top of page

The Soft Glow of Internet Cults: Part Two of the Fringe Beliefs Series

Written by Finnialla, one of our current world events writers, and edited by Stephanie O., our editor-in-chief.

INTRODUCTION

I started writing this with one goal in mind. I wanted to see if I could track internet cults. It’s a thought that had been plaguing me for months. Seeing the state of America, I felt more motivated to try and find a concrete answer. What I discovered was a vast array of things I will never unread. If I wasn’t insane before starting this journey, I am now. 


This journey was long and arduous. I spent too much of my life reading article after article, scouring for any documentary or book to tell me what we already knew about any of these groups. The evidence against the four cults I talk about was vast and basically forgotten. I was overwhelmed with the proof in front of me, and the nonchalant attitude they had posting it online. The police presence was minimal at best, nonexistant at worst. 


This is what I’m here for. Can I find the first internet cult? How do these internet cults even work? Why am I doing this? Well, I spent way too much of this last month trying to find the answers to these questions.  


LOGGING IN FOR THE FIRST TIME

The first internet cult is something I don’t know I can answer, but the first big conspiracy theory that gained traction on the Internet is actually 9/11. Yeah. Of course, this was going to show up. You can’t talk about disinformation on the internet and not bring 9/11 up. It’s linked in such a central way that it still permeates in the soul of America. I mean, how many jet fuel can’t melt steel beams jokes have you guys heard? My guess is too many.  


Yes. There were other conspiracies before that. The Oklahoma City Bombing, the World Trade Center Bombing in the parking garage, and Y2K were all targets for conspiracy theorists, but they weren’t seeped into the culture. Y2K was in everyone’s minds, but it was more of a joke. Something the late-night hosts could rattle off if they needed a quick punchline. If you wanted the real crazy stuff on the early web, you had to dig in some terrible chatrooms and dark corners to find it. Until search engines came around, someone even had to tell you the website so you could type it in. 


Then 9/11 happens, and the dams broke loose. 


One of the big proponents of conspiracy theories on the internet was Alex Jones. Yes. That Alex Jones. The man who always looks like he’s having a heart attack. A man with such a weird center of gravity that I feel like he would bounce back up if you tried to push him to the ground. That walking hate crime understood the internet, and his show Info Wars helps spread the idea of 9/11 being an inside job. He even states to have predicted 9/11, and in a way, he did, but if you preach doom and destruction for years every single day, it’s bound to happen eventually. 


During the immediate aftermath, many people rightfully called him out on his callous take on national tragedy. Everyone was in mourning, and he was using it to sell truther tapes. Not everyone saw it that way. Some people saw Alex Jones as the little guy sticking it to the man, showing the people government conspiracies they don’t want you to see. Some people started to believe, then they started doing their own research. 


When his new documentary, “9/11: The Road to Tyranny” came out in 2002, Alex Jones makes an entire group of people believe in the worst theories of 9/11, and many cut themselves off from mainstream media and spiral down the rabbit hole. Albeit, some were already there. If you ever want to torture yourself for two and a half hours, you can watch it on YouTube probably. I didn’t, because I wanted to keep my sanity somewhat intact by the end of this. Anyway, he goes on his rants, from Obama birth certificate to gay frogs, to even Sandy Hook.  By the time Alex Jones had got himself into hot water with his defamatory statements about dead children, there was a legion of people online who believed in his alternative facts. A generation of people who were lost to whatever this is. 


It even trickled out into the real world, with many of the Sandy Hook parents getting death threats on a daily basis, so much that they have taken Jones to court and won millions of dollars in lawsuits over his baseless lies. This rise of the internet, the invention of YouTube, and platforming dangerous voices just like Alex, the world had a monster that it couldn’t deal with or handle. When did free speech go too far? 


While the radio and Internet boosted right wing propaganda into the mainstream, a solid source of disinformation was in its infant stages. Social media. 


