Yesterday, Andrew mentioned a Mormon stay-at-home-mom involved with last weekend’s race-fueled conflict at Charlottesville. Ayla Stewart, who tweets at @apurposefulwife and blogs at Wife With a Purpose, was scheduled to speak with a handful of other alt right activists, white nationalists, and white supremacists at a “Unite the Right” rally. Due to violence, Stewart was not able to participate in that event as planned, though she took ample opportunity to make some controversial tweets on the matter. (See Andrew’s post for those.)
Stewart claimed that the church’s original statement on Sunday condemning racism supported her pro-white position in condemning anti-white sentiment. Today the church updated their Charlottesville statement to say that it was never their intent to suggest they were in support of pro-white activism or white supremacy.
It has been called to our attention that there are some among the various pro-white and white supremacy communities who assert that the Church is neutral toward or in support of their views. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the New Testament, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39). The Book of Mormon teaches “all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33).
White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful, and we condemn them. Church members who promote or pursue a “white culture” or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church.
So who is Ayla Stewart, what is her mission, and does the Mormon Alt Right have a future in light of today’s events?
Ayla Stewart’s history is something I couldn’t make up. For autobiographical overviews see here, here, and here. She was born in Tennessee but grew up in Southern Nevada (Las Vegas) and Southern Utah (Beaver). While in Vegas, she got a bachelor’s degree in German and a minor in Anthropology. She then moved to San Francisco and got a Masters in Women’s Spirituality (combining theology, anthropology, and women’s studies). Her master’s thesis was on home births in the Mormon and Amish communities. Although she’d been a pagan since her teens, her graduate studies led her to investigate Mormonism and she was baptized in 2008. Shortly afterwards she presented her thesis and participated in panel discussions at the Sunstone Symposium.
Prior to her Mormon conversion, Stewart was quite active in the pagan community, and wrote for SageWoman magazine, among others. She had her own (now-defunct) blog, Mother Lover Goddess, and upon conversion to Mormonism reportedly considered her pagan beliefs “consistent with Joseph Smith, Jr.’s interest and teachings in ritual and magic.” At the By Common Consent blog, one commenter affectionately called her the Bloggernacle’s blue-haired witch.
Stewart became inactive in the Mormon religion for about a year, attending the Episcopal church, and attributed that time to development of a much closer relationship with Christ via the bible. She returned to Mormonism and has been active ever since.
She describes her original political leanings as “Leftist Progressive.” She went to liberal colleges, and considered herself a feminist. When Stewart first joined the church in 2008, she struggled with the church’s conservative position on women’s ordination and gay marriage. Later her views changed radically. In 2009 she “learned the truth about homosexuality.” She was always very family-oriented and anti-abortion, even as a progressive, but upon reading books like Helen Andelin’s Fascinating Womanhood, she became anti-feminist and fully converted to the “trad life” (the restoration and preservation of traditional values, according to her current storefront.) It wasn’t until 2015 that the growing refugee crisis drove her to the Alt Right movement and white advocacy.
Wife With a Purpose Ministry
Ayla Stewart’s blog was originally called Nordic Sunrise, but at some point it changed to the Wife With a Purpose moniker. The online magazine, as she calls it, is to “support the revolution of radical traditionalism.” In explaining her purpose, Stewart says:
We have an epidemic in the Western world right now. In America and Europe citizens have become self obsessed, lazy, fat, demanding, spoiled, loud, controlling, egotistical and mentally ill. Feminism, homosexuality, atheism, hedonism, and transgender-ism are being promoted while the hard work and priorities of family and faith have all but died away and this pattern is killing us, physically and spiritually….
Whether found in protestant gatherings, Catholic traditions, the tea-party, Trump supporters, Mormon families, Amish barn raisings, Old Order or Conservative Mennonites, the purity movement, the stay-at-home daughter movement, homesteading, quiver-full, patriarchy movement, the fight against Islam, traditional homemaking, the hopeful repeal of the 19th amendment, or the quest to keep our countries from being over run with migrants and illegal aliens, etc, we will explore how peoples everywhere are saying yes to hard work, yes to big families, yes to the Lord and His plan for our families and our future. (emphasis in original)
Yeah, I know. The “hopeful” repeal of the 19th amendment. Emmeline B. Wells is rolling over in her grave.
