Everything is proof how terrible Christians are! Just ask observer!

    August 19, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  4. EX-CULT MEMBER

    ADDITION TO MY PREVIOUS COMMENT BELOW: And absolutley no, there is nothing wrong wiht thousands of people gathering to celabrate a religious event. There is nothing wrong to belong to a church, group or spiritual organizatio to worship God. My arguement is that, IS WRONG when you are threaten to belive in someone who has taken a divine being existence and through propaganda of lies, you are required to to accept that there is no salvation for you soul if you dont belive in this person, the so called Apostle Samuel Joaquin. And its also WRONG when you are being constantly indoctrinated that all other churches, beliefs, faiths and other religious branches are nothing but false doctrines and the catholic Pope is the Beast mentioned on the bible. And also WRONG to criticize other faiths claiming that they are based on false doctrines and only this cult, is the only and true religion favored by GOD. Not to mention that they claim that their leader is the only chosen one by God himself to save humanity and no one attains eternal salvation if they do not accept him as an apostle.Again, how do I speak so freely and certain about this cult? I know. I was born and raised there until I had to courage to think on my own and leave the cult for good. NOW THE READERS KNOW THE TRUE NATURE OF THIS CULT.

    August 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • LAS

      in addition .... dont all religions pretty much say the same thing!? They are the one true church of GOD!? Why else is there so many !? The other day some "individuals" knocked at my door preaching of their belief, claiming they had the true teaching. you also forgot to mention in your previous comment about all the HOSPITALS,SCHOOLS, and RECREATIONAL buildings also done by this church. Opened to the public i might add. Not every member is a humble un-educated member, there are LAWYERS,DOCTORS,ARCHITECTS, ect ect that form part of this church. Yup, to my conclusion, your'e doing a good job on spreading negativity about this church .... yet im sure you have also have drawn the attention to know more about this church. Like me, im sure many are wondering if what you say is true, and will be following this more closely. You know, there is always two sides to every story .... im sure the reporter was not intending to preach, but show a good example of how people can actually come together in peace from all race and cultures. We can't even do this at a concert before a fight of some breaks out. lol By the way .... what church do you attend now!?

      August 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  5. EX-CULT MEMBER

    I used to belong to this cult and grew up in it, I am just glad I am out of there. They expect you to attend chruch everyday and ask you to donate money, everyday. Twice on Sunday. They have reunions everyday 3 times a day. That is right, 3 times a day. Most of the young people either leave the cult but come back, this is due because most their family still belong to that cult and they feel rejected by them once they leave. Others get married at a very early age just to get away from home. They just cant stand the preassure of being so controlled by their fanatic parents. The make you get baptized when you are only 14 years and you have to swear in front of the congregation that their leader Samuel is the only divine being in this earth and only him can give you salvation. 14 years old? you dont even know what you are doing at that age !!! Most of the people who are members come from low income areas and academically disadvantaged. The only college educated members are 2nd and 3rd generations who never leave the cult and marry withing the cult. The leader, known as the Apostle, never socializes with the followers. He arrives in a fancy car wearing very flamboyant elegant shinny suits like Liberacci, enters very quickly without letting anybody touch him and exists the backdoor after his sermon. Only waves from a distance. His sermon is followed by one of his pastors and keeps reminds the members how lucky and blessed they are to have known and accepted the man of God. And that without him and his intervantion, they are nothing to God. The apostle and his large family live in luxury and fancy homes all over the place, not to mentoned driving fancy expensive imported vehicles. I could go on and on, but at least gives the reader an idea of how this cult functions. They claim to have 5 million members throughout the world,for the sake of argument, imagine if each member donates only 1 dollar a week ? We are talking millions of US dollars a year tax free. Sweet Jesus!! the business of promising eternal salvation is very profitable, maybe I am in the wrong profession myself.

    August 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • LAS

      lol love the Ex-Cult member touch! that should really turn some heads!

      August 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • LLG123

      I am 1st generation born U.S. Citizen, College Educated with a bachelors degree currently working on a MBA, The Apostle of God has come up to me to say hello in passing. He has always been approachable but people choose to stay at a distance when there are massive amounts of people; unlike paparazzi and fans that come close to celebrities, risk their lives while hovering over them, we choose not to do that.