So, we had Myspace. It was here, then it was gone. Like Icarus flying too close to the sun. What was built out of its ashes was worse than I think anyone imagined it would be. Facebook. At first, it was a novel idea. Then other, cooler social medias came about, and all the young people left Facebook in droves for Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, eventually. What and who remained at Facebook was like a shell of its former glory, so to fill the void, people started spreading disinformation. 


The analytics of social media is a topic that I don’t know how to describe, but the short of it is, advertisers sell your phone and internet data to google and other companies, like social media giants, and they send it through a computer that spits back out content and brands you want to see. Sounds illegal? Yeah, it probably should be, but it’s not. Well, companies can pay for more eyes to see their product, and even people not normally the target market will receive content from them. Again, definitely should be illegal, but it’s not. 


Well, analytics helped Trump win the election in 2016. It’s been proven time and time again. There was a hearing on Capitol Hill, and yet nothing concrete has been changed. The internet grew so fast that the world has a hard time keeping up with what was going on. We got sites like 4Chan and Reddit, places where there might be actual discussions and chatrooms, also run rampant with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, extremists, future mass shooters, and revenge porn. Information can get shared and disseminated in record time, and judging by Congress’s average age is “shouldn’t be allowed to drive anymore”, it’s up to the rest of us to come up with a solution to this mess. 



SATAN CABALS AND JFK JR.  

You’re probably thinking, what does any of this have to do with internet cults you ask? Well, everything, because the most known internet cult actually stems from those people who believed Alex Jones. Who sat there and looked at tragedy and callously saw staged actors and government corruption. It’s QAnon, and it’s still somehow still around. 


If you don’t have a racist aunt who gets drunk and tries to talk to you about a Satan cabal at Christmas, well you are probably living a good life. Click off this article and live in happiness never having to know what the rest of us are burdened with. Alright, now that they’re gone, the depressed people here have a pretty good notion of what QAnon followers believe, but let’s recap. 


Now, I’m going to explain this as best as I can. I’m sorry in advance. Q, a person on 4Chan that their followers believe was connected in the government, started to post conspiracy theories about how Donald Trump was going to expose the deep state with an event called “the Storm”, more on that later. 


The deep state was controlled by Democrats and elites, who were trafficking children to eat them and stay in power by performing blood libel, an anti-sematic trope that goes back centuries. This snowballed into the first big real-world consequence, Pizzagate. Basically, the Democrats and elites were using code words to order certain children that were trafficked through a large sex trafficking ring ran by Hillary Clinton. How? By making pizza orders at one DC restaurant, Comet Ping Pong. 


It doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. With the unsealing of records of Jeffrey Epstein’s plane, there are horrible networks of people in power who are abusing children. It’s not impossible, but it’s not happening in this case. No evidence was ever found to corroborate these claims. It was just one person behind a computer putting in cryptic clues calling themselves Q. That isn’t trustworthy.  


It didn’t stop the restaurant from getting death threats, bomb threats, and one man, Edgar Maddison Welch drove from South Carolina up to DC with a gun and threaten the staff to show him where they were hiding the children. The police were called, and nobody was shot, but it showed the United States that these little internet groups could absolutely have huge consequences, and they did. 


After Pizzagate was bust, all these Q followers needed something else to cling to, and they found it. The Storm, which is the belief that all of the top members of this so called “cabal” were going to be arrested and executed on Guantanamo Bay, was just the surface of what people believed in this cult. Yes, I’m calling this a cult. It has one leader, extreme beliefs, cuts people off from the outside world, and financially abuses them. That’s pretty close to cult for me. 


It deepened in its insane theories, from John F. Kennedy Jr. being alive and running with Trump in the 2024 election, to most celebrities being transgender, a claim that doesn’t even make sense, the claim that Trump is still in power and will be reinstated, and COVID disinformation. Yeah, they’re anti-vaxxers too. Why not? Let’s give these kids measles and see what happens. 


There is so much more to this story, and I don’t know how to explain it to you, but it made me want to throw my computer away and run into the woods. Trying to wrap my head around what they believe is a headache that doesn’t go away. 


