John G.: Porn and Jail

Psalm 40:3
The Lord has really put a new song in my heart.......A song of praise and thanksgiving. It hasn't always been like that in my life, for my life was anything but peaceful. I was living a secret life although it wasn't a secret from God. What I was involved in wasn't pretty. I had an addiction to pornography, which took me down a path of destruction.

My addiction was rooted in childhood abuse. A banker, a lawyer, and a minister sexually abused me. I never told anyone about the abuse because I thought that nobody would believe me. I did tell my mother however; she took the secret to her grave. I thought if I joined the service that the abuse would stop. Unfortunately, that was not the case and the sexual abuse continued.
In 1952, I went to Germany in the Army. I heard an evangelist from the Billy Graham Crusade and decided to accept Jesus Christ as my savior. I began singing in the choir and my life seemed to be healing. I was discharged in 1953, and spent some time in Washington state and Oregon.

However; due to lack of direction in my life after discharge, I re-enlisted in the Army in hopes of returning tp Germany. But my plans did not work out like I had planned. In 1954, I was transferred to Ft. Belvoir. I quickly discovered that I was only 20 minutes from Washington D.C. where there were adult book and video stores on every block. Easy access to pornography created an uncontrollable addiction. I was disturbed by my behavior and felt sorry, but not sorry enough to stop.

In 1955, I went to California to complete some Army training. It was there I encountered an Army Captain who was a homosexual. We began a sexually abusive relationship that lasted during my training. Later I was able to transfer to Ft. Belvoir for an engineering school. Once again the close vicinity to Washington D.C. fed my pornographic addiction. After a leave of absence due to my mother's illness, I was sent to Aberdeen Maryland to work with guided missiles. I wasn't satisfied with my assignment so once again, I requested to go to Germany'

While waiting for new orders in New Jersey. The Lord intervened and saved my life. Due to the sexual encounter that I had with the Captain in California my orders were held up. The plane that I was to board crashed within minutes after takeoff. Everyone on board was killed. God saved my life that day but I continued to rebel through my addiction to pornography. If God was speaking to me, I wanted no part of it. I figured I was going to be discharged anyway. After discharge, I moved to Washington D.C. to assist at a center run by Christian Business Men.

Hypocrisy and deception became a way of life. I would go to the center to witness for Christ while spending a lot of free time at adult book and video stores. The more I went the more I became obsessed. As big a hypocrite as I was, God never forsook me. Jesus said "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5 NIV. The center burned down and was relocated between two adult bookstores and there was a video store across the street. Talk about being in the Devil's Den.

God had to put a stop to my indulgences and He did in ways that I never expected. My pornography addiction led me to fantasize. My fantasies resulted in my arrest on an assault charge. The original charge against me was a class 3 felony that carried a 1-5 year jail sentence.

What took place next and the event leading up to my ultimate incarceration is a picture of God's mercy and everlasting grace. On Monday, August 4, 1998, two men from the local police department confronted me. They wanted to take me to the police station to question me about an incident that had happened two weeks earlier. I was scared because I knew there was evidence and witnesses to prove that the crime had taken place. I was arrested the following afternoon. I was taken before a local magistrate to post a $2,000 dollar bond. I knew that the detective wanted to keep me in jail until my trial. But God had his hand in all the events of my life and I give God the glory for what took place that day. I didn't have the $2,000,00 bond. My minister was eating lunch only two miles away and responded to his new pager. After speaking to my wife, he came and posted my bond.

After an emotional drive home from the police station the pain and anguish really started. Being in the presence of my family every day concerned me the most. I understood that I would be living in the shadow of the crime that I had committed for the rest of my life. I was arrested in the presence of my wife, my son and grandchildren. The arrest was very embarrassing for myself but also for those who witnessed it. I t was a great disappointment for my wife. Yet, I knew that I still had to face the reality of what I did and who I had become. This meant spending time in jail. I fully believe that the Lord in all his mercy wanted me to understand the severity of my situation.

Two days after my arrest, I went to see a Christian Psychologist. I drove to the office in such emotional state that I couldn't recall the ride there. After explaining what had happened with my arrest, he asked me if I was suicidal. I told him that suicide was not an option. I left there feeling that God needed to teach me something through all of this. Walking back to my car, I realized just how serious my addiction to pornography had affected my life. I asked the Lord to forgive me and take my sin away. I asked Him to reconcile me with Him and at that moment I felt my burden lift. Praise be to God.

Even though I felt reconciled with the Lord; I still felt I needed to have reconciliation with my family. I had a very strong burden for my son, and I didn't know how to tell him about my addiction. I decided to leave him a note explaining my addiction and ask him for forgiveness. I was going to work one day and my son was working on his car. As I was passing he said,"Dad, I read your note and I forgive you." I was so grateful I started to cry. My son put his arm around me and told me it was OK to cry. After praying with him, I truly knew what God's mercy felt like as a sinner.

I then gathered enough courage to tell my wife about my sexual abuse and addiction to pornography. She told me that she had forgiven me and we prayed. That night I felt a peace come over me that surpassed all understanding.

Now it was time to face my consequences to society. I went to my preliminary bond hearing with my minister. The prosecutor wanted to raise the bond to $5,000.00. God knew that there was not enough money to pay the extra bond. Due to a "legal technicality"the bond was prevented from being raised. Once again, the Lord demonstrated to me that He was in control of the situation.