      Yes there are prayers 3 times a day 7 days a week and I am so grateful that I can walk into a temple to give thanks to the Lord my God for helping me day by day. People who usually complain about giving anything probably never did like sharing in responsibility. Folks that do willingly give understand that the bill, i.e. water, light , heat etc... have to be paid and it's helpful if we do give something if you WANT to, when you can, IF YOU CAN of course.

      I love how you left out the charity work that he has done and the work that we do as members of this church. I am also 100 percent certain that given your last comment about being in the wrong "PROFESSION" as you see it demonstrates the envy that you have for the things that he has and given the opportunity you would want what he has not so that you can help people serve the Lord but so you can drive around in a nice car and since money and materialistic things are that important to you.

      About the baptismal at 14,(other religions baptize/confirm at a much younger age) you know as well as I do, that is a choice. And there are PLENTY of people who I know that have made the choice NOT to be baptized because they understood the commitment that it was and were brave enough to make a choice either way. When and if they decided to return we respect that fact that they did it when they were ready to and some may never be ready. As a member guess what? That is their lives and their choices and I respect them for that.

      I think your comments only show your true nature and not that of my faith. When envy rears it's ugly head ask God to help you move past that so you can live a fulfilled life. There are plenty of people not of my faith who are fine, happy and healthy because they don't let negativity consume them in general. I wish you all the best. God bless you, I have to go make lunch with my husband and son, get some housework/homework done and then get ready for the service. 🙂

      August 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
      • Hugo Stiglitz

        My issue with baptism is not in comparison to other faiths, i.e. confirming at a younger, but the fact that a 14-year old child is given that choice. A 14-year old child that for the most part only knows the church and has been ingrained teachings that make the world we live in very black and white. In other words one is given a choice to be baptized and be "good" or not and be one of "them", i.e. gentiles. Who in their right mind actually believes this is a fair choice? Perform a survey to see how many children at that age in LDM believe that "gentiles" are bad people. There may be a few outliers who have the capacity to understand that the world isn't black and white, however those are in the minority. I know of very few who decided not to get baptized at that age. I know of many that decided to stop going years after that for various reasons.

        August 18, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
        • LAS

          its just funny how exaggerated in their negativity they are. we feed our body three meals a day, why not feed the soul three times a day!? besides, the 3 prayers are not forced upon .... it to assure the you can attend prayer at-least once a day. Again, you and mr ERIC have a personal issue .... thus want to spread false ideas. You pretty much insulted the reporter and CCN. Im sure they did their homework ..... you should too.

          August 19, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Ana Garza

      Peace of the Lord,

      First and foremost we are not a cult. We are not fanatics. No one forces us to go to our daily congregations. Yes, I said daily and yes, there are 3 services in a day. Why? Solely because if you could not go to one, you have the chance to attend at another hour. Nobody forces us to get baptized at the age of 14. We decide, we choose, to get presented at the age of 14 because we have believed, and it has always been known and said, that the adolescent comes of their own free will. That's what the presentation of 14 is about, to either stay in the path that God has blessed us with or to leave the church. After, that adolescent has made the decision to stay in the church and promise to live out his/her life as God commands, then comes the baptism. You exclaim that we get baptized at the age of 14, when other religions baptize children a few months after they are born. At least, we have the decision to get baptized or not when we have full command of our intelligence. And no we do not believe that outsiders (gentiles) are bad people. God has blessed us in putting us in this path, and it's His command that we spread our beliefs, make know to other people. Not by throwing insults, threats, or whatever oppressing form. We only talk about our beliefs to people, and then it's God's decision if in that person grows sincerely a want, a need to know more.

      All I say and ask, please don't be persuaded from all these negative comments. Yes we all have a right to our free opinions but I also have the right and obligation to defend my beliefs.

      If your curious to know more about our congregation we invite to come visit us at any of ours churches. In the US, Mexico and Europe. If you want to know where one is closest to you, please feel free to contact.

      I am in Dallas, Texas and our address is 2010 W. Jefferson Blvd. Dallas Tx

      God Bless

      November 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  6. Heber

    I can only speak for myself. I'm a member of this church.

    The Doctrine teaches you to use common sense in all things and not to follow blindly.
    The leader has urged everyone to explore other religions for themselves.
    I believe in God because I have faith not because of scientific facts.
    I believe God is merciful and can save whatever soul he wants from whatever religion/belief system he pleases.
    I am no one to condemn or judge.
    I don't take scripture literally.
    I also believe the Higgs boson exists and that planet earth is a lot older than Adam and Eve.

    People lumping everyone into a single category and calling this a cult are close-minded and ignorant.

