“A NEW CHURCH for RACISTS”: INSIDE the CHURCH of ARYANITY
November 16, 2022 by SOCAL RESEARCH CLUB
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A neo-Nazi cult recently emerged and already has tendrils in some of the most influential white nationalist groups in the country.
Headquartered in Madisonville, Kentucky, the Church of Aryanity has recruited a small but dedicated base of racists, antisemites and accelerationists across the U.S. and Canada. They’re indoctrinating young men into “The Order” and training them to become soldiers for RaHoWa, or racial holy war. The church believes that this apocalyptic bloodletting, which many white supremacists prophesy and try to bring about, has already started—and they’re willing to kill and die for it.
AARON CHAPMAN: THE CULT LEADER NEXT DOOR
Aaron Barret Chapman, who goes by the monikers “Father Orion”, “Orion Starfire” and “Chappy”, is the self-professed Prophet of Aryanity, Maximus of the Aryan Church and Grand Marshal of OMTO—the “Ordo Milites Templi Occidentis/Order of the Western Knights Templar (the Church’s militant wing.)
At first glance, Aaron Chapman appears to be just a basic, middle-aged family man covered in tattoos, but he isn’t hiding his hate.
According to Chapman, he became a skinhead at the age of 13. Just a few years later, during his senior year of high school, he committed an undisclosed crime and began serving 7 years of an initial 9 year prison sentence. It was during the period between his early teens and his prison years that Chapman, like every aspiring cult leader, claims to have had “visions”.
In one rambling screed, he shared what he claims were his earliest experiences. Starting at the age of 13, he began having hallucinations, which he refers to as “visions and time loops”. Chapman frames these experiences as if they were the precursor to the prophetic knowledge from “Omnis” (CoA’s nameless, imperceptible God) he now claims to possess. He compares himself to both Plato and Jesus, saying that like them, he possesses the necessary “genius” and “tutelary spirit” to become vessels of divine, philosophical truths.
In 2011, Chapman started a blog. Writing under the pen name “aryanscholar”, he shared what he claims are the “forbidden secrets of ancient aryans, aliens and nazis”. Chock full of antisemitic and racist ramblings and wild conspiracy theories, his blog was eventually removed for violating the host’s terms of service.
Undeterred, Chapman went on to repackage the content and turned it into a book, this time under the pen name “Orion Starfire”. Those writings, coupled with Chapman’s belief that he is a prognosticator of prophecy, would become the foundation for the Church of Aryanity.
ARYAN SPIRITUALITY: WHITE NATIONALISM MASQUERADING AS A RELIGION
The Church of Aryanity (CoA) gets its name from combining the words “Aryan” and “spirituality”, and describes itself as a “race first religion exclusively for White Aryans”, who are said to be “wholly unique and separate from other races of humankind”.
Like any neo-Nazi group, they believe wholeheartedly in the discredited 19th Century theory of the “Aryan race”. This false belief is the core foundation of their “religious” doctrine: Members of the cult think they are direct descendants of the Aryans and maintain the position that the white race must be worshiped above all else, to the detriment of everyone else. They believe not only that their whiteness makes them superior, but their “Aryan genes” predispose them for greatness— specifically that they are the predetermined rightful rulers of the coming Thousand-Year Reich, aka “The Aryan Imperium.”
“WE DO NOT SEEK TO REVIVE LONG DEFUNCT EMPIRES OR DEAD RELIGIONS NOR TO PROSELYTIZE NON-WHITES, BUT TO CREATE A NEW RELIGION AND IMPERIUM” reads one piece of Church of Aryanity propaganda.
While the term “Aryanity” may be relatively new, the concepts behind it are not. The church references a conglomeration of preexisting nazi racial theories and racist mysticism espoused within the white supremacist movement for decades.
CoA’s official list of canonized saints, leaders and doctrines includes Miguel Serrano, Julius Evola, Savitri Devi, William Luther Pierce and George Lincoln Rockwell (among many others), but the cult’s most obvious sources of inspiration include Helena Blavatsky, Ben Klassen, Adolph Hitler and David Duke.
Many of the “prophecies” espoused by CoA’s leader stem from Helena Blavatsky’s “root race” theory. These theories, which the 19th century con woman posturing as an occultist outlined in her book, “The Secret Doctrine”, have long been cited in attempts to affirm the beliefs of those who ascribe to Nazi ideologies.
The World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) and its founder, Ben Klassen, are noticeably absent from both CoA’s official list and discussion between members, yet the influence that Klassen and WCOTC has had on CoA is undeniable, even if it goes unacknowledged by the cult’s members. It was Klassen who coined the term “RAHOWA”, which he said was the impending “holy war to the finish – a racial holy war”. This became a call to action for members of his whites-only religion, kicking off a series of hate crimes which included bomb plots, firebombings, assassination attempts and racially motivated murders.
