By Luke Ford Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Seven B Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve 1994-1997 1997 1998 1998B 1999 2000 2001 2009
"So Luke, how are you?"
It was a question from an old flame. We have not communicated for months, since the abrupt end of our fling.
With people like flame, people I care about, I try to communicate with an open heart. By contrast, I don't care much about most people I converse with and therefore feel little internal need to share myself.
But Flame makes my heart sing and cry and I want to be real with her. So I answer, "Up and down."
How do I sum up the past six months without her?
Overall, they've been tough. My sponsor went broke, owing me $30,000. The downturn in the internet economy has dramatically cut my earnings and my earning potential.
My health, usually fragile, has been a sputtering motor beneath my engine of great ambition. Six months ago, I could do 1400 pushups in 30 minutes. Now I do nothing. It's a good day when I'm not sick.
I returned to therapy last April and I've stuck it out, two sessions a week, despite its drain on my meager finances. My commitments, such as to therapy, make me proud.
Six months ago, I swore I could never be an Orthodox Jew. But aside from my work, I've largely lived the life of an Orthodox Jew the past six months.
Upon returning from Israel in July, I began doing the morning prayers (Shacharit) and studying a page of Talmud a day (Daf Yomi). That's a two hour chunk out of my every morning, seven mornings a week, and it's dramatically changed my life.
I've stopped attending my liberal synagogue on Saturday mornings and instead worship exclusively in Orthodox shuls. I've stopped driving on the Sabbath (in accordance with orthodox Jewish Law). I don't use the phone on Shabbat. I keep the Sabbath strictly.
The greatest benefit to my renewed commitment halakhic (legal) Judaism is in my increased sense of community. I know more people. I go to their homes for meals. I have more friends. I'm more a part of religious Jewish things.
My new Orthodox shul is a father figure for me. It lays down the law. It puts a premium on behavior and practice and cares much less about my feelings and beliefs. It is formal and rigorous and on time. And within the shul, I find lots of father figures or mentors. Older men that I want to be like. Folks I can learn from. People who've combined secular success with committed religiosity and strong families.
So I watch how they talk and act and move and I imitate them. I carry myself like them and I hope to achieve similar results to them.
As Machiavelli said, "Behave like everybody else but think differently."
In my thoughts, I have grave doubts about the intellectual honesty of Orthodox Judaism but in practice I believe that it is the most successful sociological model. Reform and Conservative have not built close communities that can rival Orthodoxy.
I attend every day the least friendly shul I've ever been in in my life. I probably went there a dozen times or more before anybody said anything substantive to me. My shul is full of busy self-contained people who've known each other since childhood. They're called FFBs. Frum From Birth. "Frum" means strictly observant of Jewish Law.
That the shul does not reach out to strangers works to my advantage. I've got lots to hide - most particularly, LukeFord.com. In my new shul, I go by my Hebrew name of "Levi", and shoot evil glances at anyone who happens to call me "Luke."
So I'm "Low Key Levi." I never speak out of turn. I'm low key. I've made no enemies. That's important. Because if I make one enemy at the shul, they can start gossiping about me and my web site behind my back and ruin my standing in the community. It would not take much to get me banned from the place that's become so precious.
So I have a new commitment and a new vulnerability in my life. I'm vulnerable because I care. I care about my new shul and maintaining my face there.
I don't care about porno and I don't care about who gossips about me in that world. Because I don't care, I'm not vulnerable.
The person who controls the relationship is always the one who cares the least.
But it is caring and committing to worthy things that put one in a position to lead a meaningful life.
As I said, most people at shul ignore me, which is just fine by me, because I have lots to hide. But after regular attendance at this shul since August, I've grown to know certain people. One or two even know about this site, and they love me anyway.
Even in as self-contained and self-satisfied shul as mine, inevitably some people notice you. I'm sure I give off the air of someone insecure and halting in his religiosity. Last week, a newcomer to the shul, an Israeli I think, came over to me during the prayers to notify me that my head t'fillin were tangled, which is against Jewish Law.
I've long known that my head t'fillin are tangled but never did anything about it. And nobody has ever bothered to bother me about it. But this stranger did. I felt very embarrassed as I took it off my head and he unraveled it and I put it back correctly.
This sounds petty but it is what community is all about. Looking out for the other. Letting him know when his fly is down, so to speak.
On Thursday, the stranger came up to me and asked if I'd had my t'fillin checked. My pair is probably not kosher. It is very old and cracked. According to Jewish Law, if you use non-kosher t'fillin, you don't get any credit for the mitzva [divine obligation].
I've not had my t'fillin checked because I fear they are not kosher and a new pair will cost upwards of $500. And the main reason I daven every morning is not to fulfill the mitzva, but to connect with God and goodness and with good people.
But if I get a new advertiser on LF.com, I'll buy new t'fillin.
I'm embarrassed by my present pair, so old and cracked and falling apart. Everybody around me has nice functional big kosher t'fillin.
How come nobody's noticed the obvious parallels between LukeFord.com and the Talmud? Both are freeflowing chaotic discussions.
Rabbi Berel Wein, in a lecture on the Rambam's MishneTorah (perhaps the most discussed and critiqued and important book ever written) says: "Jews love chaos. The Talmud is a chaotic work. There's no beginning and no end. There's no order. It's associative memory. It's going off on tangents. It's freeflow. It's like a tape recorder was put into the yeshivas of Babylon from the year 200 to the year 550. And then it's the tape unedited. It's not in order. Why in the masechta "Gittin" [a Talmudic tractate on divorce which Luke's studying now] should there be a law about murder?"
Luke Untangles His Tefillin
March 26, 2001
Guys, today a very beautiful thing happened... A friend from shul invited me over today. He had something to give me... It was a brand new pair of tefillin (leather straps attached to boxes of scrolls of Torah that you wrap around your head and arm) from my new shul... This is worth about $600... My tefillin are old and probably unkosher... I was deeply touched by this sweet gift and I am determined to live up to it... My friend saw my tefillin on Purim, called the shul rabbi, and arranged the gift.
God Works In Mysterious Ways
March 27, 2001
Curious writes: The story of your gift of the Tefillin was truly awesome. It proves how God works in many ways. I too have a story of unexpected kindness to share. A month ago our mutual friend Goddess asked for my address and a week later I received via the US mail 4 copies of "Mike South's Southern Belles" and "The Houston 500"! Not every one prays for the same things, you know.
Yankel writes: Levi: That's hysterical! Some pray for Tefillin, some for movies. Hey, I just realized, the people on your site are definitely going to get the impression that shul people sit around reading your site, and responding.
"So what's up with Levi/Luke today?"
"What's up today?"
"What's up with the boychik today?"
It's the International Jewish Conspiracy....
Gossip Columnist Hoisted On His Own Petard
I should've known something was wrong when I walked into my Orthodox shul this morning and someone tapped me on the shoulder. I'd forgotten my yarmulke and had to scrounge around amidst the children's toys cupboard to find one. It was painted with ghosts.
We proceeded through our daily page of Talmud without incident. I proceeded through the morning prayers without incident. Then, as I'm preparing to walk out the door, the rabbi looks at me and beckons me to wait. He asks if I have two minutes. I do. Barely. It is almost time for my precious therapy.
My heart starts racing. I fear that the shoe is about to drop, that the rabbi has discovered LukeFord.com and I'm about to get tossed from the shul.
They discovered that I'd been leading a double life. I'd humiliated good people who unknowing of LukeFord.com had vouched for me. The shul would return the $600 I donated. I would return the tefillin bought for me by the shul. I would not return to the shul until I quit writing on XXX.
It's obvious that Judaism fits naturally with me as I'm in shul every day but obviously the work I do fits naturally with me too. At whatever time I chose to give up my porn work, I will be welcome back to the shul. I should get help.
I shake hands with the rabbis who wish me good luck. I go straight to therapy and talk about what happened. My therapist starts crying.
A friend offered to talk to the rabbi on my behalf, and try to get him to allow me to continue to attend the shul... But this felt to me not manly... It feels familiar too. Often as a kid, other people's mom rescued me from the consequences of my naughty deeds.
Unlike Reform and Conservative Judaism, Orthodox Judaism has serious standards. I respect that and it's a big part of the reason that I want to affiliate Orthodox. But as long as I violate Judaism's laws of modesty, taste and forbidden speech, I can't claim the prestigious title of Orthodox Jew.
Rumdar writes: "When my therapist had wiped away her tears..." Some day Levi you will be a man. You will realize that therapy is nothing more than "rent a friend" and is doing you absolutely no good. You will decide to stop going and then you will be wiping the tears off your therapist's cheek when she realizes she is losing some easy $$$$ every week.
Is It Time For Luke To Eat Pork?
Chaim Amalek writes Luke:
Chaim Looks on the Bright Side (Really, in a situation like this, what choice have you?)
First, they acknowledge that you are well suited to judaism. And they left for you a door which, while not open, is not locked, either, through which you can return to this obscurant branch of the faith that most jews wisely reject.
Second, now that you are fully outed, you have less to hide.
Third, I assume that you still are welcome at all the events sponsored by the non-orthodox section of judaism, which contain all the really hot (??) hebrew honeys you want to bang. And you ARE a jew under the conservative branch's rules, so they can have no beef with you. Plus, you still get to go to all the temples that the typical Hollywood Gadol goes to.
Fourth, you have still more of a story to tell, and can tell it fully, now that you can have no fear of being outed.
Fifth, you will get all sorts of sympathy from jewesses and pornets. You definitely ought to get laid from this one.
Sixth, contact your jew friends in the media and ask them for advice. See (5) above.
Seventh, take comfort in the fact that these cold hearted Pharisees no longer have the power to have you crucified, as they did Jesus. All that they can do is seize your teffilim, which most people are ignorant of anyway and manage to live well without.
Eighth, use this experience to reevaluate your life. Do a cost benefit analysis on what you are doing, as in "OK, on the one hand I get to live in a hovel, sleep in sewage, drive a car not even a Mexican would accept, earn diddly, get dissed by the Juden, but on the other hand I don't have to go to a job in the morning" or something like that.
Ninth, perhaps you will morph into something more respectable, like an E! gig. Appeal directly to a macher of media that you need a gig in order to become a full orthodox jew. If I were you, I would run an ad in the LA Times begging the Gedolim to help you out. Publicity of this sort is self generating.
Tenth: This could be a message from Jesus, calling you back into the fold. At the very least, you need a new therapist (one who does not bawl with you). Hope this helps some!
Chaim Amalek (Whom the Juden will always acknowledge as one of their own, NO MATTER WHAT)
(Closing thought - compared to some of the other problems that people have to face in life, yours are profoundly trivial.)
