Trumpist Secretary of State candidate Monae Johnson, who stole the SDGOP nomination from establishment Republican sinecurist and current Secretary of State Steve Barnett in June on unsubstantiated claims that South Dakota lacks “election integrity”, is a receptionist at Marty Jackley’s law firm in Rapid City. Her bio at Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson, & Ashmore notes that she “is the current South Dakota Area President for Aglow International.” (Johnson’s campaign bio puts her presidency in the past tense.)
No, Aglow is not an Avon competitor. Aglow International started in 1967 as Full Gospel Women’s Fellowship, when the wives of fellows in the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship decided they wanted to keep busy for Jesus, too.
Aglow originated in a firm belief in male headship and women’s God-ordained subordinate place at men’s sides. Aglow cites as its first “Biblical Foundational Truth” its purpose to “promote gender reconciliation between make and female in the Body of Christ as God designed from Genesis 1–3.” Those cited Biblical chapters wrap up with God’s directive to Eve and succeeding womankind that “your husband… will rule over you.”
Contemporary language makes such direct calls to subservience uncomfortable. An FAQ page Aglow created in December 2010 said, “Aglow is proving to be a unique tool in His hands for this crucial time. While being a unique women-to-women ministry, Aglow fully supports pastors and men in their spiritual headship role.” But while I can get the Aglow website’s search feature to pop up that snippet, clicking on the associated link only takes me back to the homepage. The Aglow International Leader’s Digest from 2015 refers to “supporting military wives and moms” as an outreach suggestion. In explaining “Church~Aglow” partnership, the 2015 guide recommends that Aglow members “Invite pastors’ wives to a luncheon to a luncheon….” Both items indicate the default assumption that men will take leadership positions and their wives will need support. However, the guide’s section forming youth groups admits the possibility of have a male or female pastor as an advisor.
In an essay apparently from 2005, Aglow’s president Jane Hansen Hoyt speaks very obtusely on the issue of male headship, but amidst the mumbo-jumbo, the ideas of women’s “place” and male headship persist.
Feminism is a devil’s trick to undermine the “greatness” of manhood. From this deceit, Aglow must awaken and restore women:
Never in history has there been recorded this kind of a worldwide awakening amongst women and we would have to ask ourselves why and why now. So some of what you will hear, some who have been in Aglow for many years, you will think I have heard this before. But I think God wants to breathe a fresh wind of His Spirit upon us. He wants to awaken and reawaken, and bring to a greater depth in our own understandings why it is He has chosen to awaken and restore women at this specific time in history.
…Great illumination has been coming and great intercession has come out of that understanding. And in the throws of our conversation, she said something to me in relation to how the enemy would work in the lives of men to bring a demasculization to men. How are we doing translators? Is that an okay word? To take away the sense of greatness in their manhood, the greatness of who God has called them to be in their homes, in their family, and in the earth. And at the same time how the enemy would come to exalt women in their own minds or in a way that would counter – now stay with me – the original plan and purpose of what God designed for male and female. It would counterfeit.
So we are saying: God is awakening women to the significance of His plans for their lives complete in the body of Christ for women. Are we saying we are unduly exalting women? No. That is why the enemy would come through a back door to undermine the plan of God which has always been His goal. To demasculinize or take away the strength of manhood, maleness as God intended it from the beginning. The beauty of all of it. And He would bring in feminism in a way that brings forth womanhood that looks like strength, but, in fact, is empty without power, without authority, without anointing and there is really no strength there at all. Like a clanging symbol. It is like strident voices that clamor to be heard, demand to have a place when, without the power and the wisdom and the purpose of God behind that, it will fall away to nothingness. Are you with me? [Jane Hansen Hoyt, “Male-Female Reconciliation,” Aglow International: Jane’s Messages, November 2005, retrieved 2022.08.29].
But Aglow women must not be angry or strident in their efforts: such puffery is only for the devil’s trickster feminists:
Now I am not talking about angry strident women that demand to be heard, I am talking about healthiness, wholeness. And in the years since Aglow has come forth, this is part of what God has been doing in your life personally, and in the corporate life of this ministry. Bringing forth wholeness so that we can step into those places of ministry and working alongside our brothers [Hansen Hoyt, 2005].
Hansen Hoyt seems to dismiss men’s domination of women but not women’s submission to men, women’s secondarity:
I think of the scripture in Genesis 3, where the enemy has come in to disrupt the plan of God. He came to the woman first because he knew she had been called to be a help. God had already said man’s aloneness was not good. His aloneness, his functioning alone, his isolation. He needed a help meet to come along side of him that he might come into the fuller plan and purpose of God. So God brought forth the woman. She was created for the man. She was created to stand in a face-to-face healthy relationship with him. Not cowering in fear. Not the kind of submission that takes away her personhood, her value, her significance. It is a healthy relationship God is after. There is a loving, serving and a caring for one another. It isn’t the woman usurping the man’s place, but it isn’t the man dominating the woman. It is a healthy place where the heart, voice and purpose of God is seen and felt in the earth. So the enemy knew man’s aloneness wasn’t good, she was called to be a help. I’ll attack the help God sent so he is still left in his aloneness and she is now crippled. It wasn’t to get at the woman; it was to get at God, and His plan and His purpose [Hansen Hoyt, 2005].