We have QAnon permeate in far-right militia groups, like the Proud Boys, the Boogaloo Boys, The 3 Percenters, the Alt Right, and probably the Klan. The KKK isn’t really that popular anymore, probably because you look like a dumbass dancing around a burning flag in your stupid white robes, but you know. These groups, while they are just mostly excuses for men who don’t talk about their feelings or received love from a father figure are now mostly disbanded for charging into the capital, it's terrifying to know that a cult like QAnon was so close to a militia. 


The last link I can think of was Waco. There was one kid out in the Texas heat watching the raid happen. He saw what looked like government overreach, and he decided to do something about it. He was Timothy McVeigh, and, three years later, bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building, killing hundreds and causing the worst domestic and foreign terrorist plot until 9/11. The fact that we aren’t tracking that kind of extremism with cults is insane, especially in the digital age, where everyone’s footprint online is accounted for. 


With this, all the pieces in place, we get to January 6th. I’m not rehashing it. We all watched it or know about it. It’s something that permanently stained on the fabric of this country. QAnon was out in full force, breaking into the building to hang the sitting vice president for not overturning the 2020 election. Many were arrested, jailed, and now want to run for congress. It’s something that even I, a screenwriter, couldn’t have even thought up. 


This cult of people are still going strong. They may not have Q, whoever it was, posting, but they have made it a cult of their own, with people on top just spouting off conspiracy theories and racist vitriol that the rest just take in, face value. Is this the biggest internet cult of our time? Yeah. I would say it is. It has changed the definition of what a fact is for many American citizens, something no other cult has ever done. 


QAnon is still there. Not in its former glory, since most of them are in prison for storming the capital, but oh well. The latest theory, the democrats are using Taylor Swift to rig the election. Now, Swifties, please don’t come for me. I’m just the messenger, but yeah. They think Taylor Swift is “red pilling” the youth of America for voting democrat. Out of all the things I’ve typed in this article so far, this is the worst. I don’t think I have the mental capacity to unpack that, let alone explain it. 


They have not only harmed multiple people, from capital police officers to the many violent acts committed by members in the name of the conspiracy, they poison the idea of what we know to be true and fake. They radicalize normal citizens who would never have been so without it. This is why online cults are dangerous to society. They can spread so much faster and indoctrinate a lot more. Most see QAnon as an American problem, but it’s not. It’s worldwide, and the biggest international sect is actually within the neighbor to our north. 



CANUCK QANON ROYALTY 

Oh, Canada. You seem like a fun country to live in. You’ve got Wayne Gretzky, Tim Hortons, and what I’m assuming, is a mostly Moose parliament. I’m not fact checking that last one. I like living in ignorance. 


At least on the surface, you guys seem more well-adjusted than whatever we’ve got going on down here in the states, but you also have some dark secrets. Just like the rest of the world, you have cults, and while you’ve only had one big cult in its history that made it out of the Canadian bubble, there’s about to be two. 


Ramana Didulo, a Filipino immigrant who has convinced herself that she is the “Queen of Canada”, later “Queen of the World” has been making news in Canada for a while now. She traveled the country in a caravan of minivans with her followers, preaching crazy things, like when she wanted her followers to shoot anyone trying to give kids the COVID-19 vaccine, or that her followers don’t need to pay taxes or bills, or that her followers should shoot migrants entering the country. Her response usually involves shooting people, just to prepare you guys. 


She makes her own currency, and she recently took over an abandoned school in Richmund, Saskatchewan after being kicked out of a neighboring town. I know that this isn’t just an online cult, but her following in mostly online. As you’ll see with the next two as well, these cults start off online and manifest in the real world. Unlike Q, who was a fully online leader, we have hybrids now. Cult leaders who are both a physical and digital presence.   


If you’re wondering if the town is trying to force her out, they are. It’s been an uphill battle for the people in that town, and they truly are more patient and kinder than I think most would be. Nobody wants a Canadian Waco, and that’s what it might turn out to be if she’s allowed to stay. 


