By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer
'I was a sex addict.'
For the Temple-born Jonathan Daugherty, the truth of his sentence inspired him to launch Be Broken Ministries - a national Christian outreach effort that offers counseling services to sex addicts and those who love them. He and his wife, Elaine, operate the ministry out of San Antonio.
'In August 1999 I sat by myself on my living room couch. Alone and scared,' Daugherty, 32, said, noting that summer was when God planted the ministry's roots in his heart. 'I (was trying) to piece together what 13 years of sexual addiction had just torn apart.'
His obsession with pornography, prostitutes and strip clubs, he said, drove his wife out of the house. The couple had been married four years at the time.
'She did the right thing by leaving and protecting herself from any more unnecessary pain,' Daugherty said. 'My life was unraveling, and I couldn't harness my out-of-control behaviors. I remember thinking I might be better off dead than alive.'
His soul, he said, felt empty.
'Sex is as close as I could ever come to true intimacy,' Daugherty said. 'What I failed to realize was such a belief about relationships only leads to more loneliness, shame and pain.'
The truth that continues to save him, Daugherty said, is the knowledge that God loves him - despite the secret life he led for more than a decade.
'Once the secret was out, it had to be dealt with,' Daugherty said. 'I had a problem. But God showed me I could recover. I was not lost.'
Within nine months, he and his wife reconciled.
Daugherty now travels from church to church to share his lesson. His emphasis is that secrets poison the soul.
'Through our surveys, we've found that 50 percent of church-goers keep at least one shameful struggle a secret,' Daugherty said. 'But they go to church and live their daily lives like nothing is wrong. That only serves to damage the reputation of Christ and his church.'
Christians make mistakes, he said.
'Christians step over the line,' Daugherty continued. 'If we don't recognize it, we're contributing to the reason why people call us hypocrites. That's why I'm on this crusade - to help others share their secrets.'
The impassioned speaker will make a stop in Temple Nov. 18 to conduct a program at Temple Bible Church.
He's looking forward to the day, he said, because Temple is his hometown. He's a 1992 graduate of Academy High School.
His mother, Kay Daugherty, still lives in town. Pastor Gary DeSalvo said she is a longtime member of Temple Bible Church. Her husband, Mark, was an elder at the church. His father died when Daugherty was a child.
DeSalvo invited Daugherty to Temple Bible Church because of his powerful message.
'The theme of that day will be 'A Call to Purity,'' DeSalvo said. 'The battle for sexual purity is so intense and difficult in our culture that we desired to address the issue.'
The personal experience Daugherty has with sexual addiction, the pastor said, gives him credibility.
'Our desire is that folks will be freed of sexual addictions including pornography, that marriages will be restored and that God will be glorified as we address the topic sexuality,' De Salvo said. 'He is the creator of sex and tells us that heterosexual marriage is the only place where sex is appropriate.'