Director James DiGiorgio writes: Lukey, I heard they threw you outa the jew church. I don't wanna sound insensitive, cuz we all know I'm a feeling, caring kinda guy, but what the fuck have I been tellin ya for God knows how long??? You're not a jew, lukey. The only person who thinks you're a jew is you. Certainly any real jew who knows your story will agree with me. And that's exactly why they found it NOT so hard to toss your Aussie-gentile ass out! And I don't blame them. It's bad enough you're not really a jew, yet you're there at the temple every day being more of a jew than the real jews. And to make it worse, you run with the devil! C'mon Lukey, you haveta admit that it would be an embarassment to have someone there like you, who does what you do, playin themselves off to the real jews like you're one of them...and maybe even acting like you're one of the best of them. Take my advice, Lukey, find a new religion. Besides, being a jew is yesterdays news ever since they figured out there never was an exodus outa Egypt and that Moses was about as real a person as Pinocchio. I told ya before you got all the makings of one of them hari krishnas. You'd look good with a shaved head and a yellow sheet wrapped around your underdeveloped physique, handing out flowers at LAX. Maybe the hari Krishna also have that jew thing [tachlis], I forget what its called, where you can pretty much do what you want as long as your doing it to make a buck. If so, you could be one of them and still try to be one of us.
Luke called Jimmy.
Jim: "Why don't you find one of those easy Jew churches where they don't care what you do. You should call around all the Jews in the business and see what temple they go to. They all probably belong to a temple so they can go twice a year. Because any temple they go to will accept you. So find out their temple and join."
Luke: "Because I prefer Orthodox shuls."
Jim: "Why don't you found a temple? You could start the first Jew porn temple."
Luke: "Temple Beth Porno."
Jim: "You should do it, right here in the West Valley. You'd have some well heeled members. And you know a little bit about their income. You could go to Stevie Hirsch and say, 'Come on Stevie, that don't look like ten percent to me. I heard you guys make $12 million a year. That should be one point two million coming to the temple.'"
Luke: "We could have STD testing after services."
Jim: "You could bring that right inside the temple. You could do some good stuff with Temple Beth Porno."
Luke: "And I'd get a lot of publicity."
Jim: "Are you kidding me? You'd be on every news show on the planet. You see, wonderous ideas come out of adversity.
"So, did they just call you up and say you were out? Or did they send a guy in a black hat and those twirly sideburns to your house?"
Luke: "I went to synagogue this morning..."
Jim: "And they wouldn't let you in?"
Luke: "They let me. I did everything. I was heading out the door and the rabbi asked me to talk to him... They didn't even want my money."
Jim: "So you get a $600 rebate. I'd take it."
Luke: "I had to give the tefillin back."
Jim: "Wow, so they defrocked you? How many people a year do they throw out of the synagogue?"
Luke: "They probably haven't done it in years."
Jim: "Because they don't think you're a real Jew. I don't care what they tell you to your face. They don't consider you a real Jew. Let me tell you something, any pornographer in this business, born Jewish, would still be there.
"Luke, all the religion you need is in your own head. And heart. Is God all knowing? Then he knows what's inside you. You don't have to go sit in a fucking room with a bunch of other jerkoffs and follow their little rules. You're going to go to heaven, Luke, don't worry about it. Because you haven't done anything bad.
"I think they've committed a grave sin by doing what they did. It shows the lack of forgiveness that the Jew is capable of. They wouldn't throw you out of a Christian church for stuff like that. They certainly would throw you out of a Catholic church, because all you have to do in a Catholic church is go in once a month and confess. You're done.
"Couldn't you have applied your 'tachlis' thing to what you were doing? You're only doing it because you need the money."
Luke: "I didn't even try to say anything. It wouldn't have worked."
Jim: "Be a Jew without going to the Jew church. Make your hovel your temple."
Luke: "But I love and admire the people at my shul."
Jim: "They don't like you."
Luke: "Yeah, but I love them."
Jim: "Let me tell you, every one of them knows by now. Because they talk. This rabbi won't keep it to himself. You're going to be the gossip of that place for the next year-and-a-half. If they see you on the street, they will turn their head away. You're going to be shunned. The Jews invented shunning. Then the Amish picked up on it.
"The Jews in porno don't like you. The Jews in Jew churches don't like you. How can you remain a Jew?"
Luke's Liberation - Does The Slave Miss His Master?
Chaim Amalek writes: Now that the jews whose respect you seek have given up on you, have you given up on them (which a real man would)? How did you spend this past shabbas? What will you wrap about your arms, now that the jews have turned indian giver, and taken back their "gift" to you? How secure is your "conservative" (?) conversion to judaism? Might not it too be rescinded? Are such conversions valid in the first place? Does LUKE FORD still regard himself as jewish, as opposed to being a Noahidic gentile?
Luke says: Of course I still identify as a Jew. My conversion is secure and irrevocable though some Orthodox Jews may not accept it. That is their privilege. I don't depend on them for my identity and self worth.
I spent my Sabbath as I usually do - with friends in shul and in private homes. Except today I got up and left the house two hours later.
I ran into a young man from Israel on the corner and I took him to a different shul. Then, at 11:45, I walked over to the shul that ejected me. I felt like a stalker, coming around a place where I wasn't welcome. I only came because a week ago I accepted an invitation to lunch from a member of the shul.
I stood 20 feet outside the shul. Inside my friends enjoyed kiddish (sanctified eating and drinking). I waited awkwardly 15 minutes for my host to emerge with his kids. Then we walked to his home and enjoyed lunch with another family from the shul. It was quickly obvious that they had not heard of my expulsion. Religious Jews are strictly enjoined from gossip, and unlike James DiGiorgio's claims Friday on my site, the word had not gotten around. The rabbis protected my dignity.
Goddess writes: Tsk, Tsk, Lukey. Jesus never would have judged you and given you the boot like that. On the upside, does this mean you'll be posting on Saturdays now?
JMT writes Luke: "My therapist starts crying." Was the shrink able to compose herself to the point that she could discuss with you the psychological implications of yearning to belong to a sect with very well-defined standards of behavior, while at the same time very publicly and willfully transgressing those standards? Or did she just weep until it was time to say, "I'm sorry, our time is up for today," and collect your check?
"Someone outed me, I think, to the rabbi "
Gimme a break, you outed yourself. Face it, you've been setting yourself up for this for months. You've done everything but show up at the synagogue with a rolled-up copy of AVN stuck in your back pocket. Figuring out *why* you would act in this manner ["any and all attention paid to me is good," perchance?] is of greater consequence to your continued existence and happiness than getting up at 6:00 a.m. to go study the teachings of the Rabbi Yeeechtuey or whatever the hell they do at the shul. JMT
P.S. You may, for the next few days, be troubled with nightmares populated by Davina Hardman, Ron Jeremy, Cumisha Amado, Rob Black, Mila Shegol, and others, who surround you and commence chanting "One of us . . . one of us . . . one of us." Don't worry; this will pass.
Jaded Jewish Girl writes: Luke - Sorry to hear about your shul trouble. What a bunch of hypocrites, scared to death of their own sexuality! When I was in Israel, I spent time with some hassidim in Tzfat (I know your shulmates were Orthadox, but hey, just for comparison...) and no matter how long the women talked about how respected for their minds they felt in the wigs (after marriage) and long skirts and sleeves they are ordered to wear, the fact remains that the women were forced to take responsibility for the men possibly looking at them in an innapropriate way. Like these guys who wear long black clothing in 90 degree weather and must say brachot anytime they eat anything and pray constantly don't have discipline on their own! Why are religious Jews so frightened of sex? Any ideas? Interestingly enough, during my brief stint as a prostitute in Israel, the customer that was the most degrading to me turned out to be an Orthadox rabbi. Go figure, huh? Apparently, religious Jewish men visit prostitutes all the time. In New York, a friend and I went to see the documentary "Fetishes" and saw a Hassidic Jew in full garb emerging from the show before ours.
Luke Goes To A Reform Temple
I went to a Reform temple this weekend, the most liberal branch of Judaism. Within five minutes of getting there, and telling my story of woe, I heard my former Orthodox shul castigated for being narrow minded and intolerant ... Five minutes later, a married man asked me if about a mutual blonde friend of ours, would she be interested in having an affair with him... A few minutes later, I heard a masturbation joke. A few minutes later, the rabbi said one should never marry without living with someone first. You have to get to know them - whether you can live with their bathroom habits, etc... These moral laxities are why I prefer Orthodoxy even if I can't live up to it because of my own moral laxities.
Law & Order TV Show Parallels Luke's Life
James DiGiorgio says: On Law & Order last night, they had one of those rabbi Jew things trying to figure out if somebody's conversion was legal. So you're going to have to sit in front of three guys with funny hats and sideburns to present your case? They had lawyers presenting the case. And they found one little thing they couldn't prove and they said, 'Conversion's no good.' This guy wanted to emigrate to Israel, and whether or not Israel would accept him, because they were investigating him for murder. And whether or not Israel would accept him would be based on whether his conversion was legal or not. Whether he had an automatic right to go to Israel. I was just picturing you in front of those guys, trying to prove yourself.
Luke: "The Jews of Los Angeles have caught on to me."
Jim: "They're investigating you. They're going to send the Mossad to your door. Are you in big trouble?"
Jim: "Can they extradite you to Israel to face the charges? Could you be banned from every Jew church in Hollywood? In the world?"
Luke: "Could be."
Jim: "If you were a real Jew, they wouldn't turn on you like this. Who's the driving force behind this pogrom? Have you told these people that you have friends. 'Hey rabbi, I just want to tell you this in the nicest way possible. But I've got friends, you know.' You've got to tell him that."
Luke: "Perhaps you and Rob Spallone should pay the rabbi a visit. And speak on my behalf. Make him a deal he can't refuse."
Jim: "Does each Jew church have a board of directors? A bunch of guys sit around the table and tell the rabbi what he's gotta do."
Luke: "There are two typical operating procedures for synagogues. They are either run by a board of directors or by a rabbi. My ex-rabbi runs the shul."
Jim: "Is there a bishop or someone who can tell him what to do?"
Luke: "No, rabbis like him are independent. They have their own fiefdoms where their word is absolute."
Jim: "You should start praising Louis Farrakhan on your site. They hate Farrakhan. This is wrong what they're doing. They couldn't just leave it alone. Nobody at your Jew church had said anything. You never said anything. This is wrong. Now they have to kick you while you're down. How long will it be before you're going, 'Jew bastards.' How long? Two weeks?"
Luke: "Never. I don't use such language. I'm too Christian."
Jim: "You'll be thinking it."
Luke: "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do."
Jim: "Oh, you're Jesus Christ now?
"You have smart Jews on your site. Get them to write your rabbi."
Luke: "I will. Good idea."
Jim: "You're going to make a big deal about this, huh? You're gonna be big news in the world of Jews. It will be in all the Jew papers. Some Hollywood Jews will make a movie about you.
"Let me tell you something. This is against the American way. This is unconstituational. They're being Nazis. Whose your rabbi? Rabbi Himmler? Let me tell you something. You were twice the Jew any of those Jews were being. You were going every day. You prayed all the time. How many Jews can claim that? This is like going after Mother Theresa."
Luke: "I see the similarities between myself and Mother Theresa."
Jim: "Oh well Lukey. We all, well I guess Jews don't, have our crosses to bear. They have Star of Davids to bear. Anyway, this controversy will rocket us to our nationally syndicated radio show."
Luke says: "Once the rabbis find out about LukeFord.com, it is all over for Levi Ben Avraham. I thought I was going to get away with it, and I did for a year..."
Jim: "I knew you weren't going to get away with it. You've been on too many TV shows and things. But these guys aren't supposed to watch TV right? Aren't they like Mormons and the Amish?"