This description covers well Ayla Stewart’s feelings about traditional gender roles. The stay-at-home daughter movement, quiverfull movement (advocating procreation), and traditional homemaking all relate to the domestic sphere of motherhood. The patriarchy movement and repeal of the 19th amendment relate to the dominant role of men in both public and private spheres. In blog posts, Stewart advises women to act appropriately: dressing for the weekend (spoiler: blouse and skirt), and top ten points of lady-like behavior (eat slow, don’t stomp, and always smile, among others). And remember, “it’s the duty of every woman to watch her figure closely.”
In a recent address at a so-called #TrueBlueMormon Conference, Stewart argued that anti-feminist beliefs in the Alt Right movement are consistent with the Family Proclamation, the church’s historic position against the Equal Rights Amendment, and New Testament scriptural commands in Ephesians for wives to submit to their husbands. As she pointed out, things are dire if children are oppressing and women are ruling (Isaiah 3:12).
What is less obvious in the ministry description, however, is Stewart’s strong support of white advocacy and nationalism.
In her blog, Stewart promotes celebration of European cultures, specifically white Christian European cultures. If your little girl is taking a dance class, make sure it fits with a white cultural perspective. Try to eat more traditional European foods. Is it Halloween? Show off European cultural pride! Don’t want to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., in January? Celebrate Robert E. Lee! Or how about celebrating the European heroes who liberated our ancestors from the slavery of Arab rule! (Yeah, so funny thing, Robert E. Lee also had a connection to slavery…) Yoga isn’t Hindu, it’s Scandinavian gymnastics! Jesus and Egyptian pharoahs had fair skin and red hair, didn’t you know? White privilege doesn’t exist. If anything, current popular culture has not respect for white European culture and doesn’t even “consider Caucasian to be an ethnicity.” Whites are the victims of racism. She even wrote a pro-white children’s book to help kids become more proud of their white heritage.
In her recent speech at the #TrueBlueMormon Conference, Stewart pointed to the Book of Mormon as proof that God doesn’t consider one race superior to another, God “loves his fair-skinned children and sees them as valuable.” With our belief of resurrected bodies of flesh and bone, we’d expect resurrected beings to display racial characteristics, including Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And, by the way, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was noted as white, so there. The Priesthood Ban proves that God agrees there is a distinction between races, even if they are technically equal in his sight. If race exists (and God seems to think it does), then it’s okay to celebrate one’s racial “tribe.” It’s about heritage, not hate. The whole Spirit of Elijah thing. So we truly need to stop racism as the church recently said, the anti-white racism.
Stewart hints at the nationalism with the goal of keeping “our countries from being over run with migrants and illegal aliens” in the description of her ministry. There are two aspects to this argument. The first is the concept of a homeland, and the second is defense.
At the recent conference, Stewart used a statement by then-Elder Russell M. Nelson to prove that God intended for different peoples to have their own homelands.
People can be “brought to the knowledge of the Lord”39 without leaving their homelands. True, in the early days of the Church, conversion often meant emigration as well. But now the gathering takes place in each nation. The Lord has decreed the establishment of Zion40 in each realm where He has given His Saints their birth and nationality. Scripture foretells that the people “shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.”41 “Every nation is the gathering place for its own people.”42 The place of gathering for Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; the place of gathering for Nigerian Saints is in Nigeria; the place of gathering for Korean Saints is in Korea; and so forth. Zion is “the pure in heart.”43 Zion is wherever righteous Saints are. Publications, communications, and congregations are now such that nearly all members have access to the doctrines, keys, ordinances, and blessings of the gospel, regardless of their location.
For her, the Alt Right movement fully supports this Mormon view of Zion in each homeland:
[12:17] The positions of the alt right–which are sovereignty for all peoples, homelands for all peoples, we want all people to thrive in their native lands. We’re against massive illegal immigration, we’re against these refugee programs, these migrant programs that are bringing people into Europe, America, and Australia and so forth–that that lines up very well not only with the gospel, but is something we’re supposed to be doing. We’re supposed to be encouraging people to stay in their own countries and build Zion there in order to make the world a place where the Second Coming can happen.
