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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Ted Haggard's Sex Scandal

Aired January 29, 2009 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, prime time exclusive -- disgraced preacher Ted Haggard. He's one of the country's most influential Evangelicals, leading a group more than 30 million strong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TED HAGGARD: I'm talking about that secret part of your heart that other people don't know about.

KING: Scandal involving a male escort and crystal meth cost him his high profile pulpit, his car, his way of life. And now...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. HAGGARD: I'm still heartbroken when people don't see the best in me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The new documentary examines his struggle to move on and a second man accuses him of inappropriate action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRANT HAAS: I couldn't really believe that this was happening, that this man was doing this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Ted Haggard opens up about his sexuality and thoughts of suicide.

We'll also ask his wife, the mother of his five kids, why she stuck with him.

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

In Los Angeles, we welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, Ted Haggard, the founder and former pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado. He's the focus of a new HBO documentary, "The Trials of Ted Haggard" that debuted tonight on HBO. HBO, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner.

Thanks for coming, Ted.

T. HAGGARD: Thank you. KING: February 2005, "Time Magazine" lists you as one of the 20 most influential Evangelicals in the United States.

What happened?

T. HAGGARD: Well, I made the worst mistake in my life. I embarrassed my wife and violated her and my children and everybody that trusted me and myself. I -- I did some things that were contrary to the things that I believe. And -- and I made a mess of my life.

KING: Were these feelings about men, were these feelings that you had for a long time?

T. HAGGARD: Well, the first I remember them is in high school. And -- but I never acted on them. I married Gayle in college. It was a wonderful relationship with Gayle through the years. And -- but I would I'd wrestle with it and I would have to deal with it and struggle with them. And then I reached a point where I...

KING: Gave in?

T. HAGGARD: Gave in. I did it. And I'm guilty of many of the things that -- but I'm guilty enough. Many of the charges against me are exaggerated, but it doesn't matter. I'm guilty enough of so many things that I just said, I'm a deceiver, I'm a liar, I'm a hypocrite, I've got to work these things out. And we've spent the last two years in the desert personally and going through counseling and working it out.

KING: Did you not, though, preach against homosexuality?

T. HAGGARD: Yes, I did. And I...

KING: Wasn't that hypocritical?

T. HAGGARD: It was hypocritical. Absolutely, it was. And the reason I did was because I have a belief system that I still have. I believe the bible is the word of God. I believe Jesus is the son of God. I believe in being born again, those things that are fundamental to Christianity.

And I knew that the bible was a set of ideals. The bible says God hates divorce, but we know that lots of fine, wonderful people have to go through the horrible experiences of divorce.

We know that the bible says pray continually. And I'm not giving it as an excuse, but I knew -- I knew that the bible taught that sexuality was -- I felt like God's plan was for sexuality to be in a monogamous, heterosexual marriage. And I wanted that for myself. I wanted to please God. But at the same time, I had these other things going on and I ended up violating my wife and family and everything.

KING: And since you didn't know why you had them going on -- no one knows why they are...

T. HAGGARD: Right. No, we didn't know. KING: So you didn't choose it. You didn't say, boy, I want to be -- have these feelings.

T. HAGGARD: Right. Exactly.

KING: Didn't you question your beliefs?

T. HAGGARD: I -- especially in the last two years, I've gone through quite a struggle. Prior to the scandal, just I thought if I were more spiritual, I would be OK. So I would pray and fast. I'd read my bible. I'd memorize more scripture. I'd do things like that.

And it actually made me worse -- the struggle was worse on the inside of me.

And since then, my counselor has explained why. And -- and so I'm really grateful to be where I am now. I should have gone to counseling years and years and years ago to work it out.

KING: All right. Mike Jones broke the story. He came forward. He said he was a male escort. He said you had relations with him.

Your first reaction when the story became public in November of 2006 was to deny it.

Now, let's take a look...

T. HAGGARD: Yes.

KING: Let's take a look at that.

