Visitors to the last several Adult Entertainment Expos and other adult fan events are often surprised by the presence of evangelical groups like XXX Church and Pastor Ron Vietti’s Valley Bible Fellowship. But self-doubt and regret is as common and essential to the porn industry as the 400 threadcount sheets sold right across the aisle; why there are no vendors selling Cook Your Own Meth Kits there is the truly surprising thing.
Furthermore, unlike many adult studios at the cash-strapped show, these Christian organizations actually paid full price for their booth space.
“Really?” a member of the Valley Bible Fellowship (they sponsored the “Naked Truth” booth) said when I asked her if she’d paid full price for her group’s space. “Maybe we’ll try to get a discount next year.”
So it’s not as if the Porno Industrial Complex seeks out opposing viewpoints to strengthen and enrich its own platform, it simply needs the money. Anti-porn activist Gail Dines also paid for her ticket to the Expo.
I left the Naked Truth booth with several inspirational books, all espousing a kind of Christianity distinct from “organized” religion. After all, says Pastor Ron, “Jesus Christ didn’t sit in His pretty church building, all dressed up, and waiting for the people to walk through the doors. Jesus Christ walked WITH the people!”
There have been a few adult performers who have drifted from the porn fold either into the flocks of the anti-porn movement or various “Born Again” ministries. Some stay. Others, like Sophia Lynn, drift right back out.
I find that some anti-porn crusaders are just as attention-seeking and maybe a little more dubious than porn itself.
While I didn’t get this impression of the Valley Bible Fellowship, I was intrigued by the book “Save Me from Myself” by former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch. Korn’s nu metal sound isn’t something I follow, but I like rock autobiographies, even if I know how they’ll end (Welch left Korn in 2005, having found Jesus, though Welch sports a look that is like a vertical Pieta, so it shouldn’t be surprising). I was more interested in the debauchery that resulted in Welch devoting his life to Christ.
Sadly, like many books that end with conversions, “Save Me from Myself” seems embarrassed and mortified by its subject’s pre-epiphany behavior, so it’s hard to enjoy it. It makes sense that Welch would seem tentative about his backstage antics knowing—as well all do—what’s in store.
“Save Me from Myself” is a little like “The Devil in Miss Jones,” in which Miss Jones finds herself in Hell having not really enjoyed the life that got her there. The book has other porn connections. Korn hosted an early web show that featured porn stars like Ron Jeremy dropping by, and the band had early shows with a pre-Tera Patrick Evan Seinfeld’s Biohazard. Of porn stars, Welch writes:
From all that partying and recording, I learned something interesting about the porn industry—mainly that it’s very similar to the music industry. For one thing, it’s all about money, most of the people in it are depressed druggies and alcoholics. As a result, we had a lot in common with many of those porn stars. In spite of the similarities, whenever I was around those porn industry people, I always sensed a strong, dark, depressing feeling in the air that freaked me out a bit.
While I know my share of druggies and alcoholics within and without the porn industry, my sense of this business has never been one of pervasive darkness, although I do feel that way after watching Korn videos.
I am of the belief that by undercutting its own prices, selling out the back door, saturating the market, and generally being penny-wise and pound foolish, the porn industry is the author of its own financial problems, and is just a little delighted that it can pin its failing fortunes on piracy and the global economic collapse.
But I welcome the arrival of evangelical groups and anti-porn crusaders to adult conventions as long as they pay full price.
Previously on Porn Valley Observed: The Pain of The Price of Pleasure or: Why you should consider an Aggie college; Indiana Jones and the Pussycat Preacher; Sophia Lynn goes back to the garden; Wankus goes into the light; Glory (Hallelujah) Days—”When They Were Sinners” See also: Valley Bible Fellowship, Brian Welch