He frequented gay bars in Hollywood

Paul Gualtieri with wife Lupe
Pastor Paul Gualtieri with his wife Lupe

By Michael Ashcraft —

Molested a few times when he was a child, Paul Gualtieri dabbled with homosexuality as a largely unsupervised 13-year-old in Palm Springs.

It wasn’t long before he found himself in his bedroom proclaiming his destiny: “I’m gay. I’m a homosexual,” he said out loud with no one around. It was a pivotal moment of his life. “There’s power in confessing both good and bad things. When I declared I was gay, I gave a right to a spiritual force in my life.”

When he was 13, he ran away to Hollywood and threw himself headlong into the partying and gay lifestyle. “I just got sucked right into it,” he recalls. “I thought it was great.”

Door Church | Apple Valley
Pastor Paul’s church in Apple Valley, California.

He was too young to be admitted to the gay bars but prostituted himself to support a lifestyle that included drugs like Quaaludes, coke and meth.

“I just ran rampant,” he says. “I had different boyfriends. We would panhandle every day to buy drugs and pay our hotel.”

He slept at anybody’s house who’d have him, in Plummer Park and in the “Hotel Hell,” once posh lodgings for movie luminaries that became decrepit and abandoned on Hollywood Boulevard.

When he was 16, he checked the change return slot of a pay phone, as was his custom. Instead of coins, he found a Christian tract sitting there. “The tract was called ‘Wounded Children.’ It was about a boy who was rejected and abused,” he says.

The truth contained in that little tract had a powerful affect on his heart. “I started to cry. I read out loud the prayer at the end.”

There was a Christian home for street kids nearby. But when he inquired, a friend warned him: “You don’t wanna go there. You have to give up all your jewelry and clothes.”

Even though Gualtieri felt God calling him, he still wasn’t ready to make Jesus the Lord of his life. Instead of going to the Christian home, he went headlong into deeper sin. He performed in some gay porn movies. Once he turned 21, he frequented leather and sadomasochist bars.

Later, “I was shooting meth and living with my dealer,” he says. “I would get him customers, and he would give me all the free drugs I wanted.”

He joined the Navy but got kicked out after only five months.

He felt burned out on drugs but didn’t know how to stop. When he got laid off from a restaurant job and got kicked out of his apartment, he decided on the spur of the moment to go with a friend to Tucson. Again, he fell into drugs with his boyfriend, with whom he worked at a hotel restaurant.

In the restaurant, a young woman and her mother invited his boyfriend regularly to church. The young woman was attractive, so Gualtieri asked her mother, “Would your daughter ever consider going out with a guy like me?”

“I don’t know,” she responded. “Why don’t you come to church?”

As soon as he walked into the Saturday night rock outreach, he was thunderstruck. He had never seen or heard anything like that – music, a skit and a preaching about Jesus. “I was mesmerized,” he says. “The guy said God could give you a brand new start.”

Gualtieri was finally ready to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. He confessed with his mouth Jesus as Lord and believed in his heart God raised Him from the dead.

Once Gualtieri was born again, he asked a church leader how he could get out of the gay lifestyle. Following the leader’s advice, he separated from his boyfriend and began to attend every service at the Door Church in Tucson.

But Gualtieri soon faced intense spiritual warfare, as the evil one attempted to rob him of his newfound joy and

Pastor Paul Gualtieri
Pastor Paul Gualtieri

knock him off his feet. “If you can imagine a horror movie with a demon-type skeleton creature with long bony fingers and sharp nails tearing at your flesh, that’s how I felt in my mind the whole first week” after getting saved, he says. “I had been involved in some demonic stuff. It was a torment to get out.”

Two weeks later, he was baptized. In 1990, he married a young woman named Lupe, and together they have six kids.

In 2009, he became a pastor and planted a church in Apple Valley, California, where he is currently raising up new believers.

Gualtieri marvels at God’s grace and tender mercies manifested in his life. “I never got what I deserved,” he says. “I should’ve been in jail or dead with AIDS. In the first year of my salvation, three of my best friends died. Today all of my old friends OD’d, are in prison, were murdered or committed suicide – and here I am alive and serving Jesus.”


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  1. Only God is able to do exceedingly abundantly far over and above all we can ask or think. To Him be glory in Christ Jesus throughout all generations. Forever!

  2. Amazing story. I wish you the best. I blog to encourage women. I found that your story encouraged me. Thanks for sharing your life.

  3. I know Paul and his testimony. I just thank God for His grace n Paul testimony if how God through His Son Jesus Christ can liberate the human soul. It’s not a program (12 steps, ir EXODUS); but a relationship with the Lord of glory. “He who the Son set free, is free indeed.”

  4. I’m married to an awesome miracle. Everyday we see God moving here in Apple Valley. I pray that I am able to see people though God’s eyes. With the love , hope and mercy that he showed my husband. God is truly a miracle working God. We have six kids not four. We’re taking credit for all those crazies.

