Be Scofield is a prominent cult reporter whose work is cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, People, Daily Beast, The Guardian and has led to coverage on Netflix, Dr. Phil, VICE, CNN and elsewhere. Contact: bescofieldreporter @ gmail.com / Follow on Facebook
October 18th, 2021
In the two-hour long Dateline special on Love Has Won the word “cult” is never mentioned. Not once. That’s remarkable considering it’s the biggest cult story of the year, appearing everywhere from the New York Times, People and VICE to forthcoming docuseries on HBO and Netflix.
Incredibly, host Keith Morrison asks if Amy Carlson, the destructive cult leader of the group, was the victim and a mere “sheep” in it all, with zero explanation of how.
I’ve interviewed several of Amy’s victims and she’s caused incredible damage to many people.
World-renown cult expert Rick Ross told Dr. Phil that Amy was a dangerous and manipulative sociopath and destructive cult leader without a conscience. Dateline’s Keith Morrison wondered out loud if Amy was a victim and a sheep. Dateline hid her abuses and facts about the cult she ran to appease her family and secure their interviews. Rick Ross exposed Amy’s abuses.
Since Amy’s death, the family and some of their insular supporters on Reddit and Facebook have tried to shift blame away from Amy and claim she is the victim. Ironically, this group has become cult-like. “It has turned quite culty unfortunately,” a woman who had been involved in exposing the cult for many years told me. “It has gotten nasty and toxic,” she said, noting that she was removing herself from those spaces. Those who disagree with the “in group’s” ideas are ganged up on and attacked.
Amy’s mother Linda told me she wouldn’t be interviewed in programs that were too critical of Amy. “If they want to talk trash about Amy, absolutely not,” Linda told me when I asked if she’d speak with a Denver based news anchor. However, what Amy’s mother considers “talking trash,” journalists and cult experts consider “exposing the truth.”
The Dateline show Ascension of Mother God uncritically pushed forward this fringe revisionist narrative about Amy, shifting blame to her drinking, “mental illness,” the first Father God named Amerith whom she left in 2014, and Miguel, a long-term follower. And they simultaneously downplayed her abuses and failed to place her in a cultic context.
Running around with a quirky new age guru, drinking too much, and “mental illness” doesn’t make someone a destructive cult leader. Nor did Miguel force Amy into tormenting and abusing countless vulnerable followers. This type of behavior is reserved for a tiny percentage of pathological and abusive narcissists who are really dangerous.
Amy Carlson Tormenting a Sleep Deprived Follower
This member like many others will suffer life-long trauma and damage as a result of Amy’s narcissistic abuse. We’ll never know the full extent of all the pain and destruction she caused. Dateline failed to show or explain the damage that’s been done.
Amy Carlson was a con artist who scammed people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and destroyed many lives. She preyed upon mentally ill, and confused spiritual seekers for her own gain. She tormented her followers like useless playthings for her own gratification and exploited them for her pleasure. Amy punished members by sending them to “desolation row,” a barren place for weeks at a time. She locked a child in a closet. She stole their monthly social security and disability checks. Amy only allowed her followers 2-4 hours of sleep each night. Members were forced to confess on video how they “disobeyed” Mother God. And she had sex with many of her followers.
“You’re a fucking whore!” Amy can be heard on video yelling at a disciple who looks exhausted and confused. “I’m God bitch! I told you the fucking solution whore!” she yells at him. This is one of many incidents caught on video.
The cult also regularly spouted Qanon conspiracies, made racist and pro-Holocaust statements, and engaged in many fraudulent business activities. There had been many welfare checks on Amy and the children too. Father God aka Jason Castillo told followers they were “contracted to lay their lives down” for Amy.
Dateline hid all of this from viewers. They showed a few videos of her yelling, but never at anyone despite those videos being everywhere.
“She’s a victim of someone else who exploited her mental illness,” a Reddit commenter wrote. “Yes she was,” another replied.
Dateline let this type of fringe narrative about Amy control their program. Understandably, Amy’s family is trying to protect her but news outlets should remain independent.