But with a homeland, Stewart sees an obligation to forebearers. In a biting April 2017 post, she suggests that members of the church are dishonoring the sacrifices of their pioneer ancestors by giving away their hard-won land to undeserving and dangerous migrants and outsiders. But dishonoring our ancestors also happens when declining birthrates threatens our cultures to extinction. Stewart uses Elder L. Tom Perry‘s 2005 warning,
I asked, “What will happen in your country with the changes that are occurring? The declining population and the influx of an increasing number of immigrants will eventually make you a minority in your own land.”
With great national pride, he replied, “This will never happen.”
I countered, “How can you support such a position with immigration exceeding your country’s birthrate?”
It’s this very real fear of white extinction that prompted Stewart to issue a tongue-in-cheek “white baby challenge” earlier this year. The Alt Right has as a founding principle, “we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children.” But, as she informed Dr. Darron Smith in a podcast earlier this year, she’s not necessarily saying the United States (or Canada, or Australia, or Europe) should be totally white, just a white majority as the founders intended. After all, D&C 38:20 says this land is the inheritance of churchmembers, so that proves God intended for this land to be white majority because they were all white(?). The scripture is noted in her Twitter description, so I assume it matters.
Anyway, Stewart also uses the Book of Mormon to justify the defense of the white homelands against threats to their wives and children. Are you keeping your wife safe, she asks, “if you allow hordes of violent third world immigrants into your nation?” and often points out the crimes of refugees against white people in Europe and the United States in her blog posts. Although she recognizes the Christian virtue of loving your neighbor, she asks people to think of their neighbors at home:
But are you so fixated on the neighbor half way around the world that you have forgotten your actual neighbor living right next door? Have you forgotten that a demand to change the country’s demographics will affect him and his family too? Have you forgotten that he also has a wife and daughters he doesn’t want assaulted? He has property he doesn’t want stolen or vandalized. He has a job he wants to keep and a wage he doesn’t want driven down by migrant workers. He has children and grandchildren and he wants them to have a safe future in our country.
The Book of Mormon pleads for husbands to protect their wives and children (Alma 43), so it is our gospel duty to think of their safety first.
The Future of the Mormon Alt Right
Those in the Mormon Alt Right were emboldened by Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s recent general conference address, where he said those who claim tolerance can often be the most judgmental:
Sometimes those who raise a warning voice are dismissed as judgmental. Paradoxically, however, those who claim truth is relative and moral standards are a matter of personal preference are often the same ones who most harshly criticize people who don’t accept the current norm of “correct thinking.”
Yet today’s statement condemning the pro-white movement is hitting those like Ayla Stewart hard:
Honestly, prior to today’s statement, I felt the future of the Mormon Alt Right was pretty bright. Ayla’s statements were similar to those I’ve seen on comments at the Deseret News and by my own associates on Facebook. I was born after the Priesthood Ban, but it was not unusual to hear growing up that white people were God’s elect, and ethnic Europeans held more literal blood of the House of Israel than any other group. You don’t just eliminate that thinking overnight. I didn’t think the church would risk giving up an ally in defending traditional roles in the family, but I was clearly wrong.
- What do you think about the future of the Mormon Alt Right?
- Now that pro-white sentiment and white supremacy have been declared “not in harmony with the teachings of the church,” do you think discipline is likely for outspoken Mormon members of the Alt Right?
 Dr. Darron Smith and Ayla Stewart argued quite a bit in a recent podcast when she pulled out physical anthropology to support some of her racial views. It’s painful, yet entertaining.
 “Red pill the normies while supporting a trad family.” This trad life thing is apparently tight with the men’s rights movement.
 And, based on her previous statements, she’s gonna go with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as white. By Common Consent just had a post on this stuff, btw.
 One point in this section didn’t make sense to me. She noted Kimball’s statement on the skin of those in the Indian Placement Program becoming lighter – wouldn’t that argue against a permanent race designation that carries with someone into the resurrection?