T. HAGGARD: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. HAGGARD: I've never had a gay relationship with anybody. And I -- you know, I'm steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife.

I did call him.

QUESTION: And what did you call him about?

T. HAGGARD: I called him to buy some meth, but I threw it away.

QUESTION: And who were you buying the meth for?

T. HAGGARD: No, I was buying it for me, but I never used it.

QUESTION: Have you every used meth before?

T. HAGGARD: No, I have not.

QUESTION: So...

T. HAGGARD: And I did not ever use it with him.

QUESTION: And did you ever have sex with him?

T. HAGGARD: No, I did not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Why -- why did you, at that point, not come out?

T. HAGGARD: Yes, see, I had never spoken about this with people. I mean, I hid it from my wife. I hid it from my friends. And I had hinted about it to some spiritual leaders to try to get some help and received consistently bad advice or they'd be horrified.

And -- and I was -- I just lied right then. And it was such -- well, it was such a shock to have to say it.

KING: Shocked that you were caught or shocked to have to say it?

T. HAGGARD: Oh, both. Both. Now I look back on it, from two years into this thing, and I think, if I wouldn't have got on caught, I would have lost my family. I would have lost my wife. I would have been a drug addict -- because I did take the drugs.

KING: You're glad you were caught?

T. HAGGARD: Oh, yes. It rescued me. I mean I paid a heavy price. It was stupid. I should have taken care of it myself. But I didn't.

And, actually, I believe in this process. Jesus completed the work that he began in me, because I was praying about this the whole time.

And I was thinking, what can I do? Because it was a love-hate relationship. It was just like somebody -- and I don't want to minimize my struggle. But it was like somebody struggling with food -- I'm not going to eat so much today. And then they eat. Or I'm not going to yell at the kids today and then they yell at the kids. Well, that was going on in me.

KING: What do you think of Mr. Jones?

T. HAGGARD: I think he rescued me. I'm very grateful to him.

KING: Don't hate him?

T. HAGGARD: Not at all, nor have I ever. And, actually, I -- I think he's paid quite a price and was brave to stand up and...

KING: Ever talk to him?

T. HAGGARD: I have not talked to him since. And -- but I have communicated with him my apology to him and my apology to the gay community. I was never an avid -- I was never a rabid anti-gay preacher or anything like that. I never did that type of thing.

I just always thought that the way we get instruction in life is from the bible. And so that's the way I would approach it. But I always tried to be kind.

But I must say, I'm much more kind now. I'm much more gentle now. I'm much more understanding now. I listen a lot more than I used to.

KING: You're a better person?

T. HAGGARD: A totally different person.

KING: A former male church member has come out this week with new allegations against Ted Haggard. We'll get his reaction when we come back.

As we go to break, here's his new accuser, Grant Haas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAAS: He really thought he was invincible, because he used to say to me, you know what, Grant, you can become a man of God and you can have a little bit of fun on the side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. HAGGARD: I'm talking about that secret part of your heart that other people don't know about. I'm talking about the thoughts that go through your mind. I'm talking about the schemes that are out there in the world to cause us to mess up our lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Ted Haggard.

Did you -- did you think of suicide?

T. HAGGARD: Oh, after we -- when we went to Arizona, I got so low and so afraid that -- that was actually the second time, right after the crisis. I told Gayle, I am so toxic and I'm going to ruin you and the kids. Please divorce me.

And during that time frame, she said no. But during that time frame, I became suicidal -- then became suicidal again when we were forced to go down to Arizona.

KING: What stopped you?

T. HAGGARD: You know, I had always sought God. And I had always thought that a person needs to seek God. But I lost the ability to seek God. I lost the ability to read the scriptures just because I became so weary.

And he came after me and the scripture came alive that you have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. That's God -- Jesus speaking. And I think it was divine intervention that stopped me. It -- I was so dark and so low, I couldn't do anything for myself. And I actually think it was divine intervention.

KING: OK, in recent...