A core tenet of the church states: “Any religion that is not constructed upon a foundation of race first with the purpose of preservation of race is a false religion”. But CoA’s stated beliefs are just a cynical, vapid veneer for hatred. Here’s one of the church’s innermost members revealing why the church was actually formed:
FORMER KKKK GRAND DRAGON TURNED OMTO GRAND MARSHAL
Before founding OMTO and the Church of Aryanity, Aaron “Chappy” Chapman was a Grand Dragon of the Knights of the Nordic Order (NOK), a relatively small group affiliated with the larger Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKKK). He was also a founding board member of, and the founder of the first chapter for, the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP).
The main goal of the Traditionalist Worker Party was to bring various white supremacist groups together under a single banner with the belief that a show of solidarity and force would enable the far-right to bend politics to their will. This is exactly what the Church of Aryanity and the Occidental Templars are attempting to do today.
Back in 2016, as the TWP began making national headlines, Chapman and other members of TWP gathered at Chapman’s tattoo studio for an interview. The men denied they were a hate group, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Again, CoA and OMTO follow this playbook.
Chapman’s involvement with the TWP began when he met two of the group’s leaders, Matthew Heimbach and Matthew Parrot, at the IKA compound.
“When I met them I couldn’t help but think they were nerds, lol.” Chapman later recounted.
The Imperial Klans of America was founded by a former head of the Kentucky Klavern of the KKKK and had its headquarters near Chapman’s home in Madisonville, KY. Though they were considered two distinct groups, significant overlap existed between the now defunct IKA and the KKKK, the latter of which was directly affiliated with the Knights of the Nordic Order.
Members and affiliates of the TWP participated in many violent rallies, including in Sacramento, CA in 2016, Pikesville, KY in 2017 and the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2017. The violent tactics they believed would be effective in changing the political and ideological landscape in the US ultimately led to the group’s downfall and eventual dissolution.
It’s unclear if Chapman left TWP before or after Unite the Right, but what is known is that he left the group that same year. In Chapman’s version of events, he left after one too many of his concerns went unaddressed, and the final straw was when he claimed to have been the one that discovered pictures of one of TWP’s regional commanders, Derrick Davis, “dressed in drag” (pictures he admits to still having secured away five years later). He blamed TWP leadership’s inaction for a “hit piece” that “the left” later wrote about it. Chapman didn’t link to any sources, but it’s likely he’s referring to this overthrowdotcom post written in October 2016.
Despite being a board member and chapter founder of a well-known hate group, as well as his unfounded claims of being a long term-target of “antifa”, very little has been written about Aaron Chapman or his new cult. What has been written (for the most part) understates what the ”church” actually is, referring to it as just “a white supremacist [Telegram] channel” and mischaracterizes Chapman as yet another “white supremacist influencer”.
Whether this is due to the fact that he wasn’t one of the most forward facing figures of the TWP, or that he left the group in 2017, it’s clear that Chapman hasn’t quietly left the movement. He admittedly laid low for a brief period after Unite the Right and has managed to continue to fly under the radar.
While there appears to be no love lost between Aaron Chapman and former TWP leaders, Chapman has kept some of his old TWP allies close. He’s been leaning on long-time relationships with both former TWP members and members of affiliated hate-groups in an effort to bolster membership and support for the Church of Aryanity.
He’s also had the help of two much younger men who he has personally mentored over the years.
THE MENTORSHIP THAT SPAWNED A RACIST CULT’S PRIEST
Colton Williams, who goes by his given cult code-name “Aries, Without Fear” on Telegram, co-founded the Occidental Templars (OMTO) alongside Aaron Chapman. Williams has a years-long, well-documented history of involvement with various hate groups, but his close relationship with the cult’s leader spans nearly twice as long as any of that.
In a discussion about the founding of the Occidental Templars, Williams jokingly exclaimed, “I am… the right hand of Omnis.” But there is no doubt that he is Chapman’s right-hand man.
Leaked Discord chat logs from 2017 show Colton Williams was “a hard-line true believer in TWP’s vision of an all-white ‘ethnostate’”. They also show the influence Chapman had on shaping that ideology—one which has led Williams to be a highly visible member of at least three hate groups.
The relationship between Williams and Chapman goes back to at least 2013, when Williams, then just 19 years old, worked at Chapman’s Elite Tattoo Lounge. Over the years, what started as a working apprenticeship has turned into a nearly decade-long mentorship.