    August 17, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 16, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Hugo Stiglitz

      This is why atheists teach their children that people not from their own belief are condemned to go to hell, therefore at an early age indoctrinating them to believe that the world is black and white. You are so right!

      August 17, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  8. ERIC W

    THE FOLLOWING POINTS ARE CHARACTERISTICS THAT PROVE THIS CHURCH IS A CULT: 1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law. 2 Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
    3. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
    4. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion. 5. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group. 6. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity). CASE CLOSED.

    August 16, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • joab

      Actually the things you are saying are not true at all. You should take time to investigate before making outrageous accusations and lies. In fact the leader of the church is an Apostle of God. Take your time to get to know, don't be ignorant.

      August 17, 2013 at 1:06 am |
      • ERIC W

        JOAB: THERE WAS A GIRL FROM WORK WHO I WAS INTERESTED ON BUT BELONGED TO THIS CULT. AND AFTER VISITING HER CHURCH AS I PROMISED I WOULD, I REALIZED HOW BRAINSWASHED YOU PEOPLE ARE. WHEN I ASKED A SIMPLE QUESTION WHY THEY THINK THEIR LEADER IS AN APOSTLE, THEY TAKE ONE SMALL PORTION OF A TEXT OF THE BIBLE, THEN THEY COMBINE IT WITH ANOTHER PORTION, THEN WITH ANOTHER, AND USED TO JUSTIFY THEIR ARGUMENT. NO CLEAR ANSWER WAS EVER GIVEN, JUST REDUNDANT ANSWERS. THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS CULT IS NOT TO FOLLOW THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST, BUT TO BELIEVE, ACCEPT AND DEVOTE YOURSELF UNCONDITIONALLY TO THE LEADER SAMUEL. YOU MUST BE EITHER A BLIND IGNORANT OR A COMPLETE IDIOT TO THINK THIS IS NOT A CULT.

        August 17, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  9. LAS

    I heard this .... i heard that ....REALLY!? Get a life people. You either believe in God, or you dont! I dont get why people get off on leaving negative remarks, i ask why you here any ways!? Do you truly know the beliefs and teachings of this church!? Would you like people to pass judgement, or criticize you based on what people "THINK" or "HEARD" !? lol I think its beautiful how many nations come together to worship GOD, no race barriers .... if "one" man, or their "leader" as you call him has made this possible, then he must definitely have good teachings.

    August 16, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • ERIC W

      I thought this was a free space where you are welcome to share your opinions and observations, not to always leave comments expressing agreement. By the way you have responded, it seems you are a member of this cult yourself. Now tell me, what exactly does this Apostle of yours teach? Now I want to know. And please answer me in a very civil manner. Thank you.

      August 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
      • LAS

        Ive studied many religions, Jehovah Witness's, Catholic, and many others .... all have leaders. All preach that they have the teachings to salvation. Your'e not calling "religion" cults .... your'e pin pointing out this one as one. So anyone who thinks this report or likes this report apparently has to be from the church, nice conclusion. Catholics will defend,love, and honor the pope ..... Jehovah Witness's their elders .... countries have presidents,kings or queens, all with people who love and honor them. Are they cults as well !? Your'e asking me about the beliefs,yet you mentioned you already visited the church .... makes no sense. I might add, this church is not the only who believes in "APOSTLES".

        August 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  10. ERIC W

    I was in Guadalajara a few years back in August and got curious about this church. Through very credible sources, I was informed this organization has very close poltical and business affiliations even at a national level. I also noticed when I went there physically out of curousity, It seems all they talk about on their sermons, which happen almost 24/7, is that they must belive that their leader is the only way to get through God. These people are so brainwashed!!!!

    August 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  11. M MILSTEAD

    I HEARD OF THIS CULT. MOST OF THE FOLLOWERS ARE SO INDOCTRINATED AND CONSTANTLY REMAINDED THAT ONLY THEIR LEADER HAS THE FULL AUTHORITY TO SAVE HUMANITY AND THIS AUTHORITY WAS GIVEN TO HIM DIRECTLY FROM GOD. WHAT A JOKE! YOU CAN TELL IS A CULT BY THE WAY THEY DEFEND THEIR LEADER SO FIERCELY. REMINDS ME OF NAZI PROGANDA.