 I’ve been doing family history for a decade. It’s appropriate to celebrate your heritage and ethnicity, but if you’re giving people the heebie jeebies (like, I don’t know, carrying a Nazi flag), you might want to reexamine your method of celebration.
 Ironically, the ethnicities Stewart identifies as “white” weren’t always identified as such.
 So her whole idea of the United States, Canada, and Australia deserving to be white majority “homelands” for ethnic Europeans is based on where European immigrants settled, yet the Alt Right movement says ancestry trumps geography.There’s a hole in that logic.
I personally know several Mormons who adhere to this mentality, including spouse’s family members. I was heartened by the clear statement from the church today. I’d love to see them all gone.
Someone needs to stand beside Ayla Stewart and, like Bugs Bunny hold a picture of a metal SCREW and baseBALL. The less attention given them, the better. The alt-right and alt-left just don’t deserve any credibility. Both groups were in Charlottesville and neither were concerned about “peace”.
I hope they read the latest statement in all Sacrament meetings this Sunday. Beyond that, Ayla herself comes off as nutty and a publicity whore. It’s hard to take anything she says seriously, while at the same time it seems important to recognize she represents a strain of LDS thought.
Her extreme views on both the left and the right reminded me of Ephesians 4:14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”
This is incredibly thorough. Well done, Mary Ann.
“What do you think about the future of the Mormon Alt Right?” If you had asked me before election night, I would have said it was unthinkable for a large number of people to still feel this way in 2017.
“Now that pro-white sentiment and white supremacy have been declared “not in harmony with the teachings of the church,” do you think discipline is likely for outspoken Mormon members of the Alt Right?” As always, it depends on their local leaders. It’s shocking that an alt-right video was shown in a 5th Sunday lesson in a Mormon ward, but less shocking when you see that racism & misogyny go hand in hand. They are both symptoms of the same thing: white male privilege (and the tantrums as it rightfully erodes when freedoms and rights are finally granted more equally). I don’t really see that going away any time soon. Before it does, many more people will leave. https://bycommonconsent.com/2017/08/15/white-genocide-or-how-i-first-encountered-the-alt-right-in-a-suburban-mormon-fifth-sunday-meeting/
Mary Ann, I was looking forward to this post and it did not disappoint. I guess it’s normal for people to want to be surrounded by people who are more like them (as demonstrated by how they self-segregate) and I can understand how they might feel the culture and traditions they’re used to are threatened by strangers. For example, if you grew up loving how every how on the block put up Christmas lights, and the tradition dies out as Muslim families move into the neighborhood, I can understand longing for “the good ole days”. But developers also put a shopping center in that field they used to play in, too, and that has nothing to do with Muslims. Times change. (and manufacturing jobs are gone for good).
I wouldn’t have a problem with people wanting to celebrate their “white culture” if it didn’t seem to be a veneer for disparaging and excluding others. I’m not sure what those white supremacists in Charlotte were trying to accomplish. It looked like they were looking for violence to me, and as the Trump rallies proved, there are plenty of violent lefties wanting to give it to them. Those violent lefties are just as big a problem: they give cover to the alt-right and credence to the NRAs most recent ad. I also think they contributed a lot to Trump getting elected. My question is whether there’s a point to confronting white supremacists head on or whether it’s better to rationally educate people and react with disgust when they spread their propaganda. I think civility is an undervalued virtue, even when confronting evil. When you decide to drop civility, it either means you’re either shaming yourself with your lack of self-control, or you’ve decided the other person is irredeemable and you want to hurt them. Before you get there, I think you’d better have exhausted all other options.
I think church discipline is in store for outspoken white supremacists, because they inherently interfere with the mission of the church, part of which is bringing the gospel to all people. If it’s felt they’re driving people from the church or preaching contrary to church doctrine, and they won’t stop, they’re going to get ex’ed.
It’s very easy to forget that outside the of the US the LDS church is seen as distinctly “American.” The feelings people have about the US are directly related to their willingness to listen to the missionaries. Unless the church is able to set itself up in opposition to the emboldened white supremacists in the US then it will be difficult for the church to continue to grow internationally. The church simply can’t afford to put up with a high-profile white supremacist claiming to be a member in good standing.