It was Chapman who taught his young pupil everything he knew about National Socialism, something Williams has admitted he never gave much thought to until his mentor started telling him all about it.
In 2016, the two joined the Traditionalist Workers Party, representing the hate-group’s Kentucky chapter. Though Williams stayed with the group after Chapman’s less-than-amicable departure, he appears to have remained loyal to his mentor.
Throughout this period, Williams became deeper entrenched within the white supremacist movement. He continually sought out a strong brotherhood that shared not only his racist and antisemitic views, but also his interest in religion, particularly as it intersected with politics.
The most striking thing about Williams’ 2017 Discord chat posts is that they read like a blueprint for the founding of both the Church of Aryanity and the OMTO knighthood.
While Chapman is consumed by his messiah complex, convincing himself and others that he is the vessel through which “Omnis” (God) communicates divine truths, Williams is using the Church of Aryanity for his own ambitions. Williams previously expressed a desire to start a “Pagan-Christian fusion” “Hitlerist religion” and an associated “fraternity religious order” in the 2017 Discord leaks.
“I’m just gonna go full Luther and start a new church for racists,” he wrote in the Discord leaks.
In other words, the CoA likely wasn’t just Chapman’s idea to start with— and it certainly wasn’t Williams’ first attempt at starting a new religious order.
In 2019, Williams rounded up a handful of TWP remnants and formed the “religious activism group” Legion of St. Ambrose. LoSA styled itself as a sort of fascist Orthodoxy and its activities mainly consisted of protesting abortion clinics, burning books and making propaganda videos in a very similar style to Church of Aryanity’s propaganda.
LoSA was short-lived, disbanding in May 2020 amidst infighting over allegations that the leader had committed an unforgivable sin: jacking off. While the majority of former LoSA members would regroup as NSC-Dixie (an offshoot of NSC-131) Williams went on to co-found OMTO just two months later.
OMTO: THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF CULTWAFFEN WARRIOR PRIESTS
The Church of Aryanity is more than just a Telegram hellscape consisting of a few channels and chats. The “church” serves dual purposes. First, claiming to be a church gives them legal and civil rights protections. Based on comments made by CoA’s founder and leader, the group appears to be in a legal battle over their nonprofit status.
The other role the church plays is to act as the central organization for the Occidental Templars, also known by their proper name, Ordo Milites Templi Occidentis/Order of the Western Knights Templar, or OMTO for short.
Within CoA’s hierarchical structure, OMTO operates directly under the aegis of the church and appears to be made up of two overlapping and ill-defined divisions: The church’s inner priesthood and its “unofficial political arm”. Whether by a genuine lack of cohesive ideology or purposeful obfuscation (or both) OMTO is an organization with an identity crisis.
Father Orion said that with OMTO, they “hope to emulate” the Nazi SS and claims that “We are what the Klan should have been.” Despite this and members’ ties to other hate groups, the Occidental Templars has attempted to brand itself (at least on paper) as a “civil rights organization for White People and White interests”.
The knights of OMTO meet in person to perform the group’s rituals and initiations, including burning a swastika. The Occidental Templars are tasked with actively working to ’legitimize’ their new religion. Some of their duties include acquiring assets, land, and legal protection. One of their most important obligations is building CoA’s membership base through aggressive proselytizing.
The church of Aryanity appears to be in the early stages of building a cult compound in Madisonville, KY. CoA had previously acquired property that they designated “OMTO land” and the cult’s leader has since been assembling what he calls his “little hive of radicals” by convincing church members to relocate to the area and buy plots of land together. Beyond the convenience of convincing CoA followers to come to him, Chapman claims that his hometown in western Kentucky holds prophetic significance in the coming racial holy war.
THE CATALYST THAT CREATED OMTO
On July 5, 2020, Aaron Chapman and Colton Williams were facing down a 10 hour drive home. They’d just attended an event in Richmond, Virginia that has been aptly described as “…a nazi rally that some regular gun dudes accidentally came to.”
Chapman chose a different term to describe the rally, referring to the event as “the propertarian fiasco”. He was incensed that the event included Boogaloo Boys and Black protesters. The latter had been camped out in the immediate area in an effort to push the city to remove its racist relic, the Robert E. Lee statue. The former are just waiting for a second Civil War to kick off.
At one point, a rally speaker asked the crowd, “How many racists do I see here? Anybody a racist?”, the two men’s hands are immediately raised, with Williams held in a Roman salute. There were other overt neo-Nazis and white nationalists present, yet not enough to meet the expectations of Chapman and Williams.
