Craig Gross XXXChurch, on Porn Addiction, Quitting Homosexuality


Speaking with Craig Gross, www.XXXchurch.com.
Thanks for joining us on short notice, Craig.
Craig Gross: Well, thanks for having me.
David: So I first heard about you, you’ve
been getting a ton of press over the last
week, and all, of course, around the Superbowl,
and I’m just trying to figure out, are you
a church– are you an actual pastor or not?
Gross: I’m an actual pastor, but I would say
we’re not an actual church as you know it,
you know, building, and Sunday services, so
to speak, but an online community.
David: And so the big issue has been porn
addiction. You’ve gotten some football players
to participate in what I guess, I don’t want
to put words in your mouth, but what you believe
is a significant concern. Tell me a little
bit about how you got involved in this topic.
Gross: Yeah, about nine years ago is when
I started www.XXXchurch.com, and the idea
was just to create a safe place online where
people could get help and they could get the
truth about pornography. So for the last nine
years, we’ve just really set out to just help
people, raise awareness that this is an issue,
prevent people from actually, you know, involving
this in their life, and then help people with
recovery. So those are the things we’ve been
up to.
David: And how did you figure out that this
was such a big issue? I mean, are you a former
porn addict, or current, maybe? I mean, I
don’t know.
Gross: For me, no! I mean, I can count the
number of times that I saw this growing up
as a kid. I was an actual youth pastor, and
so I started working with kids that, back
in the late 90s, where this is what they were
struggling with, that nobody knew it was online
now, they didn’t have to pursue it, it was
kind of pursuing them.
David: So when you were a youth pastor, people
would come to you unprovoked, in other words,
you hadn’t prompted this idea of are you or
are you not addicted to online porn, and they
would say Craig, I can’t stop looking at online
porn?
Gross: Yeah, it was just a number of kids
that, you do a talk at church or at camp,
and especially with the guys, they would just
kind of come up to you and say yeah, this
is an issue that I’m struggling with and nobody
knows, it’s so easy to find online, and here’s
where I’m at.
David: So what percentage of people, I mean,
do you have a sense of what percentage of
people in the general population are addicted
to porn? Is it more men than women?
Gross: It’s generally more men than women,
but there’s a growing trend of women that
now are looking at this. I mean, they estimate
between 30 and 40 million people every day
log in onto pornographic web pages. It’s,
I think, the third most popular thing to do
online. And actually…
David: But, so what percentage? I mean, 30
to 40 million are logging on, certainly you
don’t think all of those are addicted, right?
Gross: No, I don’t think everybody’s addicted.
I mean, we’re not going to be in favor just
the casual use, but I just know this stuff
is very progressive and it’s very, I think,
addicting, and so what you’re looking at online
eventually could take you offline. What you’re
looking at maybe started off as softcore has
progressed in days to hardcore. So no, I think
there’s more people that are in over their
heads with porn than would admit to it. Nobody
wants to admit they’re really in trouble.
And that’s the thing, like with AA, I think
it’s great about AA, you know, you go to AA
in any city in America, and you admit, hey,
I’m an alcoholic. No one wants to admit, for
various reasons, that they’re struggling with
this, so there’s so many people that are in
denial, and until you accept it and until
you understand that you’re in maybe too deep,
you’re not going to get out of this or even
on any sort of process of recovery.
David: I was looking at the test you have
on your website. People can log on, I think
it’s 40 or so questions, roughly, and they’re
yes or no questions, and the idea is to determine
if you are addicted to porn. And some of the
questions struck me, like for example, “Are
any of your sexual activities against the
law?” “Do you hide your sexual behavior from
others?” “I have been sexual with minors.”
A lot of these relate to crime, not to watching
online porn. Have you had people come to you
and admit to sex with minors, or have people
admitted to crimes to you?
Gross: Yeah, I get letters from jail every
week. I mean, I’ve taken people to jail. So
it’s…
David: So again, have you had, outside of
the test, have people… you’ve had people
come to you and confess things that resulted
in you taking them to jail?
Gross: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I took a guy I
met at a church that told me how he was…
I mean, I didn’t get him arrested, he told
me here’s what’s happening and, you know,
I’m going through this process, and I’ll probably
go to jail. Most of the time, when we hear
those stories, people have already gotten
caught. No one’s going to tell me something
still probably if they haven’t been found
out.