Luke: "You'd be surprised how grounded these rabbis are in reality. They are very smart and clued in. Even if they don't watch TV."
Jim: "Are they going to mention me in any of the Jew papers? They have to be reading your site."
Luke: "I just hope the rabbi doesn't see your tasteless "Rabbi Himmler" remark."
Jim: "The rabbis are just like politicians and everybody else. They've got to spin doctor the thing. Just like you do to a witness. Strip them off their credibility. If they can prove you're not really a Jew, then all they did was throw a non-Jew out. Is anyone coming to your defense? Aside from your therapist that you pay."
Luke says: "Putative Marc and Chaim Amalek will write letters for me."
Jim: "They're like the Catholic Church or the Mormons. They're all singing from the same hymn book. This is why I'm not too happy with organized religion. I don't like this kind of stuff. I don't think it's right. Have you gotten any letters from the Aryan Brotherhood offering you membership? You could be their poster boy.
"Why don't we have a show on Eyada.com?"
Luke: "They haven't asked us."
Jim: "Why don't you ask them? Have you ever thought of that?"
Luke: "It doesn't seem manly."
Jim: "You're not a manly guy. So don't worry about it. When has that ever affected you? Like that's gonna matter to you. That's why I wouldn't ask them."
Orthodox Jew Yaakov Finklestein writes Luke:
A few words of clarification.
First, you turned yourself in. You did everything but leave a trail of bread crumbs.
Here's what hurt people:
1. That you lied about who and what you are. That you accepted the hospitality of people's homes under false pretenses.
2. That you make a living immersed in the world of pornography, not out of desperation, but out of choice. You like it. You love it. And as you know, it is not consistent with Orthodox Judaism. Some might call us intolerant, fine; you know it's a matter of standards.
3. That you quote the Talmud out of context. When this is done it can makes Jews and Judaism seem foolish and "merely legalistic." Fodder for anti-Semites. I have a feeling that you still don't really understand how serious this is. You were begged to stop.
4. That you quote the writings of the American Nazi William Pierce. His work, "The Turner Diaries" is perhaps the most evil work in the English language. It was Timothy McVeigh's bible. This is pure evil. Any explanation you have for publishing this man's work is beside the point. It is far worse than any pornography.
5. That you were in a porno film did not help matters. You should've removed the whole reference, the disgusting pictures.
The sense of betrayal is beyond imagination. People could not believe the reality that you forced them to confront.
Chaim Amalek responds: Regarding the rant against "The Turner Diaries", ("IT IS EVIL, I SAY, EVIL") I will wager that far more lives have been destroyed over the years through the socially broad-based application of ADL approved liberal doctrines than through any acts inspired by the writings of Pierce. For example, jewish liberalism turned New York City into a Golgotha of crime in the early 90's, a slaughterhouse of humans that only the righteous rule of Roman Catholic White Man Rudy G. put to an end. Tally up the social damage advanced by Hollywood Pimps from the 60's forward, and you have stuff that would keep a tribunal busy for years trying to sort out. And yet the architects of that churban, when jewish, remain free to attend whatever temple they wish. Face it Luke, there is no justice in this world save what we make.
Luke asks: Should I be apologizing to the rabbis and Jews everywhere? Should I be doing penance? If so, what sort of penance should I perform?
Helpful suggests: A free ad between your bestiality and scat banners should suffice.
Chaim says: The only penance that will get you anywhere with his kind is to become really really rich like Marc Rich, donate money to jewish causes etc. Being rich is to normative judaism what accepting Christ is to Christianity - the true source of forgiveness.
Luke, tell the rabbis that they have inspired me to join Jews for Jesus and work towards getting all the other jews on earth to see the light of Christ.
Helpful writes: Of course, naming the damn site lukeford.com could hardly be considered stealth. I propose a name change to: lukeford_a/k/a_levi_ben_abraham_who_davens_at_xxx_temple_and_would_be_mortifie d_if _rabbi_yyy_found_out_so_please_dont_tell.com
Rumdar writes: I know of no other religion that would expel one of it's flock for these minor infractions. Sinners abound in all religions. The Catholics like to say that only sinners go to church. If they were not sinning they would have no need for the Church. These Rabbis should have met with you to discuss these issues before giving you the heave ho... Despicable treatment of a confused but sincere Jew (you). And a black day for organized religion.
I spent seven bucks on the last Sylvester Stallone movie. Now there was a truly disgusting movie. Sly as a race car driver Oy!
Helpful writes: Rumdar speaks the truth. As the token Gentile I feel duty bound to remind you that Christianity is 100% built upon the concept of forgiveness. Let me tell you being forgiven 2000 years ago for my transgressions of today takes a lot of life's pressures off.
Put it this way. Ever notice the large number of death row inmates who seem to find Christ in their darkest hour? Now compare that to how many convicted capitol offenders turn to embrace Judaism? Get the picture?
Chaim Amalek suggests: I propose an URGENT meeting of all the Jews of Porn to be held this Shabbas at the temple from which Luke was expelled. Rally for Luke!
Helpful writes: Rejoice! Dr. Pierce Joins the March!
Rumdar writes: This I like. I just had an acid flashback from the sixties. "Hell No We Won't Go," "Dump The Hump," "Hey, Hey, LBJ, How Many Kids You Kill Today" "The Streets Belong To The People" FREE Levi Ben Avraham I am ready to rally. Give me an address and I'll be there. Let me dig out my Love Beads and a pair of Bell Bottoms that still fit. Peace!!!
Curious writes: Hey, do they ever kick out any tax cheats?
Rumdar responds: Are you kidding?? For tax cheating you don't even have to say a "Hail Mary" so long as you stick a sizable contribution in the collection plate. Even notice that these various gangsters, say Joe Bananas, Louie the Gimp, whatever, get buried with full rights. That is because their dues were paid in full and they were entitled to The Last Rights before they expired? Now I am not an expert in the field but I know that Christianity is the most forgiving of religions. Just make sure you spread enough of that ill gotten greenery around so everyone has a smile of their face. And know what? I think Judaism words the same way. How much you wanna bet Mark Rich would never be bounced out of Luke's shul? Throw out that crazy assed kook with the funny accent, Levi, but a red carpet to the high dollar boys. amen.
JRob writes: I'd have to say that Luke Ford went in (or at least stayed in) with his eyes open. Judaism and the Talmud are very strict, with very little wiggle room. He was trying to walk a fine line knowing full well that his chosen religion doesn't allow much deviation. The rules are pretty clearly laid out. The language is a bit archaic and there is much interpretation as to what is and is not relevant in this day and age, but as a member of an orthodox shul, Luke Ford knew the potential consequences.
If he wanted an easy path, he would have stayed with Christianity; a religion with absolutely no moral REQUIREMENTS. Christianity has moral "guides," and there is the assumption that accepting jesus as the son of god and believing that his death redeemed mankind of their sins, will RESULT in moral behavior. However, Christianity has no moral REQUIREMENTS. The moment Yeshua ben Joseph (or ben God as the case may be) died on the cross, the Ten Commandments became the one commandment and the nine very serious suggestions.
I have to give Luke Ford credit for being a stand up guy and taking his medicine. He is not the "Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano" of the jewish world. He didn't roll over, and he ain't namin' no names. I admire genuine commitment to one's beliefs.
On the other hand, Luke, you're taking a lot of crap and suffering a lot of emotional pain for a god who doesn't exist. Try agnosticism. Believe me, we're as moral and as immoral as anyone else, but we are not motivated by the promise of unrealistic reward or savage, absurd punishment. Its a great way to live. Cut yourself some slack. Be a good, moral person because it makes sense and benefits everyone (including yourself). Look for the reward in your daily life. You don't need to seek validation from authority figures and controlling philosophy cloaked in the guise of paternalistic, theocratic nonsense.
Luke Ventures Back Out Into The Orthodox Jews
I've been too disoriented to go anywhere Jewish for a few days. I can't shake the feeling that I am a self created moral pariah.
But Thursday night I summoned the balls to attend Jim Svejda's talk on film put on by an Orthodox Jewish group. I walk up past Rabbi XXX, the warmest most friendly rabbi who examined me a few weeks ago. And he made a special point to welcome me and shake my hand and affirm my questions. And now he must know what I really am. And will he still acknowledge me? I don't want to risk it. I hurry on.
I don't know if he recognizes me...I walk on and crossing the street, where I spot Rabbi CCC...and I love this man and have been to his house twice...but I fear approaching him, his back is turned... I don't feel strong enough to handle the possible rejection, so I ignore him and turn away and walk on.
I walk in to the meeting filled with trepidation. Do you ever get the sense when something significant has happened to you that irrevocably changes your life, that surely this event which is huge for you, must be noted and understood by those around you?
I walk in and I am welcomed by the two Jewish ladies running the program and they tease me on what my tough question will be for Rabbi B tonight. I see two women I used to date. One teaches at a liberal Jewish school where they have a Gay Student Union and two gay rabbis... And a doubters minyan, where skeptics and atheist can go "pray" by expressing their unbelief.
My ex, a secular Jew, tells me about dating a modern Orthodox guy who'd spend shabbat with her and have sex with her but won't turn on a light, which she finds freaky.
I get into a rewarding 10 minute conversation with Jim Svejda (Gentile) of KUSC before the program. He gives a great speech about all the crumby movies he must watch as part of his job for KNX radio.
Afterwards, I ask a question of Rabbi B, the only question of the evening that silences the room. "If you were Jim Sjveda's rav, and he was telling you the toll that reviewing films was taking on his soul, what criteria would you use for judging whether or not he should quit reviewing films?"
Rabbi B takes at least ten seconds to answer, and pushed his skull cap back and forth over his head... and finally gave one brief comment - if he consistently walked out of movies feeling sick and depressed about life.
Another moment in the evening, Rabbi B related a story about behavioral psychologist BF Skinner telling a woman who was knitting in the front row of his audience, that what she was really doing was not knitting. I was the only one who laughed... And Rabbi Bsaid anyone who did not get the joke, could consult Luke afterward. Which made me feel very valued and one of the smart ones on the inner circle.
Strange that little things that I build my self esteem around. I remember in college how public acknowledgement of my brains and insights from my profs meant EVERYTHING to me. And I haven't changed... Now it is rabbis and media attention. Scraps that I am insatiably hungry for.
One of the rabbis on the panel, told me at his home on Rosh Hashanah, that someone like myself with unorthodox views, should still pursue Orthodox Judaism but keep one's unorthodoxy parts to one's self, and develop a thick skin.
Chaim Amalek writes: Just what sort of programming do they have at the Museum of Tolerance? Do they ever discuss things that should not be tolerated? you know Luke, I think that part of what ticks off some people is the belief that your work takes no toll on your soul, that it has no real moral implications for you, whereas it would for them.
Do I have the go-ahead to A) write these cold-hearted Juden warning them of all the jews that they are leading to the cross by their crucifixion of you, and B) contact the press of LA to announce a rally at the shul from which you were banished, to be attended by all the readers of Luke Ford.com in LA and other of your supporters? Could you write up a press release for me? Also give me the names of some jew journalists to whom it could be sent.