The pair were feeling dejected over not finding a post-Heimbach savior (and that the Nazi gun rally the two had just attended wasn’t Nazi enough.) So they took it upon themselves to become the leaders they believed the white supremacist movement was lacking.
The two took their collective experiences with former hate groups, specifically the lessons they’d come away with about what approaches have worked and which have failed within the white supremacist movement. To them, the key lesson was that religious devotion almost always trumps racial loyalty.
“Even politics in general will fail. Hence why white nationalist political parties fail over and over again. We don’t need another political party. We need something that can’t be defeated. A religion can’t be defeated by suing its members into bankruptcy, nor even by killing its members. No persecution is great enough to destroy the fanatical zealot,” Chapman later wrote.
Thus they sketched out a plan: They would capitalize on the groundwork laid by the hatemongers who came before them and create something new— and even more extreme.
Just as the KKKK had (unsuccessfully) attempted to portray itself as a civil rights organization for white people decades earlier, OMTO is now doing the same. And just as the TWP sought (and failed) to unite all white nationalists under one banner, CoA aims to succeed. The disbanding of both the KKKK and TWP have been blamed on everything and everyone: “targeted, frivolous lawsuits” by civil rights organizations, “Fed infiltration”, “faulty leadership,” a “lack of commitment” from the group’s members. Their hate and violence, of course, remains unquestioned despite it always being their downfall. Why? Because the bigotry is always the point.
And so, now they’re trying to get away with bigoted violence under the pretense of religion. Hence, the Church of Aryanity was inaugurated just a few months later— and this, they believe, is how they will usher in and establish themselves as rulers of “The Aryan Imperium”.
NICHOLAS LARGE: THE NEO-NAZI CULT PROPAGANDIST
Immediately after their founding, the Church of Aryanity attempted to expand from their headquarters in western Kentucky all the way to the California coast. Like so many of their overly ambitious goals, this too was rooted in prophecy– or rather, in the lore they culled their mythology from. Specifically, this was one part of Blavatsky’s “root race” theory and a subsequent interpretation by an adherent of Theosophy.
Chapman often cites Blavatsky’s theories as “supportive evidence” for his nonsensical claims, but his belief that “the sixth and final subrace of Aryans will be focused in California” and that “the prophecy of the sixth root race was very explicit about California” are based on later reinterpretations of Blavatsky’s original work.
Nonetheless, Chapman added this to his ever-expanding list of tangentially connected prophecies and through Nick Large, a California native who serves as both an OMTO knight and a CoA propagandist, the cult was initially able to establish a presence 2,000 miles away in what Chapman refers to as “the belly of the beast”.
Just as he had with Colton Williams five years earlier, Aaron Chapman (then 38 years old) took Nick Large (then 19) under his wing. He’s been Large’s “self proclaimed mentor” ever since, acting as the father figure the former foster-child never had.
Nick Large is a conspiratorial-minded contrarian who postures as a sort of self-learned scholar. He claims to have studied nearly every major world religion. While that’s likely a gross exaggeration, he does show a very keen interest in esoteric beliefs, but only in ways which support his neo-Nazi ideology and reinforce his beliefs in conspiracy theories.
Before discovering Chapman’s book and becoming his disciple, Large claims that he was mentored by another much older, but no less delusional, neo-Nazi: Brian Ruhe, President of the Thule Contemplative Society of Hitler in Vancouver, British Coumbia. Ruhe’s entry on the debunking website RationalWiki, starts off like this:
“Brian Ruhe is a Canadian lay-Buddhist teacher, author, a much more devout conspiracy theorist, and an all-around creepy guy.”
On Ruhe’s personal website, he offers specialty courses in subjects such as “The Paranormal: UFOs, Ghosts, Psychic Phenomena” and “Revisionist History of National Socialist Germany”. Ruhe also offers personal consultations (at a rate of $50 per hour).
After falling under Ruhe’s spell for a while, Large discovered Aaron Chapman’s book five years ago,. andHe quickly became another of Chapman’s young pupils and ultimately joined Chapman’s neo-Nazi cult.
Large is a fully indoctrinated, true believer in the message and mission of the cult. While he primarily used his given cult code-names “Sigma Phoenicis” and (later) “Sigma ov Emerald Rays” in CoA’s Telegram chat, he also used the pseudonym “Phoenix Aurelius” to pen some of the cult’s social media posts and prayers. In one of Large’s propaganda posts, he wrote the following under a picture of the Waffen SS: “Knowing when to be gentle and knowing when to be a man separates the boys from the Gentlemen; a Man who understands his purpose, which is to be capable of taking life and also providing for life as well.”
