Escaping Darkness to Find His Voice
By Randy Rudder
The 700 Club
CBN.com -Joe Scorsone is the founder and lead singer of the Christian rock band Flintface.
He grew up the son of a pastor, who had a church in inner city Philadelphia. His parents provided him and his siblings a stable, loving home that gave Joe a sense of happiness and security. That was, until shortly after his eighth birthday.
“I was sexually abused by a family acquaintance,” Joe says. “It changed how I saw God. It changed how I saw myself. It changed the way I saw other people.”
The abuse went on for two years. “I was terrified to share it with anybody, because you immediately own all the guilt and you feel all the responsibility for it, for some reason,” says Joe. “You’re the victim, but you feel like the criminal. I didn’t value myself at all. I didn’t even think I was worthy of being on the earth. To go from G.I. Joes to something like that is just not right, obviously. It’s very dark and it’s weird.’”
In his teen years, Joe played music to escape. “I had a keyboard in my room and I would just chord out the two or three chords that I knew and sing songs and write songs about what I was experiencing. It allowed me to express what I couldn’t do in a conversation,” Joe says.
With music his only comfort, he became depressed and starting having anxiety attacks. He still went to church, but he was conflicted about his feelings toward God and others. “There was this massive tug of war,” says Joe. “Massive struggle between hating God, hating this person, and hating myself. Why would God let this happen to me?”
He kept up appearances of the model Christian, so no one would suspect anything was wrong. “I think I came off to people like I was confident and had it together, but inside I just had no trust for people,” he adds.
When Joe was 16, he tried to hang himself with a belt. “The anxiety attacks had become so bad, they had become crippling to the point where I just didn’t want to be around anymore,” he remembers. “I felt like I was just taking up space.”
After high school, his family moved to the Poconos. There, Joe founded Flintface and they began to amass a following. He also started dating Beth, who never guessed he was struggling. “He made me laugh, and I really liked that about him,” Beth recalls. “He had a lot of integrity and was just an all around good guy, and you don’t come across that very often these days.”
But whenever things started getting serious, Joe would break it off. He was afraid that if she knew the truth she would reject him. Then one day, Beth saw some dark lyrics Joe had posted on social media. “I had a moment of panic,” she says. “At that point, I really didn’t care about being in a relationship with him or us being a couple. I was more concerned about his life and what he was going through. I called him up and I just said, ‘Look, I know you haven’t talked about this really with anyone, and I want to be there for you.’”
Joe took a chance, and told her about the sexual abuse. “She said, ‘You know, you don’t have to pay for the guilt and the shame and the crime against you. You’re paying the sentence for someone else’s sin and crime, and you’ve been paying for a long time,’’’ Joe recalls.
To his surprise, Beth didn’t reject him. “Her unconditional love gave me hope,” he says. “She accepted me when I didn’t have it altogether. I was just at the bottom. That moment was the turning point for me. When I knew that I could be my ugliest and expose that thing that I had been trying to keep from everybody for so many years, and I wasn’t rejected for it.”
Joe finally found hope and healing and eventually forgave his abuser. Then in 2006, he and Beth married. Now she sings backup with Flintface, and Joe often shares his story with fans. “That perfect love really does overcome all fears,” says Joe. “That kind of standing by somebody, that pure care for someone else whether you get something out of it or not – it’s Christ’s love. I wasn’t angry at God anymore because I started seeing a purpose to something ugly happening.”
Joe’s lyrics have also changed. Now he writes songs about hope, which is also the title of their last album. “I originally called it “The Bottom,” because I think that’s where hope is often found,” he says. “Hope is something we have to fight for, not just something that comes to us. Even our faith in Christ is a relationship, and relationships are hard work. Nothing is easy, especially hope. And my personal hope is in Christ.”
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