Free at last!

Editor’s note: The following was taken from an American Family Association interview with Mike and Steve Lane, brothers who left a lucrative and growing career in pornography when they became Christians. Mike, 36, and Steve, 32, both served in the armed forces before embarking on careers in marketing, management and sales.

March 1999 – AFA: When were you first exposed to pornography?
I was first exposed to porn at the age of six through a friend. His uncle, who was a Christian and went to church, had this material in his house.

Steve: It was also a Christian who owned the magazine I first looked at, when I was eight years old. Mike was 12 at the time.

AFA: As kids, how did viewing pornography affect you?
Mike: It hardened my heart, to know that this kind of thing existed. I believe the actual introduction to pornography as a child immediately, immediately damages you, and it damages your soul.

Steve: Well, you gotta figure, I’m 32 years old, and the first time that I was exposed I was eight years old, so that’s 24 years ago. But I can still remember the exact image that I saw when I was eight. I can tell you exactly what the pictures looked like. Those images have stuck with me for 24 years. And the pornography that I was exposed to then is nothing compared to the pornography that is out there today.

AFA: So how did you get involved in the pornography industry?
Steve: Well, first we published a politically oriented newspaper and actually we used to fight organizations like AFA. We thought that protecting First Amendment rights also meant protecting pornography.

Then, since we were living in a vacation hot-spot in Florida, we went into publishing a tourist magazine that advertised adult businesses in the area. We gave it a very glamorous and Hollywood appeal. We did everything in really bright colors and just gave it all the glitter and gold and made it look like this was what the city was all about.

AFA: Were these publications making any money?
The money aspect was the lure. I mean, the sports cars, jewelry, all of the clothes – I used to go shopping to make myself feel better. I constantly was in search of something because there was an emptiness inside. If we didn’t want to leave our condo to eat we would have taxis go to fine restaurants and pick up four star meals and deliver them. But no matter what you do you still have that emptiness. I may have been rich in material things, but spiritually I was dead. And that was the emptiness and that’s what we later came to know was missing from our lives.

AFA: How well-read was your newspaper and tourist magazine?
Within the first year the newspaper had as many as 20,000 loyal readers, but after that year we went straight into the tourist full-color glossy magazine.

Mike: Evolving from one publication into another was based on greed. We went from a newspaper which basically didn’t have the financial capabilities of going into a full glossy and we were given full support on the pornographic end of it. These sexually-oriented businesses needed a way to advertise, and we supplied that.

Steve: And within two weeks of going into business in 1997, 10,000 copies of the tourist magazine had already been picked up. And we immediately had to go into reprint. That was during spring break, and because the magazine had a Hollywood look, they were being picked up like candy. Not only that, but because of the amount of money that we made from advertisers we were actually able to make this magazine free. We made sure that we got it into the hands of everyone, and anytime someone sees a beautiful, full-color magazine loaded with pictures of women, and it’s free of charge, then they take it.

AFA: How did you transition from a tourist magazine to a full-blown pornographic magazine?
In the pornography industry, if you’re willing to publish a magazine, if you’re willing to become a part of that, there are plenty of people that are already in the industry that open their arms to you. And we were told that our magazine was attractive because of our beautiful Florida girls and a catchy name for the magazine. Those in the porn industry wanted us to just come right on in and they were gonna take care of us – all because of greed. Money is the bottom line in the pornography industry.

AFA: So you were on the verge of publishing your very own porn magazine.
We started the publication, which was the pornographic magazine and we funded the whole thing. My brother and I were the largest investors. We went through all of the photography and getting all of the photo shoots done. But we published it, we took it to the printers, we had it delivered on a tractor trailer rig, we off-loaded it on pallets.

We had fought so hard to see this day happen and it happened. And there were all of the magazines in cases, brand new magazines ready to go out for distribution. We had a national contract that would distribute the magazine throughout the United States and Canada. All we had to do was sign that contract. The company we had formed would stand to make $180,000 in the first month.

We put a tremendous amount of work into it and I would say that the biggest thing that we didn’t count on was being saved.

