Amy Carlson: The life of Love Has Won cult leader ‘Mother God’

Amy Carlson: The life of Love Has Won cult leader ‘Mother God’
Cult leader claimed she had been reincarnated more than 500 times, and previously lived as Jesus Christ and Marilyn Monroe, among others

Amy Carlson, the leader of the Love Has Won cult, was the Mother of All Creation. Or at least that’s what her LinkedIn profile said.

Ms Carlson’s body was discovered in a state of decay, adored with fairy lights and glitter, in a mobile home in Moffat, Colorado, where her core group of worshipers were apparently treating her corpse as a sort of shrine.

The discovery was made by Saguache County Sheriff’s Office deputies on 28 April after they were contacted by a former cult member, Miguel Lamboy, who said he had seen the body and that the group members were holding his child hostage.

Seven of the cult members were arrested after the discovery of the body and were given a variety of charges related to the abuse of a corpse and child abuse.

Love Has Won has members throughout the world, thanks largely to the group’s “Daily Energy Update” YouTube recruiting videos.

But who was Ms Carlson, and how did she manage to convince others of her divinity to the point that they would suspend their lives, wait on her hand and foot and – following her death – live with and worship her corpse?

Ms Carlson’s early life and the early days of what would become Love Has Won are largely unknown.

The woman – who was known as Mother God to her adherents – was a straight-A student in school, participated in the choir, and was said to have had a lovely singing voice.

Ms Carlson eventually had three children to at least two fathers, and became a manager at a McDonald’s in Texas.

At some point she began discussing matters of faith with people online, and it is believed that her delve into the world of alternative spirituality is what led her to become “Mother God”.

According to her oldest son, Cole Carlson, his mother abandoned him and his siblings when he was 12, which would be around 2006 or 2007.

He told the BBC that one Christmas he was preparing to travel to Houston to spend Christmas with his mother – he was living with his father at the time – but shortly before the trip he learned that his mother was leaving the family.

Family members believe that Ms Carlson left to live with individuals she met online. That was the last time many of her family members ever saw her.

According to Ms Carlson’s family, the attempted to intervene to break her of her delusions, even taking their story to Dr Phil, but none of their attempts were successful.

Even in death, Ms Carlson was still inextricably tied to her cult.

Love Has Won began from Ms Carlson’s early YouTube posting, in which she would espouse various New Age beliefs, casting doubt on established science and mainstream spirituality.

At some point after gaining notoriety from her videos, she began to refer to herself as Mother God, the Mother of All Creation, and is believed to have taken over the group of spiritualists that she was living with at the time.

She claimed she had experienced 534 reincarnations, and had been “alive” for 19 billion years.

According to Ms Carlson, her former incarnations included Jesus Christ, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra and Marilyn Monroe. Her believers also claim she is in some way the daughter of Donald Trump.

The cult’s beliefs were fluid, and incorporated elements of mainstream Abrahamic religions, New Age spiritualism, and mythic beliefs incorporating Mount Shashta in California and the Lemurian civilisation of advanced beings that legends claim live inside the mountain.

Ms Carlson’s believers claimed that she would lead 144,000 of her faithful into the “Fifth Dimension”.

Eventually Ms Carlson began to take on “Father Gods” – men who would serve as her counterparts.

One of those “Father Gods”, Andrew Profaci, left the cult and has since spoken out about his time with the group.

Mr Profaci joined the group after going on a “spiritual journey” following a horrific car crash he was involved in. He joined the group in 2014 and spent 10 months in Ms Carlson’s inner circle.

“When I joined the team I thought I was just going to be a guy in background. She told me I was going to be the father God to her mother God,” he said.

He described Ms Carlson as a heavy drinker who became volatile at night once she was intoxicated.

“I doted on her and tended to her every need. She drank ten shots of vodka a night. When she would drink at night she would lose her cognitive abilities. She would fall and walk into walls,” he claimed.

Ms Carlson’s drinking was one source of abuse allegations that have been made by members who have left the group and family members of those who were still following her teachings.

Mother God can be seen screaming at group members in various videos, sometimes while clearly intoxicated. In one video she chastises a group member for bringing her meatballs instead of chicken parmigiana.

Former members complained of long work hours in which they were not allowed to sit, and long online live streams where they would be tasked with recruiting new members and selling “medicines” produced by the group.

According to Mr Profaci, Ms Carlson believed she was the human embodiment of the Earth.

He also noted that when he knew her, her health was in decline. It would be Ms Carlson’s declining health that would eventually lead the group to leave their Colorado headquarters for Hawaii.

While the extent of Ms Carlson’s health issues are not currently known, cult members claimed they moved to Hawaii in order to help Mother God, who was suffering from some form of cancer.

Ms Carlson eschewed pharmaceutical medicines and mainstream medical treatment. A spokeswoman for cult justified Ms Carlson’s use of alcohol and marijuana – which she barred her adherents from using – as a form of “self-medication”.

Further, Ms Carlson is believed to have been ingesting colloidal silver. The substance is marketed in some alternative spirituality circles as a dietary supplement, but health experts say it has no such benefit.

Quite the contrary, health experts warn that colloidal silver, when ingested in large amounts, can cause skin and organ discolouring, organ failure, and eventually death.

The group was met with harsh resistance in Hawaii. Residents on the island of Kauai protested the group’s home on the island.

Ms Carlson tried to quell their complaints by claiming that she was also the reincarnated of Hawaiian deity Pele, which only served to further infuriate the islanders.

The cult eventually fled the island under protection of a police escort.

What occurred immediately after is unclear. Some reports claim the group spent time in Oregon, and other say they spent time in California. What is known is that eventually the group returned to their original headquarters in Moffat, where Ms Carlson’s body was found.

Three weeks before her estimated time of death, a photo of Ms Carlson emerged in which her hair had thinned, she appeared emaciated, and her skin bore a dull purplish-grey colour, possibly the result of her ingestion of colloidal silver.

Though Ms Carlson’s autopsy reports will likely not be available for several weeks, deputies believe she died weeks before she was discovered on 28 April.

Despite that claim, her followers say she “ascended” – not died – the night the deputies found her. The state of decay described by witnesses suggests otherwise.

Since her death, Ms Carlson’s family members have spoken out.

Cole Carlson said that he still loves his mother despite her abandoning him at a young age. He said he hopes to help facilitate legal pathways for former cult members and relatives of individuals still involved in the cult to obtain damages from the organisation.

He said he hopes the group will come to an end with the death of his mother.

Chelsea Ann Reninger, Ms Carlson’s older sister, issued a statement on Facebook following the discovery of the latter’s corpse.

“For those of you that knew my sister Amy, I wanted to let you know we found out yesterday of her passing! Please pray for us and the people involved in this awful situation. We are choosing to remember who she was when she was in our lives on a regular basis and not who she became from this manipulating cult!” she said.

The cult’s website has been taken offline by former member Miguel Lamboy, though its Facebook page appears to still be active.

Though none of the group’s core American members have appeared on video since Ms Carlson’s discovery, international members have continued to live-stream the group’s Daily Energy Updates on YouTube.