T. HAGGARD: You know, Larry, on that -- on that note, the scripture says, Jesus says: "I came for the unrighteous, not for the righteous." So as soon as I became worldwide unrighteous, I knew that he had come for me.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: That's a good way to look at it -- I had to go bad to be good.

T. HAGGARD: Yes. The -- and he says he'll leave the 100 -- he'll leave 99 to go after the one that wanders away. Well, that was me.

KING: In recent days the revelation of what you called an inappropriate relationship between you and a young male church volunteer back in 2006. That was Grant Haas.

T. HAGGARD: Yes.

KING: He told CNN about what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAAS: I came back from the bathroom -- back from the bathroom and got in the bed with Ted, ready to go to sleep. And he pretty much asked me if it was OK if he masturbated in front of me or masturbated in the bed next to me. And so I told him no, that would make me really uncomfortable.

But, you know, he grabbed a bottle of lotion and he started masturbating. And at that point, I was just -- I was frozen. I couldn't really believe that this was happening, that this man was doing this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: True?

T. HAGGARD: Fundamentally true. The specifics aren't quite right, but it doesn't matter.

What matters is that -- that is an indicator of the compulsive behavior that was going on in my life during that time period.

KING: How long ago was this?

T. HAGGARD: Over two years ago. Since that time, I met with him and one of the church overseers and Gayle and asked for his forgiveness. And all of our children -- when he decided to come out and talk about that -- as our kids came in the other night, I said Grant Haas is going to go public. And every one of them knew about it. And they said oh, really -- and went on about their evening.

KING: Did that get you in more trouble with the church?

T. HAGGARD: No. They knew about it. They knew about it two years ago. And I wasn't involved in their dealings with that. I was already out. But no, that's all over two years old.

KING: You could have spoken two years ago, right?

It was just the church that stopped you?

T. HAGGARD: Yes. Uh-huh. Yes, the church. And I think they wanted to protect me from myself. They knew I was confused, disillusioned, disappointed in myself. And -- and they did the best they could.

KING: Grant Haas released a recording of what he says was a phone conversation with you at a time when he was considering a lawsuit.

Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. HAGGARD: You have to just move on. Drop this thing.

HAAS: I know.

T. HAGGARD: And move on.

HAAS: I know.

T. HAGGARD: Let it go. Forgive it.

HAAS: It just hurts so much, you know?

T. HAGGARD: I know it hurts. Think how I've hurt. But think about my little boy trying to go to football practice without the other kids calling his dad a (EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE). And if you stir it up in the headlines again, then it all happens again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Is that an accurate...

T. HAGGARD: Yes...

KING: (INAUDIBLE).

T. HAGGARD: Yes, that happened. And we were so vulnerable. That's when we were at Phoenix. And I was really speaking to myself then, too -- forgive everything, let -- including myself, forgive yourself, forgive others, move on in life.

And when Grant called that day, he was trying to figure out how to work it through. He was in therapy at the time, as I recall. And I think the church was helping -- helping fund his therapy then. And I was saying, you've got to move on. And I was desperate then, as well. And I'm just so sorry for what I did with Grant and with Mike and to the church and to my wife and family.

It was just a disaster, Larry. Just a...

KING: Yes.

T. HAGGARD: I mean you build a whole life and then I destroyed it and destroyed everybody who had invested in me or believed in me.

KING: Let me get a break.

How does Ted Haggard categorize his sexuality?

Is he gay, bi, straight?

Back in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Ted Haggard.

Last Sunday, the current pastor of the New Life Church spoke about the most recent allegations against Haggard.

Here's some of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PASTOR BRADY BOYD, NEW LIFE CHURCH: I want to tell you something from my pastor's heart to you -- that I'm sorry that this wound has been reopened for many of you. I'm very sorry. And I want you to tell something, one day -- we may have a little scar tissue, but the wound will not always define us. The wound will not always be with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Comment?

T. HAGGARD: Well, he's a good man and he's doing a good job and we highly respect him. He's -- he's visited our home a couple of times in the last few weeks and we love him deeply. And he's doing a good job.

