Shelley Lubben: Demons and Donkeys

Apr 14, 2012
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Shelley Lubben, is not someone who takes criticism well. In fact, so sensitive is she, that Shelley has concocted a histrionic fantasy world in which she is nothing less than a superhero ordained by God Himself to “take down the porn industry.” As such, to criticize her is -– in the Gospel According to Shelley Lubben — to commit blasphemy.

However, the last year has brought ever-mounting revelations about her sham non-profit group, Pink Cross Foundation, as well as her disordered personality. Along with these disclosures has come a drop in support and press attention. 2011 was a bad year to be Shelley Lubben, and 2012 has every indication of being far worse.

So, what’s a down-on-her-luck Rebel Prophet to do? Well, if you’re Shelley Lubben, you attack your critics in a dramatic fashion that makes your ego-centrism, arrogance and extreme self-indulgence ever more apparent.

And so it was that Lubben recently published the following screed on Facebook:

Some of you have been writing me to ask me if what my enemies say about me is true. I would lovingly advise you to look at the FRUIT. One thing my enemies have in common is that they have accomplished very little in life. Most are not married or do not have children or do not have custody of their children. Most if not all do not have a degree or even a steady job. And ALL of my enemies are partnering with the porn industry to take me and my family down and to sabotage Pink Cross. Examine the fruit my friends and you will know the truth!

However, Garrett and I have had a strong marriage for 17 years, raising three beautiful daughters, I authored a book which I wrote with the help of Holy Spirit. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and will soon have my Doctorate. I started my own non-profit, rescued about 100 women from porn and sex work, many of whom are on my site and here on facebook. I have helped thousands of men and women overcome porn addiction by exposing the harms of the porn industry. I have been serving Jesus Christ since 1995, beginning in children’s ministry then to prison ministry and rescue missions, and haven’t stopped since. Look at the FRUIT. My enemies can’t hold a candle to all the Christ has done in my life. Jesus Christ receives ALL the Glory!!

Shelley Lubben: Demons and Donkeys

I lovingly ask you to remember this next time my enemies contact you to turn you against me and also I do lovingly ask you not to send me links to what my enemy is saying about me. I refuse to read lies. Please just pray for my enemies to come back to Jesus!

Pray for my family to stand strong through the storm. With God ALL things are possible.

Lubben essentially asserts that, unless you have a college degree, you have no right to criticize or question her. In other words, she’s better than you.

In the mind of Shelley the Achiever, she is superior to Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Lawrence Ellison, Michael Dell, and every other person who eschewed higher education for groundbreaking success in the world. These people changed the world for the better –- what is the legacy of Pink Cross? An appalling string of failures and scandals, along with a newly furnished $480,000 home in Bakersfield recorded in the names of Garrett and Shelley Lubben.

As recovered Pink Cross team member April Garris commented to Lubben with palpable horror, “The Lord is not impressed by ANY of the things you have pointed out — but it sure sounds like you are impressed with yourself.”

A word on Shelley Lubben’s academic credentials:

Vision International University is an unaccredited institution that offers degree programs designed to prepare men and women for service in Christian ministry. The university offers online learning programs, and is widely regarded as a “diploma mill.”

In October 2002, Vision International received a cease and desist order from the Connecticut Department of Higher Education, which found that the school had offered degrees and certificates in Bible study without being authorized to operate as an institution of higher education in the state. In July 2007 the Secretariat of Public Education of Mexico issued a warning against Vision International as having committed academic fraud.

It’s also intriguing that Shelley can go from a Bachelor’s to a Doctorate. As my friend, Pastor Johnny Trejo (another former Lubben associate) noted on Facebook, “I could go from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds in my Nissan 350Z. It’s the undertones of ‘Look At Me, I have Arrived! I did this and I’m better than you because I achieved this.”

