Donny's Ramblings


330 Comments

Bethel Is A Really Weird Church

I originally wrote this as a comment to this article I found about Bethel Church in Redding, California.

Ah, a post on the crazy church in Redding known as Bethel… and a detailed one at that.

First of all, let me paint a little background picture for the record:

I produced porn for 9 years. For the first 3 years of that time I was married and hid it from my now ex-wife, who was devastated when she found out. She found healing at Bethel Church in Redding. She’d tell me things that happened at that church and I’d get angry because it sounded so stupid and ridiculous.

I made fun of her all the time when she’d tell me some of the things the “School of Ministry” students did (she became a 1st year school of ministry student herself). Crazy things happened, supposedly. Like feathers falling from the sky during service…. like the time when the quadriplegic she cared for had her tooth healed (“Donny, I brushed her teeth for her this morning before taking her to church… that gold tooth wasn’t there, I swear to you!”). Like all sorts of other “healings”.

People come from all over the world to attend that church.

Last year I wanted to turn my life over to God and leave porn production. I reached out to Bethel. 4 times. They wouldn’t talk to me. I don’t know why. They wouldn’t return calls. Wendy (my ex) had her sister go directly to leadership and implore them to call me. They didn’t.

I eventually surrendered my life to God on my own. And I decided to check out Bethel.

It’s weird. That’s for sure.

But I felt God there. Very strongly. I decided to follow along on a “treasure hunt” like the one of which you spoke. I was flabbergasted at what happened. I rode along with one of the church’s pastors, in his car, as we drove around Redding. He saw a group of people standing in front of Carl’s Jr and walked up to them. I followed. The people must have thought we were really odd when he said he had “a word” for one woman in the group. He told her that God knew she hadn’t been sleeping well the last few nights and that was all going to stop as of “right now”. He told her other personal things about herself. The whole group started laughing because he was RIGHT ON about everything, including her not sleeping well the last few days.

It was really weird to witness that. I didn’t want to accept it then, and I still don’t now. But I can’t deny it happened.

One night I had a very painful ear ache. In the middle of service it was called out that someone had pain in their ear and God wanted to heal them. I took the chance and stood up. Less than 10 seconds after they started praying, my ear popped and stopped hurting.

It was really weird. But it happened.

I don’t go to that church very often anymore. This past Sunday was the first time in a few months. It weirds me out. I find some of the people odd, and one of their counselors pulled some crap I don’t appreciate at all.

They go way off into la la land on some of their teachings. They talk about things I’ve never heard in church before.

I like facts and am not as into “supernatural” stuff. It doesn’t resolve for me. But after Bethel I sometimes wonder if there’s a whole lot more “supernatural” to God than most of us realize. I wonder if he really does work in more “mysterious ways” than any of us will ever know, or allow ourselves to accept…

—-
PHOTOS FROM BETHEL CHURCH, THIS PAST SUNDAY:
(taken with my iPhone – click any photo to enlarge it)

Flags In Church
Flags in Church? Why not? They used to bother me. Now I really like them. If we can get wild and crazy at sporting events, why not while celebrating our creator? (sent from my iPhone)

Kris Vallotton Praying After Service
Kris Vallotton praying for a man who has cancer.

Kris on Stage and Onscreen
Kris Vallotton preaching onstage.

A “Mystery Worshipper” reviews Bethel – click here.


22 Comments

There’s More to It Than Meets the Eye

At risk of sounding even kookier than ever before, I have to let out a bit of the excitement I feel inside. The best way for me to do this is to write. Writing is my release. And you, my constant readers, play your part in helping me find that release.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflection lately, as I’m sure you can imagine. I’ve thought back over my career in the adult industry. Out of habit, I keep telling people I was a porn producer for 8 years. In actuality I produced porn for a little over 9 years. My career started on a part time basis in the summer of 1997. It’s now fall of 2006. That equals 9 years if my math is correct. For the first few years I hid it from the good woman who is now my ex-wife. A strong Christian, she thought I was a “Technology Consultant” because that’s what I told her. Once she found out the truth we were finished.

