Does Jesus Love Porn Stars?

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Does Jesus Love Porn Stars?

By Brian Whitney 07/22/15

The XXX Church is an online ministry that claims it's here to help porn and sex addicts. Are these guys a bunch of Westboro Church-type assholes? Or are they just a bunch of cool dudes trying to help that happen to be Christian?

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Eight years ago, I went to rehab for sex addiction. The how and why of that is a story for another time, but let's just say things had become unmanageable to a ridiculous extent. While I am much better now, often a man has to do what he knows best to make a living, and I became the ghostwriter for two different porn stars' memoirs. 

When one writes a book with a porn star, one has to promote it, so I set off into the world of Internet sex sites in an attempt to get people to buy my wares. Before long I came across xxxchurch.com, a web address deliberately picked to lure porn-seekers who type in the letters "XXX." These guys not only run a very successful website, they also travel to porn conventions around the world giving out Bibles with “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” on the cover. 

After checking their Facebook page, which has a whopping 200,000 likes, and looking at their undeniably awesome “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” promotional material, I was confused. The website even has a hate mail section in which they publish emails from Christians wishing that the folks at the XXX Church would be punished by God.

Are these guys a bunch of Westboro Church-type assholes? Or are they just a bunch of cool dudes trying to help that happen to be Christian? I decided it might be best to try and find out.

I spoke to Carl Thomas, an ordained pastor who currently serves on staff with xxxchurch.com as their outreach director, site manager, and X3group recovery program director.

His passion for helping people with addictions stems from his own 20-year struggle with sex addiction.

 

Thanks for talking to me. Can you describe what it is that you guys actually do at XXX Church?

That’s a good question. The ministry has evolved greatly over the past 13 years so what we do today is far broader than when Craig Gross (our founder) started this thing.

Everything we do revolves around raising awareness, prevention, and recovery as it applies to the matters of sex and porn. Consequently, we deal a lot with the topics of marriage and parenting as these things usually have some connection with the primary focus of our work.

The main things we actually do to accomplish our ministry goals include offering free resources via our website xxxchurch.com,offering free and premium resources to help combat porn and sex addiction like X3watch, X3groups, X3workshops, and iParent.tv, hosting events like Porn & Pancakes, and doing outreach to porn and sex shows where we just tell people Jesus loves them.

I went to rehab for sex addiction seven years ago. I, as well as a lot of the other guys in there, was into some pretty wild things. There were only a few guys there for pornography. A lot of the guys in there looked at people with problems with porn as minor leaguers. How do you guys define what a sex addict is? Does the differentiation between sex addict and porn addict mean anything to your organization?

This is actually a timely question given the recent study that claims porn addiction is not actually real. Here is the thing; we don’t worry about distinguishing one form of addictive or compulsive behavior from another. Yes, if you are “addicted" to porn and that’s all, then your “issue” isn’t as serious as a person who utilizes escort services on a regular basis (simply because of the legality issues). We also don’t worry or care about having “sex addiction” or “porn addiction” officially recognized as a clinical addiction. We look at all these matters from a healthy vs. unhealthy perspective. 

We don’t believe porn is healthy for an individual. We don’t believe porn is healthy for a relationship (at least in terms of building intimacy and love). We do believe that any sort of sexual behavior that becomes compulsive is a problem that needs help.

We’ve dealt with thousands of people, and from our experiences, we’ve come to realize that porn use is not good for a person, and that if left unchecked and allowed to develop into a compulsive behavior, it can lead to far worse things, like the type of things you alluded to.

Is a porn addict different from a sex addict? I suppose from an academic perspective it is. But at the end of the day, we are talking about sexual behavior that has developed into something destructive. So we are here to help those people, whether it is habitual porn use, compulsive masturbation, escorts, or more.

I wrote books with porn stars Rebecca Lord and Porsche Lynn, both of them feel there is nothing wrong with how they make a living. How do you feel about that school of thought? That what they do is harmless and no one else's business? Are they going to burn in hell for making money from pornography? Am I?