David: I’m curious what your position is on
gay marriage, and the reason I bring it up
is many people I’ve interviewed who have very
strong positions on porn and morality and
revealing billboards also are very, very anti-gay,
they believe people who are gay are going
to Hell. What’s your take on that?
Gross: Yeah, I think the church loves to,
you know, speak out against things. We’ve
always just tried to speak on things that
one, we know about, and two, that we can offer
help with. I don’t, just like pornography,
I mean, I’m not… I would say homosexual
lifestyle is not something that, as a believer,
that I would support, just like I don’t support
porn, but I try and understand people that
are dealing with this. So I guess I’m not
against people that choose to live that way,
I’m not against people that choose to look
at porn.
I think the gay people that I’ve met, and
we’ve gone to gay porn shows, we’ve met a
number of people that are gay, I’m not…
I don’t understand it, say, maybe as well
as I do people that are struggling with porn.
And I feel like a lot of times, the church
just kind of speaks out against it, “No, that’s
wrong.” Well, it can be wrong. I believe it’s
wrong, but if you don’t believe the Bible,
there’s nothing that would stop you from believing
it’s right. I mean, if that’s how you want
to live your life, I can’t close my…
David: Well, wait, let me jump in there. You
just said, and for example, you believe it’s
wrong. Are you referring to porn or homosexuality
there?
Gross: I think both things I would say scripturally,
are wrong. Does it mean I’m against gay people
or does it mean I’m against… like I’m not
against porn. Like I don’t view porn, and
I’m trying to help people that are struggling
with porn. And the people that I’ve met that
are gay, I mean, it’s… I don’t think it’s
as easy as the work that I’ve done with pornography
as far as hey, here’s some steps to stay away
from porn. Like the people… there’s not
enough Christians, especially, that have gay
friends, that… whose… because when you
meet somebody that’s a homosexual that says
hey, I don’t… you know, I’ve met a lot of
them that said that I didn’t choose this,
this isn’t what I wanted. It’s not what…
David: And do you believe that? Do you believe
that? Do you believe it’s a choice?
Gross: It’s… it’s very difficult. To me,
I think, when I meet somebody that has said
hey, I wish I wasn’t, and then I meet somebody
that says well, I was and now I’m not. So
once again, like I have a tough time understanding
all that. All I know is like we’ve tried to
love people for who they are and what they
do no matter, I think that’s what Jesus is
all about. And I don’t think there’s three
simple steps like there is with porn that
I taught yesterday at church– or, Sunday
at church, to stop being gay. I think…
David: This is interesting. This is very…
I’m fascinated by this, because you mentioned
it’s not as easy with homosexuality as it
is with porn, in other words, there’s steps
you can give someone to stay away from porn.
When I hear that, and I want to be very clear
because there’s a big difference, you’re–
it sounds like you’re saying somebody could
just go through a series of steps and so-called
“leave” homosexuality, not that you have those
specific steps, you said you don’t. Is that
what you’re saying? People could just leave
homosexuality?
Gross: There’s people that I’ve met that have
told me I don’t want to be gay, but there’s–
I’m not going to be active in my lifestyle
because I, you know, I’m a Christian, I believe
that’s wrong, but there’s no way I’m going
to be interested in, you know, if this is
a guy, I’m going to be interested in a gal.
There’s other people that I’ve met that have
said hey, I used to be a homosexual, and now
I’m a heterosexual. So it’s very, to me as
somebody that kind of looks on the outside
of this, I’ve met… it’s like feminists.
You meet one feminist that will say I’m against
porn, you’ll meet another one that says I’m
for porn, you know? And they’re very split
now on that issue. I mean…
David: So in other words, you believe people
when they say they have, in other words, prayed
away the gay, as the term may be. You believe
that that may have happened, that may be true?
Gross: I mean, I’ve met people that said…
I mean, I was gay and now I’m not. But then
I’ve met other people that have said I wish
it was that easy.
David: Right.
Gross: So you could have a great debate, you
know, with that, I think, hands down.
David: We’ve been speaking with Craig Gross,
www.XXXchurch.com is the website. Thanks so
much for talking to us, Craig.
Gross: All right, thanks.
David: All right, best of luck.
Transcript provided by Alex Wickersham and
www.Subscriptorium.com. For transcripts, translations,
captions, and subtitles, or for more information,
visit www.Subscriptorium.com, or contact Alex
at [email protected]

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