It’s well documented how much I’ve hated Christians in the past. I’ve decided to leave all of those blog entries up because they are a part of my life. There may not be an active link to my old blog, but the search engines are full of my rebellious ramblings. From time to time I questioned the existence of God himself. Those questions were rather weak and didn’t last long. It’s hard to question His existence when nature itself screams out that an intelligent designer put everything together.

I prayed. Not all the time, but on a regular basis I’d communicate with God. I never once felt he had forsaken me. In fact, there were many times I’d look skyward and profess my belief that he must still be allowing my life to be blessed for some reason. I was able to see and do things the majority of the population will never experience.

God understood me better than I could ever understand myself. Yeah, that’s a very cliché thing to say, but it’s the truth. He was always there whispering in my ear, telling me that there is a lot more to HIS reality than what the church offered. So many people in church show up, stare blankly at their hymnals or the projection screen on the wall, listen to what the preacher has to say, and then go home unmoved. It’s routine. That must be all they need. That’s not enough for me.

I’m still bothered when I watch Christians. Since September 25th I’ve been going to church and have tried to make a point of sitting as close to the front as possible so I’m not distracted by the actions of others. My major problem is allowing myself to put my eyes on them instead of concentrating on my own relationship with God. I’ll write that again so it sinks in a little: I realize the problem is my own. I hate watching pretenders. I hate seeing people go through the motions because everyone else is, and they want to fit in.

I know it sounds crazy, and many will doubt it, but God has been communicating with me on a level I never would have believed possible. And he’s been doing so in many different ways. I’m very much convinced this has a lot to do with all the prayers reaching God’s ears from those of you who have heard my story. You’re helping so much and really spoiling me right now.

I’m going out on a limb now to show you an example of what’s been happening to me. If you think I’m off my rocker feel free to let me know. I can handle it. I still want to share this with you.

A bit more background information: I’m not one to just accept what others tell me. I need to learn something for myself. I need to understand and comprehend what’s happening. Things need to make sense to me. I’ve had so many questions in my mind over the years about events that happened in the Bible that make absolutely NO SENSE to me. Horrible things happened in the Old Testament, such as infants being ripped from their mothers wombs, supposedly at God’s command (read Hosea 13:16). I used those questions to criticize those who believe the Bible to be divinely inspired.

In the weeks leading up to my surrender to God I called Craig Gross from XXXChurch.com and told him I was done with porn but not quite ready to surrender to God because I had too many questions that needed answers. But deep inside I wanted to surrender. I finally did so, without all the answers I was looking for because I felt He was promising to help me find the answers to my questions. The search for said answers is going to teach me quite a bit more than I realize.

Dear Constant Reader, my answers are starting to arrive. I’m not going to keep quiet about this, even though I fear that speaking of the manner in which God has been answering might make me look insane to some of you. I am at the point where I really don’t care what other people think.

One of the MANY major questions in my mind has always been, “If God cares so much and loves us so much, why do people hurt and die?” Especially children.

As promised, God has begun to come through. Ready for the insanity? Here I go:

Last week I had a dream. In the dream I was in a store by a lake. My dad and step-mom were at the counter paying for something. I was reading through Hallmark cards when God started speaking to me in my head. My step mom nodded her head towards me so my dad would look my way and notice the huge smile on my face and the goose bumps on my arms. I began walking down the hall crying joyful tears and fell to the ground. God was speaking to me with a warm voice and in a tone that was very comforting. This was a dream, mind you, but the communication in that dream was answering the question I just wrote about. Here’s what he had to say:

These things are allowed to happen because of “choice” and “faith”. This earth belongs to us, and we must choose God, not because we want to have a perfect life, but because we truly want to know and commune with him. He needs to be our choice. He demands that the choice be entirely ours. EVERYONE would seek him if he made lives perfect. It’s “tough love” on his part to watch some of the suffering that happens here, but we learn things from our experiences that we aren’t even aware we’re learning. He won’t make our lives perfect for us just because we ask for it. We still have to work hard and live and love and play, but what he does offer is a comfort and bit of help once in awhile. And he also offers us the strength we need to face what life brings to us. In “the big picture” life itself is so fleeting, and the pain we experience while here is even shorter.