As for Lubben’s book, Truth Behind The Fantasy of Porn – it was self-published. As April Garris (3 1/2 years at accredited Christian college, Vanguard University) aptly noted, “Any quack can self-publish a book, if they have the money and time. Don’t quite understand how this is anything to boast about. If an ACTUAL publishing house had picked it up and financed it, published it, promoted it, etc., then that’s a different story.”

Since TRPWL is the home of balanced reporting, I reached out to some of Lubben’s more vocal critics to share their personal response to the underappreciated Rebel Prophet’s assertions.

Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, Ph.D.
Visiting Scholar, USC Department of Sociology

I have a PhD in Sociology and a portfolio in Women’s & Gender Studies (a portfolio is kind of like a doctoral minor) from the University of Texas at Austin (that’s the burnt orange longhorn school, one of the top research universities in the US – hook ’em!!). My research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed scholarly journals including Sexualities, Gender Work & Organization, Stanford Law and Policy Review, and Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. “Peer reviewed” means other professional researchers and scholars – all with legit PhDs – approve their contents. I am currently a Visiting Scholar in USC’s Department of Sociology (go Trojans!!).

I am a highly-trained academic firmly grounded in the sociology of gender, work & organizations, and sexualities, feminist theory and feminisms, qualitative research methodologies, and social justice. I have spent (and continue to spend) quite a bit of time in and around the adult production/entertainment industry. I have given talks about sociology, porn, sex worker advocacy, and my research to countless adult industry, academic, and mainstream audiences and am currently juggling bookings well into 2013. I also find time to blog regularly about industry issues at – the sole purpose of my blog is to make my work available in a timely, accessible way. My goal with every dimension of my research and advocacy work is nuance and perspective.

I am a sociologist. I am not anyone’s enemy, and I have done (and continue to do) much with my life. This includes spending most of my days working to make the world safer and more inclusive for others.

Christina Parreira
B.A. Psychology; M.A. Clinical Practices; Ph.D. student, Sociology

Shelley — First off, I wouldn’t call myself an “enemy” of yours, as I don’t feel that this is an appropriate term to use. I prefer to think of myself as a critic. However, by your definition, I am an “enemy,” and therefore have “accomplished very little in life.” I find this statement to be incredibly offensive, arrogant, and ignorant. I don’t understand how an adult woman can claim to know the personal details of those that she has never even met. It’s incredibly presumptuous.

For the record, I am a doctoral student, adjunct instructor at a private university, and clinician at a very prestigious hospital. For a woman in my mid 20’s, I believe that I am quite accomplished, but this isn’t the point. My credentials shouldn’t matter; nobody should be judged for disagreeing with another human being, or shamed for a lack of education. I was raised Christian and I was taught to not judge others. Additionally, I’m offended by your notion of “accomplishments.” Are you telling us that the greatest accomplishments in life are to get married and have children? What about individuals who aren’t able to have children, or choose not to? What about homosexual couples who don’t have the legal right to marry? I don’t plan on ever having children, and I seem to be doing quite well for myself.

You claim that your “enemies” do not have degrees and steady jobs. Is a person’s worth measured by the number of degrees that he/she has? I have two degrees and am working on my third. I have counseled patients and educated students. Is that enough for you Shelley? Does that make me more likely to be in God’s good graces? This shouldn’t be about accomplishments. It’s about truth; real tangible facts. Where is the data to back up your claims? Have you run any empirical studies? Your “facts” are based on case studies and anecdotal evidence. This doesn’t prove a single thing.

Let me tell you a bit more about myself. I am conducting my research on the stigma against women in the sex industry. You claim to be “saving” women from this industry, but you are only increasing the stigma against these women. If you believe that you are helping anyone by labeling women as diseased, drug-addicted victims, then you obviously have a very strange notion of what it means to help a person. I understand that you had bad experiences in your past, but please do not assume that every other woman in the sex industry has also had those experiences. You cannot speak for an entire group of individuals, only for yourself. I know you’re not a fan of real research, but let me share some with you.

