The Multilevel Marketer Rallying Women to Put America in Christian ‘Bondage’

Who says Christian nationalism is a man’s game? Jenny Donnelly — an “apostle” who claims God speaks to her prophetically in her dreams — wants to marshal an “army of women” to this extremist cause.

Donnelly is the founder of the Her Voice Movement, which is committed to activating a million women to stand for Christian dominion over American culture and politics in 2024. Under the guidance of top leaders of the Trump-aligned Christian right, Donnelly is organizing prayer rallies at every state Capitol next April. And she is working to stage a million-woman Christian nationalist march on the National Mall next October, near Election Day.

Donnelly’s movement-building has an appealing gloss of women’s empowerment. She’s an experienced marketer — a former “Hall of Fame” earner for a multi-level-marketing company that got charged for operating as a pyramid scheme. But Donnelly preaches a dark message of Christian supremacy.

“I’m a really black-and-white person,” she said in a video call with the Christian nationalist leader Lance Wallnau this summer. “I just believe what the Bible says,” she added. “We’re supposed to go onto the Earth; we’re supposed to dominate.” In a late November sermon, Donnelly addressed congregants on the divine mandate to “put God’s people in power,” telling followers: “He’s given you a spiritual position to reign and rule.”

The agenda for Donnelly, in particular, is to roll back the LGBTQ rights movement, which she insists is a Satanic slippery slope to pedophilia. “Know that sin does not have a stopping point,” she told a recent religious gathering in Hollywood, warning that if the movement remains unchecked, “all of a sudden it’s going to be OK for a 54-year-old to be married to a 4-year-old.”

Donnelly, 49, positions this anti-LGBTQ sentiment as though it is defensive, with branding that includes the website: “Don’t Mess With Our Kids.” But she also models her movement on one of the bloodiest stories of the Old Testament — which ends with the heroes going on offense against their enemies, one of whom ends up impaled on a spike.

For a preacher obsessed with power, Donnelly shuns media attention. She confided to the followers in LA that she wants her movement to appear bottom-up, insisting: “We want to make it so the press can’t find out who is the leader.” She did not agree to be interviewed by Rolling Stone.

Donnelly preaches near Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her family. Presenting her life story to religious audiences, she describes how she was born to “Jesus movement” hippies, who soon divorced, and was raised in the house of her atheist, doctor stepfather in Idaho. She rediscovered God, she says, during a moment of despair in college.

Donnelly’s first career was a wild ride near the top of an alleged pyramid scheme. She worked with AdvoCare, a Texas-based multilevel marketing firm that ostensibly sold nutritional supplements and energy drinks. Donnelly and her husband were featured as “Hall of Fame” earners for the company. “I never set out to be a millionaire,” she said in one video, bragging of the couple’s seven-figure annual earnings.

Lower-level marketers, however, felt duped by the company, claiming that AdvoCare wasn’t really a nutrition business, rather an expensive trap that duped newcomers into buying inventory they had little prospect of selling for a profit. In 2019, the company reached a massive settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, agreeing to pay nearly $150 million dollars to resolve charges that it operated as an illegal pyramid scheme. (Donnelly was not named or accused of wrongdoing in that FTC action.)

The collapse of AdvoCare occasioned a stark shift by Donnelly into a religious calling — pursued through a ministry she started with her husband called Tetelestai Ministries. The religious nonprofit’s revenue soared, according to IRS records, from $121,000 in 2018 to $1.5 million in 2021, as Donnelly became active in the far-right religious community’s fight against Covid restrictions.

In April 2023, Donnelly was commissioned as an “apostle” in the church of the Christian nationalist preacher Che Ahn — a leading figure in the New Apostolic Reformation. NAR is a branch of Charismatic Christianity that is obsessed with earthly power, and a supposed mandate for Christians to exert “dominion” over “the nations” as part of an End Times crusade to hasten the return of Christ. Based in Southern California, Ahn had traveled to Washington, D.C., to back Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, and he decries the separation of church and state as a lie “from the pit of hell.”

Donnelly has since been on a meteoric rise in NAR circles, mentored by the likes of Wallnau, the Trump-allied promoter of a roadmap for Christian conquest called the “Seven Mountains Mandate.” Donnelly has also forged a movement-building partnership with a fiery NAR preacher named Lou Engle — who has mixed religion and politics for decades, including ties to figures like Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. (Engle did not respond to a Rolling Stone interview request.)

