The Untold Truth Of The Love Has Won Cult

On April 28, 2021, as KXRM reported, officials in Colorado found the mummified corpse of a woman in a home in a rural area near Pueblo. The body was surrounded by Christmas lights, glittery makeup surrounding where the eyes had been (they'd been removed), as if in a sort of shrine. A number of people were charged with abuse of a corpse, and other crimes, in connection with the grisly find.

It would later be revealed that the mummified corpse belonged to a 45-year-old woman named Lia (Amy) Carlson, a former McDonald's manager (according to CivilBeat) who, depending on whom you ask, was either an enlightened spiritual leader or the head of an abusive cult. Specifically, Carlson had reportedly been the head of the "Love Has Won" religious movement. Believers found hope in her quasi-New Age teachings. Family members of people who bought into her message, however, allege brainwashing and abuse, including of animals and children. Here is the untold truth of the "Love Has Won" cult.

According to Civil Beat, the core teachings of the "Love Has Won" movement are difficult to pin down, but by and large, it seems to be based on quasi-New Age beliefs. "We're a group based on the ascension of the planet. We focus on astrology, on weather patterns, mainly medicine," member Ryan Kramer told the magazine.

Core teachings

"Our main form of work is the Gaia's whole healing essentials. We offer other types of healing modalities," he continued. The publication further noted that at the time (September 2020), the group also sold junk science nutritional supplements and colloidal silver and gold.

At the center of the group's beliefs was Carlson, who insisted on being called "Mother God" or "Mom," according to Vice. Group members believed that Carlson had been living through her 534th reincarnation, that she'd been trying to save humanity for 19 billion years, and that she would soon lead 144,000 "chosen ones" into a new, mystical dimension. "Mom was just in full consciousness for her whole life," said a woman who identified herself as Hope.

There are multiple key differences between a cult and a religion, but as The Guardian noted, two of those key differences involve a charismatic leader who becomes an object of worship, and indoctrinating members through isolation, coercion, and other tactics. "Love Has Won" certainly checked two of those boxes, according to people who have crossed paths with the movement. For example, "Mother God" Carlson required three key things of her followers, according to Vice: pandering to her every need, leaving their old lives behind, and bringing in money to the organization.

Hallmarks of a cult

Then there was the isolating of the members. As Civil Beat reported, family members of younger members caught up in the movement notified authorities that their loved ones had been incommunicado for a period of time, possibly sucked into a cult. However, as those people are adults, there's little law enforcement can do about it. "Nothing will change my mind that it's not a cult. I do feel like it's a cult. It's a scam," said a former member who identified herself as Ashley.

As The Metropolitan Museum reported, evidence of cults have been found in ancient Greece and Rome. Similarly, generations ago cults spread their message through more direct means, such as handing out pamphlets on street corners or in airports. Love Has Won, however, propagated its message in the most 21st-century way imaginable: through the internet. Specifically, according to Civil Beat, the group streamed content almost daily, via Skype, Facebook, and YouTube.

As recently as 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time on May 4, 2021, the group still maintained an active YouTube channel. A video was published that day, despite its leader's mummified corpse having been found in Colorado the week before. Similarly, the group had a Facebook page that was taken down on May 4. A website purportedly belonging to the group produces a 403 error.

One video made a rather eyebrow-raising claim about "Mother God" Carlson, calling her the "queen of [the mythical lost continent of] Lemuria and Donald Trump was mom's father in Lemuria," according to Civil Beat.

Allegations of abuse

Former members of the group, and people whose loved ones have been caught up in it, say that Carlson kept a set of rules for her followers — rules that she herself openly flouted. For example, according to Vice, she forbade her followers from using drugs.

"Mom is a 'no' on drugs; we are not allowed to do drugs, she doesn't do drugs and she has kicked people out of this field for doing drugs," said a member who identified herself as Aurora. However, Vice purportedly captured video that showed Carlson staggeringly drunk and hitting the bong.

Further, former member Andrew Profaci described his mentor as a mean drunk: "She probably drank eight or nine [highball glasses of vodka] a night. She'd turn into somebody else; she would become angry, she would talk smack and just be very bitter about things, yelling and cussing," he said.

Some of her behavior allegedly transcended hypocrisy and was downright abusive. She's accused of placing a screaming child in a cupboard and roughing up a cat. She also allegedly carried on a months-long sexual relationship with Profaci, who was a teenager at the time.

Two locations

The Love Has Won movement was originally based in Colorado, and it was the Centennial State where the body of the movement's deceased leader was found in late April 2021. At least some of the group's retail products were manufactured in Colorado. According to Vice, at least some of the members all lived together in a "chaotic house" in the state. However, for reasons that remain unclear, an unknown number of members of the group made a go of things in a luxury beachfront property in Kauai, Hawaii, according to Civil Beat.

It was a local cult watcher who figured out that some members of the group had taken up residence in the islands. "I kind of already had my finger on the pulse" of the group, and then within a couple of clicks, "I was already on their Facebook feed and they were on Kauai," said local resident Theresa Kapaku.

What they are or were doing on the island remains unclear. And despite the suspicions of neighbors and law enforcement, it appears the members kept their noses clean while in The Aloha State.

Carlson's death remains a mystery

As of May 4, 2021, Carlson's cause of death remains a mystery. According to the Saugache County Coroner, authorities are not prepared to conclude she died of foul play. Though several people have been charged with abuse of a corpse, none have been charged with murder or any similar crime. Authorities are also not clear on how long Carlson had been dead when her mummified body was found. According to KCNC, the investigation into Carlson's death has been turned over to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which will be tasked with determining if the remains suspected to belong to Carlson are actually hers, as well as determining the cause and manner of her death.

With their leader now dead, will the Love Has Won movement continue? For now, it seems as if the members of the group are either continuing without her, or are waiting for her to return in some fashion. The group still continues to produce videos, including one video published on YouTube the morning of May 4, 2021, in which a member speaks of Carlson as if she is still alive.