Are you familiar with the term “rape myth?” Rape myths are “prejudicial, stereotyped, or false beliefs about rape, rape victims, and rapists” (Burt, 1980). So, an example of a rape myth would be “she looked like a slut, so she was asking for it.” I focus on the rape myths against women in the industry, such as “it’s impossible rape a sex worker, it’s their job.” Hopefully I don’t need to explain to you why these myths are harmful. These myths are perpetuated by individuals such as yourself, who assert that all women in the sex industry are dirty, addicted, amoral, etc. Shelley, when you tell the media that women in the sex industry are all “possessed by the devil,” you are increasing the stigma against them. You are perpetuating the perception that these women don’t deserve respect; that women should be shamed for their sexuality. As I have already stated, correlations have been found between these attitudes and rape myth acceptance. Is that what you’re trying to do Shelley? You’re not
“saving” anyone. All you’re doing is causing more harm to the women that you claim to want to protect. As an intelligent woman who works to reduce the stigma against this population of women, I am horrified by your work.

Beth Brigham aka Melora Marshall


I am writing because while we have not yet met, you will be seeing a lot more of me in the future. Out of concern with the way in which you are misrepresenting those of us who have decided it is time to take a stand against you and with the many individuals you have harmed and stolen from, I’d like to formally introduce myself.

I find laughable your assertion that those of us who oppose your scam “charity” have “accomplished very little in life.” While I consider my friends and colleagues to be far more successful than myself, I’d like to share with you my own credentials; especially since we have some colleagues in common.

In 2004, I turned nineteen and signed on to officially major in gender studies at my all-women’s institution in Boston, Simmons College. While there, I met Gail Dines from the neighboring Wheelock College. Gail Dines is the most credentialed academic combatting pornography today; so you might have heard of her. Depending on your state of sobriety at the time, you might recall that you have met her when speaking at the University of Cambridge last year.

Gail Dines was impressed by my academic record, critical analysis skills, and ability to compile publishable material at a rapid pace, so she hired me to do research for her newest book, “Pornland,” where you can find me credited under my birth name, and also to accompany her to all of her speaking engagements as her personal assistant. During this time, I, like you and Ms. Dines, opposed pornography. I took the arguments of Gail Dines and her peers at face value, rather than applying critical analysis to those arguments.

It was during my years of employment under Gail Dines that I discovered how much published material there was BY sex workers, which demonstrated ways in which those of us opposing pornography were actually causing irreparable harm to sex workers across the employment spectrum – meaning both in pornography and other areas of sex work, like the escorting you also condemn.

I quit working for Dines, and shortly after graduated with honors in my degree. Note that, unlike you, I received my degree from an accredited institute of higher education. I then decided to put my new philosophy to the test, and in 2008 I began my foray into nude modeling, escorting, and pornographic performance. It was then that I was able to confirm my philosophies as correct – sex work was indeed NOT what was so very harmful; condemnation of it was in fact what was continuing to keep sex workers vulnerable to crime and alienated by society. Thus I founded the Boston branch of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, and began organizing sex workers and our allies to hold events throughout the city that focused on everything from Know Your Rights Seminars to self-defense training, to memorials for those sex workers who continue to lose their lives because of people like you who fight to keep us criminalized. Since then, I have done interviews with everyone from Ms. magazine, to Cosmopolitan Australia, and web-based Unregular Radio. I also published with the “Weekly Dig,” Adbusters magazine and $pread magazine. I hosted a blog that was lauded as “a light in the dark,” by gender studies professor Brooke Campbell of Colby College and Butler University (both accredited institutions). I also co-founded an in-the-works program called SafeCall with the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project of the USA, to help increase safety for the workers whose lives you help to keep in peril.

I should mention that I have done all of this before turning 26.