Her beliefs aren’t any worse than what the average QAnon person is, but what makes her dangerous is that she’s organized a following. With Q, it’s not like there’s this one place where people meet up in America to discuss it. It’s done online or even in small groups. While that should be considered a cult and looked into, there’s also a shift from indoctrination through the online space into a real compound structure. It’s not breaking the conventions of what we know as cults, it’s just bending them, and I don’t know if sociologists can track that. 


Ramana is still getting money from her livestreams, and recently was driven out of the town, temporarily. She has returned and has been getting more extreme, even talking about killing people. While the cult says that it is just trolls that have hacked into the group’s Telegram, but it very well may not be. What it shows though, is escalation, just like the regular QAnon in the states. 


When these people take the rhetoric they are spewing online into the real world, people get hurt. There have been warnings signs that cults would follow the same kind of digitation that both vigilante killers and domestic terrorists have followed, yet there are no plans in place for what to do. Sure, sociologists can track it as best they can, but a central database trying to find extremist language and discourse online is still in rudimentary stages. Even when it’s not about Satan cabals and politics, online cults still find ways to exploit people, and while with QAnon, there is some level of mainstream awareness, some others can slip through the cracks for years. 



21st CENTURY MUMMY

It was April of 2021, and in the small town of Crestone, Colorado, in a brightly painted house, lays a terrible secret. When police arrive in the back bedroom, they see what looks like a person wrapped in blankets and Christmas lights. Upon further inspection, the police are mortified. The body has been dead for months, her eyes replaced with glass marbles, her wrinkled skin a blueish tint. It was a 21st century mummy of cult leader, Amy Carlson, known to her followers as Mother God. To understand all of this, we need to go back. 


Amy Carlson was, all in all, a normal person before 2007. She was raised in a normal-ish Texas household. By the time she would leave for Love Has One, she had three kids and a management position at a local McDonalds. Then the visions came. Who knows from what, but Amy had ideas of grandeur, and they were affirmed by a man were calling the first Father God. Yes, there’s more than one Father God. I will tell you when we switch.


Her delusions grew, and she eventually moved into a house with a couple people in Crestone, Colorado. Now, as a Coloradoan, I want to tell people. Please don’t move here to host your cults. We already have enough weirdos in this state. You’re just raising our cost of living. Anyway, the first YouTube video from the cult comes in 2009. 


For the next couple of years, we see the cult grow, both online and in person. While the physical members are less than 30 for almost the entirety of the cult’s run, the online persona runs in the thousands. People are paying for Amy, now called Mother God, to prophesize about the future. They would post regularly, sell new age garbage pseudoscience, and generally have a huge presence online. From this point until 2018, it was just a steady growth for Love Has Won. Amy had figured out the tenants of the “religion” and her relationship with the first Father God had failed. Still, people tuned in and believed. People bought homemade colloidal silver, and everything seemed to be going Amy’s way. She had even found the second and final Father God, who would stay with the cult even after Carlson’s death. 


The beliefs of this cult are a strange and confusing mess. Amy has taken on the world’s suffering, but a cabal is trying to take her out. Oh, you think this wasn’t going to come back to QAnon? Wrong. They do. Many of the later beliefs of Love Has Won follow QAnon’s to a tee. Plus, the onslaught of racist, homophobic, and anti-sematic rhetoric that was repeated was worse. Now, some of the beliefs differ. The whole wavelengths, energies, and new age stuff still stuck around, but the threats against their detractors and opponents were becoming more serious. Her “medicine”, which was excessive alcohol consumption, was getting worse. She was losing weight, and eventually was paralyzed from the waist down. 


Because of this, Amy’s anger was volatile. She would scream at her followers regularly for small mistakes, emotionally, and physically abuse them. The anger and sin of the world was rushing through her body, and she let it out on her followers. Even allegations of child and animal abuse, which are quite well documented seemed to seep through the videos Love Has Won put online. For ones who spoke up, their concerns weren’t taken as seriously as they should have been. 