On the subject of Ms. Stewart, the most interesting thing I’ve found was her old angelfire website. It’s still on the wayback machine, and she has a page about her ‘Native American ancestry.’ It’s bizarre. (If you doubt it’s her, you can click through some of the other pages in the same site- it’s got her name and pictures on a few of them.)
^I poked around the site and found where she proudly comes out as “gay.” Unbelievable. This lady is insane.
Thanks, Starfoxy. I hadn’t found that site. Yes, apparently her Native American ancestry is from her mom. She mentioned a Powhatan ancestor in one of the autobiographical links in my post above, but I didn’t know the specifics.
Kris, she’s talked about her participation in open marriage on her current blog (https://wifewithapurpose.com/2017/07/12/good-grief-im-not-gay-and-i-didnt-cheat-on-my-husband-🙄/), but the page you linked to gives more detail. (ETA: the current blog post I linked to talks more about her second marriage. The older link Kris posted is about her first marriage.)
To All, her relationship with Christ and being redeemed through him is a big part of her public Christian message, so details of her life prior to her more biblical conversion (a couple years after she joined Mormonism), regardless of how salacious, aren’t going to be as damning as you might think.
Also, no matter how distasteful her views might feel to you, I’d like to keep the “this lady is insane” and “publicity whore” stuff out of the conversation.
I’m very uncomfortable with people writing her off as fringe when all you have to do is wade thru comment sections at DesNews or on the Mormon newsrooms recent FB post to realize a large share of our pew Mayes share many of her views, even if they don’t share her methods.
While she is in the wrong, the joy and glee directed at her is totally uncalled for. She has removed herself from the company of the Spirit, and that should be mourned, not celebrated. The contrast in her possible excommunication and the dismay and consternation surrounding the excommunication of Kate Kelly and other progressives is very interesting.
Wow, that is some thorough research, Mary Ann. Very impressive and well-written.
As to your two questions:
1) I have been dismayed at the groundswell of similar thinking in our society. I just don’t get it. I find the alt-right, “white culture” movement to be disgusting and completely at odds with the teachings of Jesus. They are not Christian.
2) I hope they face discipline, though I hope it isn’t used in a thought-policy kind of way. However, if someone is spewing this kind of invective, the church community has to draw a line and say, “Sorry, you’re not part of our community. Go join the KKK or something.”
Several years ago, I was the Gospel Doctrine teacher in my ward. In one of the lessons, we were discussing the “curse” of dark skin. I waited for someone to speak up and say that our Heavenly Father does not consider dark skin a curse, but no one did. In fact, members of the class elaborated on the belief, stating that having dark skin is the punishment for disobeying God. I don’t have the proper words to adequately how shocked and disgusted I was that day.
I find the Church’s statement disavowing white supremacy as disingenuous as Trump’s. The Church is not a tolerant organization. It discriminates against non-whites (priesthood bans), non-heterosexuals (children of non-heteros can’t be baptized), and non-males (only men can preside over meetings/perform ordinances/give blessings). Sure, our leaders espouse the “love the sinner, hate the sin” rhetoric, but that sentiment doesn’t pass cognitive muster.
Sadly, white supremacy is nestled comfortably within Mormonism. I love our church, and it pains me that it is a place of such intolerance that I refuse to allow my young, impressionable daughter to worship alongside me.
It is my most passionate hope that I live long enough to see Christ’s church actually emulate the teachings of Christ.
Mary Ann, wow! Thank you for your hard work on the article. So, is there anyone else that is publicly on the Mormon Alt-right or do the rest of them just hid behind screen names with no photos? I also hope she gets exed and I imagine since this statement seems aimed directed at her it won’t be too far down the road. (Or at least a guy can hope right?).
Jason B, almost all those I can firmly put in the category of the Mormon Alt Right refrain from using their real names. Ayla posted a pic of the participants in the conference earlier this year – there was only Ayla and another blond girl who had their faces shown. The rest of the people had Pepe the Frog stickers over their faces. It’s possible the other girl besides Ayla with her face shown was one of the other presenters, Stacy (@ stacydecheat), but I can’t say for sure without doing real digging. If you go look at Ayla’s Twitter feed and Facebook accounts, you begin to spot other Mormon Alt Right regulars.