Luke says: I think the Museum of Tolerance is a giant waste of money. They are constantly talking about intolerance and bigotry and racism as things that should not be tolerated. I believe the people behind the Museum would've done better to have spent their effort creating a building for their Orthodox Jewish high school which is now housed in temporary trailers.
Luke Talks About Himself
Shane tells Luke: "I'm sorry you have to experience another loss. I imagine that you're feeling that, once again, you were denied the unconditional love/acceptance/home that you thought you might find. It seems an unusually painful pattern to keep repeating, but then again, it's difficult to make comparisons among people suffering. In any event, in my experience, it's not the pain that drives someone to break the pattern, but the sheer boredom/frustration associated with repetition. Viewed in this way, there is cause for hope: because you will only have the opportunity to replay this particular drama a finite number of times in your life, you've taken care of another one and you have fewer left to do (or even zero - if you're finally feeling tired of this pattern!)
"So what have you learned from the loss?"
Luke: "I shouldn't have gone to the shul every day and so closely integrated myself. I should've kept more distance."
Shane: "I think what will make the difference is being straight with people. I don't know how you will put your work together with your religion. The problem was that these people felt betrayed. They felt you had not been straight with them. People can't tolerate being intimate with someone who is not honest with them.
"I know that psychologically you need to work through this and get yourself kicked out again and again. Are you going to replay this until the end of your life or do things differently? I believe you have the intelligence and the courage to do something other than what you've been doing."
Luke: "I'm having nightmares that my ban will spread throughout other orthodox shuls in the community."
Shane: "You can't betray such a large group in the future because you will be more known."
Luke: "I don't know that a large group feels betrayed. A few people feel betrayed. I abided by the norms of the community while in the community, then wrote my bloody web site."
Shane: "If LukeFord.com becomes widely known, you will be known and there will be no more double life. Will you still fight yourself? Will you seek out other ways to go undercover and then kicked out?"
Luke: "I enjoy going undercover and exploring things."
Shane: "The people to whom you're undercover will inevitably feel betrayed. There's a standard of honesty that is more than just not lying. There's a standard of being straight with people, and not allowing them to think what isn't so. People you profess to care about and admire will inevitably get angry with you if you're not straight with them."
Luke says: Did I ever mention that the ejection from the shul was very painful for me? I can't help thinking about it frequently...but there's something I think about even more frequently. The personal rejections.
People overflowed with kindness towards me as long as it looks like I was going to become fully orthodox. And it is such a splash in the face with cold water to encounter those whose final reaction to me is, 'I don't think I want to hear from you again until you decide to become fully orthodox.'
People are just fodder for religion. I hate that. I saw that a lot as a kid with Christians who saw people as fodder for Christ. And unless you converted, they weren't interested in you. They're only interested in you if you join their religion.
After a year of praying and studying every day at my shul, now that I've been ejected, I haven't walked away with one friend. Few people inquire about how I'm doing. Once you're out, you're out. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Good luck. Sayanora. Adios. If you don't go all the way with us on the fundamentals, you're an outsider.
XXX responds: i'm sorry to hear of your pain. a double rejection from friend and church is very hard to bear - but i guess if you want to join the club you have to go by the rules. if you choose to ignore their rules then isnt that really you rejecting them rather than vis versa - i mean you could get acceptance by both church and friend if you gave up your involvement in xxx - its your choice. but maybe you are sad and hurt because they wont accept you on your terms? how would your friends be feeling? - they probably feel they have lost a friend because they thought you cherished what they cherish and now know you dont. there is no doubt that differences of opinion create distance and make friendship more difficult. which do you want most - to keep doing what you do for a living or acceptance by your church and friend? a big question!
Fred writes Luke: So, query,
1. Are you willing to sacrifice intellectual honesty for "friendship?"
[Luke says: Yes, I can keep quiet. I survived at the shul for a year because I kept quiet on these matters... It is not really intellectually dishonesty, it is more a matter of discretion. To develop friendship and community, you learn to maximize what you have in common. And some dissembling may be ok...]
2. If one sacrifices intellectual honesty to be a member of that shul, has one really attained a true friendship? Or is it something other than a true friendship--a "friendship" built on a foundation of illusion and dissembling. Is the friendship of someone who is only your friend because you fooled him really a friendship? Would it be accurate to say that this "friendship" has about as much validity as the euphoria caused by heroin?
3. What is more important--being true to yourself or friendship? (To thine own self, be true.)
4. How do you suppose Spinoza felt when he was excommunicated from his shul? 3 centuries later, his picture was put on an Israeli postage stamp by a bunch of secular Jewish zionists. Of course, 3 centuries later the orthodox still think him a heretic. Given how things turned out, do you think Spinoza would have preferred to keep his mouth shut and maintain his membership in the shul? Or would he have preferred to speak his mind?
5. Don't you think that the tight community that you seek comes at a great price? One must lose something to join that club. One must lose critical thinking. Are you willing to pay that price? Isn't that the same bargain if one wants to become a born-again fundamentalist, an orthodox jew, a hassid, a member of a cult (other than the cult of Fred, which is wisdom incarnate)? Sort of like a deal with the devil, eh? Is it worth it? (The cult of Fred holds that it is reasonable and correct to dissemble about one's views and beliefs to pursue a friendship, but only if there is greater than a 25% chance that you'll get laid.)
6. Do you have it within yourself to make that deal? To ignore what you know rationally makes sense just for mere acceptance? Can you really ignore your own perception of reality?
7. By training yourself to ignore your own grasp of reality and truth, what sort of damage are you doing to yourself? And for what purpose and gain?
8. Then again, do all friendships have some kind of a price? Isn't dishonesty and dissembling required to get along in any society? Isn't that what 75% of "politeness" is? Can any relationship between human beings withstand complete honesty?
Ya know, after I wrote the above 8 paragraphs, I re-read them. What a big pile of trite pseudo-intellectual crap. I don't think I can stomach editing this e-mail. I'm just going to click on the send button right now. But let me know what you think.
Not to belabor a philosophical point, but if I log onto a chat room, tell one of the other participants that I am a 6' tall blond woman with big breasts, and strike up a friendship, is that a real friendship? Or is it nonsense? If you tell Robert that you believe in orthodoxy, have you struck up a real friendship? Or is it nonsense?
Rumdar writes: Luke Let's be real, you were baiting these fundamentalists. Seeing how far you could push them before they grabbed you by the seat of your pants and tossed you out the door. Of course all this religious doctrine is rubbish. Impossible to believe Jesus raised the dead, turned the water into wine (Merlot, Chardenay)? parted the sea, was swallowed by the whale (oppppps! that was another guy wasn't it)? Died and came back in three days, whatever. Don't despair. You have learned all you need to know about Judaism. I believe it is time for you to switch religions again. It has been suggested you become a Buddhist. I think it is a great idea. The time is ripe. Picture yourself walking around your neighborhood with a bald dome, sandals and a saffron robe begging for alms. You would be bagging all that Asian ... too. You could walk by your old shul and wave to xxxxxx and the xxxxxx sporting your new orange look. Think how shocked they will be. Of course in a year or two the Buddhists will toss you out just like the Jews did but that is in the future. Then you could always switch again. You admire the modesty of the fundamentalist Jewish women right? Then consider the modesty of a Moslem chick walking around with a Patagonia tent for a dress, peeking through the gauze fly door. Modesty plus. Mullah Luke. Above all never give up hope. That is what religion is all about, hope. Somewhere, someplace there is an organization that will accept Luke Ford as one of their own. Hard to believe but possible. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back into the fight.
Thursday morning I appeared on the Bob Berkowitz show Lovebytes on Eyada.com.
I talk about getting thrown out of my shul.
Bob: "Why is writing on porn worse than being a crime beat reporter for the LA Times? What if you devoted your life to chronicling gang bangs? This country has a special place in hell for sex. I doubt you've written much condoning the porn industry."
Luke: "But I get income from my porn banners."
Bob: "Then you're no better than Al Goldstein or Larry Flynt. Luke, you're a pornographer."
Luke: "No, I'm an anti-porn moral crusader.
"Anyway, it's hard to be a journalist, any kind of journalist, and be an orthodox Jew. There are very few. Most journalists are secular liberals."
Bob: "Luke, I just looked at your site and you've got a lot of [porn] links there. If I were a rabbi, I'd flip my yarmulke also. You preach religion and morality yet you're making money off pornography. You're a hypocrite. You're promoting what you consider to be illicit and immoral sex. Luke, my hands are cleaner than yours. I don't take any money from the porn industry. Luke, you get bounced by the rabbis and I whup your ass too."
Luke: "Wait, you have those filthy ads for better sex tapes."
Bob: "That's not porn. There's sex in there. But how else do you teach people how to make love unless you show them?"
Luke: "Bob, how else can I show people the evil of pornography unless I link to pornographic web sites?
"Anyway, it's easier to morally justify something to yourself, than to get your religious community to go along with you."
Bob: "Links are fine. But don't take money from them. When I covered the Reagen administration, it would be like reporting for CNN and also being on the Reagen Whitehouse payroll.
"Luke, you can be a good person without going to church or synagogue every week?"
Luke: "But I go to synagogue, not for God's sake, but for my sake. To see my friends and build up sense of community."
Bob: "Your only choice is to go to a liberal temple."
Luke: "Where they seat men and women together and they're full of homosexuals."
Bob: "You'll find that gays are not so bad afterall."
Luke: "I'll end up at Conservative shul with a lesbian rabbi."
Bob: "And you'll fantasize about her and Tera Patrick.
"I'm sure there are more than a few people who found out about your expulsion and thought, 'Good, he deserves it.' What goes around, comes around."
Trevor emails the show: "I bet if Luke's synagogue looked into the backgrounds of all its congregants, it would have to ban many of them. I think that what happened to Luke was unfair."
Bob talks about a psychologist who operates a web site that sells sex toys. And he had a legal and an accounting firm decline to provide service to him while at the same time, they served an asbestos maker.
Luke: "That's the challenge of making moral judgements. You can always be compared and contrasted. It's easier if you don't make moral judgements."
Bob reads an email wondering why religion insists on entering people's bedrooms and regulating private behavior.
Luke: "I only emotionally have a problem with the rabbi's decision expelling me. I don't have a moral or Jewish argument against it. Religion tends to totalitarianism - to total control of an individual's life - from how they think, to how they speak and sleep, have sex and eat. My father the Christian evangelist would often say, 'Unless you take God seriously in everything, you don't take Him seriously in anything.'
"We observed Passover a few months ago which often regarded as a festival of freedom. But in a true Jewish sense, Passover simply marks the Jews changing slavemaster. Once ruled by Pharoah, they are now ruled by God and his many commandments. Religious people want the freedom to be able to live their religion, not freedom to do whatever their hearts desire."
Bob: "But doesn't God love all people?"
Luke: "I believe God loves all good people."
Bob: "You can still be a good person and believe in Christ and not eat kosher?"
Bob: "Then why are we so rigid about these rules if God loves all good people? Why do we have to be so orthodox and doctrinaire?"