  5. I will be 50 years old this year, and have been dealing with same-sex attraction since I was very young. I grew up in a wonderful ‘Mom and Dad’ family and was never abused. I don’t know why I am this way. I realize that my orientation is not natural, but it feels natural to me. I do not live a gay lifestyle. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 2005. However, I am still trying to figure how God wants me to live my life while, at the same time, dealing with these same feelings. Ignoring or repressing these feelings doesn’t seem to be the healthiest way to live. For years I prayed that God would change me. Can someone shed some light on HOW to live a Christ-centered life while being same-sex oriented? Are there support groups out there? Thank you for your help.

    • Hi David, I want to encourage you to keep pressing forward. Many times we may not understand things. When it comes to sexual struggles many times unaware to us there has been a door opened in our life somehow. Before I gave my life to Jesus there had been many doors opened in my life as a child and from generational curses back two generations. While a person is responsible for the decision they make ,what happens is because of our parents decisions or there parents decisions and on we can be prone to certain behaviour or as James tells us in chapter 1 a person is drawn away by what lives on the inside. So there for this is why Jesus told nicademus that he had to be born again. I can honestly say when I first gave my life to Christ I was all in, God delivers people from bandages but it’s more than just a prayer, real deliverance comes as you walk. Whenever Jesus would pray for the sick or the ones oppressed by demons he would tell them to go . This means they needed to walk in what God was doing. Is it easy,No. Is it worth it, Yes.
      Homosexual tendency need a door to enter through, I would believe if you started to enquire about family involvement in some form this life style you would find a link to you and your struggle.
      As another person responded pray and ask God to show you where the link is . David you can over come because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.Paul

    • JMJ

      Dear David,
      First of all I want you to know that I’m going to pray for you to have increased faith.
      I want to share this link with you. It is a film about this very topic. It is called “Desire for the Everlasting Hills.” https://everlastinghills.org/
      There is another resource, it is a book called “I just came for the Ashes.” http://robinteresa.com/Novel_IJustCameForAshes.htm
      And there is a support group that was formed by a group of Catholics called “Courage International” http://couragerc.org/

      I hope some of this can help you with your struggles. In any case, know that God loves you and wants you to deepen your faith and trust in Him.
      Feel free to email me if you have any questions. [email protected]

  6. Dear David, Thank you so much for your honesty and your heart in this post. Jesus loves you so much.

    Have you ever asked the Lord to show you the roots of those feelings? Sometimes there are things we believe about ourselves that are not from the Lord, but because they have been around so long, they feel natural and normal. Once the Lord shows you the roots, he can help you identify anything you believe that doesn’t line up with his original plan for your life. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came so that we would have a life abundant. God is not the author of confusion, and he would not put something in his child’s life that would lead them away from him or cause them to doubt who they are or who they are supposed to be in Him. As I have asked the Lord to reveal the source of my hurts and confusions and feelings, he has released great freedom, truth, and healing.

    As I was writing this, I felt that the Lord wanted me to share with you about Desert Stream. Here is the link : http://desertstream.org

    I hope that this will be helpful to you, as you seek the Lord and everything he has for you. May the God of peace meet you and fill you with his peace in every place, in every area, in every time in your life, heart, and mind. May Jesus break down and completely dismantle the obstacles that have caused you to experience or be attacked by the enemy’s conflict, distress, deception, or darkness. May the Holy Spirit raise up a standard for you and quicken your spirit to rejoice! May the Lord increase you in the spiritual gifts of discernment and wisdom and bring about everything that will bear a harvest of righteousness for you and many others!
    I pray these things for you in Jesus’ name.

  7. David,
    First of all I want you to know that God loves you and thank you for your honesty in your struggle. No matter who we are, every single one of us have struggles and temptations. That is because satan roams around looking whom he may devour and destroy. Once he finds an entry way he keeps sending temptations in that area with the hopes that we will fall. Instead of trying not to be “gay” or focusing so much on not having same sex attraction. Put your focus on God. Ask Him to give you His thoughts towards you. Lord, I pray you open David’s eyes to see Himself through your eyes, to see the plan and purpose that you have for His life. Give him the strength and the faith to believe that he will not continue to struggle in this area. Free Him Father from this burden in Jesus name. Now trust and believe each day by confessing God’s promises over your life that He has delivered you and you are free. Sometimes God frees us immediately, but most often it is something we work out daily. But I do believe that you will not struggle with this the rest of your life. Freedom is coming for you.

  8. David,
    The Lord loves you so very much, more than you can think or imagine!! If you have a Bible please read Psalms 139. As a matter of fact, after you read that psalm, read one daily beginning at Psalms 1 to the end. Then maybe the four gospels. You will find the Bible is life giving and it will feed you and the Lord will answer your questions through it. I will be praying for Him to give you clarity, direction, freedom and joy.