This is such a concise article, thanks!
Ahhh women like this just make me cringe inside … like a really bad sacrament talk, on repeat, gone global.
I think my favourite point was, If something gives people the heeby geebys, maybe just stop. It’s all well and good to have some cultural pride but maybe don’t use the white hashtag. And yes lots of people are racist against whites BUT how about we don’t start acting the victim and instead just live and teach the true principles of the gospel. People don’t like each other .. what’s new.
Anyway, I’m Australian, white and mormon and I share none of her sentiments.
Perhaps I didn’t read the original post or comments closely enough, but hopefully someone already noted that that quote by Elder Perry is taken way out of context in that meme. Check the original talk — it’s a quote from a conversation.
Need screen name; i think the point here is that Ayla/apurposefulwife frequently misinterprets or takes quotes out of context to try to prooftext them for her views.
Need screen name, if you look at it from Ayla’s viewpoint (which is what I tried to do, in spite of the snark), it’s not really that far out of context. Elder Perry’s talk was about seeking for the kingdom of heaven, having an eternal (religious) perspective in knowing what’s important, right? The point of Elder Perry sharing the conversation (which went on a couple more lines) was to show that particular European man’s apathy and selfishness – he was gonna die before his country’s problem got really bad, so why should he care or do anything about it? Perry was pointing to secularism as a major cause of that apathy and selfishness. From Ayla’s perspective, she sees feminism as inherently selfish and damaging, ultimately resulting in lack of appreciation of the divine role of motherhood and bearing children (which also puts the population at risk). She sees bringing in refugees and migrants as foolish and shortsighted – not proper perspective of what’s best for us (men are to protect their families) or them (people should remain in their homelands and build Zion there like God said). What’s truly important is turning our hearts to our fathers (honoring our heritage, making sure we treasure what they gave us) and our hearts to the children (securing their future both temporally and spiritually). So while *most* people would agree that quote was out of context, I feel like she is sincere in viewing it as a dire warning.
So as Andrew said, a lot of the stuff she says we’d view as out of context, but when you step into that worldview, you begin to see why they think it makes perfect sense. It relates to Andrew’s post on Monday – your worldview heavily shapes your interpretation. Two people sitting in a pew can hear the same talk and come away with very different impressions.
I knew about wife with a purpose but did not know all these details about her. Hard to believe people like her exist.
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Just as a reminder, the topic of this post is the *Mormon* Alt Right or the views of Wife With A Purpose. If you want to debate the removal of the Lee statue, this is not the forum.
Also, WE DO NOT ADVOCATE FOR ANYONE’S DEATH.
So the LDS will expel a woman for wanting to be a priest, but not one who is a Nazi?
Arthur, after Tuesday’s update it looks like people wanting to be Nazis are at high risk for discipline.
The Church should keep out of politics like this. And as far as I know a member cannot be expelled for his or her thoughts – at least not yet. I’d never heard of the Wife with a Purpose before, but she generally strikes me as sensible and courageous – and I admire her for speaking out. The Church seems to be trying to desperately reconcile perceived modern sentiment (as promoted by the mainstream media) and its original doctrines. This is impossible as the two are opposites. When confronted with the feeling that what a modern dignitary declares appears to be different from what for example Joseph Smith or Brigham Young have said, I go with the latter. I refuse to dismiss older prophets and apostles as bigots simply because their ideas are now offensive. Joseph Smith has spoken with the Gods. His writings and explanations are, I think, quite clear. And so are the Scriptures when it comes to the important stuff. The Lord has indicated that those who love him will be expelled from the synagogue. We shall see.
Max Driessen: “And as far as I know a member cannot be expelled for his or her thoughts – at least not yet.” You haven’t been paying attention then. People are sometimes expelled for apostasy, which is indeed thoughts. The September 6 excommunications were all for ideologies. Not to invoke Godwin’s Law (we are after all talking about ACTUAL Nazis here), but I’m sure there were many Germans who thought Hitler sounded “sensible and courageous” in 1938. And if you’re relying on JS and BY as your source for anti-racist rhetoric, again, you’re not looking very closely at it. JS’s views were fairly progressive. BY was an unabashed racist. Check your research and reading comprehension skills.