Evidently Monae Johnson got good at her mushy talk about “election integrity” as code for “Trump won!” by hanging out with Aglow’s mealy-mouthed public statements about “male-female reconciliation” as code for “Put women back in their places!”
Of course, if Monae Johnson were completely invested in the idea that men should be in charge, she would never have challenged Steve Barnett, or she’d at least quit campaigning now against Tom Cool for Secretary of State.
Or maybe Johnson is simply carrying out the part of her Aglow mission that sounds a lot like theocracy:
He is calling forth an army of women who, day and night, will stand against the darkness. Who will rise up against the darkness? Who says this can come in, this must go. You’re gatekeepers in your nation; you are gatekeepers in your city. You are allowing what comes in and what goes out. God has given you divine authority to expose the enemy in your nations [Hansen Hoyt, 2005].
The theocratic bent of Johnson’s organization is couched in the same mushy language as its view of the proper roles of men and women. But Aglow is part of the “New Apostolic Reformation,” whose efforts to ban abortion and gay marriage are part of a much broader (and, some Christians say, unbiblical) push for theocracy:
According to NAR leaders, when the church was birthed in the first century A.D., God intended for it to be always governed by living apostles and prophets. Yet, the continuation of these two offices has not been accepted by the vast majority of Christians following the earliest years of the church’s establishment. Today, in place of living apostles and prophets, most Protestant churches are governed by pastors, elders, and denominational executives.
But NAR leaders teach that God began restoring the office of prophet to the church in the 1980s and the office of apostle in the 1990s. C. Peter Wagner — one of the movement’s most influential U.S. apostles — teaches that 2001 A.D. marked the beginning of the “Second Apostolic Age,” when the proper church government — headed by living apostles and prophets — was finally restored.12
Now that the church is under the leadership of living apostles and prophets, it can complete its primary task — the Great Commission, which has been redefined by NAR leaders as a commission to take dominion, or sociopolitical control, of the earth13 [Holly Pivec, “The New Apostolic Reformation: Influence and Teachings,” Apologetics Index, updated 2021.07.22].
Ah, dominion theology. As Aglow International itself says, “As God’s representatives on earth, we walk in authority that He has given to us…. This authority… gives us the right to reign and rule on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Vote for Monae, because God says so—yeesh.
The Secretary of State’s office seems well removed from religious matters. But if Monae Johnson is on a mission from God to expose the enemy in South Dakota (and by “enemy”, Aglow means Satan!) and keep the enemy outside our gates, perhaps the gate is elected office, and her control of our elections would allow her to keep the “enemy” from ever winning an election, or even getting on the ballot, whether that enemy comes in the form of an insufficiently Christian or excessively feminist candidate or in the form of a ballot measure that would affirm women’s right to control their bodies and their pregnancies. Perhaps “election integrity” is just more Aglow International code for “making sure that the ballot and thus the government and the law consist solely of choices that reflect our special Christian integrity.”
Church, State, and Taxes: IRS records show Monae Johnson listed as the contact/”in care of” name for two Aglow International entities with distinct Employer ID Numbers, the Rapid City Neighborhood “Lighthouse” (the term Aglow uses for local chapters) and the South Dakota Area Team. Seven other women are listed as contacts for eight other South Dakota-based Aglow organizations:
- Deann Hilmoe, Pierre: Pierre SD Prison Community
- Jacqueline Rhode, Fort Thompson: Fort Thompson SD Neighborhood
- Janice Waltman, Aberdeen: South Dakota State Prayer Coordinator Position
- Merilyn Beeman, Hot Springs: Hot Springs/Edgemont SD Neighborhood
- Nancy Engler, Rapid City: Rapid City Jail Neighborhood
- Sande Lofberg: Rapid City: Great Plains-Rocky Mtn Region, South Dakota East River
- Theora H Carlson, Bison: Bison SD Neighborhood Lighthouse
All of these Aglow entities are registered with the IRS as churches, even though Aglow’s leadership manual distinguishes Aglow from actual churches in many places. For instance, local chapter leaders and ministry support team members are expected to “attend one church regularly…” and “By ‘church’ we mean a valid Christian assembly, recognized as such in the community and by Christian pastors in the area, having as its pastor or leader a person similarly recognized.”
- Aglow International opposes LGBT anti-discrimination policies as “demonic“.
- Aglow local chapter leaders, youth group leaders, advisors, Bible study teachers, and prayer ministry team members must show evidence of speaking in tongues. Speakers to local chapters must either speak in tongues or believe in speaking in tongues, with exceptions made for speakers invited to discuss “current or relevant topics, such as Disaster Preparedness.”