More About the Author
I was born in 1969, not far from San Francisco. My father was a hard-working immigrant from Sicily, and my mother a California girl who grew up in a broken home. They married, in a Catholic Church, though not in the sanctuary, as my mother had been raised Baptist. Later, they had four children. I was the youngest. My mother later converted, and my parents saw to it that we all attended Catholic parochial schools. I was a child of the 1970's and 80s, when, unfortunately, the Church experienced the worst of the repercussions from the Second Vatican Council. After thirteen years of Catholic education, I left, knowing next to nothing about my Faith. I remembered the kindly guitar strumming religious sister, but I did not know many prayers, nothing of Sacred Scripture, Catholic dogma, moral teachings, or the Rosary. Religion felt inconsequential, unrelated to my life. I thought I didn't need it.
After graduation from high school, I was always nervous and restless, I didn't know what I wanted to do, so I decided to go to college and waste some time. I picked the University of California at Berkeley, not because of any academic aspirations, but for it's liberal reputation. Somewhere along the way, I feel in love with the study of Art History and was accepted into the program. Perhaps, it was my inner longing to find true beauty, away from the ugliness of the world. Right away, I began to notice a strange spiritual emptiness within me. One day, while walking near the campus, I wandered aimlessly into a New-Age curiosity shop. Immediately, I became enthralled with the seemingly discordant mix of Eastern philosophies, Western paganism, and witchcraft. From that moment onwards, I began too create my own religion based upon my personal needs, interests, and fleeting desires.
During the same period of time, I ponderously questioned my sexuality. I didn't know if I was straight, gay, or bisexual. From a very young age, I was exposed to both soft and hard-core pornography. As a child, I repeatedly rummaged through my old brother's things in a desperate need to find porn magazines. By the time I reached my late-teens, I was buying my own issues as well as x-rated videotapes. In the same spirit of further exploration, I started picking up female prostitutes then made several trips to the legal brothels in Reno, Nevada. At first, I enjoyed myself, then the risk and expense became too much. To my great relief, I discovered adult novelty stores that featured video-booths in the back of the shops. There, I began having anonymous sexual encounters with various men. After one night of deviance, I started to hear strange voices in my head. They told me to go to certain locations and to do bizarre things; usually of a sexual nature. The first place the voices guided me was to a gay bathhouse.
At one of these sex-clubs, I met my first lover. He was an older man who, at first, introduced me somewhat cautiously into the gay lifestyle. Then, our relationship quickly digressed to include more extreme sex-acts. We eventually tired of each, and I moved on, steely and cynical, to his other friends. Many enjoyed the experience of sex in public or having their exploits video-taped. In the beginning, I got a new thrill from being an exhibitionist. Later, as I was already bored, oversexed, and burned-out, this also began to no longer interest me. Then a friend told me about an amateur pornographer who paid guys to masturbate in front of his camera. I thought the idea rather tame, but I gave it a try. What I found surprisingly exciting, was the copious amounts of praise that I received. In my twisted mind I became a star; if only to a third-rate porn pusher. But my initial dalliances with pornography did not end there. Like a drug addict, in need of a more powerful fix, I jumped into the world of BDSM (bondage, disciple, and sado-masochism) pornographic films. My involvement took me to a new level of demonic possession. Satan gave me power.
The dark ritualism within the world of S&M neatly complimented my already advanced knowledge and interest in all things related to the occult. For large segments of the gay population, sex became ceremony. It was the highpoint of their religious experience. Many found solace in this. And for fleeting moments, I too could forget the pains of my tormented soul. But that also faded. I then began to pick-up random men at various cruising points throughout San Francisco. In the meantime, I was still doing an occasional cheap porn film: not for the money, but to bring a few cherished minutes of excitement into my increasingly dull life. Porn became just another route of escape. I was running from myself, but to nowhere. Near the end of my sordid existence, a stranger who invited me to his home tried to kill me. By then, I was wanting to die. I begged him to murder me. But, he didn't.
Sinking to my deepest level of degradation, I took part in a violent series of sexual performances that brought me to the edge of damnation. Later that same night, I ended up in a hospital emergency room. The demons arrived and began to escort me to hell. I was scared, and, for the first time in years, I called out to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Immediately, the demons left me alone. Then, I started the long road back to healing. Thankfully, there was still a small mustard seed of Faith within myself that even the years of being saturated in evil could not eradicate completely. Through the Grace of God, I became reacquainted with a humble Catholic priest that I once knew, and he heard my lengthy Confession. But my soul was still not at peace. I couldn't accept God's forgiveness. I thought that I was perpetually stained and forever undeserving of love. Instead of banishing the devil from my life, I clung to all that I was. In a foolish attempt to flee Satan, I entered a secluded religious community where I thought I could hide. Even there, the devil found me.
Against my stubborn will, I returned home to California and tried to start over again. But I was stuck in the past. Out of nowhere, a newly ordained priest visited the city where I lived. He was giving a series of talks about the power of the occult, so, of course, I went. When he met me, it was as if he already knew much of my story. He took me into a little room, in the enormous old building where he was speaking. There, he placed his stole upon my head and delivered me from the grip of Satan. The demonic spirits of self-loathing, hate, and fear left me. Finally, I could receive the love of Jesus Christ. He took me into his strong arms, where, at last, I found the sustenance I spent years searching for. After that moment, life has surely not been easy. But I have never abandoned my belief in God. More than a decade later, the Lord is now asking me to tell my story that others may not make the same mistakes I made.