Thankfully, due to reporting from The Guru Magazine, the Dr. Phil Show, VICE and other news outlets, it’s widely known that Amy was running a destructive cult.
Dateline let this type of fringe narrative about Amy control their program.
“I think this is a particularly pernicious group,” Rick Ross told Dr. Phil. “Many of the people who lead destructive cults have been described as narcissistic, psychopaths, sociopaths, incapable of reflection and having a sense of conscience about what they do. I see a pattern of that and quite a bit more in this particular group.”
“Amy knew how to manipulate people to a tee,” an ex-member told me. “It’s how Amy kept members under her control and subservient, by pitting them against each other.”
Members were broken down until they have “no sense of worth or self-identity left.” One member told me they were “extremely cruel” to each other. “I’ve never seen someone scream as loudly as Carlson does,” he said.
“We feel like we lost our son and someone else came home,” a mother of an ex-member told me. She said he had become very angry and verbally abusive towards them. “It was like he was possessed, he was just screaming at us,” she said. “We’re in a mourning state.”
“I feel that her members let her down,” Amanda Ray told Dateline. Her brother was involved in the cult. “She was surrounded by a group of enablers and they refused to accept that she needed help because of their belief that she was God.”
These “enablers” were Amy’s cult victims. She spent years breaking down, tormenting and manipulating them into adopting her twisted new age narrative to better serve her. She convinced them, no, badgered and brainwashed them into believing she was God. And God’s don’t die.
“I don’t go to [doctors]. I’m the most highly trained doctor,” Amy told her disciples.
Amy wrote a science fiction novel/horror story inside the minds of her followers, but in this tale they were also the authors and wrote the ending of Amy’s book. It didn’t go well for her. “There have been moments when Mom has asked us to take her to a 3D hospital and we’re like ‘No!’” said long-term follower Lauryn Suarez.
Amy neglected and abused her followers, refusing to show them the care and respect they deserved. Is it any surprise that her followers let her suffer and wither away? That they repeated the same neglect towards her? That they acted with the same indifference?
Love Has Won sold quack potions they claimed cured the Coronavirus and swam in health and wellness conspiracies. When Amy died, she was deep purple from all the colloidal silver she had been ingesting. And she was very thin.
The group was the embodiment of the worst toxic elements of our current day: wellness conspiracies, racist propaganda, toxic social media influence, abusive gurus and cults.
Amy created a monster and it consumed her. Her members let her die in her own absurd self-created sci-fi/horror flick. A tale so absurd that Amy still hasn’t died in their view. Despite her body having decomposed to the point where her eyes were gone, they believed she was merely “out of communication.” They had a 13-year-old child rubbing essential oils on the corpse a month after she was dead.
Many things can happen after a cult leader dies. Family can protect them. Followers can make them a saint. People can fight over their legacy. News outlets can cover up their abuses for money or for access to key interview subjects.
Amidst the competing narratives and interests, it’s important that journalists remain independent. Watching the special you wouldn’t even know Love Has Won is a cult. Dateline failed to meet this basic journalist’s duty.
If Dateline wants to collude with people to create a fluff piece that erases Amy Carlson’s cult abuses they have that right. But they should be transparent about it and not call it journalism. And they should name their biases.
Sociopath. Con artist. Cult leader. Abuser. Thief. Exploiter. Dangerous Guru.
There are many words for Amy, but the real victims are the innocent, wounded seekers who showed up with open hearts to be transformed and who left traumatized, abused and exploited by a dangerous sociopath and con artist.
UPDATE: An ex-member posted this piece “Dateline’s Damage” online after the special aired:
“That show didn’t even touch on the truth of Amy Carlson. Narcissist that liked to torture people for her joy. She tortured me for a year and a half. Let that sink in. She tortured people. Her family did every single person she abused the biggest slap to the face by trying to put a bow on her. Amy sure did like bows. If you were involved with dateline, don’t ever talk to me again. Your lies and white washing is emotionally torturing Amy’s victims.”