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Published: Saturday, 2/10/2001

`Sex Traps' author to speak at St. James Holiness

BY JUDY TARJANYI
BLADE SENIOR WRITER

Want to know what the No. 1 sex trap is and what to do if you fall into it?

Ask “the love doctor.”

She's Dr. Wanda Turner, a 52-year-old Los Angeles-area evangelist who not only speaks freely on the subject, but has written the book on it.

Dr. Wanda Turner helps people in churches still struggling with sexual sin. Dr. Wanda Turner helps people in churches still struggling with sexual sin.
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Although many a preacher has railed against the glorification of illicit sex in today's culture, Dr. Turner's message is aimed primarily at people in churches who still struggle with sexual sin, often after years of church involvement and identification with Christianity.

“Jesus sacrificed himself to provide the abundant life, but many of us insist on clinging to our sordid affairs that wring the life out of our spouses and innocent children,” she writes in Sex Traps (Destiny Image.) “We run to the VCR to watch sexually explicit films and then fantasize about another person's spouse. We misuse and abuse our authority to dominate others, or we are one of the many victims of such abuse.”

Dr. Turner, who will be in Toledo Feb. 18-20 to speak at St. James Holiness Church of God in Christ, targeted the “secret sins of deviate and illicit sexual behavior in the church” more than a decade ago, at times drawing criticism and misunderstanding.

But she has persisted, believing that God has given her a “divine commission” to help both the victims and perpetrators of sexual sin.

Dr. Turner, a former social worker, believes the No. 1 sex trap is pornography. Among Christians, she says, it is an easy one to fall into because it seemingly gives the viewer superior distance from the acts of adultery and fornication.

“As the verse in the New Testament expresses, `While you do not do the thing, you enjoy those that do.'”

But, Dr. Turner says, people who use pornography are still involved sexually, through reading, viewing, hearing, seeing, and touching things other people do. “And that's a very strong addiction for many people.”

The tragedy, she says, is that such activity can affect existing and future marriages. Those caught up in it, she says, “become so professional at pleasing themselves that their mates are not able to touch them in that intimate way that God really intended.”

Dr. Turner says she doesn't buy the argument that pornography can enrich marital sex. “Usually it's not a couple that needs that for sexual enhancement. Usually it's one of the two. What happens is the person who is addicted may feel the only way he can receive sexual pleasure is through pornography. So what they do is they try to talk their mate into participating in what they need.”

For those caught in sex traps, the associate pastor of Covenant Worship Center, formerly New Bethel Apostolic Ministries, in Inglewood, Calif., offers a strong dose of straight talk about the gravity of sexual sin, but no condemnation.

“After you tell me I'm dirty and filthy, do you just leave me dangling there, trapped like a mouse, or do you have the power to release me from the trap and then walk with me as I become healed?”

Dr. Turner tries to give people caught in sex traps the hope that they can get out, but she also is realistic in saying that it may take time. “Once you're in the trap, there are things about you that are broken and battered, and you need proper help.

“ ... People come to me and say they identify with things I say, but they don't know what to do. `It's bigger than me,' they say. They're driven as they would be if they were on drugs or alcohol.”

For some, she says, the best solution may be residential treatment with a strong follow-up program. Among programs she recommends are The Shepherd's Inn of Denham Springs, La., and Dr. Joe Dallas's Genesis Counseling in Orange, Calif.

Dr. Turner's “love doctor” label also refers to the advice she gives to individuals, couples, and families on the power of God's love to keep families together.

A wife and mother who was widowed at the age of 45 and later remarried, she believes in what she calls a “full biblical view” of the relationship between men and women in marriage.

She regards her husband, Andrew, a bishop who is senior pastor of their church, as the head of their home; she sees herself as the “neck.”

“The strength of the head is in the neck. I tell women, `Be pleased to know you're the backbone, you're the neck, you're the vertebrae, the cervical cord that God fuses.' God fuses man onto you to become one. You have the power to turn the head.”

Dr. Turner believes one woman can bring down an entire nation. As examples, she cites the biblical character Delilah, who subdued Samson, and a more contemporary figure, Monica Lewinsky, whose relationship with Bill Clinton forever will mark his presidency.

Women can learn from Delilah, Dr. Turner says, because her strength was in her ability to listen. “If you learn how to listen you have all the tools you need for happiness and the happiness of your husband. ... When was the last time as wives, we have listened to our mate's secret? On the flip side, I tell couples, `If you're not listening someone is. And it could be the lady at the doughnut shop.'”

Dr. Wanda Turner will speak at St. James Holiness Church of God in Christ, 3319 Nebraska Ave., at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 and at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20. She also will be at a luncheon at the Hilton Hotel, 3100 Glendale Ave., at 2 p.m. Feb. 18. Tickets for the luncheon, at $22 each, are available from the church.



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