She packed all her belongings into her two-door Oldsmobile Alero, preparing to leave her job and family in Rochester, N.Y., for a new life in Utah. With a broken air conditioner, she drove more than 20 hours, stopping only to refuel.
A recent convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Al Fox felt impressed to move to Utah, but she didn’t know why. Now almost four years have passed and Fox has found at least part of her answer.
Known widely as the “Tattooed Mormon,” Fox has become an influential blogger, video producer and speaker. Her gospel-centered blog has more than 1,000 subscribed readers, and her YouTube videos have amassed more than 228,000 views.
“When I got baptized, I found this happiness I didn’t even know existed — a real, lasting, physical happiness,” Fox said. “I went 21 years seeing if it came from anywhere else, thinking that it did. It does not. It only comes from the gospel. … When you have something that makes you so happy that you get super excited about, naturally that excitement comes out.”
In addition to her social media work, Fox shares her story at firesides for youth. She speaks six nights per week, almost always in a full chapel. At times the crowds have filled the gym and spilled into the hallway. Fox didn’t get started in front of large numbers, however.
“It started from bearing my testimony and from talking to a group of eight young women in the church next door to mine,” Fox said. “Word got out a lot bigger than I ever expected. I just kept speaking and then I never stopped.”
Fox has spoken in dozens of Utah locations and in many places outside the state. She currently has appointments in Arizona and California, as well as some potential trips planned to the East Coast.
Many who have heard Fox are impressed by her infectious excitement. Fifteen-year-old Hannah Biesenger attended a fireside in West Jordan with a friend.
“We made a promise to each other that we’re going to be that enthusiastic at school about the gospel and about life,” Biesenger said.
Eighteen-year-old John Taylor is preparing to leave on a church mission and attended the same meeting.
“I’ve had a lot of worries and fears,” Taylor said. “Listening to her, I had this feeling that everything is going to be OK for me. Seeing someone know what she’s saying — saying it with surety — it really helps me.”
Fox says her busy lifestyle is hard at times, but she doesn’t grow tired of it. She said speaking with others and learning about their own experiences keeps her going.
“I would never grow sick of it — not ever,” Fox said. “Hearing from all those people, and knowing that I maybe have a small sliver to do with helping them in any way, makes every time I’m tired or stressed completely worth it.”
Fox’s blog can be accessed at alfoxshead.blogspot.com.