Former sex worker turned minister and "born again" anti-porn crusader Shelley Lubben made a career of opposing pornography, prostitution and sexual sin on every conceivable ground. But after committing adultery and being served with divorce papers by her long-suffering husband, the suddenly cash-starved Lubben texted a series of screeds to her soon-to-be ex.
Amazingly, she details her plan to quietly return to prostitution to pay her bills.
In light of the significant increase in new visitors to this site, I've decided to take a small step back from reporting on Shelley Lubben's recent shenanigans and the carnival sideshow that is her life, and instead present some previously unseen material that well-illustrates who and what she is.
The uncontested elements of her life story go like this: Shelley Moore, an attention-craving problem child turned alcoholic and drug addict (she also suffers from mental illness), worked as a prostitute and stripper in 1980s and '90s Los Angeles, and also shot a handful of long-forgotten adult videos during 1993 and '94.
In 1995, she married a younger and less worldly man named Garrett Lubben and left Southern California. After a period of time studying at a church in Tacoma, Washington -- a time she refers to as her "recovery from porn" -- she returned to California in the 2000s and became known as an anti-porn crusader and minister.
The many public and private claims she's made over the years include that she was miraculously healed of herpes, as well of all her addictions and other physical and mental infirmities; that she receives direct revelation from God and Jesus Christ; that she is the reincarnation of the Prophet Elijah; and that she is on a special mission from God to eradicate pornography and masturbation.
She has also been caught in more lies and self-contradictions than any public figure I can think of.
Lubben is a textbook narcissist. To quote my brilliant associate Dr. David Ley, Ph.D., "The narcissist is actually plagued by self-doubt, and the core foundational thought or fear for the narcissist is that if they don't constantly tell everyone how great they are, then nobody will think they're great, then people will think that they're shit."
The Lubben Text Messages
The commentary I have added below is intended merely to provide a historical frame of reference, and is backed up by: details gleaned from my interviews with Garrett Lubben and others; court and law enforcement records; independent published accounts; Shelley's public statements and actions; private unguarded emails; and the contents of a lengthy chain of text conversations between Shelley and Garrett.
The following screen caps of text conversations were made on the iPhone of Garrett Lubben, Shelley's ex-husband. I can confirm that they were sent to and from Shelley's own private mobile number, and I can thus vouch for their authenticity.
This cache of messages in my possession dates from mid-2015, when she had begun a secret affair with Joe Valley (who had been hired by Garrett to work on the couple's ranch property in Springville, Calif.), through their legal separation and Shelley's pleas for another chance, to her accusations against Joe, her threats to Garrett, the Lubbens' divorce negotiations, and their eventual divorce in 2016.
Two things stand out here: Shelley's utter, hysterical desperation, and her tendency to be both ruthlessly calculating and clumsy in her manipulations. These conversations make it crystal clear that she does not want Garrett to leave her for good. Her boyfriend Joe Valley had been homeless and living in his car prior to starting work at the Lubben Ranch. Suddenly on her own again after 20 years, she is panicked. Accordingly, in text after text she alternates between threatening, seducing, cajoling and pleading.
Not once does she take responsibility for what has happened to her life.
We begin on April 1, 2016, at which point the Lubbens' divorce was a forgone conclusion:
A little over two weeks later, on April 17, 2016:
The Power of 911
By the summer of 2015, the Lubbens' marriage, which had been tense since 2011, was pretty much over. He was living in Bakersfield while she holed up at the Springville ranch property. Shelley had told Garrett she wanted to use the quiet seclusion to improve herself, both emotionally and to ease up on her out of control alcohol and drug use. But upon his return visit to the ranch, he found dozens of empty wine and liquor bottles as well as prescription bottles from Shelley's latest trip to Mexico.
He began quietly removing personal items from the house, but eventually Shelley caught on. When Garrett announced that he was leaving, on September 8, another argument began. According to Shelley's own statements (including those in their text conversations), she called 911 to calm him down, and keep him from leaving. However when the Tulare County Sheriffs arrived, she accused him of battery.
Garrett was arrested and bonded out of jail. Shelley, though maintaining that the arrest was Garrett's fault because he never should have yelled at her, eventually confessed in an affidavit (made under penalty of perjury) that it had all been a big misunderstanding. But not before a second incident at the ranch led to another arrest for Garrett.
On October 8, 2015, Garrett was arrested at the ranch on even more dubious charges, while Joe was present. In her text messages to Garrett, she blamed Joe for instigating the 911 call.
Although Shelley would later brag to her Facebook fans that her new young lover Joe Valley was a wonderful guy who was absolutely "on fire for God", she was at the very least lying by omission. Their relationship was volatile and, according to local residents, involved much drinking. She also knew that Joe had a criminal record, and a history of drug use. On Christmas Eve 2015 -- two months after Garrett filed for legal separation -- Shelley again called 911, this time targeting Joe.