Luke: "All successful organizations are doctrinaire about certain rules. Most people need a moral discipline in their life. Without it, they naturally tend to moral entropy. Religion, when done right, is an excellent form of moral discipline. And the way to develop discipline is to practice it in dozens of minor ways throughout the day. Thus religions have rituals to remind their adherents about God and his moral demands. It's difficult to legistlate ethics in that there are so many variables in relations between people. Thus most religions spend far more time legislating rituals than ethics."
Bob: "Luke, in our religion, you can't mix linen and wool in the same garment. What the hell does that have to do with being a religious person?"
Luke: "It means that you have to take cognizance of the divine even in the clothes you wear. It means that you must be sensitive to distinctions. Judaism hates mixing things - from linen and wool, to meat and milk, to life and death, to holy time (e.g. the Sabbath) and secular time.
Luke: "I sincerely believe that Hollywood hurts our society, far more than porn does. Because Hollywood is bigger."
Bob: "But murder and violent crime and illegitimate births are dramatically down in the last few years."
Luke: "I don't believe that entertainment directly causes people to murder or rape. I believe that the lack of personal moral control leads to violent crime. But I do believe that MTV and that ilk of entertainment morally desensetizes people. Pornography desensetizes people. Hollywood leaves people more jaded and cynical and not as soft and human and innocent."
Bob: "But it makes them more open minded and less judgemental."
Luke: "I like people to be judgemental about certain things. I want people to be judgemental about unethical behavior."
Email: "Bob, what are you doing to continue Judaism?"
Bob: "I observe the pertinent holidays. I go to a Passover Seder. I go to synagogue on the High Holy Days. And I try to live a good life, a life tzedaka, righteousness."
Luke: "Do you get emails asking about your Judaism with your other guests?"
Email: "Do Jews and negroes get along any better inside porn than outside?"
Luke and Bob: "About the same."
Luke: "The broader point is does multi-culturalism work, can people of different ethnicities get along?"
Eddj writes: MAKE UP YOUR MIND, LUKE. EITHER YOU'RE FOR PORN OR AGAINST IT. IF YOU'RE AGAINST IT, THEN SHUT UP AND SHUT DOWN.
Luke writes: "I sent my mom a link to Bob's archive page to listen to me today but she listened to the wrong show."
Mom writes Luke: "I got onto a discussion with you, someone else and a Dyanna Lauren and think this wasn't the one you meant. You said you found .... arousing. That wasn't for your mother to hear, was it?"
Fred writes Luke: "Ya know, I don't think I've ever had a conversation with my mother about gang bangs. Sir, I admire the liberal, open and honest relation you have with your Mom. This is what good parental communication is all about. But I guess I'm a stuck-up old fuddy duddy."
My dear readers, I am a troubled man. Until recently, I began each day in the company of my fellow Jews, engaged in communal prayer. Among the joyous rituals that this entailed was the laying of teffilin, an act that immediately served to bind me to my adopted faith and provide me with the structure in life that has otherwise been sorely lacking.
As each of you knows, I was expelled from that comfortable world for being associated with the world of pornography, even if only as a journalist famously hostile to it. Without the benefit of a trial and without being given the opportunity to explain myself, I was ejected from my temple, and my teffilin were taken away from me.
Now, like a lone piece of coal, my faith grows cold and old. I know that I must rekindle it by finding new Jews with whom to pray in the morning, but with now several Jewish temples already having taken the extremely rare step of expulsion in my case, I do not know where to go or where to turn.
But then I had an epiphany - why not communally commune with other jews and Noahidic Gentiles in prayer to God via the internet! If one of you would be so kind as to donate the necessary equipment, I shall install a daven-cam that will be turned on when I am engaged in prayer and other holy rituals. Spiritually inclined readers of LukeFord.com, won't you please help me to become the good Jew that I know I could be by purchasing for me a high quality daven-cam? I cannot pay you in money for your kindness, but trust that in the hereafter, you shall be rewarded for your acts of kindness. God Bless you all.
Helpful writes: Great news! The daven cam is now operational.
JRob writes: Not being religious, there's something I've never figured out regarding your situation. Had it been me, it would have gone something like this:
"Give us the Teffilin."
Kahlil Gibran writes Luke: Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
JMT writes: Rather than resort to grave robbing, consider skipping a few whining sessions with your rent-a-friend, and using the money saved thereby to purchase this "simple but glorified" set (?) of tefillin for only $225. Or take the bus down to Tijuana, where I bet you could pick some up real cheap, as long as you don't mind the possibly iffy Kosher certification process of the Mexican rabbinate.
But JRob, is right, you should have told them to go pound (Kosher) salt when they asked you to return the set they gave you. In fact, that was probably a test designed to gauge your true suitability for the Hebraic faith; by meekly and goyishe-ly complying, rather than demonstrating the necessary chutzpah and telling them that you were going to keep the tefillin that they gave you even though they now found you to be a disgrace to the religion, you failed, and they took their leave of you.
What Luke Does With His Extra 20 Hours A Week
Since my ejection from my shul three weeks ago, I've had an extra 20 hours a week. I no longer go to a synagogue every morning to study Talmud and pray. I go a couple of times a week in the evenings to different Torah classes, and to different shuls on Sabbath and that's it.
I spend my extra time on my web site, on reading novels, and getting email from the Republican Jewish Committee Los Angeles. I wish I could fill my life with more uplifting, religiously and morally elevating, communally building activities but I realize that I can not make it in the Orthodox shuls I want to belong to. The rest seem broken down, dirty structures largely inhabited by slobs.
I'm still feeling dislocated. They say it takes three weeks to form a new habit, but I still haven't broken my old habits of friendship and ritual revolving around my former shul.
I guess I will go back to the Conservative and Reform synagogues with their emphasis on contemporary matters and worldly success. I find it hard to pray when seated next to women, and the homosexuals holding hands creep me out. As do the women wearing yarmulkas and prayer shawls and doing things traditionally restricted to men.
But I better watch my language because I can not afford to cavalierly offend large swathes of people as my own social horizons are constricted by my choice of profession.
I now have to completely reconstruct my life. For the past year, all the socializing I needed was fulfilled by fulfilling my duties at shul. Now I have to carve out my own life and reconnect with old friends I've abandoned over the past year in my enthusiasm for my new shul friends.
Taking a break from doing my laundry today, I walked around the rich neighborhood a few blocks up the road from me. It's largely populated by Orthodox Jews who maintain immaculate yards, just how I like them, and these people would be my community if only I abandoned pornography.
Let's not forget that in economic terms, the only purpose of LukeFord.com is advertising - to get people to buy the pornography I advertise. I get a cut of that illicit trade and with it I pay my bills and try to follow the Torah.
I buy my groceries and walk to get my haircut at a place next door to my former shul. As I walk up, I fantasize about going a few extra steps, and walking in the wrong door and entering the hallowed realms of a familiar space now off limits to me.
Luke Goes Chasidic
I spent Friday night at an intense Chasidic shul (a type of orthodox synagogue, filled with passion), filled with men with long white beards and deep Torah learning. I could look into their eyes and see the wisdom. When we prayed the Friday evening service, many people prayed with an intense devotion I've rarely seen in synagogue. A '60s hippie turned Orthodox led the dancing for the prayer 'Welcome the Sabbath bride' and I joined in. I loved dancing around the bima (where the Torah is read) arm in arm with other guys. Not one woman was present. I liked that.
Next door I found a Chasidic sect from Europe, men with long payas (sidelocks) and streimels (fur hats). Intense, friendly, wise, learned, scrupulously observant. There's no color and excitement like this at Reform and Conservative synagogues.
Over our Friday night dinner, I discussed with these yeshiva students (Jewish Talmudic academy) how the Torah cures headaches. When my head hurts so bad I can't do anything, I click over to www.613.org, lie down and listen to a good Torah lecture. They told me that the Talmud says the best cure for a headache is to study Torah.
Saturday afternoon, I prayed the afternoon/evening prayers at this intense Chasidic shul - payas, piety, intensity...only one woman around...a little frightening and disquieting for me, intimidating. I may move to Jerusalem after all this fall.
LukeFord.com - The End Of An Error
Luke Ford sold lukeford.com Sunday and drove from his hovel down Robertson Blvd through Beverly Hills and up Benedict Canyon into the realm of multi-million dollar homes, headed for a bourgeois Jewish barbeque in honor of our president from Texas. He drove carefully his beat-up 1982 Dodger Van, afraid that he'd make as much of a mess of his commute as he'd made of his various attempts at fitting-in.
Los Angeles had been his sixth major attempt to remake his life and fit in with the cool crowd, which, for good reason, had excluded him since kindergarten. Past failures occurred in Manchester, England, Cooranbong, Australia, Pacific Union College in California's Napa Valley, Auburn, CA, Orlando, Florida and now LA. In each one, he felt a beginning flicker of hope that he could belong. Then he took the chance of saying something witty. That often resulted in aghast looks, consternation and inevitably exclusion.
Luke got creeped out Sunday afternoon reading the New Republic's cover story on the fatal marriage of Bonny Lee Bakley to actor Robert Blake, who many think killed her earlier this year. Unhappy with her own life, and desperate to connect to the famous and bask in their glow, Bakley stalked stars. She eventually connected with singer Jerry Lee Lewis and in 1993 gave birth to a girl she named Jeri Lee Lewis (Jerry Lee Lewis was not necessarily the father).
Luke started when he read that. Had he attempted to do the same thing with his unauthorized website (www.DennisPrager.net) on the talkshow host Dennis Prager? Had he tried to give meaning to his miserable existence by latching on in cyberspace to his Jewish daddy? He should give back the domain name. People at his past shul, the one that threw him out in late June, accused him of verbal terrorism for his writings on Prager. Luke struck them as every bit as creepy as the behavior of a Bonny Lee Bakley who eventually paid with her life for her unhealthy obsessions.
As Benedict Canyon snaked higher into the Hollywood Hills, and the real estate and homes grew in value, Luke felt increasingly out of place. He knew he had the intelligence and background to achieve equal success with the beautiful people living in Beverly Hills, but he'd squandered his talents on self indulgence and pornography.
He spotted the line of cars against the curb near the given address and he parked farther away from the party than anyone. He walked in and made safe small talk. In his stomach, he could feel the horror that would arise in most of these pillars of society if they only knew the truth about Luke - the porn, the Nazis, the ejections, the questionable Jewish conversion…
Luke struck up a conversation with famous drunk driving defense attorney Miles Behrman who advertises all over Los Angeles radio. Miles wanted to advertise on Dennis Prager's radio show but Prager refused to read the ad copy "Friends don't let friends drink and drive." So Miles refused to advertise on Prager's show.
One time on KABC AM 790 in Los Angeles, Prager discussed the offensive ads and Behrman phoned in and argued with Prager for a few minutes. Dennis, along with most people I know, have a low opinion of defense attorneys. I found the radio commercials disturbing. How could a good person make his living defending folks most likely guilty of driving while intoxicated? But social opprobrium seems not to bother Behrman. He's tall and handsome and healthy. He employs nine attorneys. He's a big shot. He gets as much criticism for his work as I do, yet he's rich and seemingly happy.
Miles is the only person at the party that I reveal my true self to. He accepts me. He doesn't think the City of Los Angeles will succeed in convicting pornographer Seymore Butts of obscenity in October.