In March 2022, Pacific Antifascist Research Collective (PACAntifa) documented numerous posts that glorified and encouraged violence written by Large across various social media platforms. This included thinly veiled threats he made from his now-deactivated Twitter account against the lives of both a female journalist and a sitting state senator.
CoA TELEGRAM: A HOUSE OF HATRED FOR RACIST RELIGIONISTS
The Church of Aryanity runs a small but growing network of propaganda channels on Telegram. Members also created feeder channels dedicated to topics like fitness and fashion. They use these channels to amplify CoA’s propaganda to a larger audience than the church has managed to organically reach.
CoA also runs an official chat full of bizarre conspiratorial discussion and lessons in revisionist history and pseudo-science. One recurring topic is UFOs and alien spacecraft, which has included posts about flying saucer sex dreams. But their silliest fantasies don’t do much to mask the CoA’s depravity.
As much as CoA claims their religion is about “celebrating white culture” and “worshiping whiteness”, the discussions in the church’s Telegram chat are seldom about how great the white race supposedly is. Instead, it’s mostly people salivating at the chance to commit genocide against all the groups they hate: LGBTQ+ people, Jews, Black people and any other racial or marginalized group their bigotry targets. In one conversation, a member of CoA’s chat wrote, “It’s coming, brother……” in reference to racial holy war. The cult’s leader responded, “Yes, I’m actually looking forward to it. I have 20 years of built up rage. It’s going to be a rapturous bloodbath when it finally comes.”
Other crypto-fascist and whites-only religious groups often try to fly under the radar and mask their bigotry. However, the Church of Aryanity openly, and gleefully, displays both their hatred for anyone outside of the “Aryan race” and their idolization of men like Hitler, whom members affectionately refer to as “Uncle A”. To members of the church, Hitler wasn’t just a politician: He was a prophet.
A frequent topic of discussion are the rumored final words of the genocidal megalomaniac. Some members of the cult’s inner priesthood even insinuate that its leader, Father Orion, is the ”Coming Man” they’ve been waiting for. The leader himself has even gone so far as to outright claim that Hitler not only prophesied the “Coming Man” and the “coming of an Aryan messiah”, but also “the new age”.
Father Orion gives himself legitimacy through a set of coincidences that are predictable to anyone who studies cults. He proclaimed that this “new age” began on December 25, 2020— which just so happens to be his birthday and the day the church was inaugurated. He also claims that Hitler prophesied a “new order”, just like the one which Father Orion established by creating his own esoteric order in the form of the church’s knighthood. Lastly, he claims that Hitler specifically foresaw and foretold the coming of his new religion, “Aryanity”.
Unfortunately, members are eager to take these bogus claims at face value—and build on them themselves. The most conspiracy-minded members of the cult’s chat are subjected to, and willingly participate in, a near constant barrage of outrage and paranoia, creating a sort of fear porn feedback loop that reinforces the group’s beliefs. Sometimes the overexposure to this toxic echochamber manifests in ways that are just bizarre.
The Church of Aryanity’s main Telegram chat was removed from the platform on July 8—and for good reason. The chat, which was public, was a fertile environment for stochastic terrorism.
CoA members demonize Jewish people and blame them for every misperceived wrongdoing in the world. Members never miss an opportunity to perpetuate the most vile antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories. This is done in a recklessly casual fashion, often in a manner that incites violence while preemptively justifying it as “brutal revenge”.
Even violence against children isn’t off-limits. Members have debated the “ethics” of killing Black and Jewish children, which all but one justified as preemptively “clearing out the vipers nest” before these children even have a chance to grow up and become “enemies”. One of CoA’s innermost members rationalized his stance by saying, “when faced with the fate of your people often times; the goal outways [sic] the means.”
Some of the members of CoA’s Telegram chat are likely nothing more than Fedposting edgelords—people who are all talk and try to post the most shocking, illegal things they can. But many, including the cult’s leader, know each other personally. Several core members of CoA are long-time participants in the neo-Nazi movement.. Some are current or former members of groups that have participated in neo-Nazi “activism” and violence. Most alarming, though, is that multiple members of both the Church of Aryanity and its Telegram chat have close, personal ties to terrorist networks—including Atomwaffen Division and The Base.
Though the church as an organization doesn’t outright advocate for terror attacks, many members glorify the accelerationist approach. Others find the smaller scale acts of violence committed by groups like The Order to be admirable and consider acts of terrorism committed by “lone wolves” such as Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski to be noble, and even aspirational.
Terrorist apologism isn’t uncommon, but only when these acts of violence are committed by, and on behalf of, “oppressed whites”. The group doesn’t all agree on which means best serve their goals, but they all agree on one thing: their genocidal end goal.