When the sheriffs arrived, she accused him of domestic battery and rape. Lubben later recanted the rape charge, but, likely because she had visible bruises, the battery charge stuck and Valley wound up serving 90 days in jail.
|Joe Valley's most recent mugshot.|
Joe made me do it
Throughout her text messages to Garrett, Shelley repeatedly demonizes and insults Joe, and asserts that it was Joe, not she, who is to blame for Garrett's legal problems.
This text dates from January 19, 2016, when Joe was locked up in a Porterville jail after Shelley accused him of domestic violence. She and Garrett are still cordial here, and with Joe out of the way for now, she retains the hope of reconciliation with her husband.
The following message was sent March 4, 2016, while Joe was still locked up and her relationship with her estranged ex, Garrett, was deteriorating. The handwriting was on the wall. Ten days later, Garrett amended his filing for Legal Separation to initiate divorce proceedings.
Is it just me or does Shelley seem concerned about what Joe might reveal under oath.
Hell hath no fury
Garrett had decided that over 20 years of Shelley had been more than enough. In addition, both of the children she'd had by Garrett had chosen to live with him and, predictably, Shelley felt spurned. Her revenge, it would appear from these texts and from the timeline, was to trump up a bribery allegation against Garrett. She also informed her daughters (while they were still speaking) that she'd soon be back in their lives because their dad was going to prison "for a long time." But this, like all of Shelley's schemes, backfired.
When Shelley took the stand in Porterville last year, at a hearing before the Honorable Judge Michael B. Sheltzer related to the felony bribery charge, she presented herself to the court as a long-suffering victim of domestic abuse who was glad to be free of her manipulative abuser.
Shelley testified that she came forward with the bribery allegation soon after making iPhone video recordings of a kitchen table negotiation with Garrett. In court it was revealed that the videos were shot on October 31, 2015. However, Shelley had finessed the timeline, stating under oath that the videos were shot between February and April of 2016.
Shelley had actually brought the videos to the Tulare County sheriff on May 5, 2016, which just so happened to be a week after Garrett had blocked her calls and texts
The bribery charge was summarily dropped because there was no evidence that Garrett had induced Shelley to do anything unlawful, but as we see in these messages, her "good riddance to my abuser" premise was also a contrived lie.
To illustrate this point, let's travel back to April 2016. The divorce has not been finalized, Shelley and Joe are both unemployed, and Shelley is bemoaning her sorry financial state.
Shelley had already made many attempts to win Garrett back since October 2015, while simultaneously proclaiming her undying love to Joe. Here's a sample.
God's own prostitute
April 24: Shelley is wallowing in self pity. This astounding thread has much to offer, including one of her fullest renderings of the recurring motif of her life -- in Shelley's version of events she is always the victim or the hero, or both.
|Shelley claims she has suffered more than Job!|
Several times in these conversations, Shelley admits that she is losing her vision. Yet she posts the following for public consumption on social media:
November 28 (2016) at 3:00pm ·
I'm liking the glasses look. I think I'm going to buy a pair of glasses even though I don't need them LOL these are a little bit too big for my face but yeah I think I'm going to get glasses.
April 29: Yet more allusions to returning to prostitution:
|"There's only one option for me now."|
|"watch your sick wife go back to prostitution"|
As a prostitute, Shelley says she'll bill herself as a "former adult actress and make a killing to help pay [her] medical bills."
|As a prostitute, "I'll be rich soon," says Shelley.|
Has a narrative of perennial victimhood ever been more clear and embracive? I've often been asked why anyone would adopt and promote such a narrative and forever reframe their life experiences as ongoing, relentless -- even fated -- victimization.
A 2010 academic paper, "Victim Entitlement to Behave Selfishly", by Emily M. Zitek, Alexander H. Jordan, Benoit Monin, and Frederick R. Leach of Stanford University, may hold the answer.
Clinical psychologists have long suggested a link between unpleasant life experiences and a sense of entitlement. Freud (1916) observed that people who thought they had suffered poor childhoods felt entitled not to endure any more of life’s “disagreeable necessities”. . . . In a study of individuals with disabilities, those who least accepted their disability—those who presumably felt most wronged by it—felt most entitled to use alcohol and drugs (Li & Moore, 2001). This body of work suggests that at a chronic level, individuals who feel that they have suffered in life possess more of a sense of entitlement than do others who perceive their life narrative as more clement.
[The sense of entitlement may] lead individuals to behave selfishly by, for example, refusing to help, endorsing self-serving intentions, or claiming a bigger piece of the pie when sharing resources with others.
If they are under-benefited in one relationship (e.g., underpaid), they may try to over-benefit themselves in another. . . . In support of this equity-with-the-world hypothesis, Austin and Walster (1975) found that participants who were underpaid by an individual in a first task were later more likely to underpay a different individual (and overpay themselves) in another task. . . . [citations abbreviated or omitted]Feeling like a victim alleviates guilt and engenders a sense of entitlement and a license to take advantage of others. This is what narcissism and sociopathy look like.