Freeway Church of the Eastex Holy Roaming Empire: Shining a Little Light on La Luz Del Mundo

Blogger Robert Boyd does what every Houstonian who’s driven the Eastex Freeway has been meaning to do — one day: get off the freeway and see what the deal is with that brightly lit marble and marbleish Greco-Roman edificial smorgasbord on the 59 feeder road:

When I was taking pictures, I got a chance to speak with the young watchman. He told me that the church took five years to build. He offered to let me see the interior, but I wasn’t allowed to take pictures there. A shame, because as mindblowing as the outside is, the inside is even moreso.


Boyd isn’t quite so impressed by some of the exterior decorations:

Even though they clearly spent a fortune on this church, they really should have spent a little more on the sculptures.

This pediment is inhabited by various Biblical figures, but unlike a Greek pediment, the figures don’t have a visual or spatial relationship with each other or with the architecture of the pediment. . . . it is as if the various elements were sculpted separately and then stuck onto the pediment randomly, with no sense of composition.

The front gates feature similarly clumsy sculptures.

The compound is the Houston encampment of Apostle Samuel Joaquin Flores‘s Iglesia La Luz del Mundo, a church based in Guadalajara, Mexico, that claims 5 million members worldwide. Boyd says the place “seems clumsy, grandiose, crass, and overpowering.” But he likes the display.

23 Comment

  • I have noticed this building with contempt the few times I have been forced to fly with a commercial airline and my Maybach never speeds past this monument to incivility fast enough. This structure is nothing more than putrid eye candy for those unfortunate souls residing in the suburban wastelands. I sometimes wonder if I have more contempt for the cretin(s) who built this monstrosity or the suburban buffoons who have to see it on a daily basis.

  • Verily forsooth Landed Gent, although I wouldn’t be caught dead short of a Duesenberg (Maybachs are for plebs), I too have had the unfortunate experience of viewing this nasty visage with mine own eyes. The building is a testament to gaudy disregard for architectural sensibilities and a complete ignorance for the public’s well-being. I endorse this building being tactically nuked from orbit with fire. Pip pip.

  • Time to fire your drivers, boys. Or get them a new GPS. The fastest way from River Oaks to IAH is via I-45. And the scenery is better too. The Mattress Majal is much more majestic than this marble monstrosity.


  • Well, I always wondered what ancient Greece would have looked like it it had been pre-assembled and sold at K-Mart. Now we know.

  • i puke a little in my mouth every time i drive by this in my ’99 nissan..

  • Puhleeeeeeeeze. No one would be caught dead in a Maybach on either 59 or 45.

  • Matt:
    Yes, the place to get caught dead and rich in your auto is Allen Parkway.

    Yes, I went there.

  • Ah, yes, La Luz del Mundo, Houston’s very own mini-Vatican complete with truncated Piazza S. Pietro. Is the flaming ring sculpture atop the dome actually a handle for easy roof-raising in case of Rapture?

  • In case of rapture, can I have your car?

  • Oh my what delicate sensibilities on display! At least as kitsch it’s balls out, and its outrageous pastiche functions as a sign à la “Learning from Las Vegas”.

  • From my research Eusebio Joaquin Gonzales had a vision from God and his name was changed to Aaron. My spirit guide wants me to change my name to Mortimer. Below is a link to the compund in old Mexico.

  • Scott–I am with you. Houston is full of architectural bad taste, but it tends to be bad taste that politely pays obeisance to prevailing norms of bad taste. Hence the faux-Tuscan McMansion becomes a self-perpetuating meme. Developers keep building them and homebuyers keep buying them because they see so many other versions of the same crap, they start believing that turrets are good.

    La Luz del Mundo utterly ignores the norms of architectural tastes in Houston (which are horrible but all to common). Its crimes against taste are unique and displayed with gusto. Unlike the buyer of a faux-Tuscan architectural travesty, the congregants of La Luz del Mundo don’t care what other people think. To which I say, right on!

  • It reminds one of Forest Park/Glendale in Los Angeles. Something for everyone. Including Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor who apparently decided since she can’t decide which husband to be buried with/next to/near she will be buried next to Michael Jackson. In her Maybach of course.

  • I think there was a similar thread on HAIF a few years ago about this church, and a representative shot back (figuratively, of course).

  • The photos make me think this church was built as opulently as possible with a budget that was a little too small. Quantity over quality. They should have spent even less and used the extra money to help the less fortunate. The Church is the people inside it, not the building they meet in.

    All jokes about bad taste aside… like many other churches this one seems to have forgotten what Christianity is about. It’s not about building edifices to vanity.

    There are a lot of good Christians out there. People that build churches like this and the people on the TBN network are an embarrassment to the good ones.

  • jgriff–perhaps the congregation believed that they should try to build as glorious an edifice as possible in honor of God. Surely the master-craftsmen and laborers who built the great gothic cathedrals of Europe were doing the same. I’m not suggesting that La Luz del Mundo is the equivalent of Chartres Cathedral, but I suspect the motivations were similar.

  • RWB. I beleieve that the gothic cathedrals of Eurpoe were built in vain also. I myslef am not a practicing Christian but I know some people who are Chrisitians of the real variety. The kind that live in tattered clothes and give everything they have to helping less fortunate people.

    To each his own but I don’t think the Jesus of the Bible would be found in this church. I think he would be teaching the homeless “to fish”.

  • i like it. an eifs edifice. or is it really marble/stone? i must walk up and tap on it sometime.

  • According to the watchman, it is marble. It sure felt like marble to me.

  • I love driving past this place with people who have never seen it before. It’s always good for shock and laughter. I cannot contain my own laughter every time I drive north to visit family. The place is insanse! I wish we could see interior pics.

  • may God have mercy on your souls. All you ignorant people who blindly judge this church.

  • i think its beautiful. God gives us life everyday and blesses us in many ways. I have heard and visited the church and its very beautiful. tey are very nice and generous ppl. they dont only help members of their chuch but everyone else too. God bless them.

  • may god open ur eyes to see how beautiful this church is not only to see the temple but the church the doctrine, may god open ur eyes to see the truth that has come by an APOSTLE send from god i can proudly say i belong to this church nd would never change it for anything this is the truth