Since their initial ban in July, the church has created a new public chat. While members have slightly toned down the violent rhetoric that likely led to the group’s Telegram ban, they’ve put more effort into protecting themselves by attempting to implement cover-your-ass-style security measures.
THE WEST COAST KNIGHTHOOD DIVISION THAT SPAWNED AN ACTIVE CLUB
When PacAntifa exposed Nick Large, they also exposed the role he played in founding Southern-California’s first “active club”, Crew 562, on behalf of the cult. Direct connections were made between the Church of Aryanity, OMTO and “Commandery of Southland”, the cult’s west coast knighthood division.
CoA seemingly took advantage of their new active club’s close proximity to the White Lives Matter movement and appeared to be using the private Commandery of Southland chat to not only vet prospective members for activism on behalf of WLM, but also to recruit on behalf of the cult.
Members of Crew 562 (now called Clockwork Crew) participated in “activism” on behalf of CoA until early May of 2022, when the Commandery’s “Knight Commander” and active club’s co-founder was kicked out of the cult after “disobeying” Father Orion.
Nick Large’s Crew 562 co-founder, a blatant neo-Nazi and active-duty Marine whom local researchers dubbed “Ripoff Rundo” (for a few reasons), joined CoA in Spring 2021. The identity of “Ripoff Rundo” has not yet been publicly revealed.
There’s a long history of racist extremists in the military, including those who enlist specifically to train for a racial holy war.The military itself admitted in a report last year that they’ve largely failed to address the issue. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Marine Corp allowed this walking billboard for hate to remain enlisted and living on base at Camp Pendleton.
Other neo-Nazis in the Commandery of Southland’s (now defunct) private chat include former Traditionalist Worker Party members Justin Burger and Kam Musser. Musser is a former TWP member from Ohio. Burger is a former TWP member from Georgia and current Crew 562 (Clockwork Crew) Georgia chapter leader.
White Lives Matter California admin Jonathan Court was also a member of the Commandery of Southland chat. Court is also a member of Asatru Folk Assembly and the Golden State Skinheads.
FORMING ALLIANCES AND ASSEMBLING HIVES OF RADICALS
The Golden State Skinheads (GSS) had a close affiliation with the TWP, so it wasn’t surprising to find that Aaron Chapman had personally invited other well-known members of the northern California skinhead group to join.
Nathan Lowry, a recent parolee with an extensive criminal record and history of violence, was one of the first members to join CoA’s original Telegram chat and was an active, though sporadic, poster until the original chat was banned. According to It’s Going Down, in 2016 he had “acted as the liaison between the Traditionalist Worker Party and GSS, and worked as the point of contact for Neo-Nazis seeking to participate” in a Sacramento rally that became incredibly violent. GSS members, who were representing the TWP in California, assaulted multiple people and stabbed 6 anti-racist counter-protesters.
Michael Sessumes (aka: Michael Myers), leader of the Golden State Skinheads and “Folkbuilder” for Asatru Folk Assembly, also joined CoA’s chat. It’s unknown how long he remained a member, but upon entering and introducing himself, Sessumes was greeted with familiarity by both Lowry and Chapman. Chapman immediately directed Sessumes to multiple sources of CoA’s propaganda and Sessumes mentioned that he was looking forward to a face to face meeting between the two men.
For over a year, Chapman continued seeking out members of the skinhead crew. In March 2022, he began commenting on Facebook posts made by Will Planer (who went by Wilhelm Von Panzer). Planer had previously been designated a TWP “Regional Commander” and was one of the “Sacramento Spartans” who participated in the worst of the violence at the 2016 Sacramento rally. He was eventually arrested, charged, and sentenced to prison—but only after he had fled to Colorado and vandalized a synagogue.
When inviting Planer (now a member of Patriot Front) to join CoA’s Telegram chat, Chapman also mentioned that the man who acts as security for Patriot Front leader Thomas Rosseau is both a member of the church and a close, personal friend of his.
Chapman was referring to Ian Michael Elliott, a combat instructor from Alabama who recently participated in a neo-Nazi MMA tournament. Elliott has been seen working as Rousseau’s security at various rallies and was previously exposed by Atlanta Antifascists for being a member of both Patriot Front and the Church of Aryanity. Elliott, who goes by “Vespasian”, is a very active member of CoA’s Telegram chat, and He appears to be acting as a conduit between PF and CoA by attempting to convert Patriot Front members to Aryanity and recruit CoA members for Patriot Front.