The followers were still churning out videos, livestreams, and making money on their website selling healing crystals, colloidal silver, and online healing sessions that were to cure people of illnesses. Even Amy was taking massive amounts of colloidal silver, which you absolutely shouldn’t do. Her skin started turning a blueish tint. Oh, fun fact, if you take enough colloidal silver, your skin turns blue. They even said it was a cure for COVID-19. It’s not, and they eventually took that statement down, but it still happened, and people still believed that. 


In the middle of the pandemic, Amy, second Father God, and about 14 followers went to live on the island of Kauai, part of the larger Hawaiian Islands. The partying and livestreaming continued in the small community of Wainiha, but it wouldn’t last long. Amy had another prophecy; she was the reincarnation of the god Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanos and creator of the islands in Hawaiian culture. So, the Hawaiian’s didn’t really love that, which, yeah, I wouldn’t love it either. They started to protest outside of their rented house, chanting and throwing rocks for them to leave, but at first, the cult wasn’t backing down. They even taunted the protesters. When the mayor and police told the members that they couldn’t ensure the cults safety was when all of the members fled for the States. 


Amy would spend the last months of her life in Mt. Shasta, another rental home. While wellness checks were executed for Amy, all of the paramedic and police were turned away from the members. Nobody but the people living in the property know exactly when she passed away, nor how long it was until her remains ended up in a Christmas tree wrapped sleeping bag in somebody’s back room. 


Her members even tried convincing the police officers in Colorado that Amy still had a pulse, that she was still there, albeit in the 5D sense. (I don’t know what they mean about 5D. Nobody got a straight answer for what that is). While many members were charged with abuse of a corpse and child abuse, the charges were eventually dropped. The livestreams continue to this day, with the members still hocking products, charging for healing services from Amy, who is in her 5D state, and selling colloidal silver. The size of the cult has shrinked considerably, but some still hang on. 


Amy believed in a lot of things, and many people, both in person and online, followed her. Not once was their social media presence shut down. The cries of the family left unanswered until it was too late. With cults, we can forget that real people can get hurt. Amy’s relatives didn’t deserve what she did to them. Neither do the families of people trapped in cults. Neither do children who grow up in them. Human lives are not a pawn that people can manipulate, yet it happens every day with barely any oversight to help them. 



FLAMING ATTRACTION

The last Internet cult I’m going to talk about is probably the most confusing of the lot. Yeah, I know the bar is on the ground, but bear with me. It’s called Twin Flames Universe, and just like the rest, it’s still going on today. 


So, if you haven’t heard of twin flames, it’s a bunch of pseudoscience that you can find your soulmate, or twin flame by like, following a bunch of steps. So, I’m all for people finding love. You guys do you, whatever that is. This is kinda like that, but not. We should probably meet the two people at the center of this cult. 


Jeff and Shaleia are so called Internet relationship coaches and the whitest human beings I think I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying a lot. My skin is the color of cottage cheese. What are relationship influencers, you ask? Probably the worst thing I could ever imagine, but their flashy videos promised that you could meet your true flame if you paid them enough. I mean, they were each other’s true flames, why can’t these white people find yours? 


So, people bought into their zoom calls. These people promised miracles. Love was just going to show up. If you were still single, well that must be your fault. It quickly went downhill fast. People were stalking exes, getting in relationships because Jeff said so, and all around were being manipulated with love bombing followed by emotional abuse. 


Now, this cult isn’t that old. It really gained ground in the pandemic. You thought the people who made their own sourdough were bad? At least you didn’t start a cult. Or you did. Good on you. Well, as most cults do, Jeff and Shaleia were starting to restrict more and more of their online followers. Many people went into debt while they still live well above their means. Things were getting dire. See, most of the followers were women, and they didn’t have “twin flames”. This was either they didn’t come in with one, or because there just wasn’t enough men to pair up people. 


What did Jeff do? He started pairing women together with other women. Listen, love some lesbians, but these women weren’t lesbians. They came into this cult with the idea of finding a man, their one true flame, and now Jeff is telling them that their one true flame is a women. Many were too far in at that point that they accepted this. 