Some people say God has a plan for everyone. That is true, I’m sure. But we also have to be proactive to make that plan a reality. It won’t just “happen” if you know what I mean. So many people sit back in their easy chair eating bon bons and having the attitude that life will just happen for them because “God is in control”. Let me ask you a question… if you’re a parent, will you just allow your children to sit back and relax while you go out and get their life going for them, or will you encourage them to experience life on their own?

We can’t see the big picture. We can only see a tiny part of it. On the timeline of eternity we’re here on earth for less than a speck. I don’t completely understand what we learn here, but I have a feeling it’s a lot more than anyone realizes. Everything here serves a purpose. Some of the bad things that happen now are for reasons we won’t understand for a very long time.

A good parent won’t let their child eat too much candy. When children are young they may not understand why they are not allowed to eat all the candy they want. It seems so good! How can it be bad? Mommy and Daddy must be mean people to say “No, you can’t have anymore!” Eventually a child will grow and come to the understanding of “why” his/her parents were “so mean”. That’s what I was being told in my dream. I may not understand all of the “why’s” right now, but in time we all will. We’re on earth because the earth is a gift and a learning experience for us. Likewise, we have to pray because this is “our” world. It belongs to us, so we must invite God to do things for us. He doesn’t just enact his will, just as parents won’t go build a life for their child. But, like that parent, he will help out once in awhile when we ask.

All of that was revealed to me in my dream, and I am very confident such revelations are going to continue. Some of you may have already known these answers. For me, there is hearing and then there is KNOWING. Right now I’m being tutored one on one and I’m so excited I can hardly contain it.

I’ve never in my life experienced anything like this before. When people ask why I am willing to give up everything to “find God” I don’t really know what to tell them. How could I possibly explain what it’s like to have God’s presence descend on me? And how in the world can anything in my past compare to this experience? And why in the world did God choose to begin pouring his presence out on me after what I’ve been doing the past 9 years, when others seek to experience this and have never harmed others as I have done?

To those asking questions, all I have to say to you is this:

You simply can’t know… until you know. But as for me? I want more!


11 Comments

There's More to It Than Meets the Eye

At risk of sounding even kookier than ever before, I have to let out a bit of the excitement I feel inside. The best way for me to do this is to write. Writing is my release. And you, my constant readers, play your part in helping me find that release.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflection lately, as I’m sure you can imagine. I’ve thought back over my career in the adult industry. Out of habit, I keep telling people I was a porn producer for 8 years. In actuality I produced porn for a little over 9 years. My career started on a part time basis in the summer of 1997. It’s now fall of 2006. That equals 9 years if my math is correct. For the first few years I hid it from the good woman who is now my ex-wife. A strong Christian, she thought I was a “Technology Consultant” because that’s what I told her. Once she found out the truth we were finished.

It’s well documented how much I’ve hated Christians in the past. I’ve decided to leave all of those blog entries up because they are a part of my life. There may not be an active link to my old blog, but the search engines are full of my rebellious ramblings. From time to time I questioned the existence of God himself. Those questions were rather weak and didn’t last long. It’s hard to question His existence when nature itself screams out that an intelligent designer put everything together.

I prayed. Not all the time, but on a regular basis I’d communicate with God. I never once felt he had forsaken me. In fact, there were many times I’d look skyward and profess my belief that he must still be allowing my life to be blessed for some reason. I was able to see and do things the majority of the population will never experience.

