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ed Haggard is now officially heterosexual, according to Ted Haggard. But before the fifty-year-old president of the National Association of Evangelicals went through a religious therapy program to become "straight," he spent three years making regular visits to gay escort Mike Jones in Denver. Jones regularly serviced born-again Christians from nearby Colorado Springs, so he didn't think much about the fact that Haggard dropped hints that he was a religious leader. What Jones didn't realize was exactly how powerful Haggard was, and that he preached his anti-gay message to a rapt audience of
thirty million. When Jones learned this, he outed Haggard last November. Forced to leave the church for reasons of "sexual immorality," Haggard never admitted to using the meth that Jones says he regularly snorted in his apartment during sessions.
What exactly went on in that apartment during those sessions has been largely kept out of the media until now. Jones's tell-all, I Had to Say Something, released this month by Seven Stories Press, reveals all the gritty details. But it also paints a poignant picture of a deeply repressed gay Christian who could only come to terms with his sexuality through cash-for-sex encounters. — Will Doig
Nerve: It seems like you weren't particularly politically active before this all started.
Mike Jones: I don't want to say that I was on the front lines, but because I lost over a hundred friends to AIDS, I did a lot of group stuff, donating and things like that. Now that this has happened, I've kind of re-energized a bit. However, it's a little bit difficult because I don't have the full support of the gay community.
Some gay people disagree with your decision to out Ted Haggard.
I think their problem is that they're concentrating on who Mike Jones is instead of what I did. "We can't have an escort speaking for us, no no no no!"
Because of your proximity to Colorado Springs, the epicenter of the Christian evangelical movement, you've often had clients who were members of the clergy. You had one client who wanted you to pray with him after you gave him an orgasm. How do you think these men reconcile getting a happy-ending massage from you with their anti-gay worldviews?
Every time they're done, I see this look on their face of pure guilt and shame. I think they get involved in the church thinking, "This is going to solve all of my problems," and in a sense it creates more. And so they have these struggles. I think many of them think that as long as they don't put their lips on something — if it's just by the hand — they'll be okay.
According to the book, with Ted, it seemed like there was a progression: at first, he was really shy and reticent, but the more often he saw you, the kinkier he got.
Especially when he started doing meth. That's when I think his inhibitions fell and he was willing to try more. Ted Haggard was a nice man. He was kind of quiet, had boyish looks. When I think about what he wrote when he resigned versus the way he was when we were together — the way he wanted the room basically
dark with only one little candle lit — in his letter of apology to his congregation, he used the words "repulsive and dark" [to describe his gay sex encounters], and that explained a lot to me, actually.
But when he was actually with you, he was like a giddy schoolboy. Do you think he was falling in love with you?
He always had this huge smile, and he was always asking me questions about sex, and I would tell him something and he would go, "Really? Really?" He wanted me to talk so much about gay sex, it was almost like he was living through me. Could I see Ted Haggard being infatuated with me or having feelings for me? Yes, I could see that happening.
At some point, you say he wanted to move beyond massage and try anal sex with you.
He wanted to try it once, and it only happened once. It was a little too painful for him. I'm not saying I'm that big, but I could tell he wasn't used to it. [laughs]
When he would get high on meth, it seemed to me like he would get so wired he would become almost crazy.
I've seen people high before, so I wasn't too shocked. But he's not someone I would want to hang around with all day. But like I said, it would make him want to try more and more things with me. He wanted to watch me have sex with my friend Matt. He had a fascination with orgies, and he wanted me to arrange one with all these college guys. He was getting more involved with the sex toys and he wanted to see raunchier porn.
When he watched you and Matt have sex in front of him, do you think that was sort of an educational thing for him, or was he just getting off on it?
He was really getting off on it. He was very much a voyeur. I think that watching that and not actually getting involved was a safe place for him.
When the story broke, you found yourself abruptly thrust into the spotlight. Do you think you got fair treatment from the media overall?
Yes, I think the media treated me fairly. However, they were relentless. It was frightening.
What are you doing for income these days?
Actually, nothing. You have to understand the story is just eight months old. I got the book deal like a month later, and they wanted the book out ASAP. I really haven't had time to work, so I did lose my apartment. I just moved in with a friend in a small room to get by. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do for income when my book tour is over.
This is a story mainly about Ted Haggard, but it's also you. You had to really put your sex life and your life as an escort right out there. Was that hard?
I don't mind. Am I proud of having everyone reading about what I've been doing? No. I'm not embarrassed about it, but I'm not particularly proud. It caused a little friction in my family. My older brother hasn't talked to me since the story broke. I wasn't proud of myself being called a prostitute. n°
To order I Had To Say Something,
©2007 Nerve.com and Will Doig