J.S. Park's Reviews > The Dirty Little Secret: Uncovering the Truth Behind Porn

The Dirty Little Secret by Craig Gross
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Sep 20, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: christian
Read on September 20, 2011

Craig Gross, the infamous "porn pastor" and founder of XXXchurch.com, has written a work that no one else but he could write. It's a journey into the middle of the porn industry, never judgmental and at times harrowing and heart-wrenching. Diving into the lives of pornstars, porn addicts, and hurting families, the book gives a face to everyone who has been affected by porn: people just like you and me. Warning: it's a difficult read because of such broken, beat up lives in a violent, merciless industry.

Craig loves the heck out of people. He is the first to admit how hard this can be. He knows the criticism of his annual visits to porn conventions. He's aware of the hype around his unorthodox witness to a shady world that Christians condemn in public while binge on in private. This isn't a book about how to stop porn addiction or all its scary statistics. It isn't even a book that pits good against bad. It simply exposes the worst parts of the industry and how badly it hurts everyday people.

I'm glad Craig Gross does not hold back. Some critics say he only discusses the extreme cases. But every pornstar and porn addict is an extreme case waiting to happen, or already too late. The most heartbreaking chapter of the book involves Carter, a young journalist who is allowed on set to watch twenty one year old Ariana film a porno scene. Carter is also the same age. Things begin almost innocently enough as Carter meets the pornstars before the shoot in an almost normal atmosphere. Things go downhill quickly. Carter cannot even finish watching. He drives home, pulls over, bursts into tears about what he has seen. He imagines what it would be like if he were Ariana. He is never the same again. Reading this chapter, I felt sick to my stomach over both Carter and Ariana: both broken by the selfish desires of a cruel inhuman business. I am not squeamish whatsoever (I kill spiders with my hand and eat dinner while watching Dexter), but I nearly wept reading this part and almost had to put the book away.

Many will say porn is harmless. I always knew it was not, but Craig Gross makes the best anecdotal case for its poisonous grip on culture. Many will say pornstars have made their own choice, but Craig Gross gets into the nuances of an aggressive industry that hunts unwitting victims. Hardly any pastor would venture where he has, but he does so that we wouldn't have to. He embraces this devastation to offer grace and hope for the masses of hurting.

Also check out his book Pure Eyes, which is strictly methodical and practical.
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