Written with Sam Gallegos
This is the story of the sexual relationship between Michael Forest Jones, a Denver man who worked as an escort, and the Reverend Ted Haggard, founder and pastor of the New Life Church of Colorado Springs
As a rule, Mike never delved into the personal lives of his clients. He entertained celebrities, clergyman, politicians, pro-football players, and just regular guys. In 2003, a man named "Art" called Mike to set up an appointment. For almost three years, Art came to see him at least once a month. It was simply a business relationship for Mike, yet he sensed that for Art, it was more. Like many clients who were closeted, Art revealed his vulnerabilities as he struggled to deny his true desire for sexual contact and affection with a man. One day, while working out at his gym, Mike recognized "Art" preaching hate on a religious cable channel. He soon discovered that Art was actually the Reverend Ted Haggard, who, as President of the National Association of Evangelicals, influenced the daily lives of millions of believers, condemning homosexuality and advocating virulently against gay rights and same-sex unions.
On November 1, 2006, Mike made public his relationship with Ted Haggard. Within days, Haggard resigned from all his positions of power, admitting to a "sexual immorality" that shook the evangelical world right before Election Day 2006. Once Haggard was outed, Mike's clients stopped calling. He had effectively put himself out of business and put himself at risk of being trivialized and dismissed, as sex workers often are. It was Mike's courage and strength of conscience that ultimately led him to come forward about the hypocrisy of Haggard's life. Here is the disarming story of how one man's deceit inspired another man to become a spokesperson for telling the truth and for not being ashamed of who you are.