Former Porn Exec-Turned-Pastor Shares How God Radically Transformed His Life (Exclusive Interview)
At the height of his career, Keith Repult was the owner of the second largest porn distribution company in the country. A self-made millionaire, Keith was living a life of luxury. Internally, however, he was empty, addicted to alcohol, drugs, and pornography.
And then, he met Jesus Christ – and his world completely changed.
“I didn’t even realize the hold pornography and drugs had on me — I didn’t even realize it was wrong, because it’s so normalized today,” Keith told The Gospel Herald in an exclusive interview. “But when I became a born-again Christian, my eyes were opened. If there’s one thing people I want people to take away from my life, it’s that there’s always hope, and that hope is only found in Jesus.”
His struggle with addiction and desire for acceptance, he said, stemmed from the loneliness and emptiness he experienced as a child.
“Growing up, I was constantly bouncing back and forth between foster homes, I never heard the words ‘I love you,’ and I carried around a sense of not belonging, I never felt like I fit in,” he said. “I found temporary comfort in drugs and alcohol, and pretty soon I started selling drugs.
One day, Keith stumbled into a bar where he met a man who offered to give him a job.”I was at his store in the morning, which happened to be an adult bookstore,” he said. “I built some shelves for him, and after that, he told me he had another store in the city where he needed me to do work. I started shipping for him, and then to sales, and the rest is history.”
“After taking over an adult film production company, I was putting out two films a week, making more money than I knew what to do with,” he shared. “I felt like, if I had these things, I believed people would like me. I bought a $60,000 watch, cars, houses – you name it, but it still wasn’t enough. The items got more and more expensive, but nothing was satisfying my soul. I had a hole in my soul and the wind blew right through. All along I was searching for happiness.”
As his business grew, Keith abandoned drugs and alcohol and met and married his now-wife, Samantha. Together, they had three daughters and a son, and hoping to live a quieter life, moved from the valley to Ventura, a little beach community they’d grown to love. There, they decided to open a yogurt shop.
“I found the perfect little location, and I hung these banners reading, ‘Yogurt Hut: Coming Soon’ — that was the old name of Surf ‘N’ Yogurt,” he recalled. “We were so excited to open the store. The next morning, I got a call from a friend who said, ‘you might wanna get down here.’ When I got to the shop, I saw that somebody had painted on our window in red paint, ‘Porn stars wanted.'”
On another banner, somebody had written the words, “porn producer.”
“So, filled with shame and horror and came home and told my wife, ‘it’s time to move again. I want to sell, I want to move,'” he said. “She said, ‘no, we’re not going anywhere. We’re going to hold our heads up.'”
Through that little yogurt shop, God began bringing people into the family’s life that would forever change them. There, Keith met Pastor Jude from City Church who prayed with him and shared God’s love with him for the first time.
“I told him my whole story, and I said, ‘well, do you still like me?'” Keith said. “All he said was, ‘God knew what he got when he got you.’ When he said those words, I hung onto them, I wanted to change my life, but I didn’t know how. He told me, ‘Keith, just keep looking to the cross.'”
After twelve years of sobriety, Keith had earlier started using drugs again: “Cocaine quickly became a habit for me,” he said.
Still, he wanted to start going to church, and through the witness of a friend, Samantha, too, began attending church. Soon, the couple became actively involved in a local church, and as God softened their hearts, they no longer wanted to be a part of the adult film industry.
“I knew I wanted to leave,” Keith said, “So we gave it all up, and I got baptized.”
Hoping to overcome his addictions, Keith decided to enter a 12-step program. There, he came under the counsel of godly men who helped him recover and grow in his faith.
“I saw my sin for what it was,” he said. “I had addictions I didn’t even realize I had.”
Today, Keith said he barely recognizes the broken man he once was. Now, he uses his testimony to remind others that God can save even the most broken of individuals.
“Pornography was normal, everyday life for me,” he said. “Now, I see that the adult industry is dangerous for human life. It’s a dangerous, it’s perverted, it’s taking sex and grossly missuing it. Four years later, I’m sober and abstinent from porn. My life looks completely different.”
He added, “I want to encourage others who may be struggling to find someone you really trust and let it out, you can’t keep this stuff inside. Go to counseling and talk about it, and then make amends with those you’ve hurt. I did, and it’s changed my life.”
“Run to the cross,” he said. “God is there waiting to redeem your story.”