A beautiful but slightly overweight woman comes over to the cold drinks and asks for a Coke.
"Do you want a Diet Coke?" Luke suggests.
"No," she says. "A regular Coke."
He gives her one and winces at his foupe. It's not that Luke lacks the ability to wince and to know that he's doing something socially inappropriate. It's that Luke lacks the discipline to always act on his twinges and restrict himself from tempting but illicit behaviors.
Luke spots a well-heeled couple from a Temple he frequented seven years ago. They'd welcomed him to Los Angeles. He'd gotten to know their beautiful daughter. And now he could see the disdain in their eyes. Was it LukeFord.com or DennisPrager.net or some other monstrous act of his that turned around their positive regard for him?
Luke didn't always know exactly why people shunned him - there were so many reasons.
But would Luke be able to find a voice on LukeFord.net, his new site, without posting material for shock value? Would Luke be lost without porn? How could he distinguish himself now that he must compete on merit, rather than on freak appeal?
Luke skipped the main course (barbequed meat), piled his plate with potato salad and watermelon, and sat alone at a table. That felt familiar. Luke had sat alone most of his life, ostracized for his hurtful behavior. Eventually the place ran out of chairs and people had to sit next to Luke. They didn't know him. One woman looked at his name tag and asked if he was Jewish. "Yes, I'm a convert," he explained. The table was fascinated.
What caused him to take up Judaism? "Listening to Dennis Prager," he said, and winced inside. These poor unsuspecting elderly Republican Jews showered him with positive attention and good wishes, not knowing the pornographic, shocking Luke that lurked beneath the knitted yarmulke.
Luke is one of just two men wearing kipot. And Luke should be nobody's representative of an Orthodox Jew.
A series of speeches commences from prominent members of Southern California's political community and Luke knows that despite his extensive knowledge and interest in politics, he will never be one of the cool people upfront giving a speech, because he's chosen to take shameful paths. Luke could never stand up in public and espouse anything without bringing disrepute to the cause.
At the end of the speeches came desert and Luke medicated his pain with three helpings. He stood off to the side and some people who didn't know better came over to him to make friendly conversation.
The sun set and people left. Luke lingered to the end, unburdening himself to a sympathetic ear, talking endlessly about himself, his problems, his walking away from porn, his desires for a new life, himself, himself, himself. Then he drove home and wrote about himself and uploaded his last story to lukeford.com.
Porn Stripped of Gossip Maven
The battle for the soul of Luke Ford is over.
Ford -- the Web-based gossip columnist universally reviled and universally read by the porn industry he covered -- left the smut business behind last week.
But unlike so many retiring dot-commers, Ford's reasons for bowing have nothing to do with slumping ad revenues or fed-up investors.
Instead, Ford is calling it quits because of his religious beliefs.
Ford's triple-X connections had long been in simmering conflict with his involvement in Los Angeles' Orthodox Jewish community.
For years, the gossip lived "constantly on the knife's edge," knowing that he'd be tossed out of...his strictly-observant synagogue -- where he studied Talmud every morning -- if the leadership found out about his website -- where he dished out equal portions of news and half-truths every night.
In late June, the tension reached its boiling point.
"I should've known something was wrong when I walked into shul (Yiddish for synagogue) this morning," Ford wrote. "I'd forgotten my yarmulke (skullcap) and had to scrounge around the children's toys cupboard to find one. It was painted with ghosts."
After prayers, [the rabbi] informed his congregant that he had discovered the truth about Ford's "double life."
"You can imagine how humiliated we feel now," [the rabbi] told Ford. "I brought you into my own house for Passover and introduced you to my family."
Ford left [the synagogue]. Six weeks later, he had sold his trash-talking LukeFord.com site to online smut center Netvideogirls.com for $25,000 and began making plans to move to Jerusalem.
This wasn't the first time he'd been booted from a congregation. In December, 1997 -- months after constructing his site from the material gathered for his book, A History of X -- Ford's then-Rabbi asked him to end his adult industry involvement. When Ford failed to do so by April of 1998, he was told to get out.
This spiritual nadir came as his career began to peak. In the same month, Ford landed his biggest scoop: that veteran money-shooter Marc Wallace had HIV. The revelation injected him into the mainstream's consciousness and cemented his infamous reputation in the adult community.
...Strangely enough, Ford -- the converted son of an Australian evangelist -- was also happy to couple this less-than-holy material with lengthy debates of Jewish law and melancholic, angst-filled ruminations on living in the conflicting realms of smut and Sinai.
In response to his free-wheeling posting policies, Ford was sued -- and threatened with lawsuits -- on several occasions.
And he was threatened with worse when he began questioning the financial stability of RJB Telecom, one of the most prominent porno pay site operators.
"Hey Luke if I ever see you in public...I hope you bring that BIG gun...your gonna [sic] need it," posted one angry reader.
But despite such hostility, Ford attracted enough of an income from adult advertisers -- around $45,000 annually -- to keep himself fed and the site afloat. And he got plenty of attention from adult industry insiders, with many of the people who trashed Ford in public perfectly happy to supply him dirt in private.
"A couple of years ago, I would have been jumping up and down for joy to see Luke Ford 'eliminated,'" writes well-known porn performer Asia Carrera. "Then I figured out how to use him to my advantage (having Luke around to disseminate scurrilous 'anonymous scoops' on one's enemies was almost TOO convenient!)"
...By then, Ford contends, he'll be ready to move to Jerusalem.
"I really think we're going to have a war (in Israel), and I want to be there to cover it," Ford said. He'll upload such material -- along with his religious musings -- to his new LukeFord.net site. "I never covered a war before. But I've certainly dealt with a lot of dangerous people."
PMS and LUKE FORD: An Interview with GILLIAN FORD
by Goddess (email@example.com)
For many years now, two questions have plagued medical experts everywhere: is PMS real or is it merely a mental imbalance, and is Luke Ford real or is he merely mentally unbalanced? Who better to help answer these questions than Gillian Ford, founder of The Center for Hormonal Health and Luke's mommy.
Although I've read Luke Ford's site and heard him talk about his family often, I must confess that I never paid much attention to all that brouhaha. Except for the time he was going to Australia and they wanted him to see a bunch of shrinks. Then I couldn't help but read…and snicker. What kind of thirtysomething would let himself be dragged off to the psych's office like a wuss? More importantly, what kind of family would drag their kid to the psych's office for testing? At that point, I thought his family was bunch of uptight people, who couldn't muster a sense of humor amongst them.
But the day Luke posted an email from Gillian, his mother, asking what a bukkake was…well, that grabbed my attention big time. I mean, after all that fussing, why was she even reading his site? The nosiness-I mean, the journalist in me was rather curious about this woman, so I asked Luke if I could interview her. After getting his immediate and overwhelming approval-- "You'd have to promise to be really good and not ask her anything that will make her cry...no gross or sexual questions..."--I approached Gillian. (By the way, in my defense, I haven't made an interview subject cry once. Give me time, damn it, I'm new to all this.) Gillian was very gracious and I was nice to her, Luke Ford!
I'm glad Gillian agreed to do this interview, because I know that if I had a skewed view of Luke's family from the email postings, other people did, too. And once and for all, we can finally find out how much money that family has spent on psychiatrist's bills. Welcome to the other side of the Ford family…
Goddess asks in a whiney, pre-menstrual way: Why did you feel the need to start the Center for Hormonal Health?
"I had been a hormone counselor for women for 15 years independently. Then I went to work in Texas for about 14 months in a hospital clinic. Then I came back to California and opened up The Center for Hormonal Health with a physician from the Bay Area. The reason? There are just lots of people with hormonal problems who need help."
Do you believe that there is a mind/body connection to illness?
"Absolutely. I think just about everyone thinks you cannot separate the brain and the body. The brain IS physical. They are closely connected. The brain, the way you think, affects the way your body works. It's also true that the way your body functions can affect the way you think. For instance, a diabetic with a sudden sugar hypo can act quite irrationally until he or she eats."
You said you believed in the mind/body connection to illness. Do you believe that if a person harbors negative, destructive emotions that they can manifest as physical illness?
"Yes, I think that is commonly believed. And I think it's true but I don't think it's everything. I had a father who was very paranoid and a very negative person. Yet, he had wonderful physical health till he was aged 80, then died of dementia at age 84. At one time, the explanation for postpartum psychosis was that the mother didn't really want the baby. A hard time at menopause was because of the empty nest syndrome (all your children leaving home). But the mind is physical, and all hormones target the brain. Physical changes, even the onset of cancer (before it's known), can cause depression. You can't separate brain and body and both affect health. But if you think positively it cannot help but boost your health."
I was listening to a preacher the other day and he said the only way to "get right with God" was to stop blaming others for our problems and look within. Do you think that is some advice Luke needs to follow?
"I think you ultimately have to take responsibility for your own life and behavior. But I don't think there's much light inside the human heart to "look within" for wisdom."
What do you say to people who think PMS is not a medical condition? And to those who think it doesn't exist?
"I am not a hard sell type of person and don't talk about hormonal issues much to people unless they ask directly. It's not a topic of interest to everyone. I also realize it's only a certain proportion of women who get it. Many women are as much in the dark as men about PMS as they don't have it. I mainly speak to people who believe in it because they've got it! I have also met a lot of women who didn't have PMS and therefore didn't believe in it. Then later down the line, they had a tubal sterilization, for example, and started getting PMS. Then they began believing in it. Feminists are often worried that women will be judged adversely in the marketplace if they admit to PMS. But trying to insist that it doesn't exist when it clearly does is denial. Best to bring it out in the open and deal with it."
Who taught Luke how to dress himself?
"Do you mean as a child? I'd say it was a group effort. I wasn't around till Luke was over 3 and then only occasionally babysitting. Luke was four and a half when I married his father. His real mother looked after him till he was aged about 10 months. At that point, she was given two weeks to live, but actually lived on till he was about 3 and a half. Because of his mother's cancer, there were a number of live-in housekeepers and a number of homes that Luke lived in (who also looked after his mother). The men in Luke's family could hardly be called color coordinated. Clothing is not of major importance in their lives. Luke's sister Elenne probably helped dress him and still occasionally helps him in that regard. She's the one with good taste and dress sense." The Ford men are "hardly color coordinated.""
Well, that would certainly explain this picture (INSERT PICTURE #1 HERE) What do you and your husband think about this whole conversion to Judaism thing?
"Quite relaxed actually. God gives us all freedom. We pass this option on. It's a lot better than atheistic Marxism, which was Luke's previous interest. Luke is a bit of a mystery to us, and I think to himself. We don't understand his ambivalence. He seems torn in two directions, one high and one low. Luke has given us a new appreciation and understanding of Judaism which I did not have as a Christian."
What was the relationship between Luke and his father like when Luke was a practicing atheist?
"It seemed an OK relationship. As I mentioned, Luke was always polite. But Luke can be a hard read--who knows what he really thinks. He was always a different person outside the home. A conformer at home. He has a timidity in that area. It's a common stage to be an atheist in your teens and to do the prodigal son bit and come back. Luke's dad is a great believer in personal freedom. Des is a very devout, conservative Christian and takes very seriously the Old Testament statement by Job (which Luke as a believing Jew should theoretically also take seriously): "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl." His dad would never do what Luke does and is not happy about it, not only because it affects Luke adversely and others through his influence, but also because it reflects on Des' own ministry.