    August 16, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  12. Julia

    If you think Jessica`s story is cool..., three weeks ago my dads neighbour actually earned $6251 workin fourty hours a month from their apartment and there best friend's step-sister`s neighbour done this for seven months and easily made more than $6251 part-time from their labtop. follow the tips available at this link,......................miniurl.com/dv2f

    August 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  13. slihla

    muy feliz de pertenecer a un pueblo de Dios y de conoser un hombre diferente a un apostol con vestiduras de puresa y limpieza que representa a cristo jesus aqui en la tierra en estos tiempos para salvacion...., porque si Dios en su poder creo el sol para la noche y la luna para alumbrar entonces porque no un ciervo de Dios para la humanidad ❤samuel juaquin flores❤ y esto no es de hombres ni por hombres sino de Dios para que asi nadie se glorie.

    August 16, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • Hugo Stiglitz

      "Solo Dios es bueno" dijo Jesus. Entonces digamos que Jesus estuviera en la tierra hoy mismo, si Jesus oyera cantos dirijidos hacia el que diria? Que no diria Jesus que los cantos y la honra solo se la merece el Padre? Entonces porque Samuel Joaquin no prohibe que la iglesia los cantos que hablan de el?

      August 17, 2013 at 12:30 am |
  14. IsaiHer

    It is the greatest of feasts!!! Where an Arab and a Jew come together setting aside their differences.
    https://sphotos-b-mad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/1399_283527388452629_2035028560_n.jpg

    August 15, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Hugo Stiglitz

      That's simply because the Jew no longer follows Judaism and the Arab is not a Muslim. It's really not that big of a deal. Now if that were a practicing Jew and a Muslim Arab, then it would be noteworthy.

      August 17, 2013 at 12:25 am |
  15. Ana Garza

    What a truly great blessing to see the church in such a harmnious gathering. Let us strive to better Cristians in this new spiritual year that has begun and to let no one or anything try to move our faith.
    God bless all the brothers and sisters that will be departing from GDL today and tomorrow and God willing, we will see each other next year.

    August 15, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  16. Ivan Ramirez

    Hermosa unidad no solo los que van ha Guadalajara si no tambien Los que no podimos ir nos unimos en in mismo sentir
    Fresno CA

    August 15, 2013 at 3:02 am |
  17. m4munoz

    This is Great News for those that Truly Believe in God.

    August 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      which one?

      August 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
      • Hugo Stiglitz

        Lol awesome comment. I like how most don't see the irony or haven't learned that the monotheistic God of Israel is simply one of many gods that cultures around the world have created in order to explain what used to be unexplainable such as the Sun, the Moon, weather, etc.

        August 17, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • skytag

      In English only proper nouns are capitalized.

      August 15, 2013 at 9:16 am |
      • Osvaldo

        existentialist wannabe

        August 15, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  18. ISAIAS CAMPOS

    IT IS TRULLY REFRESHING TO KNOW THAT THOUSAND.OD PEOPLE CAN UNITE IN A PEACEFULL MANNER TO EXPRESS THEIR FAITH. .I AM GLAD TO SEE THIS THIS EVENT BEING REPORTED IN THIS BLOG. AND HOPE TO HEAR MUCH MORE FROM THIS EVENT .}}

    August 14, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Why is mass delusion refreshing to you?

      August 14, 2013 at 11:52 am |
      • Jefte Alvarado

        Before you call it cheating, you should attend, comment on something you do not know is playing ignorant... God bless u

        August 15, 2013 at 3:19 am |
        • sam stone

          who called it cheating?

          August 15, 2013 at 3:42 am |
        • skytag

          I don't have to attend a mass religious gathering to know it's all based on myths and fairytales.

          August 15, 2013 at 9:19 am |
        • Hugo Stiglitz

          I was a member for many years and skytag is right. One doesn't have to attend to realize that religion is more hurtful than helpful.

          August 17, 2013 at 12:34 am |
      • skytag

        It's always easier to maintain your delusions when those around you share in them. The Bible doesn't call them "sheep" for nothing.

        August 15, 2013 at 9:17 am |
  19. Daniel M C

    FELICIDADES....Estamos reunidos en esta Santa Convocación y participando de este memorial Santo.

    August 14, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  20. Hiram Chavez

    FELICIDADES A LOS MIEMBROS DE LA IGLESIA LA LUZ DEL MUNDO, ES UN GUSTO QUE SE PONGAN ESTE TIPO DE NOTICIAS MUCHAS FELICIDADES A CNN.

    August 14, 2013 at 11:37 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.