I think the wound has not healed. And I don't think we're reopening it. I think what's happening is it's been festering. And we needed communication. And we needed to process it. And it can't process.

Separation and lack of communication never heals broken relationships. And so I appreciate what he's saying there. And I want people to heal. So I think in this process what we're doing is we're just kind of cleaning out some of the things and making it so it can heal. And I mean, at my Web site, I have loads of New Lifers writing to me now. And they saw me on "Oprah" or have seen some of the shows where I'm saying I'm sorry. And they're writing about how healing it is to hear my voice and hear me say I am sorry for what happened.

KING: What -- what's the Web site?

T. HAGGARD: TedHaggard.com.

KING: What do you want to hear Ted Haggard say?

T. HAGGARD: That's the question on our blog at cnn.com/larryking.

You blog, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE JONES: My name is Mike Jones. I am the man that exposed Pastor Ted Haggard. I wanted to expose the injustice and the hypocrisy. That's why I did it. I didn't do it for fame and fortune.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We reached out to Mike in advance of this interview. He emailed us a couple of questions. One thing Mike wanted to know was whether Ted Haggard is prepared to state absolutely that Grant Haas is the only other young man whom he engaged with inappropriate conduct during his leadership of the New Life Church.

T. HAGGARD: Yes. I have thoroughly discussed all of my sexual history with my wife and my therapist and, to some degree, the family. And -- and we think that's an appropriate boundary for that.

KING: So you're not going to comment?

T. HAGGARD: And so -- it wouldn't be right. And so -- but -- but it's certainly not a secret. We have discussed that thoroughly with -- the whole sexual history with my counselors. And I've had very good counselors -- and with Gayle.

KING: What do you consider yourself, Ted?

T. HAGGARD: Yes.

KING: Are you bi?

Are you gay?

Are you...

T. HAGGARD: It's a great question. And I went through...

KING: What are you? T. HAGGARD: I went through a year of seriously asking that after the scandal. And different therapists have said different things to me. My first therapist said you are a heterosexual with homosexual attachments. And I wasn't sure what that meant.

Now that we've processed this through, my current counselor says you're a heterosexual with complications. And -- and so I don't think the boxes work for me. I think I have -- I have some thoughts in my life and some processes in my life that just don't fit neatly into the boxes, which I think is true for a lot of people.

And I know that I'm in a process. I am changing. And so I know I went through -- I was different in college than I was in my 20s and 30s. And then this happened in my 50s. And -- and -- but I can tell you this. Today, I 100 percent satisfied with my relationship with my wife and I have no compelling things in my life toward others.

KING: And we're going to meet her in a couple of minutes.

Let's take a look at a clip from HBO's "The Trials of Ted Haggard." It debuted tonight. It will be playing frequently.

This is Ted commenting about some people's views of homosexuality.

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE TRIALS OF TED HAGGARD," COURTESY HBO)

T. HAGGARD: If you had Googled me, you would think I was Adolph Hitler or Idi Amin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or worse -- gay.

T. HAGGARD: That's worse in some circles. In some circles, that'd rather have me be a murderer than be gay. So -- so, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Do you think this whole story would have been different if Mike Jones were Michelle Jones?

T. HAGGARD: Oh, yes.

KING: If it were a woman?

T. HAGGARD: I do. I do.

KING: Your wife might have left you.

T. HAGGARD: It -- I don't know.

KING: We'll ask her.

T. HAGGARD: I thought Gayle would leave me over this. Actually, I recommended that she leave me over this. I do know with this homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual discussion, when there is a homosexual man that has something go on with a woman, people don't demand that he come out and admit that he's really a heterosexual. And I've had a very satisfying relationship for 30 years with my wife. This did not happen because of dissatisfaction with Gayle. This happened because of something else going on inside of me.

KING: Do you know all the answers yet?

T. HAGGARD: Not at all. And I think I'm still deeply wounded and scarred and somewhat confused. I'm going to need at least another year to get my bearings.

KING: Do you still get attracted to men?

