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A primer on Love Has Won, the Colorado cult featured in HBO’s new docu-series

The series chronicles the life and death of cult leader Amy Carlson, known as Mother God

Amy Carlson, center, is seen in a YouTube video posted by Love Has Won last year. Carlson was the leader of Love Has Won and went by the name "Mother God."
Video still via YouTube
Amy Carlson, center, is seen in a YouTube video posted by Love Has Won last year. Carlson was the leader of Love Has Won and went by the name “Mother God.”
Tiney Ricciardi - Staff portraits at ...

“What’s a cult? People not believing what’s mainstream, which is God is a man and you find him in a church that wants money?”

That’s a quote from a member of an organization called Love Has Won in a new HBO docu-series, entitled “Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God.” The group is, by most accounts, a cult that grabbed headlines in April 2021 after the mummified remains of its leader, Amy Carlson, known as Mother God, were found in a sleeping bag wrapped in Christmas lights near Crestone, Colorado.

But that was hardly the first time Love Has Won ended up in the news. Over the course of a decade-plus, the group gained exposure by spreading its message by live-streaming on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. In 2020, Love Has Won fled Hawaii under police escort after Carlson’s claims to be the deity Pele sparked outrage among locals.

HBO’s docu-series chronicles the life and death of Carlson through interviews with current and former members, footage from the group’s extensive online archive and conversations with her family members, including the two children Carlson left behind when she moved to Colorado on a whim to – in her words – chase her life’s mission.

The three-part documentary is well worth a watch, but for those who don’t have three hours to dedicate to it, here’s a quick primer on the Love Has Won cult.

What are the beliefs of Love Has Won?

As the leader of Love Has Won, Carlson was believed by her followers to be the mother of all creation and a living god who energetically processed all the world’s traumas on behalf of Earthly people. Members of the cult referred to her as Mother God and believed she lived numerous past lives as Joan of Arc, Cleopatra and Marilyn Monroe.

Many of the group’s beliefs relied on metaphysical elements, such as energetic vibrations, five dimensions of reality, a galactic council and starships. They believed Carlson did not die but rather “ascended,” meaning she left her physical body, to save humanity. In preparation for achieving their own ascensions, members of Love Has Won ate and slept very little. They often consumed drugs and alcohol.

The group was also known to repeat political conspiracy theories that aligned with QAnon, such as the baseless belief that cannibalistic liberal pedophiles run a global child sex trafficking ring.

What is the group’s connection to Colorado?

Love Has Won set up a “mission house” near Crestone, technically in the town of Moffat where they lived, and conducted live-streams and business for several years.

Additionally, the group rented a large cabin in Salida, where the most devoted followers lived and where new recruits were brought upon arriving in Colorado. The group moved between California, Oregon and Florida at various times.

How did the group make money?

Love Has Won raised donations while live-streaming online, offered services such as “etheric surgery” sessions for a fee, and sold house-made supplements, including colloidal silver. They made hundreds of thousands of dollars this way, according to the HBO series.

How did Amy Carlson die?

Carlson died from natural causes after years of alcohol abuse, opioid use, anorexia and chronic ingestion of colloidal silver, according to an autopsy report from the El Paso County Coroner’s Office.

Members of Love Has Won believed she suffered from cancer and was paralyzed from the waist down; however, she never visited a doctor or a hospital to confirm those diagnoses.

Seven members of the cult were arrested in connection with her death, but the charges were ultimately dropped.

Is Love Has Won still active?

After Carlson’s body was found, Love Has Won rebranded and reemerged under the moniker 5D Full Disclosure. Its members still publish videos, podcasts and other content.

How to watch the docu-series

The three-part docu-series, “Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God,” is available in full on Max.

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