Max, people can be disciplined for what they say in public, per the definition of apostasy:
“Apostasy is repeatedly acting in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its faithful leaders, or persisting, after receiving counsel, in teaching false doctrine.” As examples of people who have been excommunicated in recent years for repeatedly expressing views contrary to church leaders, read up on Denver Snuffer, Adrian Larsen, and Rock Waterman (on one side of the spectrum), or Kate Kelly, John Dehlin, and Jeremy Runnells (on the other side of the spectrum).
I notice her name was Ayla Serenemoon Israel in her old blog. I’ve seen her also go by Erin Donnelly, and some other variations. All in all she has quite a few identities. Is that normal? I think not. I smell a con artist. Her husband has been arrested for marijuana sales in AZ, and used the alias Seth Stewart Israel as well. I think there is way more to this story than a simple small town girl trying to live a trad life, seems more like they live a thug life. A twitter search of #ErinAylaLies is quite enlightening especially the ones about multiple aliases, the welfare issues and her ‘ministry’ requesting donations and such…Why no tax ID# or 501(c)3? Ministry? Or Con? http://blogpelopor.blogspot.com/2008/01/about-me.html
LyndaAnne, is it normal to have several identities? For people who are active on the internet, it is common to use a screenname instead of your real name (several of our bloggers do it here). Some bloggers will even have multiple screennames, tying some to particular causes or topics. For people who join some types of religions, it is also common to adopt new names. Her birth name is Erin. So to limit it to what we have here in the post and comments, based on the site Starfoxy found (which doesn’t work anymore), she identifies as Ayla Coast on her blog where she’s talking about her Native American heritage and midwifery. Later when she’s more active in the wiccan/pagan blogs she uses Ayla Serenemoon. After she joins the Mormon church she uses Ayla Serenemoon Israel (at that point she was still doing the combo pagan/LDS thing). Later she comes up as just “Ayla” when she starts promoting her traditional life stuff, and even attends live homeschooling conferences under the name Ayla Stewart (her current husband’s surname).
Each screenname is consistent with a different philosophy, so it follows a pattern. What’s unusual is just how *often* her philosophies have changed. She began tweeting about trad life stuff only in 2013, and her involvement with the alt right only began in 2015. Give it a few years and she’ll probably be passionate about something else.
As far as monetizing blogs and creating storefronts, that is very common for stay-at-home mommy bloggers who are trying to supplement their husband’s income. I’m not familiar with the specific welfare issues you speak of, but based on her blog it sounds like she has used government assistance for her family. A lot of young people who get married early and have kids early often end up using government assistance at some point – it’s a fairly common occurence in the Mormon world.
Could she be a con artist? Possibly, but I doubt it.
I really hope that this woman comes to realize the harm she does to others in and out of the church. It is hard to imagine someone who claims to be a follower of Christ so hateful to her brothers and sisters. I believe her words to be more harmful in the long run than many of the others who have been publicly excommunicated for their intellectual opinions. While the prophet encourages us to help refugees, she has promoted a hateful agenda framed in beautiful images of a family life we all want. If every cultural group on this earth had a similarly bigoted nationalistic agenda, missionary work would cease and progress would halt. I have been shaking my head for awhile, wondering how long it will take for the leadership of the church to do something. I feel sad for her and wonder if she is no different than an internet troll that takes pleasure in saying something provocative for attention. Is it low self esteem! Narcissism? Misguided beliefs from the company she now keeps? I read this post from her earlier, pre-alt right years and It saddens me to imagine how she turned on her more open, loving, and tolerant roots. http://blogpelopor.blogspot.com/2011/04/age-of-selfishness.html?m=1
You have to be carefully taught.
