Last week, Marcus Lamb, co-founder of the Dallas-based global Christian network Daystar Television, opened up about an affair he had several years ago. He says that three people wanted $7.5 million to keep quiet about his indiscretion, so he and his wife, Joni, decided to share their story with the public.
"It was a very hard and difficult process we went through for about nine months to a year, Joni says. "But we wanted to do that privately."
"Our counselors advised us to do that. They said it would be very difficult to heal if we brought that to the public's attention at that time," Marcus says. They also wanted to protect their children for as long as they could.
Dr. Phil, who knows Joni and Marcus personally and considers them friends, asks Marcus, "Do you feel like you betrayed your followers?"
[AD]"Well, I feel like I betrayed everybody. I betrayed the Lord, I betrayed Joni, my family, our followers, and I'm so sorry for that," Marcus says.
"I've known you a long time, and you knew that would be the effect when you [had the affair.] What did you say in your head that made it OK in the moment?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Well, it was a long process, and it was just a gradual thing, and finally, you just get to a point where you get into deception, and you make a choice that you don't realize the ramifications of it at the moment," he says.
Joni explains that it was an emotional affair at first, involving phone calls and e-mails. "He's someone who would say, â€˜I never thought I'd be caught in that trap in a million years.' We've helped hundreds of couples over the years, but I think it was that emotional tie that started it and then eventually became sin," she says.
Joni says there were warning signs that something wasn't right. Marcus was taking private phone calls and seemed very protective of his computer. Now the couple stays accountable by keeping all phones and computers accessible by the other person.
Joni says they want to tell their story, "To encourage people that you can make it, even if you've gone through something like what we've gone through, and that marriage is worth fighting for, and marriage is not just a commitment between a husband and a wife, but it's a commitment between a husband, and a wife and God, and for us, people of faith, it's covenant."
While they were healing, Joni says their network featured many episodes on the topic of infidelity because she became passionate about helping people with the same issues. "Some of the issues we've dealt with were pornography, and adultery and all of the things that people are going through today. And I think the church, for so long, we just want to pretend that these things don't go on in the church, but they do, and I think it's time for us to speak up, and speak to it, and talk about it and try to help people," she says.
[AD]"My heart is, if I have to be humiliated to help prevent somebody else from getting in a situation like this, or if they're in a trap right now, that maybe this will give them hope, and they'll get out of that trap, and they can be healed, and that's why we're here to share today," Marcus says.