"Luke has contacted many of our friends in the past and this has been a source of embarrassment to us. We hear some years ago that he verbally attacked a Jews for Jesus adherent in a park in L.A.--somehow that got back to us. Part of Luke's psyche is rebellion against his dad and Jesus and Christianity in general. It's part of his fury against the universe for what life did to him, I think. I don't really know that for sure. Luke was baptized at age 17 as a Christian which was late. We left it up to him. I told him it was "unto death," meaning you took it seriously. Don't do it unless you believe in it. He wasn't pushed except as having a well-known father (in our small world) pushes you psychologically. Many things don't have to be said. We don't like it, but we don't agonize about it, and we don't hide it. We think something happened to Luke after that accident. We may be quite wrong. I find Luke quite complex and I am only hazarding guesses."
Luke, do you think you get along well with your father? "I get along with my father."
I wrote to a website and voiced a legitimate complaint. The guy who owned the site, said I was "whiney and pre-menstrual." How would you respond to this horse's behind, (INSERT PICTURE # 2 HERE) (sorry, Mrs. Ford, but that whole whiney, pre-menstrual thing really yanked my chain!) who obviously was trying to discredit my opinion? I'd seriously like you to answer this question because women face this all the time. The instant their opinion doesn't mirror the man's opinion, or the instant they become emotional, so many man drag out this "what's the problem? are you having your period?" garbage. It's demeaning and unfair.
"Yes, I agree with you. It's ill-mannered, but I don't know as you can change men saying this when it's a good weapon in the war between the sexes and it gets women even angrier. I tell groups of women that men have hormonal problems as well because of too much testosterone--the porn industry is one result, and increased aggression, higher rates of murder are others. Only they have problems all the time and not just once a month."
How would you describe your relationship with Luke?
"We were very close when he was young or at least I thought we were. He still keeps in touch regularly. I know he does not want to lose contact with his family. That does not mean I like what he is doing, and I am not backward in saying so. I could have a very good relationship with Luke if I approved of what he did all the time. Luke doesn't like my telling him what I think of what he's doing. It hurts his feelings. I probably give him too much advice. He's the youngest, and that tends to happen because the siblings pipe in their two cents worth too. But it's OK, folks, don't worry--he's very good at resisting all that good advice we give him."
Phew! Good news, people…we do NOT have to get a life! I repeat, we do not have to get a life! Luke, what is your opinion of your relationship with Gillian? How would you describe it?
"I have a good and pretty open relationship with my mother. I regard Gillian as my mother and always refer to her as my mom."
If someone said to you, "Are you related to the Luke ford that has an adult website?" what would you say?
"I'd say, that's my boy. (INSERT PICTURE #3 HERE) Sometimes I tell them without being asked. Why hide it? Funnily enough, it's LUKE that tries to hide it--from his rabbis!"
Luke, have you ever felt at any time that your family was ashamed of what you do-the LukeFord.com thingy. "All the time."
I can't believe I forgot to ask you what you thought about Luke getting the boot from Temple! So what did you think? Did you think they were justified in kicking him to the curb or did you think it wasn't their place to judge him?
"Luke told me before it happened that he tried to keep out of the way of the rabbi each Sabbath. He knew they wouldn't stand for his behavior outside synagogue, so it was no real surprise to him. As I understand it, he got references from two of the rabbis there, and they were embarrassed when they found out what he was doing outside shul. Made them look and feel pretty dumb. But I thought they were very kind to him. Told him to he needed to get help and he was welcome back when he gave up his other life. It's the light and darkness thing. They see what he is doing as evil. You can't mix the two. Therefore they might see his religious affectation as a pretence and him as a hypocrite. You know that joke about you can't have your cake and Edith too."
Do you believe in hormone replacement therapy? If so, do you believe in using all natural products, such as wild yam cream?
"I believe in HRT if a woman needs it. I believe in using products that match those the body produces. Wild yam creams vary. Some have little hormonal effect. Others are quite active. I recommend them in certain instances."
Every time something goes wrong in his life, Luke blames Mom and Dad. Do you feel in any way responsible for his problems, or would you just like to shake him and tell him to grow up, for Pete's sake?
"Luke has never said he blames us directly. And I would not have thought it true. Luke, is it true? No, I don't feel responsible for his problems. I don't look on my parents as responsible for my behavior. They tried harder than their parents. I tried harder than mine. We all do our best. At every level, Luke was a deeply loved and privileged child. Life threw him some curve balls, however, which were out of our control. He has shown a lot of courage. The criticism you mention is implied in his autobiography. And at times when I have written Luke, he has put my letters on his web site and then had people write in and call me the wicked stepmother, etc. Then Luke doesn't defend me in the text. I resent being pilloried in public (that's how it feels), when his readers know next to nothing about us or his background. I think all of us function on different levels in family and society. We can appear to be happy and underneath be a seething mass of anger. Different children in the same family see their upbringing differently.
"Luke had a hard start with his mother's sickness, and he was a very smart child. He seemed to be happy most of the time. Who knows what he was fuming about underneath. Also Luke was maybe the most focused child I have ever met and had his whole life mapped out in his teens. His car accident (www.lukeford.com lukeford section, chapter three of his autobiography) and subsequent chronic fatigue (from which he has never really recovered) shattered his dreams. There has been a personality shift. The Luke we knew before was different, and the one you know today is somewhat of a stranger to his family. That makes me feel tremendously sad. His father and I were left alone to make our own decisions from childhood. I think often when you become "religious" and have children, you forget the freedom you had and try to guide your children over much."
Luke: "I resented that question about me always blaming my parents... Could you please produce one example of where I've blamed my parents for anything? You put a nasty thought into my mom's head... I've never blamed my parents to you privately nor on my site... I sent this to my mom after reading the interview: 'Thanks mom, beautifully put. No I don't blame my parents for anything, i am just a brooder and expressive of different thoughts and feelings, and people want to interpret them and spin them.')
First of all I guess when I asked you about Luke "blaming you" it's because when I read his writings about what has gone wrong in his life, he immediately starts going back to childhood and stuff what happened there, and it sounds like an excuse to me, like he's blaming his past for his present, if you know what I mean. I'm sure if I've gotten that impression, others have too, and that's the reason I'm glad you decided to do this interview, so that we could hear your side of things.
"I think others have gotten the same impression you did. A couple of stories. When Luke was in England, about age 5, he came up to me one day and said, "I'm a lucky boy. I've had lots of mothers. Most kids only have one. But I don't want any more." Meaning, you will do. When Luke first went to school in Australia (age 7), he came home one day and asked me, "What sort of mother are you?" I said, "What do you mean what sort of mother am I?" He said, "Well are you a foster mother or a stepmother or what?" I said, "I'm your stepmother." He said, "Are you?" (really surprised). "Well, you're a nice one"."
Luke, do you think you need a lot of attention? "Yes."
Do you feel that your PMS in any way affected your relationship with Luke?
"If you are into the Enneagram (personality testing), Luke is #5, the Observer. They do not feel comfortable around people who swing emotionally. The Fords are fairly level people and they hadn't met anyone quite like me and my PMS. It was a real problem when I was aged 26 to 29. Yep, I was quite a trial. But it wasn't something I chose, I did everything I could to get help. I kept out of their way when I was bad. I did ultimately get help. I always apologized. There was another side of me (most of the time) who went many extra miles for Luke. I would think there is not another child who was read to like Luke was. Luke loved reading, and he adored being read to. He learned at 7, (we believed in sparing his eyes because we knew once he began he'd read 5 hours a day like his father, and he did). He read all the time, but I kept on reading to him. In his TEENS I read to him. When he was in his 20s and had chronic fatigue and was laid on his back for 8 years, I read to him. This wouldn't mean much to most of you, but you'd have to know Luke."
Luke apparently still loves to read. Here he is with a copy of his favorite book (INSERT PIC # 12 HERE)
Luke, do you think you were spoiled as a child? "No."
How old is Luke's father? "Age 72."
Do you think Luke will ever marry and settle down?
"Luke would LOVE to marry and have a family. He's introduced me to some women I'd have loved to have for daughter-in-laws. Will he marry? I don't know. Could the sort of women he wants handle the other half of his life?"
You mentioned liking some of the girls Luke brought home, enough to want them as daughter-in-laws. What type of woman do you think would make Luke a good wife?
"A hard question. I don't think I have a clue as to the answer to that one."
I know that you're a very busy woman, Gillian, what with dealing with all those raging hormones on a daily basis, so I went through Luke's photos and took the liberty of choosing five fine, upstanding women who I think would make him a great wife. Please pick one from the following: PW #'S 1& 2 (INSERT PIC #4 HERE) PW #3 (INSERT PIC #5 HERE) PW #4 (INSERT PIC #6 HERE) PW #5 (INSERT PIC #7 HERE)
Oh, my gawd, I apologize for that last picture. I swear I don't even know how that thing got in there. Gillian, what do you want for Luke? "Peace of mind."
If you could change one thing about Luke, what would it be? "That car accident."
You mentioned Luke being different after the accident, in what ways?
"Luke has an encyclopedic intelligence and has a mature side which is why many Jews have thought he should be a rabbi. (GODDESS: This is true. Check out the look of determination as Luke attempts to bring these two wayward souls back into the fold. INSERT PIC #8 HERE) That hasn't changed. On the other hand, he's done some strange things at times. I think if I gave examples, you'd say, yep, pretty strange. He seemed to lose his boundaries of what was appropriate in some respects.(INSERT PIC #9 HERE) Maybe the porn industry is an area where everyone's boundaries have broken down, so your readers won't think this too strange. But it was a change for Luke. In his teens, he didn't seem unhappy, seemed to be self-motivated. Came and went like a door on the hinge. No major problems that I could see. He was into journalism and got in people's faces. I mean, the school football team put him in the rubbish bin one time because he was such a pain. Luke was always a bit in your face. After the accident, he was more so I think.
"From the family's perspective--when Luke first went back to Australia to visit his brother Paul, he was maybe in his late teens (about age 18). Paul thought he was a normal, happy teenager. I think Luke was a happy atheist then. Luke came home to U.S.A, and had the car accident shortly afterwards in his early 20s (I think). Then he went back later to Australia and stayed with Paul again. The family (aunt, brother, sister) thought Luke had problems with a personality disorder back then and contacted us about it. They saw a big difference in Luke between those two visits. Luke came back to the States and went to UCLA and then lived with us for 3 years after that. I have letters from Luke to us from the first visit to Australia--cheerful, happy, clearly happy with us. Having just moved, I don't know where they are right now. I read one of them when I was packing up in December and sat down and wept. It's hard to mesh those letters and the way Luke was in the home with the person who wrote the autobiography.
"Remember Luke has been living away from home maybe 7 or 8 years. I haven't been around him much in that time. If Luke came home, we'd give each other a big hug. You can get mad at your kids and not like what they are doing and even stop speaking to them for a while. But after a while, you realize you never stop loving them. That never changes."
You also said he had his life all mapped out before the incident, did any of it involve the adult industry? Just kidding....seriously what did he have planned for his life?