God understood me better than I could ever understand myself. Yeah, that’s a very cliché thing to say, but it’s the truth. He was always there whispering in my ear, telling me that there is a lot more to HIS reality than what the church offered. So many people in church show up, stare blankly at their hymnals or the projection screen on the wall, listen to what the preacher has to say, and then go home unmoved. It’s routine. That must be all they need. That’s not enough for me.

I’m still bothered when I watch Christians. Since September 25th I’ve been going to church and have tried to make a point of sitting as close to the front as possible so I’m not distracted by the actions of others. My major problem is allowing myself to put my eyes on them instead of concentrating on my own relationship with God. I’ll write that again so it sinks in a little: I realize the problem is my own. I hate watching pretenders. I hate seeing people go through the motions because everyone else is, and they want to fit in.

I know it sounds crazy, and many will doubt it, but God has been communicating with me on a level I never would have believed possible. And he’s been doing so in many different ways. I’m very much convinced this has a lot to do with all the prayers reaching God’s ears from those of you who have heard my story. You’re helping so much and really spoiling me right now.

I’m going out on a limb now to show you an example of what’s been happening to me. If you think I’m off my rocker feel free to let me know. I can handle it. I still want to share this with you.

A bit more background information: I’m not one to just accept what others tell me. I need to learn something for myself. I need to understand and comprehend what’s happening. Things need to make sense to me. I’ve had so many questions in my mind over the years about events that happened in the Bible that make absolutely NO SENSE to me. Horrible things happened in the Old Testament, such as infants being ripped from their mothers wombs, supposedly at God’s command (read Hosea 13:16). I used those questions to criticize those who believe the Bible to be divinely inspired.

In the weeks leading up to my surrender to God I called Craig Gross from XXXChurch.com and told him I was done with porn but not quite ready to surrender to God because I had too many questions that needed answers. But deep inside I wanted to surrender. I finally did so, without all the answers I was looking for because I felt He was promising to help me find the answers to my questions. The search for said answers is going to teach me quite a bit more than I realize.

Dear Constant Reader, my answers are starting to arrive. I’m not going to keep quiet about this, even though I fear that speaking of the manner in which God has been answering might make me look insane to some of you. I am at the point where I really don’t care what other people think.

One of the MANY major questions in my mind has always been, “If God cares so much and loves us so much, why do people hurt and die?” Especially children.

As promised, God has begun to come through. Ready for the insanity? Here I go:

Last week I had a dream. In the dream I was in a store by a lake. My dad and step-mom were at the counter paying for something. I was reading through Hallmark cards when God started speaking to me in my head. My step mom nodded her head towards me so my dad would look my way and notice the huge smile on my face and the goose bumps on my arms. I began walking down the hall crying joyful tears and fell to the ground. God was speaking to me with a warm voice and in a tone that was very comforting. This was a dream, mind you, but the communication in that dream was answering the question I just wrote about. Here’s what he had to say:

These things are allowed to happen because of “choice” and “faith”. This earth belongs to us, and we must choose God, not because we want to have a perfect life, but because we truly want to know and commune with him. He needs to be our choice. He demands that the choice be entirely ours. EVERYONE would seek him if he made lives perfect. It’s “tough love” on his part to watch some of the suffering that happens here, but we learn things from our experiences that we aren’t even aware we’re learning. He won’t make our lives perfect for us just because we ask for it. We still have to work hard and live and love and play, but what he does offer is a comfort and bit of help once in awhile. And he also offers us the strength we need to face what life brings to us. In “the big picture” life itself is so fleeting, and the pain we experience while here is even shorter.

Some people say God has a plan for everyone. That is true, I’m sure. But we also have to be proactive to make that plan a reality. It won’t just “happen” if you know what I mean. So many people sit back in their easy chair eating bon bons and having the attitude that life will just happen for them because “God is in control”. Let me ask you a question… if you’re a parent, will you just allow your children to sit back and relax while you go out and get their life going for them, or will you encourage them to experience life on their own?

