"Love Has Won" has since tried to relocate to the Hawaiian island of Maui but were diverted by officials back to the mainland.
Locals of gorgeous warm-weather islands like Hawaii are no stranger to unusual visitors. But when news broke that a religious cult called Love Has Won from Colorado was renting out a house in Kauai, one of the islands of Hawaii, residents were not having it.
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, crowds of protesters came out to rally against the cult’s presence on the island starting in early September 2020. Fifteen members of the group had been staying in Kauai for about a month by that point already.
Locals are disturbed by the cult’s predatory ideology, offensive appropriation of Hawaiian culture, and particularly the cult leader’s claims to being the reincarnation of the Hawaiian goddess of fire, Pele. About 100 people met outside the group’s beach-front rental to demand they leave the island.
The leader of the so-called Love Has Won cult, Amy “Mother God” Carlson, claims the group is not a cult but rather a religion. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service confirmed that they have been deemed a religion and are considered a tax-free organization. The cult makes money by selling vitamin supplements and supposed colloidal silver and gold therapeutics.
The organization has reportedly posted a number of impassioned videos during their stay in Kauai. In one video, the leader and supposed goddess-incarnate Carlson went into a profanity-laden tirade about her divinity.
In another video, two members are shown mocking the COVID-19 quarantine restrictions implemented by the state government for newly-arrived visitors and giving the finger to the camera. Hawaii reported two new coronavirus-related deaths in addition to 66 new cases statewide just this week.
Members of Love Has Won have also expressed disdain after being confronted by locals about their practices. One of the cult members engaged in a shouting match with protesters from the second floor of the rental home before running back inside crying.
Another member named Robert Begley posted the following rant about the protests on the group’s social media:
“Did you see what the locals did to our mother’s house? They smashed every window in her car. They smashed her house windows. They threw rocks. How would you like that to happen to your mother? Your mother who has full cancer in her body and paralyzed.”
The group’s relocation to Hawaii was “for the ascension of the planet. We are not here for you guys,” claimed one of its members, Ashley Peluso, a fixture on the group’s “daily event energies update” livestreams.
The protests outside the rental property were enough to attract a sizable police presence. About a dozen officers were dispatched from the Kauai Police Department with two National Guard vehicles stationed at the Kuhio Highway near Hanalei, essentially blocking traffic access in and out of the neighborhood.
Three small fires were set on the beach near the cult’s rental property during the protests and the vehicle that the Love Has Won members had rented for their stay was also damaged.
By Saturday night, Mayor Derek Kawakami arrived to the scene to inform protesters that the county was negotiating with Love Has Won to leave the island. Several members of the cult left the property to relocate to another island, Maui, shortly thereafter. Following the three-day protest, all members of the cult had left for the airport by Sunday night.
But Love Has Won’s plans to move to another island were derailed after Maui authorities found discrepancies in their travel paperwork. The group was forced to leave Hawaii altogether and head back to Colorado.
This is not the first time Hawaii officials and residents found themselves up against an interloping cult. Earlier in June, 21 members of the Carbon Nation cult were charged with violating the state’s mandatory, 14-day quarantine while staying in Puna on Hawaii island.
Next, read about the Heaven’s Gate cult and their infamous mass suicide. Then, learn about the Australian doomsday group that was started by a yoga teacher.