Sunday, July 1, 2007

Mike Jones' New Book

Perhaps one of the most fascinating new "tell all" books to hit the book shops this summer is the story of the sexual relationship between Michael Forest Jones, a personal trainer and a former escort and masseur who came forward with allegations that he had had a three-year affair with Ted Arthur Haggard, a prominent American evangelical preacher and founder of the 14,000 member congregation of New Life Church of Colorado Springs late last year.

As a rule, Mike never delved into the personal lives of his clients. He entertained celebrities, clergyman, politicians, pro-football players, and just regular guys. In 2003, a man named “Art” called Mike to set up an appointment. For almost three years, Art came to see him at least once a month. It was simply a business relationship for Mike, yet he sensed that for Art, it was more. Like many clients who were closeted, Art revealed his vulnerabilities as he struggled to deny his true desire for sexual contact and affection with a man. Huggard is married and the father of 5 children.

One day, while working out at his gym, Mike recognized “Art” preaching hate on a religious cable channel. He soon discovered that Art was actually the Reverend Ted Haggard, who, as President of the National Association of Evangelicals, influenced the daily lives of millions of believers, condemning homosexuality and advocating virulently against gay rights and same-sex unions.

On November 1, 2006, Mike made public his relationship with Ted Haggard. Within days, Haggard resigned from all his positions of power, admitting to a “sexual immorality” that shook the evangelical world, right before Election Day 2006. On November 3, 2006, Haggard resigned his leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals and temporarily stepped aside as pastor of his church as a result of the allegations. The group later announced that he had been fired. On November 5, 2006 Haggard stated that his removal was permanent.

On November 6, Ted Haggard confessed to his followers that he was guilty of "sexual immorality," in a letter addressed to his congregation and read by another clergyman.

Once Haggard was outed, Mike’s clients stopped calling. He had effectively put himself out of business and put himself at risk of being trivialized and dismissed, as sex workers often are. It was Mike’s courage and strength of conscience that ultimately led him to come forward about the hypocrisy of Haggard’s life.

Here is the disarming story of how one man’s deceit inspired another man to become a spokesperson for telling the truth and for not being ashamed of who you are. From where I sit, the downfall of Ted Haggard was one of the biggest scandals of a year loaded with them. To watch it unfold on nightly news was like watching a real-life soap opera. The ex-pastor more than likely would have been able to lie his way out of it had it not been for the recorded voice mail messages Mike presented to a Denver-area radio station and the resulting voice analysis that followed. Mike's new book is called "I Had To Say Something: The Art In Ted Haggard's Fall" and is published by Seven Stories Press: Find out more about sex for money and one tainted pastor at:

Now, a poem that can preach:

J' Attends

Whisper stumbles awardly upon the ear
in a real landscape someone has invented
where aliens sweep down from painted skies
wearing hero smiles edged in palest blue
they whoop & poke & harass a forest
sealed in approximate light pine-scented
between colored stones that have no value
the monkey is allowed to speak in its place
while acrobats reappear by the letter "B"
to perform before viewers all expendable.

This poem first appeared online at:
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