Meet The New Cult In Town: Love Has Won, Now Quarantining On Kauai

Residents are concerned about the group giving the spiritual community there a bad name.

Honolulu Civil Beat/September 3, 2020

By Allan Parachini

Wainiha, Kauai — A bizarre Colorado organization called Love Has Won, which a law enforcement official there described as a cult, is relocating to Kauai, with 14 members already housed in a luxury beachfront vacation rental property here.

The organization itself confirmed its move to the island, in both social media posts and in a phone interview. A member who said his name was Ryan Kramer answered a call placed to a number listed on Love Has Won’s website at its headquarters in Crestone, Colorado. The phone number is for callers to “schedule your spiritual intuitive ascension session.”

The presence of the group on Kauai was discovered online by Theresa Kapaku, a Maui resident who said she has spent several years investigating cults on Maui and Hawaii island.

“I kind of already had my finger on the pulse” of the group, she said, “and then within a couple of clicks, I was already on their Facebook feed and they were on Kauai.

“It sounded like a funny, laughable group, but it turned very dark.”

Word of the arrival of the group on Kauai spread rapidly Tuesday and Wednesday on social media, including Facebook and Reddit. Posts to a Facebook group called “Kauai Community” were apparently removed late in the day Wednesday, but attention continued to be focused on Reddit.

Elsa Almaraz, a Wainiha resident whose home is close to the beachfront house the newly arrived group is occupying, said, “Our community is very concerned. We’ve been through a lot together and take great pride in protecting the sacredness, safety and health of our community. They give our spiritual community a bad name as it seems their intentions are very questionable.”

Asked if Love Has Won is a cult, Kramer said, “No. We’re a religion.

“We’re a group based on the ascension of the planet. We focus on astrology, on weather patterns, mainly medicine,” he said. “Our main form of work is the Gaia’s whole healing essentials. We offer other types of healing modalities.”

The group sells vitamin supplements and colloidal silver and gold, controversial products for which various health claims have been made.

“We do claim that it can assist in bringing you to 100% of health and wellness,” Kramer said. “We take a more spiritual approach to things.”

Civil Beat visited the property Wednesday afternoon, but no one answered the door. Curtains were drawn in most of the windows. Pillows had been draped over lanai railings. Damaged beach furniture was piled on the sand in front of the house. Lights were on in at least two rooms.

A search of the Internal Revenue Service database confirmed that, under the name Lovehaswon, the group is registered as a nonprofit religious organization. It is not required to file tax returns.

Kramer said cult members began moving to Kauai several weeks ago. He said the group is continuing some of its operations in Colorado, where some of its health supplements are made. He said production of some of the products may be moved to Kauai.

Capt. Ken Wilson, of the Saguache County Sheriff’s Department, described Love Has Won as “a cult activity.” He said deputies had responded to numerous calls to the group’s Colorado headquarters. “We’ll have a mother call and say ‘my daughter’s out there,’ so we go out.”

But he said his department has never made arrests because young people whose parents called law enforcement declined to leave and were old enough that they could not be forced to depart. “They stay within the boundaries, so to speak,” Wilson said.

The group appears to stream live video on an almost daily basis, which members said is disseminated through Facebook, Skype and on YouTube. The most recent video posting on YouTube is an hour-long production dated Wednesday.

Love Has Won was apparently founded by Amy Carlson, described by one cult expert as a former manager at a McDonald’s franchise. Carlson is said to be in her 40s and is referred to on Love Has Won’s website and video media as “mom” and “mother.”

The cult describes itself as having roots in beliefs in Lemuria, a mythical lost continent whose contemporary followers believe Lemurian descendants may still reside within Mt. Shasta.

In a transcript of one of the YouTube videos, a woman who identified herself as Lauren Suarez says that Carlson “was queen of Lemuria and Donald Trump was mom’s father in Lemuria.”

Kramer declined to say whether Carlson herself is currently on Kauai.

However, Facebook posts circulated on Tuesday said Carlson and other group members were in quarantine after their arrival from Colorado at a hotel in Lihue.

The Wainiha house in which the group is staying is owned by David Bancroft, who came to public attention in 2018 after Kauai County officials discovered he continued to list the property on VRBO and Airbnb after then-Mayor Bernard Carvalho imposed a ban on vacation rental operations on the entire North Shore in the wake of the floods that ravaged Kauai in March of that year.

Bancroft did not respond to phone and email requests for comment on Wednesday.

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