I wish I could stop there. I wish that was the weirdest thing that happened, but it’s not. Of course, it’s not. Jeff started telling the followers that one person in the new lesbian twin flame romances was the masculine energy and one was the feminine. In a phrase I never thought I’d have to use unironically; they were basically telling people they were transgender when they weren’t. As Ron DeSantis would say, Jeff and Shaleia were transing these people’s gender. 


Again, I’m okay with trans people. Me having to repeat it makes it sound like I don’t, but I’m nonbinary myself, but as a mom of liberty would absolutely shout at me during a school board meeting, you can’t just force someone to be transgender. I agree. If someone is trans, awesome. Good on them. If someone is not, they aren’t. 


Many of the members left afterwards, but some did actually transition. I’m not going to deadname any of them or even use the wrong pronouns, but it feels forced on the part of the leaders. Probably should check this out instead of getting mad at teachers, but that’s just me. I’ve never heard of a cult that just makes people trans, but I guess there is a first for everything. 


Yes. Twin Flames Universe is still going. It’s classified as a cult, but they keep recruiting members, even as ex ones speak out. Jeff has started to call himself the new Jesus, which really never ends well, but it’s still early. Someone can stop this before it gets to the point of no return. 


That’s the thing with each one of these cults. There was plenty of time to stop this, but it wasn’t. Why? Well, there’s a concrete and abstract answer to that. The abstract is that sociologists can’t predict where the next cult is going to come from. That’s true. No one can predict what new craze or person is going to gain momentum, making it hard to track. Even twenty years ago, nobody could have predicted QAnon, or Love Has Won, or even Twin Flames Universe. 


The concrete answer is that the United States is not set up to stop cults. In fact, our current laws enable them. 


WHAT NOW?

As we see the fourth wave of cults, mostly hybrid of online and in person cults take off, the United States has no way to stop them. As I said in the beginning, our system for religion is broken and basically nonexistent, while our way of tracking what happens on the internet is even worse. It’s up to the people to try to not fall for these traps. I mean, I have to explain to my grandparents how to attach something to an email once a week, let alone try to show them not to fall for scams and cults. 


What we need to look for doesn’t have one simple answer. The growing movement of hate speech and hardcore thinking is at an all-time high. I know. I’m on Twitter. Still, there has to be some kind of accountability on part for social media sites. Whatever Facebook and Instagram are doing isn’t even enough to stop foreign governments from influencing elections, so there has to be an overhaul on what kind of speech is allowed. Twitter and Reddit and 4Chan are even worse. I would say there is very little content moderation at all, especially at Twitter, but that’s more Elon Musk’s fault than the plans they had in place before he took over.


Then there’s the hate speech that isn’t even on social media. Is there a way to track them and stop it before it goes too far? Some companies have tried to offer solutions. Governments are trying to pass laws against it, yet it feels like this type of cult can’t be stopped. In a world where more and more people are being radicalized, these revelations seem to come a little too late in many people’s minds. 


We can expect these groups to grow in number if this sort of unregulated free for all continues. Based on the ones we’ve seen; they can only get more radical and violent. It would take a huge awakening for the world to act with the urgency it needs to address this issue. These are people whose lives have been altered in ways that only time can tell. Our institutions are at risk as a country and as a planet. 



SPLIT OF PERCEPTION

The idea of facts verses this perceived fact that extremist cult groups believe is causing a crack in the world we live in. We can’t find common ground when the basic foundation of what is real and what is not isn’t agreed upon. Groups like QAnon and Love Has Won have their own set of rules for the universe, and Twin Flames will more than likely follow in their footsteps. When one sect of people living out in the woods believe one thing that isn’t factually accurate, it doesn’t cause detrimental damage. When members of congress follow a conspiracy like QAnon, that’s worrying on a level we’ve never dealt with before. 


With in-person cults, there was always a chance of a national catastrophe. Jonestown saw the loss of almost a thousand people. Waco’s dead were mostly women and children. Heaven’s Gate was one of the biggest mass suicides on American soil. Even in international cults, the death toll is staggering. 