I learned of your work while doing mine, and knew that something had to be done. Not just because you condemn pornography, however, but because you lie; not only about our experiences in the industry but about what you do with your money, your “charitable” work, and your private life. Attempting to lead by example is impossible when you are only pretending to do what you say you do. And so I discovered you posed a far greater threat than for example, my former professor Ms. Dines. This is because you have actually gone on not only to combat pornography but also to reach out to porn performers and harm them directly. While I was blessed to get to meet beautiful souls including Michelle Avanti because of your recklessness, I am disgusted by the circumstances under which I have gotten to meet the beautiful women that you have so terribly harmed. Further, as a passionate philanthropist, it enraged me when I discovered how much of your income came through Pink Cross Foundation via your apparent contracting out to yourself at Shelley Lubben Communications. Were I to discover that a non-profit organization that I contributed to was acting as irresponsibly as yours, I would feel both livid and used.

While my personal life is none of your business, your followers may like to know that I have been in a passionately positive relationship with a handsome, brilliant, talented and loving man for the past five years; and we are engaged to be married. We have not had any children out of wedlock. He is gainfully employed so that I can continue to spend my time fighting injustice in the world. Accordingly, you may subtract the remainder of your false statements about me.

P.S. You might also find noteworthy that unlike you, I have never been arrested in my life nor brought to court on civil matters. I have also never suffered from addiction and have never needed to attend a rehab facility.

Jordan Owen

Unlike Shelley I’m a graduate of an accredited college, Berklee College of Music, one of the top music schools in the world, not some fly by night diploma mill. Unlike Shelley I have written a book that was published by an actual publisher; I did it all by myself with no help from trans-dimensional deities, and unlike Shelley I ADMIT that my book is a work of fiction. Shelley has no idea about my family life and who may or may not be in it because unlike her I treat my loved ones as something special and personal to me, not some flag of moral authority to wave in the air while admonishing unwashed heathens. In other words, I treat family like actual people, not like evangelical stage props. And when I appeared in mainstream movies like “The Blind Side” and “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married” I was able to come back and work in more scenes because I didn’t act like a complete twat when the leading actors walked by. And while my day job is none of Shelley’s goddamn business, I can assure her that its an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work and doesn’t involve ripping off well meaning donors. And unlike Shelley, I don’t have to post messages reminding my fans of how much better I am than people I don’t like.

Nobody is coming after your family, Shelley. I wish only the best for your kids; that they might get to one day have the experience of being raised by a real human being rather than an oven roasted Barbie doll turned professional train wreck. I don’t need to look at the fruit, Shelley — I can already smell it.

Anthony J. Kennerson

I’m perhaps the least professional person out there who is qualified to criticize Shelley Lubben, since I have no professional degrees or high-level professional accomplishments. I am just a working-class middle-aged Black male who happens to have a progressive opinion about sexuality and progressive politics, and a part-time blogger on my off-work time who just happens to have an interest in adult sexual media and adult consensual sexual expression as a form of personal autonomy and freedom.

I was raised by and still have loving and caring relationships with people of faith, even though they know about and understand my eccentric political positions; they still know that I will care for and fight for them regardless of my personal opinions, and we don’t attempt to push our differences on each other, because we know that in the long haul, we are family. I am also a person who has managed to survive my 47 years on this earth without succumbing to any of the vices (smoking, alcohol, gambling, even sexual) that so many others seem to have to traverse. That doesn’t make me superior to those who have fought those demons and survived (or even those who didn’t); it does make me pretty damn lucky and proud. And, I can say that my family is proud of me for lasting so long, too.

My main issue with Shelley Lubben has nothing to do with her profession of Christian faith, or her un-denied and unquestioned personal experiences, which I totally accept her right to testify to. It’s in how she uses those experiences as weapons of deception and falsehoods in order to smear, dehumanize, and ultimately destroy innocent people who have done no harm to her or others, for a fundamentally reactionary political cause of regulating other people’s sexual lives. It is also in how she manipulates the Bible and her conservative Christian faith as a mere propaganda tool for her own personal enrichment, at the expense of the very people she believes herself to be “saving”. We have seen far too many people who cast themselves as personal Messiahs and claim themselves to have exclusive access to God and Jesus…with cataclysmic results.