AFA: God had other plans, as they say.
That’s right. In late October [1998] my brother was switching through the channels, and came to the inspirational channel. Mike recognized the man speaking because he had spoken at a high school. His name is James Robison. We stopped because he said the word “pornography.”

And James was talking about the time he walked into a room in his house and saw his grandson looking at a lingerie catalog that had been mailed to James’ wife. And the boy quickly tossed the book aside.

James said he had seen the shame on his grandson’s face, and he walked over and picked up the magazine, and James looked at his grandson and said, “They’re pretty, aren’t they?”

His grandson said, “No, no I don’t want to look at that.” And James said, “No, they are pretty and God has made them to be pretty and we should respect that.” He went ahead and he talked to his grandson and he never once made that little boy feel shame, and he told him about the way that things really should be between a man and a woman with God in their lives.

I was sitting there thinking, “I can’t believe that this pastor is talking about pornography on television.” But he was telling the truth. And to hear that much love and that much truth – we watched the show for three more days.

They put a 1-800 number on the screen that you could call for prayer and at that point we realized that we would never sign the national contract. We would never publish a pornographic magazine again. And we turned our lives over to Jesus Christ.

AFA: When did you realize that you and your brother were going to fight pornography?
I later got an opportunity to be a guest on James’ television program. The show is taped but it was a live audience, and I saw Christians coming out of the audience in tears because they were battling pornography.

I knew then that we wanted to help educate people about pornography, to educate families and to educate Christians about what pornography has become today. And also to try and help pull people out of that industry because such an outreach is needed. I mean so many people get trapped in pornography and they feel like there’s nowhere to turn, but we’ve been there.

We’re not trying to condemn those involved in pornography, but we want to be a mirror for people who are caught in the industry to look and see a reflection of themselves, and to see that no matter what we gave up, no matter what amount of money we passed up, you are richer with Christ than you’ll ever be with money. I would rather be poor and live in a ditch and have Jesus Christ in my life than to be rich, working for the devil. And I am very happy.

If you had told me three months ago that I would be sitting here, at an organization that we used to fight, and quoting Bible scriptures, I would have said, “You’re crazy. There is no way, you’ve got me confused with someone else.” But it’s amazing what Jesus Christ can do because once the Son sets you free, you have truly been freed.

AFA: Since you were involved with porn at a very early age, and having seen the porn industry from the inside, have you seen any changes in the industry?
Oh, the industry has changed tremendously, and what people don’t realize is that after Hustler publisher Larry Flynt won victories in court, the world pretty much had to accept pornography. So that opened up the door for other people to publish pornography in almost every city and almost every state. At that point then, thinking that our society had to accept it as part of the First Amendment, then people put blinders on and they said, OK, we don’t have to view it, we don’t have to look at it, just drive right by those bookstores, don’t pay attention to it.

Well, while all of the people quit paying attention, then pornography had it’s first opportunity to evolve into something that is five hundred times worse than the porn that most people think is pornography. You can log on to the Internet and you can view pornography that has children in it, bestiality, sadomasochism, rape sites. It’s unbelievable how far pornography has pushed the limits. The pornography that is out there today is not the pornography that existed in the ’60s and ’70s.

AFA: What about the women that are involved in the pornography business? How does it affect them?
The women that are used for pornography are just a product. That’s how we looked at them. They are being used, consumed for the greed of others. And so many girls think that they want to be in these magazines. Well, I think that if anyone could see a picture of a girl before she enters the pornography industry and then you take a picture of her six months later, you would swear that she had aged 10 years. And it is a very horrible industry – it’s not glamorous, it’s not attractive. The truth is that pornography will destroy you from the inside out and it will start with your heart and it will work its way through your whole body and it will ruin your whole life.

Mike: What brings a lot of these girls into the porn industry is the fact that they can make so much money. But once they start making money, I would say 99% of the girls somehow get involved in drugs. And instead of making some extra money to be able to pay off debts or get a car, their money is consumed within the industry. The drugs are there and they really don’t even achieve what they originally wanted and their soul is lost in
the process.  undefined

Contact Steve and Mike Lane at 601-840-5382.