It was a week later that I retained a lawyer. The attorney reviewed my class 3 felony charge. I don't know if he was a Christian, but I felt that God had placed him on my case. Facing a possible 1-5 year sentence at age 65 was more than I felt I could bear. I knew the only way to reduce the sentence was to pray and ask God to intervene. I asked the Lord to change my felony charge to a misdemeanor, which would bring a 6 month to a 2 year sentence. The attorney gave me no encouragement.

It was during this time, that I was placed on pre-trial supervision, which allowed me to work. At that time I was a cashier at a store. After the manager was informed of my charge, I was suspended from employment until the case was tried. They informed me that if the charges were dropped to a misdemeanor offense that there was a possibility of returning to work My minister and I began praying that God would help me get a job.

A month later, I met with my attorney before the pre-sentence hearing to discuss my defense. H e informed me that there was a case on record that a felony charge had been reduced to a misdemeanor when the accused agreed to plead guilty to a"simple assault." I was charged with a misdemeanor. PRAISE BE TO GOD.

At that point I took my court documents back to my original employer but I never received my job back. God had other plans for me. Sometimes, God answers prayers in ways that are unexpected. After applying for many jobs and not getting an interview, God intervened. I saw a "help wanted" sign, applied, had an interview and was hired the next day..I worked at this store for a month but I knew that I would have to leave to serve my jail time after sentencing.

At times it made it difficult to concentrate on my work. The Lord says in Jeremiah 29:11 "I have plans for you........" I was scared so I had to rely on the plans that God was making for my life. I would have to learn how to trust God through difficult circumstances

Just prior to my sentencing, my minister and I prayed I asked the Lord to take away the fear and the anxiety as I faced the consequences before me. After praying, I felt a great peace. The Lord confirmed to me that I would have to go to jail, but He would be there with me.

On December 1, 1998 my wife and I went to the courthouse for the final sentencing. The judge wanted to sentence me to 9 months but God intervened and gave me 6 months to serve. That would require me to serve 90 days in jail. My minister informed my employer that I would be serving a sentence for three months. He was surprised but requested that I come see him when I got out At that point, I didn't know if I would get my job back. I also worried about the care of my family while I was gone.. I would have to rely on God's provision for the outcome.

It would be a sad story if it ended there. But God was true to his words when He said "I have plans for you...." I don't consider this the end of my story but only the beginning.

MY STORY CONTINUES
My story continues as I was sentenced to serve 90 days in the Fairfax County Adult Detention center. For a man of 65 years, three months seemed like a very long time . Deep in my heart, I knew that God would see me through. I arrived at the Center at four o'clock and was placed in a holding cell with 13-18 other men for about two-three hours. It was very noisy and I was very nervous but the Lord comforted me and kept my spirits up. I was allowed to make five free phone calls. This also provided encouragement.

I was than taken to a small five by seven foot cell. It was quite a lonely place. I didn't have a Bible, but I knew the Lord was there with me. I couldn't imagine sleeping in this cell for 90 days with the lights on 24 hours a day. I became very anxious and hung onto the bars so tight that my knuckles were white. I prayed to the Lord to help me through my anxiety........I just knew that He would do something to help.

On December 2, 1998,Chaplain Turner stopped by to talk to me. He said that he had been in touch with my pastor and that they were praying for me. We than took time to pray together which provided hope and encouragement. Before leaving he said,""As soon as they classify you and get your medical checkup than we will move you upstairs with the general population.

On December 3rd, my processing and checkup had began. As I was standing in line, I met another inmate who informed me that he was assigned to the "Life Learning Block." He explained that this housing unit was for a group of men who pray and have Bible studies. I was also told that entrance into this program was very difficult and that there was a long waiting list. However, he told me that someone new was coming to the "Block" tomorrow. Neither of us knew that the "someone" was me.

On December 4th, I was told to pack up my belonging and head upstairs. As we approached the cell block the deputy informed me that prayed in this area and hoped I didn't mind. Mind? Well, I was perfectly delighted.

WELCOME TO LIFE LEARNING BLOCK
My placement to the Life Learning Block was due to God's plan for my recovery. I was received with open arms and welcomed warmly with prayer. Because Life Learning Block was an all Christian block I was given a Bible. I also received study materials that would provide guidance through scriptures. Bible studies and worship were requirements for staying in the block.

Nine to ten programs involving in-depth Bible studies were given Monday through Thursday. They were the source of my understanding and healing from my addiction. I came to know God's will for my life and the necessity of being obedient. The Life Learning Block was as small as a two car garage wit six cells. There were no windows and at times the men became irritable.

On January 26 1999 I was placed in a five by seven foot cell with a window. I began to notice how wonderful Gods creation was and how magnificent the sunrises were . I truly began to feel the comfort, peace, and joy that the Lord brings to those who seel Him. We solved our disputes and problems in the Block through prayer and Gods presence transcended all aspects of our lives.

I thank God for the chaplains and the volunteers that came to bring God's word to us. I also thank God that He gave me the opportunity and training to know and understand Him better. I believe that God provided the Life Learning Block as a foundation to which I continue to serve Him today. I have learned to be humble and have a better attitude toward life. My sentence was truly a life changing experience. After being released, I received my job back with an increase in pay.

I found that one can change in the Life Learning Block but one has to want to change. As a sinner, we all must be willing to die to our sins and live for Christ. Jeremiah 17:9-19.." change can only come with a change of heart....." I have had the privilege of having God reveal my sin and change my heart....God can do the same for anyone who is willing to ask Him to .....I have grown stronger in Him and continue to thank God for the future opportunities to serve Him............PRAISE BE TO GOD!

~ John G., a CIR Member

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