Kirk Franklin's Freedom
By Shannon Woodland and Scott
The 700 Club
Kirk Franklin has sold more than 10 million albums in less than
10 years. He's a three-time GRAMMY Award winner and a seven-time Dove Award
winner. His hit "Stomp" from the triple-platinum album God's Property
made him a star amongst the MTV crowd. But Kirk's career came to a screeching
halt a few years ago when his private-or should we say secret-life was no longer
a secret. Kirk came clean and confessed his addiction to pornography in this
interview with Scott Ross.
KIRK FRANKLIN: There's always the boy who has the big brother who
has the magazine under his bed. That's how it starts. So the first time I
ever saw one, I was around 8 or 9. I saw my first magazine, and from there
I was addicted.
SCOTT ROSS: Did you bring that into the marriage?
KIRK FRANKLIN: Yes, I did.
SCOTT ROSS: Was she aware of it?
KIRK FRANKLIN: Not the first year but the second year.
SCOTT ROSS: (to Tammy)When did you find out?
TAMMY FRANKLIN (Kirk's wife): Once he realized that he was having
problems, he just came to me and he said-
KIRK FRANKLIN: -No, no, no, Baby. Let's aim to make it more real.
Let's aim to keep it real. I tried to when we got married because I still
had those single male ways.
TAMMY FRANKLIN: I would say in our second year of marriage he tried
to implement it into our marriage-'Watch this with me, Honey.' It made me
feel dirty. It didn't make our intimacy sacred. I would say, 'I'm not watching.'
I would get angry. 'I'm not watching that with you.'
SCOTT ROSS (reporting): Kirk's secret life ran amuck while he traveled
to promote his latest releases. At home Tammy had no idea of the extent of
TAMMY FRANKLIN: I didn't see any evidence that he was doing it at
home. He knew how I felt about it so
KIRK FRANKLIN: But I was.
I would think that he was hiding it from me.
SCOTT ROSS: So you had a secret life?
KIRK FRANKLIN: Yeah, I was doing it at home. When she was asleep,
I would go upstairs.
SCOTT ROSS: How did you finally get to a point where this thing has
got to be dealt with?
KIRK FRANKLIN: We were in Los Angeles. We were in the bed that morning
in the hotel, and we were lying there, and I said, 'Baby, I need to tell you
something. I'm struggling with pornography. I mean, it is a struggle and I
have a problem with pornography. It's a problem.'
SCOTT ROSS: And your response, Tammy?
TAMMY FRANKLIN: My response was to immediately be sensitive. What
blessed me was he did look at it as a problem. A lot of guys, it's normal
for a man-
SCOTT ROSS: -It's a man thing.
TAMMY FRANKLIN: Yeah, it's a man thing. The fact that he wasn't coming
to me like that blessed me so that I just began to pray for him consistently.
I knew that I wanted him to know that this is something I wanted to work through.
SCOTT ROSS: Together?
TAMMY FRANKLIN: Together.
KIRK FRANKLIN: That's what so weird about porn. You have different
people even in the Body feeling differently about it. There are some Christian
men I know who say, 'I'd rather do that than cheat on my wife.' I've had to
shed light on, 'Dude, 'We're cheating on our wives because whatever a man
thinketh, so is he'.
SCOTT ROSS: You have a woman now who's willing to walk it through
with you. What about the people who are in it now? You are leaving this secret
life. You're scared to death somebody will find out about it.
FRANKLIN: It's weird because you're talking about the dude who was the
minister of music at a church when I was 11. I have to check myself because
there's an anger that rises up in me. I get evangelically ticked off by the
fact that I wished somebody would have taught me a long time ago about the
repercussions of sex and flesh and lust and vanity and pride and ego. I wished
somebody would have been holding my little behind accountable years ago. But
let me tell you what happens to the gifted. The gifted in the church slip
SCOTT ROSS: Why?
KIRK FRANKLIN: Because the gifted are able to naturally and emotionally
control the atmosphere of the service.
SCOTT ROSS: So we relate to you based on the gift rather than the
KIRK FRANKLIN: There you go, brother. No one asks the minister of
music whether he's killing when everyone is crying and speaking in tongues.
Nobody asks him, 'Are you going home tonight? How's your marriage? What's
going on with you and your wife?' Nobody's holding the gifted accountable
in the Body.
SCOTT ROSS (reporting): Even though Kirk's wife knew about his problem
and prayed for him, no one held him accountable. That is until he met Pastor
Tony Evans, a man who wasn't dazzled by Kirk's celebrity.
KIRK FRANKLIN: When I first went to his church, it was 1998, and I
had an album out called Stomp. I was traveling to Dublin, Ireland, doing songs
with Bono, I was getting flowers from Arsenio Hall, I was getting letters
from Mike Tyson, I was hanging out with Denzel and all these big time celebrities,
and I was walking on a TV pilot for ABC.
SCOTT ROSS: I'm impressed, man! I didn't realize you were that famous.
KIRK FRANKLIN: You know it's all that garbage. None of that junk you
can take to heaven, but I was bathing in it. And a lot of my Christian community
was bathing in it with me.
SCOTT ROSS (reporting): But when Kirk and his family started attending
Pastor Evan's church, Kirk didn't receive the same treatment he was accustomed
TONY EVANS: You come here the same way everyone comes here-through
the Cross. At the Cross the ground is very level, so you're treated like everyone
else. We recognize your gifts. We honor people. The Bible says to give honor
where honor is due. But there's only one celebrity. That's Jesus Christ.
KIRK FRANKLIN: But Tony Evans, he didn't care who I was. If I didn't
get there in enough time, I would sit where everybody else sat. I got mad
at it, but then there was something that was pulling me to it. I was crying
out to be discipled. I called him one night and told him that I needed help,
I have a problem.
TONY EVANS: Since the sexual area so defines men and is so accessible
to men, it's easily reached after as a defining point. It has to do with who
you are and if you're really a man, all of this wrong definition. Once we
can clarify a person's identification in Christ, and once we can help them
to understand how to walk in the Spirit, they can discover that the law of
the Spirit is indeed greater than the law of the flesh.
SCOTT ROSS (reporting): Kirk told Pastor Evans everything. In turn,
this helped Kirk be honest with the people who mattered most in his life.
SCOTT ROSS: (to Kirk) And that started the journey to healing with
(to Tammy): You saw the change in the man?
TAMMY FRANKLIN: Definitely.
SCOTT ROSS: And he's clean now?
TAMMY FRANKLIN: (half serious) You clean?
KIRK FRANKLIN: Four years.
SCOTT ROSS: So people can get free, but they have to admit they have
the problem and they have to come clean with somebody who'll hold them accountable.
TAMMY FRANKLIN: There's a process.
KIRK FRANKLIN: If I have been set free from this one, anybody can
be set free because I questioned for years whether I could be set free. Dude,
I was doing albums, albums that people were getting blessed by, and I was
struggling with pornography. "Why We Sing" came out in '93, and
I was struggling with pornography. Stomp came out in '97, and I was struggling
with pornography. These albums God was speaking through and everyone was getting
their victory except for me. I used to question and almost began to wonder,
What's going on? What was happening, and this might help people: my victory
didn't come by my emotional experience; my victory came through truth. When
I was taught truth, that's when I got my freedom.
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