A Speaker Writer And Influencer Balances Her Aesthetic Of Optimism Against The Challenges Of The Pandemic
Al Carraway, her husband, Ben, and their three young children pose for a photo in the familys garage.
Courtesy of Al Carraway
To post, or not to post? That is the question. Whether tis nobler to take to Instagram, with the standard pastels and adventure scenes, Or to stay hushed and watch while everything burns. Such is the theoretical dilemma of a social media influencer like Al Carraway, a mom with shoulder-length blonde hair, tattooed arms and almost 230,000 followers who look to her for hope as the pandemic rages.
Pause. Its a positive thinking technique, a small part of her message.
Al converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a 21-year-old in Rochester, New York, setting out to disprove the missionaries until she felt it and joined them. Now, 10 years later, she travels across America and around the world to speak about trusting and loving Jesus Christ in the hard, in the unwanted and in the unexpected.
But by the end of March, shed scratched out the rest of her 2020 planner. Talk about a pause. I didnt know my life without my planner, she admits.
She cant sit still, cant waste a second. Stuck at home in Arizona, she wanted needed to do something. Anything. So she played corona games with her three kids. She raced her husband Ben down the stairs in a sleeping bag. She speed-chugged water. But by April, it lost its charm. The hardest thing in life is passing time, Al says. And she has nothing but time.
Taking A Different Path
After Al was baptized, she had the desire to go on a mission and began praying to know if a mission was something that she should do, positive that the answer would be yes. However, through several promptings from the Holy Ghost, Al discovered that Heavenly Father intended for her to move to Utah, a place where she knew no one and had no apparent purpose for going.
I wanted to go on a mission and I knew the answer was going to be a yes because it was a righteous desire, but the answer turned out to be go to Utah and I was mad, remembers Al. I didnt know why I was supposed to go to Utah, and I didnt want to do something that I didnt want to do and not have a reason behind it. It was extremely difficult but I did it because God told me to and who would I be if I didnt listen to Him?
She left the life she knew in New York behind and headed for Utah. However, her first encounter in Utah was not what she expected. While standing in line at a Café Rio in Pleasant Grove, Utah, with a biography of one of the prophets in her hands, a man who was standing in line next to her responded, somewhat rudely, to Als appearance. You know its pretty ironic that you look the way you do and youre holding that book.
Choosing to focus on God and having the faith that things would get better and that she would have the strength to deal with the opposition that faced her got Al through the difficult times.
Facing Lifes Changes
Spreading Faith through Blogging
More Than The Tattooed Mormon: The Story Of Al Fox Carraway
At first glance, Al Fox Carraway, also known as the Tattooed Mormon, doesnt fit the stereotypical look of a Latter-day Saint. At a second glance however, Als strong testimony, solid faith, and loving attitude reflect the deep love she has for the gospel and for her Heavenly Father who has blessed her in ways she never could have imagined.
Al Carraway was living in Rochester, New York when she first came across the missionaries. Al had grown up Catholic and, at the time, had no interest in religion. When the missionaries asked her if she wanted to learn more about Christ, she gently refused. However, these precious looking missionaries touched Al. Thinking she was being clever, she told them that the only way she would listen to their message was if they brought her a steak dinner, thinking they would not follow through. To her surprise, that same day, the missionaries knocked on her door with a steak dinner in hand and began teaching her.
At first, Al avoided talking about anything related to the gospel. I didnt want to listen because I didnt want to change, Al recalls about her discussions. But I felt that in order for me to tell them that they were wrong was to do things the way they taught me to for a certain amount of time and prove to them that nothing would happen.
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