We can’t see the big picture. We can only see a tiny part of it. On the timeline of eternity we’re here on earth for less than a speck. I don’t completely understand what we learn here, but I have a feeling it’s a lot more than anyone realizes. Everything here serves a purpose. Some of the bad things that happen now are for reasons we won’t understand for a very long time.

A good parent won’t let their child eat too much candy. When children are young they may not understand why they are not allowed to eat all the candy they want. It seems so good! How can it be bad? Mommy and Daddy must be mean people to say “No, you can’t have anymore!” Eventually a child will grow and come to the understanding of “why” his/her parents were “so mean”. That’s what I was being told in my dream. I may not understand all of the “why’s” right now, but in time we all will. We’re on earth because the earth is a gift and a learning experience for us. Likewise, we have to pray because this is “our” world. It belongs to us, so we must invite God to do things for us. He doesn’t just enact his will, just as parents won’t go build a life for their child. But, like that parent, he will help out once in awhile when we ask.

All of that was revealed to me in my dream, and I am very confident such revelations are going to continue. Some of you may have already known these answers. For me, there is hearing and then there is KNOWING. Right now I’m being tutored one on one and I’m so excited I can hardly contain it.

I’ve never in my life experienced anything like this before. When people ask why I am willing to give up everything to “find God” I don’t really know what to tell them. How could I possibly explain what it’s like to have God’s presence descend on me? And how in the world can anything in my past compare to this experience? And why in the world did God choose to begin pouring his presence out on me after what I’ve been doing the past 9 years, when others seek to experience this and have never harmed others as I have done?

To those asking questions, all I have to say to you is this:

You simply can’t know… until you know. But as for me? I want more!


9 Comments

I May Sound a Bit "Kooky" After This

Definitions of Kook on the Web:
* someone regarded as eccentric or crazy and standing out from a group
* Crank, crackpot, or quack

I’ve been holding back a little in my writing, partially because I don’t want to embarrass myself. If I told everything I’ve been experiencing it might come off as a bit “kooky” to some (particulary to those from my porn-producing past), but I’m getting closer and closer to not really caring what others think. Part of this is because I’ve been taking such a beating in the porn community from my former colleagues. Some of their comments have been posted in past blog entries and many of you have come to my defense. The majority of these attacks are posted on industry discussion boards.

I’ve been amazed to discover that there’s a positive side to these attacks: the more they make fun of me, the easier it is to open up. What more can be said about me that hasn’t already been said? Each attack seems to make me stronger. A lot of strength is something I definitely need right now. One of the hardest things to face has to do with Belinda, whom I’ve been with nearly 24/7 for almost 6 years. She thinks I’ve gone temporarily insane. She’s very happy with our former life and has no desire to change it, so for now she fully intends to continue producing porn on her own. We’re not completely “calling off” our relationship at this point, but we will be taking a break from each other for awhile to explore where our futures take us.

While I’ve been receiving a few I wish I had the balls to do what you’re doing comments from people I know in porn, my email box is literally filled with encouraging comments from the Christian community. I’ve received emails from all across the country. Some tell me that my story is an encouragement to them. Others tell me that they’ve found a stronger faith after reading my story. I’ve even received an inquiry from a publishing company introducing me to one of their authors who is willing to “ghost write” or co-author my story. Perhaps the most flattering experience I’ve had was just earlier today when I stumbled across a MySpace profile that has my name listed in the “who I’d like to meet” section. Literally hundreds of people have let me know they’re praying for me, and that they have mentioned me to their respective churches, who are praying for me as well. So in total, there are thousands of individuals who are sending prayers to God’s ears on my behalf.

If I tell you about the electric shock I received while driving you’d think I’m completely off my rocker, so I’ll save that story for another time. For now let me ask a question: Do you have any idea what it’s like to have thousands of people talking to God about you?