It is very unfortunate that Shelley has decided to turn inward and cocoon herself even deeper within her myopic vision of sexuality and religion, rather than come correct and truly open herself and evaluate her behavior and actions…especially in the face of the revelations of those who have been through her “ministry” and made it out the other side. If you are going to prop yourself on the “fruit’ of your efforts, Ministress Lubben, then you shouldn’t object to a full evaluation of the weeds and spiderwebs and worms and flies despoiling that fruit. All of God’s children will have their judgment of everything they do: good, bad, AND ugly.

And BTW…not that it’s any of Shelley’s business, but I have been gainfully employed with my current employer for 10 years now…and even the devout Christians whom I work with will testify to my competence and my abilities, as well as my willingness to treat everyone as full human beings, regardless of their personal opinions. None of your aspersions cast upon me can undercut that…regardless of how many times you wield that eight-foot staff. Actions speak louder than words, and the proof is in walking the talk, not just talking it. Don’t just sing it, Shelley…BRING IT.

Nina Hartley’s left butt cheek has more morality, intellect, and worldliness than Shelley Lubben’s entire body. And, it’s brought more pleasure to more people than any of Shelley’s pompous moral lectures. Who has a better chance of ascending to Heaven based on their actual deeds? Only the scoreboard tells the tale.

Michael Whiteacre

I earned my Bachelor’s at New York University, and went on to graduate Vanderbilt University School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree. I have been a published writer since high school, have run businesses of my own since 1993, and was also employed, simultaneously, by a film distribution company for 7 ½ years. I have done well enough in my 44 years that I am able (as well as proud) to self-finance my ongoing exposé of Shelley Lubben and Pink Cross Foundation, The Devil and Shelley Lubben.

In the opening paragraph of her perverse defensive tract, above, Lubben unintentionally tells readers all they ever need to know about her. In her first sentence, she notes that people have asked whether things her “enemies” say about her are true. However, instead of answering that question in the affirmative or negative, and without offering any evidence which disproves the claims of her critics and detractors, she casts herself as a victim: a holy heroine who is being set upon by nefarious predators. In fact, Lubben’s entire identity derives from whom she stands in opposition to. In her deranged fantasy world, having critics — or enemies, as she puts it — makes her both successful and right.

Rather than seek the truthful answers that will not be forthcoming from her, Lubben “lovingly” advises inquiring minds to instead look at “the FRUIT” of her enemies. Setting aside the fact that what she is referencing are actually WORKS, not FRUIT, this is a classic misdirection technique of expert manipulators such as Mrs. Lubben – “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” she demands in her best Wizard of Oz impression.

The great and powerful Oz has spoken!

According to Lubben, the fact that she is married with children, and possesses “a degree” and a “steady job” validates her and whatever position she may assert without evidence. The corollary is, of course, that those who do not possess an advanced degree, have custody of their children, or a steady job have no right to criticize or question her or her self-proclaimed calling. We are not to touch God’s anointed, nor question her, nor examine the “fruit” of her “ministry” “I do lovingly ask you not to send me links to what my enemy is saying about me. I refuse to read lies.” Another classic conclusory statement unsupported by evidence – if someone with a view in opposition to hers says something, it is therefore a lie. By terming criticism “lies,” she attempts to convince readers that any criticism – even reasoned criticism — does not require a response.

This position reflects the classic cult leader mindset: there is no truth but my truth, and therefore those who speak against me are liars and are damned. To speak against Shelley Lubben & Pink Cross Foundation, therefore, is to go against God.

Lubben is incapable of exploring her weaknesses or blind spots in an unemotional manner – because she believes she has none, only “thousands of demons” attacking her via spiritual warfare in order to keep her from completing her holy mission. She does not seek truth because she believes it has already been bestowed upon her.

With her treacle-y sweet and oh-so-righteous, “Please just pray for my enemies to come back to Jesus!”, once again, she demonizes those who oppose her views: Jesus stands with her, but not with us.

