|'LIGHTING THE WAY'|
But cops say on the inside, the house of God was actually a house of ill repute and the workers were performing sex acts for money.
Phoenix Police Sgt Steve Marcos told KPHO that a six-month undercover investigation revealed that the prostitutes were called "goddesses" while sexual intercourse was known as a "sacred union while john's were called seekers.
He added: "This was no more a church than Cuba is a fantasy Island."
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said Thursday that among the individuals arrested were men and women "practitioners" and the Goddess Temple founder Tracy Elise.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery: "I don't care if you call it a donation, a fee or call your activity healing or tantric practice. Accepting money for sex is against the law."
Elise faces charges of prostitution, illegal control of an enterprise, pandering, and operating a house of prostitution.
While 18 others named in the indictment face charges including conspiracy, working in a house of prostitution and massaging without a license.
Employees are however maintaining they only accept cash donations for what they call "religious services."