  9. Hi David,
    Welcome to the family, you are not a 2nd class Christian because you struggle with this issue.

    What I am about to say is what I have learned in my own struggle with sexual sin. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in 1982. Since then I have had times of victory, times of suppressing it, and times of failure. I have uttered similar prayers. A number of years ago I got to the point where I was so tired of the failure that I gave up trying to fight it and just gave in. I went prodigal, so to speak.

    But the loving kindness of God leads us to repentance, and he lead this prodigal back home. The peace and joy was amazing, for a time. If the party lasted forever would our faith grow, become strong, and mature? When temptation started creeping back in, my battle cry was “that is not who I want to be anymore” now my battle cry is “that is not who I am anymore”

    In the past I made the mistake of believing my experience instead of what the Bible says about me. That made me an easy target for the enemy, John 10:10. He had me convinced that the sexual sin I was battling was my nature, just the way I was, part of my identity. Lies, lies, lies!!
    Some of the advice I got was read the Word more, pray more, get involved, help others, etc. In other words become the prodigals older brother. But neither of those brothers understood that they were sons just because they were sons. They could not earn it. Luke 15:11-32

    Lets face it the enemy has been doing this for thousands of years, and knows our weaknesses better than we do. While we are just learning how to sit, crawl, stand, walk, and run in the Spirit. By the way, I’ve never heard of a good parent spanking a child for falling down while he is learning to stand, walk, etc. It thrills them that they are growing and learning. God is for us not against us.

    The good news I have for you is that God has changed you, back when you were born again.
    You are a new creation, the old is gone. 2 Cor. 5:17
    Your old self has been crucified with Christ, Christ lives in you Gal 2:20, Rom 6:6
    You overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. Rev 12:11
    You are justified by your faith in Christ Jesus Gal 2:16
    You are being perfected by the Spirit Gal 3:3
    And the list could go on and on.

    So why do we still struggle? We still have the entity of sin living in us, but it is not us. Rom 7:17,20 And we still have our flesh to deal with, its memories, desires, and appetites. But neither one of those is our nature (old self, identity). This is important because there is nothing We can do to change our nature. Only Jesus can do that, and He has. I have never heard of someone surviving a crucifixion. Our old selves were crucified with Christ. It is a futile battle to fight an enemy that is no longer there, and that is what the enemy had me doing. However, We can, with God’s help, learn to rule over our flesh and the sin that lives within us. Our new nature is in Christ.

    The book “The Naked Gospel” By Andrew Farley does a better job explaining this than I can here.

    Yes, I still battle old temptations at times, and is still isn’t fun. But, now these battles don’t beat me up as much they used too. They serve a purpose in making me stronger. And I come at these battles from a position of victory in Christ, what He has already done for us. Rather than trying to gain the victory in my own strength.

    I hope something in this was helpful. I pray that the Holy Spirit will give you fresh revelation of who you are in Christ Jesus, what He has already done for you, and His love for you. Those are the things that are transforming my life. Fellowship with likeminded believers is greatly encouraging too.

  10. Thank you Paul, Hope, Julie, Debbie and Will for your prayers, support, advice and encouragement! You have all provided me with new (for me) ways of getting to the origin of why this issue exists in my life, while at the same time, helping me to deepen my relationship with Jesus Christ. I spent many years being the primary caregiver for my mother, the last two years of her life being the most profound and emotional for me. (She passed away on Christmas Eve, 2013.) It was during those last two years that , although still present, the struggles with homosexuality seemed to occupy a much smaller part of my mind and my life. It didn’t have the “power” over me that it once had. Basically, I didn’t have time for that “nonsense.” Once my mother passed, I thought that the control I had achieved over that issue would remain, and I would be able to continue moving forward in my walk with God. However, as time went on and my mind and life were no longer occupied with caring for my mom, the “gay thing” seemed to take advantage of that opening and began to fill my mind again with all those thoughts and desires. It felt like I had taken steps backwards from where I had been, and I even felt embarrassed that maybe my mother could see me dealing with these things, since I did not talk to her about them when she was alive. The last thing I wanted was for her to be ashamed of me because of my weaknesses. But I suppose she has clarity now from where she is and can understand what I am going through in the flesh. So now with your help and prayers I feel like I know what I need to do, I just need to DO IT, and trust that God is there with me every step of the way. God Bless you all for taking the time to minister to me. God is speaking to me THROUGH YOU! Amen!!!

    • Hi David, This is Paul, we wrote about a year ago, I had an article written about my testimony and you responded and had questions, I wanted to see how you where coming along in your life. Paul

  11. David, a big part of overcoming ssa is found in Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 10:5. The Holy Spirit renews our minds and helps us take thoughts captive to the Lordship of Christ. Get in contact with the larger ex-gay movement. Look up the “Ex-homosexuals Through Jesus Christ” Facebook page. They are full of good information and encouragement, and lots of testimonies from overcomers.

  12. Its amazing how powerful this testimony is. I cant say this enough, im so greatful to have him as a dad. Hes such a hard working man, all while doing gods work. its funny how people say that “you were born that way” i think thats the most retarded thing possible lol. Just look at how many children he has. God is awesome!

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