Let me tell you (this is where that word “kooky” comes in):
Every time I drive alone, praying, my arms and legs are covered with goose bumps and I feel God’s power all over me. Sometimes I can’t help but cry. It’s like my body can’t stand everything I am experiencing without some sort of emotional outlet.

The drive back from Seattle was especially powerful. I was praying and asking for some direction, as I have some major decisions to make very soon (I wrote a bit about them in my last blog entry). My prayers continued Friday and yesterday as well. I’ve received an inner peace with the decision I’ve come to, which I’ll tell you all about in a future update. I will tell you this much: I have come to realize that the job offer I wrote about was God’s way of “faith building”. He wasn’t necessarily telling me I had to take that job. He just wanted to show me that I have no need to worry. I’ve had multiple “faith building experiences” lately.

And for this I thank all of you who are praying for me… please don’t stop.

(my new MySpace profile is now online… feel free to send a friend request)


18 Comments

I May Sound a Bit “Kooky” After This

Definitions of Kook on the Web:
* someone regarded as eccentric or crazy and standing out from a group
* Crank, crackpot, or quack

I’ve been holding back a little in my writing, partially because I don’t want to embarrass myself. If I told everything I’ve been experiencing it might come off as a bit “kooky” to some (particulary to those from my porn-producing past), but I’m getting closer and closer to not really caring what others think. Part of this is because I’ve been taking such a beating in the porn community from my former colleagues. Some of their comments have been posted in past blog entries and many of you have come to my defense. The majority of these attacks are posted on industry discussion boards.

I’ve been amazed to discover that there’s a positive side to these attacks: the more they make fun of me, the easier it is to open up. What more can be said about me that hasn’t already been said? Each attack seems to make me stronger. A lot of strength is something I definitely need right now. One of the hardest things to face has to do with Belinda, whom I’ve been with nearly 24/7 for almost 6 years. She thinks I’ve gone temporarily insane. She’s very happy with our former life and has no desire to change it, so for now she fully intends to continue producing porn on her own. We’re not completely “calling off” our relationship at this point, but we will be taking a break from each other for awhile to explore where our futures take us.

While I’ve been receiving a few I wish I had the balls to do what you’re doing comments from people I know in porn, my email box is literally filled with encouraging comments from the Christian community. I’ve received emails from all across the country. Some tell me that my story is an encouragement to them. Others tell me that they’ve found a stronger faith after reading my story. I’ve even received an inquiry from a publishing company introducing me to one of their authors who is willing to “ghost write” or co-author my story. Perhaps the most flattering experience I’ve had was just earlier today when I stumbled across a MySpace profile that has my name listed in the “who I’d like to meet” section. Literally hundreds of people have let me know they’re praying for me, and that they have mentioned me to their respective churches, who are praying for me as well. So in total, there are thousands of individuals who are sending prayers to God’s ears on my behalf.

If I tell you about the electric shock I received while driving you’d think I’m completely off my rocker, so I’ll save that story for another time. For now let me ask a question: Do you have any idea what it’s like to have thousands of people talking to God about you?

Let me tell you (this is where that word “kooky” comes in):
Every time I drive alone, praying, my arms and legs are covered with goose bumps and I feel God’s power all over me. Sometimes I can’t help but cry. It’s like my body can’t stand everything I am experiencing without some sort of emotional outlet.

The drive back from Seattle was especially powerful. I was praying and asking for some direction, as I have some major decisions to make very soon (I wrote a bit about them in my last blog entry). My prayers continued Friday and yesterday as well. I’ve received an inner peace with the decision I’ve come to, which I’ll tell you all about in a future update. I will tell you this much: I have come to realize that the job offer I wrote about was God’s way of “faith building”. He wasn’t necessarily telling me I had to take that job. He just wanted to show me that I have no need to worry. I’ve had multiple “faith building experiences” lately.

And for this I thank all of you who are praying for me… please don’t stop.

(my new MySpace profile is now online… feel free to send a friend request)