Mary Ann your premise is incorrect. There is nothing wrong with Ayla’s past as a SJW and bisexual. She is not being judged over that. Rather she is being called out for her PRESENT response to her past, and her PRESENT response to others who she was once like. The lack of compassion and utter hate she has shown for LGBT and for welfare beneficiaries, when she of all people should have understanding since she was in those shoes herself, is a tell that speaks louder than any profession of Christian faith, repentance and salvation she could ever claim. She is being called out for hypocrisy, countless inconsistencies and blatant lies., in addition to the all around bigotry. And as far as I’m concerned charging $65 an hour for fairy card readings while professing Christ is reason enough to call her a grifter and a con. But collecting welfare while her husband is dealing marijuana (plea bargained to a felony class 5 offense in 2015) is another cause to call foul. Claiming to be a ward witch the day of her baptism as she describes lying to her church leaders in her blog is another indicator of gross insincerity. These are character issues that plague her present because they show a clear and consistent pattern of deception. Her shame is not that she was once a SJW or a blue haired lesbian polygamist. Her shame is that she presently lies about it, as she ridicules and harasses marginalized members of society. I get that you want to be unbiased. But your desire to be so is at the expense of reason. And your premise that her past is salacious speaks more to you than her.
LyndaAnne, I get that people would call her out for being a bigot NOW given her past beliefs and actions, but that viewpoint would not be shared by her followers. In *their* eyes, she has “seen the light.” So that was more what I was getting at – none of those details would do anything to discredit her in the eyes of her current followers because of her “Come to Jesus” moment. But for those who already don’t like her, then you’re absolutely right that those details would condemn her present actions as she is fully aware of the damaging ramifications.
As for calling details salacious, caring about her sexual history and talking about it in a way that seems disrespectful is an appropriate use of the term. The comments here are relatively tame compared to others I’ve seen on social media, so perhaps I was responding more to them.
If you think I’m unbiased, I’m not sure you read the OP closely. I’m attempting to keep comments respectful because people are rightfully passionate about this topic and this conversation can get derailed easily.
I’m fine with her being proud of who she is and where she came from. I’m not ok with her mentality of races/cultures not mixing. Even if the white population all turned brown…so what? We are all the same…PEOPLE.
If Ayla Stewart and other baby machines don’t want the right to vote, then they shouldn’t vote. I, as a woman who believes that all people have the same value, whether wealthy, poor, of any skin color; fully embrace my right to vote. These self-serving “white” people should entertain themselves with a DNA test where they will find that skin color is just that, a color. Their heritage will most likely not be purely white. These backwards thinking people will always hate or fear anyone who doesn’t look, walk and talk just as they do. We are moving through space in a world that we cannot escape so maybe these “whites” should learn to play well with others. Signed: White Woman who is not purely anything but human.
Fear is the operative word here. I think a LOT of white people see the handwriting on the wall, the one that says “You won’t be the majority much longer” and are rightfully fearful of how THEY will be treated as minorities. Guilt eats at them, corrodes any semblance of a soul and turns them into disgusting Gollum-like creatures, ready to march with vile and hateful Nazi’s to preserve their “heritage”. I agree with your assessment. People need to act like human beings for once and stop obsessing over the melanin content of their skin.
Mary Ann, I went to school with Ayla and she used to talk about being a descendant of Powhaten all the time there.. Today on her YouTube livestream about Prince Harry she went extensively about how her genetics are 100% European.Either she was lying in school or she was lying on the air today. Starfoxy is telling the truth that Ayla had published on her old website about being of indigenous American stock and now Ayla denys it and has removed the websites to cover up her lies.
Elizabeth, I don’t see good reason to say she was lying about it – she talks about it in a September 2017 blog post. She was going off her family’s history when she was big on the whole Native American thing, and claims she did tons of research and went through the paper trail. She got a rude awakening when her DNA test came back 100% European. I do a lot of family history research, and you don’t have DNA from all your ancestors. I don’t see it as out of the realm of possibility having a paper trail leading back to a biological Native American great-great-grandmother, yet not showing genetic markers. The fact she dismisses the idea of America being a melting pot because someone doesn’t display a mix of ethnicities in their personal genetics is pretty dumb, though.
Just read Elder L. Tom Perry’s talk and it COULD NOT have been taken more out of context. Here’s the full talk for anyone who might be curious to know what he ACTUALLY said: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/04/what-seek-ye?lang=eng
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