"I don't know when Luke decided on the adult industry. At age 12, he worked out every subject he was going to do each year all through high school. And where he wanted to do his postgraduate studies and doctorate. He wanted to be an economist-journalist. After he had the accident, he seemed to become compulsive in his work and study doing abnormal hours. That seemed to lead to getting mononucleosis and then gradually his immune system went down, down, down. And he ended up with chronic fatigue. He attempted UCLA and was there I think for one year, maybe longer. That's when he got interested in Judaism. But he couldn't study much so he ended up coming home. He had this mysterious illness which flared up at night, intense sweats, glazed eyes, etc. He asked me one night if I thought he was dying. It was hard for someone so intensely motivated to be stopped in his tracks and have to give up his life plans."
Do you think it's fair that he prints emails from the family on his site? After all, everyone knows who you are, and it IS an adult gossip site.
"We understand that Luke is a journalist. (INSERT PIC # 10 HERE) Some of the family, for instance his brother Paul, wouldn't mind at all, except Paul doesn't write e-mails! As far as I am concerned, it depends on the e-mail. Luke actually doesn't publish mine very often because he knows I prefer he would not. I pretty much know which ones he is likely to want to publish. I mind less and less. I told him specifically he could publish this if you didn't mind."
Do you ever read Luke's site?
"Used to more than I have the last 18 months. The counselor in Australia he visited recommended the family not do it. If I think he's likely to publish something about me, I will occasionally look. I have looked maybe three or four times in the last eighteen months."
"Bukkake is an ancient form of Japanese spirituality"-Luke Ford. As Shirley Temple would say, "Oh..my..good'ness. I can't believe he fed you that line of b.s."
"Well, it didn't make sense. Sounds Hebrew. Anyway, I gather I don't WANT to know what bukkake is now."
No, it will be quite a let down after that load of bull. Do you find Gene Ross (INSERT PIC #11 HERE) every bit as dreamy as I do? "He's all right, but you can keep him."
"He's all right"?!
"All right"?! I think I need to lie down…. Can you recommend a good book for your son so that he can become more tolerant of women and their struggles with PMS?
"He could always read my book, "Listening To Your Hormones." (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0761510028/thecenterforhorm/103-3634747-4827057) Katharina Dalton, M.D. has written the classic books describing PMS-"Once a Month: Understanding and Treating PMS", and there are a number of other very good ones. Women's Health America of Madison, Wisconsin offers many of the best books on the subject. They also have a physician referral list. Women's International Pharmacy, also in Madison, Wisconsin (and Arizona) have a newsletter. I mention this, not for Luke, but for any reader seeking help."
Do you think Luke considers your feelings?
"To a certain extent, I think Luke considers my feelings. Luke is always polite to me."
Finally, Luke has cautioned me about fifty times now about being "nice" to you. have I been nice to you? I need to get him off my back.....
"You have been very nice to me. I this answers your previous question. He wants you to be nice to me. That's considering my feelings, isn't it?"
All pictures stolen from-I mean, "courtesy of" Luke Ford.
PMS and PORN: An Interview with Gillian Ford by Goddess ©2001 Don't forget to check out my site, www.theworldofgoddess.homestead.com. Send all questions, comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rabbi Rabinowitz Confronts Luke Ford
So Luke was an hour into therapy this morning with his psychiatrist Rabbi Rabinowitz when they confronted Luke's major issues. That's why Luke always schedules a double session. It usually takes him an hour or so to truly get to the bottom of what's bothering him.
Rabbi: "So if you had a choice between media attention and belonging to your former shul, which would you prefer?"
Luke: "Well, I don't really have that choice. Rabbi Gadol at Beth Hollywood Gedolim just booted me out, no questions, no request for explanations, no concern about my feelings. Boom. I was out. And my friends at the shul abandoned me. They monitor my site but they don't call, they don't write. They don't care about me. They're just fascinated by the car wreck."
Rabbi: "I know that. But if you had that choice?"
Luke: "Yeah, let's say I had a choice between profiles in three national publications or Beth Hollywood and all my friends there? I'm embarrassed to admit that I'd have to think about that."
Rabbi: "I know you love the attention."
Luke: "Yeah, it feeds me. It catapaults me out of the grind of daily existence into the stratosphere where I momentarily feel important. For a little while, I feel like somebody.
"Just a moment, I have to go to the bathroom."
Five minutes later Luke returns.
Luke: "I know what I should answer to your question. That community is more important than fame. The higher part of me answers community. The wiser older smarter deeper finer kinder more mature part of me says community. My immediate gut instinct is fame. Yeah, more attention for me. Yummmm, hmmm, ummmm. More attention for me. Yeah!"
The egomaniac smiles, sits more erect in his chair, flexes his muscles and puffs out his chest. "Yeah, more attention for me."
Rabbi: "Which choice do you think is more likely to bring you happiness?"
Luke: "Community. But what good is it asking these questions? I'm already out of my two favorite shuls and neither are taking me back."
Rabbi: "Well, if you become clearer in your values, you could make choices in the future that will serve you and take you where you want to go."
Luke: "I read a great phrase the other day by a great 20th Century Jewish philosopher who said something that applies to my life. 'The people I pray with, I can't talk to. And the people I talk to, I can't pray with.' That's the conflict I face. I prefer to live within Orthodox Jewish community but as an artist, an intellectual, a writer, I need more moral wiggle room. And if I get more media attention, that bolsters my claim to be an artist, and therefore more deserving of moral wiggle room.
"Writers need more wriggle room than the average person because our task is to reveal life. To write the truth. And often the truth is not pretty and not halakhic and not blessed by the Torah. The truth is often ugly and obscene. And as writers we have to reveal that. If we don't, we're failing our one obligation as writers.
"And for me to live fully within Orthodox Judaism would stifle my creativity. I could not write honestly. That's why there are very few writers of any renown within Orthodoxy. Where's the Orthodox Phillip Roth or John Updike or I.B. Singer?"
Rabbi: "How convenient for you. I understand the appeal of such a perspective. But is it the only true one?"
Luke: "No, I guess not. I loved my year at Beth Hollywood. I loved the people there. Such a community would serve as a tremendous inspiration to create and be much more than I could be on my own. And I'm not convinced that writers necessarily deserve more wriggle room. The Torah doesn't say 'And you shall keep these commandments unless you're a writer, than you have more discretion.' Certainly the rabbis won't go for that. They're not easy folks to fake out.
"I would rather be spurned by the Orthodox than welcomed by the non-Orthodox. I would rather be a pariah within Orthodox community than a member in good standing at a non-Orthodox shul. I would rather be a tail to lions than the leader of rats.
"Since childhood, I've had these day dreams of growing up to be a matryr tortured and put to death by his religious community for heresy. I was raised on images of martyrs as the ultimate heroes. I read all these books on Martin Luther and saw films about him. And they all included his memorable line, when asked by the Church to recant - 'Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God.'
"My father gave the same line when he was asked by the leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in 1980 to recant his views. 'Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God.' That's how I was raised. My father lived that life - sacrificing everything, including his family, for his beliefs. And he was ejected from his religious community and exiled to a lonely and unhappy life. And I've instinctively come to regard martyrs as the ultimate heroes. The idea of sacrificing one's opinions for the sake of one's community was not a praiseworthy one in my home.
"I feel like I am recreating my father's life. Doesn't the Torah say, 'The sins of the fathers will be visited on the sons for several generations'?"
Rabbi: "Yes, but only if the sons follow in their fathers' sins. You don't have to do that. I wouldn't want your father's life for all the riches in the Church of England. Why would you want to recreate that?"
Luke: "I guess I've been acting the tortured martyr. I have been recreating my father's life. It makes for compelling art and media coverage but for a lousy unhappy painful life."
Rabbi: "Tragedy is always based on conflict and pain. And you seek that out."
Luke: "Yep. So long as I can squeeze some attention out of it. I create conflict and pain whereever I go. And that would be morally ok if I shouldered all of it myself. But I create waves of havoc around me. My independent writings published on far away reaches of the internet come back to bite members of my religious community.
"I went to this day of learning on Sunday at a local orthodox shul. My rabbi gave a talk on the power of repentance. And the crowd was composed of 60 yeshiva girls, two yeshiva guys, two older men and me. My rabbi must've been appalled to see me in such close proximity to so many innocent yeshiva kids. On the one hand, he didn't want to embarrass me publicly by asking me to leave. On the other hand, could he just leave me, a wolf, in the midsty of all these lambs? I put him in a tough spot. He left me alone and I repaid him by behaving myself."
Rabbi: "My 15-year old son got an email from my ex-wife. She saw the article about you in the Jerusalem Report and emailed my son, 'Is your dad still hanging out with that Luke Ford fellow?' And my son said, 'Yeah. And we've already seen the article and we think Luke is a cool guy.'
"Then my ten year old came into the room and asked what we were talking about. And my 15-year old had to say, 'Nothing.'"
Luke winces. "You see, that's one of the reasons I quit writing on porn. I couldn't keep making other people, particularly their children, pay the price for my explorations of the forbidden. It would've been fine to write on porn and it would've been fine to belong to the Orthodox community. But you cannot do both. I was fine until I tried to do both. And then I devastated those around me, who felt burned when they found out the truth about what I wrote on."
Rabbi: "For a year you behaved yourself at Beth Hollywood. There were no problems. You stayed mindful. You can do that."
Luke: "I can. That's part of me too. I'm not just a terroristic attention seeker. I guess I can reconsider my negative attention seeking behavior."
Rabbi: "You can seek attention for doing positive things."
Luke: "Yeah, I've just always found it easier to get people's attention by doing something shocking."
Rabbi: "You could do Jewish things and get honored at a community banquet."
Luke: "Yep. Six years I set myself the goal of making a name for myself. I've achieved that. Now I'm setting myself the goal of finding an honored place within the community."
Luke glances at the clock. There are five minutes left in the 90-minute session.
Luke: "I feel like these new profiles of me and my memoir could give me a chance to explain and defend myself. I liked 60% of that Jerusalem Report article. It explained who I was. But oy, that other 40%. It did me no good within the community."
Rabbi: "Explain yourself to who?"
Luke: "To my religious community primarily. Everybody else is secondary.
"I feel I've been defending myself all my life. That's why I write. I write beautiful words to exculpate myself from bad things I've done."
Rabbi: "That's interesting. You should write that down.
"Time's up for this week."
Pictures From My Trip Up California's Coast Aug - Sept 2001
Luke in Big Sur Aug 31, 2001
Trip To England, France Sep 18-30, 2005
Luke, Thames, Parliament House, Sep 20 Luke, Tower of London Luke in the Clink Luke, St. Paul's Cathedral Luke on the London Eye, Big Ben Luke on the Champs Elysee Luke, Eiffel Tower Luke in Oxford Luke, John Locke Luke, Oxford Luke on St. Paul's Cathedral Luke, St. Paul's Luke, St. Paul's Luke, St. Paul's
Sept. 13, 2009:
I completed my Orthodox conversion to Judaism today with the Los Angeles Beit Din.
My mother called it "a miracle of divine grace."
By Luke Ford Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Seven B Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve 1994-1997 1997 1998 1998B 1999 2000 2001 2009