Though Elliott has been a proponent of Aryanity for well over a year, he only officially converted to the apocalyptic whites-only religion on October 31, 2022, in what Aaron Chapman described as “a very portentous day for Aryanity”. Accompanying the video was a caption which stated:
“we had a very important member travel to meet with me and @Volans_OMTO today to take his affirmation and officially join the Aryan Church! Each official member is important and fills the roles they are called to fill, but some of us are called to do great things. This particular disciple will become an emissary between the tribes and I expect to see great progress due to his efforts in spreading Aryanity amongst the tribes.”
In July 2022, a new alliance was being sought between the Church of Aryanity and the United People of America. The UPA was created by Tyler Wentzel, one of two neo-Nazi Goyim Defense League members exposed earlier this year by Arizona Right Wing Watch. Wentzel, who recently claimed that he will be running for a mayoral position, has been an active member in both CoA chats, first posting from the UPA’s official account and now from his personal account. Sean Gugerty, Wentzel’s partner in antisemitic flyering and UPA’s “tech specialist”-website creator, was also a member until he deleted his Telegram account.
“ACTIVISM” FOR THE WHITE RACE
One of the ways in which CoA has attempted to grow their base was by trying, and failing, to co-opt their state’s White Lives Matter chapter (WLM KY).
By late 2021, Colton Williams had joined the official Telegram chat for WLM KY. Naturally, he took the opportunity to proselytize for the “church”, post their propaganda and invite members to join him in “activism and charity work” outside of official WLM banner drops and stickering. Just over a month later, Williams had secured a co-admin position for himself within the group.
In April, Aaron Chapman joined the chat and shamelessly seized the first opportunity he had to crash the group’s upcoming monthly “Day of Activism” by proselytizing and distributing CoA propaganda to the WLM members who weren’t already familiar with his “church.”
During this WLM monthly meet-up in May, Chapman and two OMTO knights also stood outside of Bowling Green‘s City Hall, squawking about the “great replacement” conspiracy theory and heckling a bride-to-be as she pleaded with them to leave the area as she was about to get married.
The pair didn’t last long in the group, however. In July, Chapman was publicly airing his grievances with WLM in CoA’s Telegram chat.
“They literally bumped Aries from being the head admin for Kentucky and replaced him with some rando from another state. Then when we went to do activism I was the one who brought everyone and all the supplies, and all he brought was some drunk alcoholic. “Then they booted us out of the group (that we started) for talking about Aryanity.”
The “rando” Chapman is referring to is Sebastian Campbell, the sometimes-Kentucky-resident and current admin for WLM’s Montana chapter who has become notorious within neo-Nazi circles.
As Chapman railed on, he revealed some interesting information about the supposedly “grassroots” organization.
“Then after telling all this to central and showing proof that this guy was half [slur for people of Asian descent] “central” ghosted me. And this was after asking me personally to endorse their year activism video. The WLM thing is a huge mess, they say “we aren’t a group and have no leaders” but have “central”. It’s really weird”.
TACTICAL TRAINING TERRORGRAM BROS
At least one member of OMTO, Luke Winchester-Kenna, has very close ties to multiple neo-Nazi groups as well as a documented connection to a mass-shooter.
On December 27, 2021, white-supremacist Lyndon McLeod went on a targeted killing spree across Denver, CO. Kenna lived in Denver before moving to Gloversville, New York. Just two days later Kenna cross-posted a graphic featuring McLeod’s image overlaid with a quote from the mass-murderer which was captioned: HAIL SAINT MCLEOD.
On October 14, 2022, Kenna praised a nearly half-hour long propaganda video that paid tribute to white-supremacist terrorists (or as he refers to them, “saints” and “homegrown terror bros”). In one comment he said, “my boy McCloud [sic] ending last year pretty solid, who’s going to send this year out with a bang?”
That same day, he personally took shared responsibility for multiple acts of terrorism carried out by white-supremacists.
”…white terror is definitely for me. myself and many other og terror bros have personally been responsible, whether directly or indirectly, for at least half a dozen of our newest saints from the past couple years. So yes white terror is for me” he wrote.
His comments and admission were found in a Terrorgram chat that Kenna admins for. Sporadic posts promoting Aryanity are seen alongside comments and cross-posts encouraging terrorism, mass-murderer manifestos and tributes, how-to-guides and recipes for making bombs and a lot of gore.
Kenna has also posted about his involvement in several other groups including “the Wolf Guards”, which appears to have multiple regional chapters and participate in weekly conference calls. Other groups have been referred to as “hunting parties”, which are used to “share intel” on antifascists. Additionally, there are “feeder groups” and “bugger groups” he’s admitted to using to ”spread Aryanity”.