Cults are a stain on the human psyche. It plays to the innocent and naïve of society and turns them into radicals. We are still reeling from the second wave of cults in the United States. I don’t know if we can make it through another one. Our country is divided, and it could turn into a fight for the very soul of this nation. 


We had an insurrection on the Capital partly because of one of these online cults, and it’s only been around for the past five years. If more people become radicalized, who’s to say how many Ruby Ridges are coming? How many Wacos? How many Jonestowns? America is already crumbling under itself, clawing at holding onto its last shred of democracy. People are screaming in the streets while politicians line their pockets. It’s a matter of time before this country upheavals itself into either something better or something far worse. 


This fight is personal. It affects every single American. A revolution is coming, and we have to stand on the side of peace, of science, and of rational thought. We can’t let silver tongued snake oil salesmen talk us into something different. Our freedom of religion is one of America’s founding assets of equality, but it could be its demise. 


SPOTTING AN INTERNET CULT

This is important to remember. Cults can’t happen unless people get caught in them. A big thing about internet cults is that their tactics have changed for recruiting members. Sure, some might come up to you in public, talk you into attending a meeting, but not all. 


Watch out for things that seem to be too good to be true. They are. Social media will play to what you want to hear. This is a surefire way to fall into a cult. QAnon started on a message board. Love Has Won was a YouTube livestream. So was Twin Flames. 


Moderating your content is important. Moderating what older members of your family are seeing is too. Trust me, you can block Fox News and OAN on their television, and they aren’t figuring out how to change it back. I know it used to be that we had to stop telling Grandma to not send money to that very real Nigerian Prince and now we have to make sure she doesn’t try to hang the sitting vice president. 


It's annoying. Regular people shouldn’t have to do this, and I agree with you. Moderation should be handled by the website owners, but they’re currently trying to box each other, we’re on our own. I think back to the wise words of Buster from the PBS show, Arthur, would say… 


And yeah. I wish I could believe that people would be truthful on the internet. But like most of my dreams, that idea died a long time ago. Most things on the internet are a lie. Honestly, probably don’t believe 90 percent of what people are telling you, and I’m well aware I am a stranger on the internet telling you what to do. 


CONCLUSION 

The world needs to wake up. America needs to wake up. This isn’t going away. Fight disinformation, hate speech, and groups that seem predatory in any way you can. If the governments aren’t going to solve this, then it’s up to the people to expose these cults. Call them what they are. They might have a different format. They might be completely online, but that doesn’t exclude the fact that people are getting hurt. These leaders are manipulating and abusing their way to the top, and the rug needs to be pulled out from beneath their feet. 


Did I answer my question? Did I track internet cults? Yes, in a sense, and no. I don’t know if you can quantify it like that. What I ultimately took away from this experience is that cults aren’t dead, they’re evolving. These warning signs are there if you look for them. My big lesson in all of this is, raise your voice. Use your power. We can’t let this continue on this path of destruction. 


Remember, stay vigilant. Stay aware. It’s the last defense we have. 


Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to throw my computer out the window and run into the woods. I have lost most of my semblances of hope and multiple brain cells writing this and I have decided to become a frog. I’ll see all of you in the next article. 



RESOURCES

Berman, Sarah. “How ‘twin Flames Universe’ Youtubers Monetized Heartbreak and Trauma.” VICE, VICE, 9 Nov. 2023, www.vice.com/en/article/jg5ayg/twin-flames-universe-youtubers-monetized-heartbreak-and-trauma-netflix-amazon-prime


Berman, Sarah. “This YouTube School Promised True Love. Students Say They Got Exploited Instead.” VICE, VICE, 5 Feb. 2020, www.vice.com/en/article/v747x4/this-youtube-school-promised-true-love-students-say-they-got-exploited-instead


Doherty, Simon. “Watch Our New Documentary about ‘Love Has Won’, a Group Former Members Call a Cult.” VICE, VICE, 23 Mar. 2021, www.vice.com/en/article/v7mwvb/love-has-won-vice-documentary