Donnelly’s Her Voice Movement, seeking to mobilize Christian nationalist women, had a coming out party in July — taking over the Portland convention center for three days of worship and speeches from figures like Wallnau, Ahn, and Engle. Donnelly and Engle have continued this road show, hosting a traveling “Freedom Tour.”

Framing her political activism biblically, Donnelly leans on the Old Testament Book of Esther. In that bloody story, Esther, a young Jew, is made queen by a fearsome Persian king. The king is later convinced by a wicked adviser, Haman, to issue a decree calling for the extermination of the Jewish people. Upon the advice of her uncle Mordecai — who convinced Esther that God had placed her in her royal post for “such a time as this” — the queen dared angering the king (and perhaps being put to death by him) to seek a reprieve for the Jews. The king took her counsel, and issued a new decree — authorizing Jews to take vengeance against their tormentors, which they did with violent zeal. Haman ended up on a spike.

In the movement’s metaphor, Donnelly and her female followers stand as Esthers. Engle and the men who lift up their Christian nationalist wives and female relations are Mordecais. In his sermon at the Portland convention center, where he rocked back and forth as he spoke, Engle railed against the “transgender demonic spirit.” Insisting America faced a “do or die moment,” he took on the mantle of Mordecai, shouting: “Tonight, I call forth Esther. For such a time as this.”

Do not mistake Donnelly’s message of female empowerment as feminist. As Donnelly described her view, in a June conversation with Wallnau about “the kind of woman Satan fears most,” Christian women still need men to access their power. “We need the endorsement of a male voice,” Donnelly said. “We need your permission to be brave.” In the battle for the nation she said: “I believe that the women are the arrows, and the men are the bows. The Holy Spirit is the archer.”

As a preacher, Donnelly outlines a stark message of Christian dominance. She insists Christians are God’s chosen people and believes they’re commanded to take control, based on the instruction in Genesis to “subdue” the earth. In a recent speech, Donnelly said: “I looked that [word] up in Hebrew; that word actually means ‘to take it under bondage.’” Donnelly continued that the actual message from God was: “I commanded you to look at the Earth, and when it acts up, bring it under the bondage of the kingdom of God.” Donnelly insists that when Christians don’t occupy their rightful place of power, it creates “a big vacuum for unrighteousness to take over.”

In her movement building, and her audacious goal to bring 1 million women to Washington next fall, Donnelly appears to be leaning on her multilevel marketing expertise. In her Hollywood speech, she told the assembled women to take charge of spreading the message within their own networks: “The people that trust you, trust you,” she said. “We don’t have time for them to gain trust of me or Lou.” Donnelly is also raising cash through a fundraising website called the “Esther Network,” which offers recurring donation levels of up to $39.99 a month.

The first step in Donnelly’s hoped-for national mobilization comes this April, in gatherings at each state Capitol. Organizing materials posted on a Donnelly website insist that each gathering is meant to be “peaceful prayer assembly” and not a “violent protest.”

But the rhetoric used by both Donnelly and Engle is suggestive of something far darker. Addressing the Portland convention hall, Donnelly said: “This is something that we are laying our lives down for.” Speaking about the March on Washington in a filmed address to the Hollywood audience, Engle exhorted the women to, “War for our children,” adding: “We’re going to believe that God is going to loose the sound of Psalm 68.” (Psalm 68 reads in part: “May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. May you blow them away like smoke — as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God.”)

In her recent November sermon, Donnelly also elaborated on her hair-raising takeaway from the Esther story — and the connection between bloodshed and authority and belief. Donnelly claimed of the Jews who took vengeance on their enemies: “They slaughtered so many people that everybody feared the Jews, and decided to join them — meaning they decided to worship the God of Abraham … because they came into such authority and such power.”

Donnelly said she expects similar mass conversions when Christians step into their full authority: “I believe we’re going to see … a billion soul harvest.” Donnelly insisted that God wants to see the church arrive at its “finest hour” and step “into its season of power” — so that “a whole lotta people say, ‘I want to hang with you guys.’”

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