It’s unclear how active Kenna is within the Occidental Templars, but CoA has a vetting and initiation process one must go through before being initiated into the neo-Nazi knighthood. But Kenna’s standing as one of the cult’s innermost members may not be just because of his online activism. He may be integrating new members through a tactical training company he runs marketed towards Pagan fascists. Tyr Tactical Training, Kenna’s company, offers courses in self-defense, bushcraft survival and weapons training.
THE PIED PIPER OF CULT-PILLED PROSELYTES
It’s not unusual to find multiple members with ties to other extremist groups within the larger white supremacist network. What is unusual, and quite alarming, is who the Church of Aryanity is actively recruiting.
CoA has explicitly stated that they’re not interested in white-pilling normies or the average Christians, Catholics, Pagans or Satanists— they’re actively and exclusively seeking out already radicalized racists and end-of-days fanatics who show a propensity for religious zealotry, a glorification of violence and a desire for martyrdom. This is the mindset of the cult’s ideal racial holy warrior.
One conversation between Chapman and Williams was incredibly revealing. The two speak of their plan to use the “church” as the central organization for groups of “purposely decentralized and compartmentalized” “nests” of cult members focused on “training and prepping” and the need for aggressive proselytization.
Specifically, CoA’s main objective is to recruit and indoctrinate “a network of proselytes who are “[as] devoted to RAHOWA” as their extremist End Times counterparts of other religions. These are the types of devotees the cult believes they can turn into an army on a dime and will instinctively “know what to do when the time comes because it’s all been prophesied”.
In Chapman’s view:
“The hordes of fence sitters don’t matter, only radicals matter, history proves this. Our problem is being able to organize long enough under the radar to build substantial numbers without being destroyed by the system, and identifying men willing to die at a moment’s notice for their convictions.”
“I THINK YOU MIGHT BE GOD’S NEW PROPHET”
Aaron Barrett Chapman has an established history of acting as a mentor for young, impressionable and misguided men and using that position to indoctrinate and further radicalize them. In starting his own cult, Chapman has managed to broaden both his reach and influence, which in turn has led more angry, resentful, young white men directly to him— and vice versa.
Among those men is Darby Howard, whom Chapman sought out and began indoctrinating a few months ago.
Howard, a 24 year old drifter, is likely much more impressionable and malleable than other cult members due to a combination of serious mental health issues, a self-professed desire to sow chaos and a documented history of doing so.
After Howard initially tried to join the church’s Telegram chat and was chased out over accusations of being an “antifa infiltrator”, Chapman became “intrigued”. This was the beginning of what became an ongoing secret exchange of messages, which culminated in an early-August in-person meeting in which Chapman began covering some of Howard’s many existing tattoos with Nazi insignia.
It was Chapman who personally added Howard back to the church’s chat. He did this under the guise of providing Howard with “guidance” and “protection” from groups that prey on those with mental illness.
Chapman also hyped Howard’s claims of being a “former member of Oregon Antifa”, leading other members to speculate that Howard could provide useful information on antifascist communities. LCRW found no evidence he was ever actually a member of any antifascist network and there is, to our knowledge, no group with the name “Oregon Antifa.”
Howard’s claims of being involved with “Oregon Antifa” likely stem from his activities during the Portland protests in 2020, for which he was arrested twice in one day. His first arrest was for causing a disturbance at a Wells Fargo. Hours later, he was arrested a second time for smashing a scooter against the windows of the district courthouse.
Right-wing propagandist Andy Ngo highlighted Howard. Ngo’s sensational tweets and accompanying article headline omit the facts that Howard was held in pre-trial detention, sentenced to time served and that the judge’s reasons for the sentencing decision were filed under seal. Instead, Ngo claims Howard was just another ANTIFA member who joined the protests in Portland in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. But according to Chapman, the 2020 uprising was a cover for Howard to fulfill his own admitted destructive tendencies.
Chapman’s claims to other members of the CoA of saving Howard from the FBI, Antifa or NazBols (Nazis who synthesize ideas from Stalinism) are, like most things Nazis put up as excuses, asinine. Darby Howard’s admitted mental health issues and destructive impulses are the primary reasons why Chapman felt compelled to bring him back to the group. Chapman wants men to kill and die for the Church of Aryanity. And when Chapman preaches about a coming white utopia that demands the blood of nonwhites and fanatical martyrs alike, what do his followers believe? Here’s what Howard said to Chapman earlier this year:
“I think you might be God’s new prophet.”
SOCAL RESEARCH CLUB
SoCal Research Club is an independent research cooperative monitoring far-right extremism in Southern California, with a focus on local active clubs, neo-Nazi crews and affiliated hate groups, their online spaces and the connections between broader extremist networks.
You can find them on Twitter @SCResearchClub.
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