There is so much sexual brokenness in the world. With the proliferation of pornography and the rise of social media, it now seems to be everywhere. While sexual brokenness and the prominence of pornographic culture is nothing new to America, the attempts to censor, cancel and criminalize a biblical view of sexuality are.
"In 2014, all of our videos were taken off a video site called Vimeo," Paulk says. "Our Restored Hope Network Facebook page was removed. We had many followers and a whole lot of information just gone overnight."
Paulk went on to tell me about how her book was deleted from Amazon around 2018. Recently, the Restored Hope Network Instagram page was even cancelled.
In order to be de-platformed on almost every type of social media, many would think that Paulk or Paulk's organization must be hateful and aggressive. Paulk is neither. In fact, because of her story, she's empathetic to anyone who lives with same sex attraction.
"When I was little, I was molested at age four by a teenage boy in my neighborhood," says Paulk. "In response, I felt this rejection of myself as a girl at a young age."
Paulk never told her parents because the older boy threatened her saying that they would both get into trouble over the incident. "I felt guilt for something that was perpetrated on me," says Paulk. "I felt unsafe as a girl, and that's what led to my ending up in the lesbian lifestyle."
After another girl made a pass at her and kissed her, she realized that the girl who kissed her didn't feel dangerous, but the older boy did. "So, that set me up for lesbian feelings later on in life, and they grew and continued," Paulk says.
She continues, "So in high school, I had a couple of little experiences with gals. I also tried dating boys. That didn't work, so I went away to college and embraced homosexuality."
When she went away to college, she had never even heard about the gospel or Jesus dying for her sins, but Jesus started showing up in a very unexpected place.
"He actually showed up in dreams. I had dreams about Jesus as a freshman in college at U.C. Santa Barbara, a total party school," says Paulk. "As I was running to embrace homosexuality, He showed up, and I asked all my friends [about Jesus]. I don't care what denomination, Catholic or Protestant, not one of them could answer my questions."
She continued, "Finally, I got in a campus ministry called Campus Ambassadors. They had a group on campus that was covering all the questions I was asking, and it was called evangelism training."
She went to the evangelism class for eight weeks as an unbeliever. In the last class, she realized that Christianity answered all of the biggest questions she had.
"Then, as we were praying, I sensed the Holy Spirit," Paulk says. "God was in the room. This is a Baptist student ministry, and God showed up and I knew that someone of great authority and kindness was in the room. And He was weaving in and out among the prayers of His saints."
The pastor shared with her how to receive Christ, and within a few hours she did just that back at her apartment.
"I felt like I was someone who was finally plugged in. Full of joy. Full of excitement. Full of energy," she says. "It was exciting. That started a whole new life. It wasn't easy getting where I am today, but the joy of God has been in it with me all these years."
Despite being compassionate and empathetic, both Paulk and the Restored Hope Network have been de-platformed on Amazon, Facebook and Instagram. And in an effort to de-platform her and her ministry, her ministry has been labeled "conversion therapy" by many of her critics. "Conversion therapy" is a term often associated with extremely cruel practices used to change a patient's sexual orientation.
"Two or three ladies from Southern Poverty Law Center decided to call information they disagree with disinformation," she says. "They called for our page and many other people's pages to be eliminated from Instagram and many other places like PayPal and Amazon Smile."
She continues, "And if we have pages that are searchable on Google's web search, they called for the search results to be lowered automatically."
While de-platforming Paulk and her organization for having a biblical view of sexuality infringes on free speech, Paulk has witnessed something even more insidious, a criminalizing of biblical sexuality by labeling all biblical counsel on sexuality "conversion therapy."
"In Canada they passed the bill criminalizing so-called conversion therapy," she says. "And that includes things like talking with your pastor about unwanted same sex attraction and getting prayer from him. And it's a felony. There can be a $100,000 fine and up to five years in jail."
Recently, laws in a couple of Australian provinces followed the same pattern, and there's also a conversion therapy ban bill being created in the UK. In the U.S., 19 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have also banned or limited the use of it.
Secularists have long tried to criminalize what the church does, and according to Paulk, on many fronts they're succeeding.
"To push back, we need to stay together," says Paulk. "We need to say, 'No. This is not acceptable.' We actually do have the right to speak up, to share God's Word and to share the hope we find in Jesus."
To join Paulk and the Restored Hope Network in standing against the criminalization of biblical sexuality, visit restoredhopenetwork.org/.
Paulk's hope in Jesus isn't cold and dogmatic. It's experiential. She shares Jesus and biblical sexuality with others so they can experience the same kind of freedom she now has.
"My life prior to Jesus was pretty depressing," Paulk says. "I was self-centered. My life was spiraling downward. I had no reason to say 'No' to any particular sin. When Jesus stepped in, it was a powerful moment of hope. I now have joy that I never had before. I have peace with God and peace with others because of Him."
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