Mrs. Lubben once informed me, in true cult leader fashion, that Pink Cross is the true church. (“We are the church! We take the church out!” she shrieked.) Therefore, those who oppose her must get right with Jesus – Shelley Lubben-style. How can we do that, you ask? Well, as Shelley’s brother Christopher suggested a while back, mocking his sister’s whacked theology, we must “repent and support Pink Cross.” And how do we demonstrate support for Pink Cross? Why, by sending money to Shelley Lubben, of course.

Of course, Lubben’s brazen Facebook post did not accomplish its goal of stifling questions from the flock or closing their ears to critical utterings. Those troubling questions that her critics have raised, and the ugly truths that have been uncovered, still endure and resonate — and even many anti-porn allies were outraged by Lubben’s latest deflective tract.

Donny Pauling commented: “Shelley, I think it’s time to listen to your critics. I met you when I was still producing porn and your attitude was one of hate and [you] pushed me away. Your critics aren’t all non-Christians, but even those who don’t know Jesus are capable of making good points, and sometimes God speaks through them (remember, He even used a donkey once). I know some of the people you demonize, and they aren’t demons.”

Lubben is obsessed with the physical manifestations of how much favor she has with heaven; that she lives in greater luxury than many others means she is good, and those who have less than the Lubbens are either bad or lack the amount of faith required to be rewarded by the Lord. Apparently Shelley never learned in Job that man can be good and still lose everything. The Holy Bible explains that it rains on the just and the unjust. As one of Lubben’s Facebook friends commented, “Many good Christian people have the problems you mentioned as proof of bad fruit. Even Hitler had a wife and we see how that turned out. Good, saved people can have what looks like bad fruit and ‘bad’ people can have what looks like good fruit.”

This latter point could not be better demonstrated than by the fact that Lubben currently resides in a $480,000 Bakersfield mansion, and not the penitentiary her critics remain convinced she will one day call home.

Story by Michael Whiteacre

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on the blank » on the author: beth brigham aka melora marshall
12 years ago

[…] In love with the empowering career she had never imagined finding herself a part of, she decided to begin sharing her views on the now-defunct, and briefly also worked as a volunteer with the Sex Worker’s Outreach Project USA (SWOP-USA).  After taking a hiatus to contemplate retirement, initiated by her first and only experience getting assaulted on the job, Brigham has chosen to return both to work and to voicing her opinions on sex and society.  Brigham has interviewed and published with multiple media outlets regarding sex work and society; including Ms. magazine, Cosmopolitan Australia, The Boston Herald,… Read more »

Jorge Karlin
Jorge Karlin
11 years ago

I know strip clubs that have more than 100 women, so why the big deal about “saving 100 women from porn & sex”. I guess she wants all these gals to dress like they’re being seen on Osteen’s televised ministry each Sunday or never opening their legs until they’re married…of course, like she did.

Shelley’s epitaph should read, “a lifelong failure to all she encountered…amen”.


[…] infamously sought to smear the names of those who have exposed her misdeeds: examples would include her former assistant, April Garris;  ex-performer Michelle Avanti (who actually sought a restraining order against Lubben); […]


[…] Why in the world would ANYONE entrust individuals with deep emotional and psychological problems to a con artist like Shelley Lubben whose only “degrees” come from unaccredited Bible colleges? […]

Sariah Shepherd
Sariah Shepherd
9 years ago

What Shelley wrote is not true. I have written a book. I am a former sex industry worker now reformed 28 years. I am married 21 years and we have 3 children. The only thing that has stopped me from working is a very chronic medical condition that requires me to deal with painful catheters daily. I would like to see how well Shelley can handle a sore urethra? How about no sleep due to having sore and painful urethra spasms from having urinary retention and using catheters so much and being in the bathroom 40 times per day with… Read more »


[…]  Said protégé then goes on to become a hooker and aspiring pornstar.  You get in good with Shelley Lubben only to find out that the once drug addled con artist is… still a drug addled con artist, only […]

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