Jackson, Kaylah. “Qanon: The Conspiracy Theory Embraced by Trump, Several Politicians, and Some American Moms.” Vox, Vox, 9 Oct. 2020, www.vox.com/2020/10/9/21504910/qanon-conspiracy-theory-facebook-ban-trump


Lamoureux, Mack. “Qanon Queen Cult Leader Returns to Small Town That Thought It Drove Her Away.” VICE, VICE, 28 Nov. 2023, www.vice.com/en/article/4a35pb/qanon-queen-returns-saskatchewan-town-canada


Lamoureux, Mack. “Town Hall over Qanon Cult Goes Exactly like You Would Expect.” VICE, VICE, 24 Nov. 2023, www.vice.com/en/article/bvj3pv/qanon-queen-canada-richmound-town-hall


“The Many Challenges of Tracking Hate.” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/en/hate-speech/impact-and-prevention/challenges-of-tracking-hate. Accessed 13 Jan. 2024. 


Martineau, Paris. “The Storm Is the New Pizzagate - Only Worse.” Intelligencer, New York Magazine, 19 Dec. 2017, nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/12/qanon-4chan-the-storm-conspiracy-explained.html


McFarland, Melanie. “What ‘Escaping Twin Flames’ Teaches Us about the Anti-Trans Nature of a Supposedly Loving Cult.” Salon, Salon.com, 13 Nov. 2023, www.salon.com/2023/11/11/twin-flames-universe-anti-transgender-panic/


Moyer, Christopher. “From ‘mother God’ to Mummified Corpse: Inside the Fringe Spiritual Sect ‘Love Has Won.’” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 6 Oct. 2023, www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/love-has-won-amy-carlson-mother-god-1254916/


Octavious, Paul, and Alice Hines. “Inside the Twin Flames Universe and Its Always Online, All-Consuming World.” Vanity Fair, Vanity Fair, 3 Dec. 2020, www.vanityfair.com/style/2020/12/inside-the-all-consuming-world-of-twin-flames-universe


“Online Content Moderation - Current Challenges in Detecting Hate Speech.” European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 29 Nov. 2023, fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2023/online-content-moderation


Pelley, Virginia. “Love Has Lost.” Marie Claire Magazine, Marie Claire, 7 Sept. 2021, www.marieclaire.com/culture/a37417778/love-has-won-cult-amy-carlson-stroud-death/


“QAnon.” ADL, ADL, www.adl.org/resources/backgrounder/qanon. Accessed 13 Jan. 2024. 

Renita. “Between the Good and the Evil – the Growth of Online Cults.” The Good Men Project, The Good Men Project, 4 Dec. 2022, goodmenproject.com/featured-content/between-the-good-and-the-evil-the-growth-of-online-cults/


“Romana Didulo.” VICE, VICE, www.vice.com/en/topic/romana-didulo. Accessed 13 Jan. 2024. 


Rothschild, Mike. “Why Does the QAnon Conspiracy Still Thrive?” Time, Time, 30 June 2021, time.com/6076590/qanon-conspiracy-why-people-believe/


Watercutter, Angela. “Taylor Swift, Qanon, and the Political Weaponization of Fandom.”


Wendling, Mike. “A Qanon ‘queen’ and the Canada Town That Wants Her Gone.” BBC News, BBC, 27 Sept. 2023, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-66930536


Love Has Won Documentaries – HBO MAX and Dateline 


Twin Flames Universe Documentaries – Netflix and Amazon Prime

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This piece was written by one of our current world events writers, Finnialla. Reach 'em at @finni_all_uh on Instagram!


This piece was edited by our editor-in-chief, Stephanie O.


Welcome to the blog!

Here, you'll find articles written about all sorts of topics! Some come from me, and some come from you guys! 

How can I feature my writing?

Submit your writing by email! Click the email box at the top of your screen to directly send us your work!

Are there any restrictions? Is there a deadline?

There are no requirements, just be polite! There is no deadline to submit your writing to the blog, but if you want your work to be published in our zines, you'll have to send it by the pre-set deadline. 

blog-how-to-write-a-blog-post-400x200.pn
bottom of page