We have met a countless number of porn stars over the last 13 years and not one of them has ever told us doing porn was their first choice. The truth is that a career in porn is most of the time a very short-lived thing. A lot of people consequently get into this line of work without fully considering the long-term repercussions. I know I have personally talked to a few male performers who are in their late 40s and have expressed a desire to leave that line of work but struggled with a way to replace the income because the job market for a “former male performer” was, at best, limited. 

I/we agree that in a free country people have the right to make a living however they see fit. That’s why we never want to be lumped in with the protesting crowd, or the anti-pornography movement, or the religious right who want to legislate morality, etc. If you are conducting business in a legal manner and not harming people in the process then you should be allowed to, even if it’s a short-term solution.

No, you are not going to burn in hell for making porn. Just like I’m not going to heaven for being a pastor. The only thing that matters when it comes to the heaven/hell question is...do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? That’s it. This is why we go to porn shows, not to hock our resources, or promote our website…we go to build relationships and hand out Bibles that say "Jesus loves porn stars." We just want people to know that Jesus loves them. Once they recognize that fact then we can talk about what having a relationship with Jesus means and what it doesn’t mean. 

Sex can be beautiful, it is true, but sex can also be a very complicated thing. People are drawn to a lot of different sexual aspects that are outside the Christian “norm.” What do you say with people that are struggling with their sexual identity, whether they are homosexuals or people that have odd fetishes?

Honestly, this is a complicated question. There are two main components here. Both could be an entire interview, but here’s a quick summary:

1. Does your sexual identity or proclivities affect if Jesus loves you? No. Jesus loves everyone—gay, straight, bi, etc. Doesn’t matter if you have had monogamous heterosexual sex in the missionary position all your life or if you regularly engage in same-sex group sex wearing leather and tassels. Jesus loves you.

2. Are people’s sexual choices, likes, or fetishes always the best choice? No. Some things are just not helpful from both a spiritual and physical standpoint. But again, some of this stuff is a moot point if you don’t know Jesus. It’s absolutely insane for someone who knows Jesus to think someone who doesn’t know Jesus should live by the same expectations.

What kind of reaction do you get from people around your "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" campaign? Does Jesus love pedophiles, too?

I’d say overwhelmingly good. The people we meet at porn shows are very friendly and by and large think it’s cool that a “church” is there telling people Jesus loves them. There are also many who just don’t give a crap—let us do what we want and they can do what they want. Occasionally, we get those consumers, and even people in the industry, who really don’t like us but I would venture to say that in most cases it is because they just don’t understand our motivation. They are rightfully suspicious of “religious” folk and think we are there with some sort of agenda to judge them and then brainwash them into spiritual submission. But that’s not our M.O.

Of the past two years, I’ve become friends with the guys who own and run some of the largest porn shows in the world. I genuinely like these guys and I respect them as businessmen. These guys wouldn’t have us at these conventions if they thought we were just coming to their shows to throw judgment and Bibles at people. We can be friends (yes, even good friends) with people in the industry. Of course, I want these guys to have a relationship with Jesus, because I care for them. But having a relationship with Jesus is a not requirement for friendship or my respect.

Oh yeah, and Jesus does love pedophiles, too. What we do is not a consideration when it comes to whom Jesus loves. He loves everyone.

Brian Whitney is a pseudonym for an author and ghostwriter, his book Raping the Gods is available in the Spring of 2015. He last wrote about Sarah Hepola.

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Brian Whitney has been a prisoner advocate, a landscaper, and a homeless outreach worker. He has written or coauthored numerous books in addition to writing for AlterNetTheFixPacific Standard MagazinePaste Magazine, and many other publications. He has appeared or been featured in Inside Edition, Fox News, People.com, Cracked.com, True Murder, Savage Love and True Crime Garage. He is appearing at CrimeCon in 2019. You can find Brian on Facebook or at Brianwhitneyauthor.com.

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