T. HAGGARD: I have thoughts from time to time, but not compelling thoughts.

KING: Fear it might happen?

T. HAGGARD: No, not anymore.

KING: Like the alcoholic...

T. HAGGARD: I did probably up until a year ago.

KING: ...fears taking a drink?

T. HAGGARD: Yes. Not anymore. I probably did up until a year ago.

I thought, could this happen again?

But I -- I don't think that anymore.

KING: Do you think you're -- you're over the hump, you're on the way?

T. HAGGARD: I do. I'm very pleased with where I am. And, of course, life is a process, as you know and as all of our viewers know. And one guy's processing along like I am, but another guy may be processing along with another set of issues. And I'm very happy with -- of course, I'm a Christian. So let me word it this way, I'm very happy with the way the scriptures have come alive to me during this process, the way the Holy Spirit has walked me through this process and the way Jesus has never, ever, ever withdrawn from me.

KING: Have you ever thought of leaving Christianity?

T. HAGGARD: No. Never.

KING: Never?

T. HAGGARD: Never. Well, there were times when I couldn't seek, as I mentioned earlier. But I never -- I never have thought of leaving the faith.

Interestingly enough, during this time, I read a book written by an atheist. And in his book he called all faith superstition. And that actually helped my faith, because I was able to sort out many of the superstitions I had had prior to the crisis and my real core faith. So this actually got me to my core.

KING: When we come back, Ted's wife, Gayle. We'll find out why she's sticking by her husband.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GAYLE HAGGARD, TED'S WIFE: To restore honor to our children, the best thing I could do is help restore honor to their father.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The most talked about book in America is by Joe Torre, the manager of the Dodgers, former manager of the Yankees. His first appearance on any television media will be on this show tomorrow night, in advance of the book, which is not published officially until Monday. Joe Torre tomorrow night.

We're back with Ted Haggard.

And we're joined now by Gayle Haggard, Ted's wife of 30 years. They have five children.

Why did you stay?

G. HAGGARD: Well, actually, for two reasons. The first is that I really do love this man. And I know that he's more than any complications, flaws and sins that he's committed. And the second reason is because of my faith. And it teaches that -- or, actually, the teachings of Jesus are that we forgive and that we love.

KING: No matter what?

G. HAGGARD: Well, 70 times seven is what Jesus says, you keep forgiving. And I think we're the better for it when we do forgive. I'm not saying it was easy. It was a real challenge for me.

KING: How did you react when this story broke?

G. HAGGARD: I was shocked. Well the first I heard of it, I didn't believe it and Ted was denying it. But when he finally told me, which was the second day that the story was out, I felt as though the carpet had been pulled out from under me. I just didn't believe it. I felt as though Ted -- this could not be true of my husband. So the first words out of my mouth were, who are you?

KING: That had to be hard to do.

T. HAGGARD: Very painful and I didn't know who I was.

KING: What was the setting? Where were you?

T. HAGGARD: We were still there in Colorado Springs.

KING: At the house?

T. HAGGARD: When that conversation went on, that happened at our attorney's office. And I just told her, I said, I'm confused. I don't know how to answer that. And so she had to make core decisions within herself about me while I was still wavering.

KING: Did her reaction surprise you?

T. HAGGARD: It pleasantly surprised me. I fully expected to lose her. I kept my struggle secret from her for decades because I so wanted to please her. I so wanted to be the perfect husband for her.

KING: There's one thing. But Gail when you hear him say, as he said five minutes ago, he still has those tendencies; he still has those feelings; he still -- he doesn't act on them, but he might. I'm not sure he won't.

G. HAGGARD: I do know he's a human being. And I know that every one of us has struggles in our life. And every one of us are going to mess up and we are all sinners. But what I also know is that we have a great sexual relationship in our marriage. We had a growing intimate relationship in our marriage, throughout our marriage. It certainly had its seasons, I think, of distance. I think all marriages go through that.

I knew that Ted had some struggles in this area, particularly in his thoughts. I never knew that he acted on them. But I just -- I just believed that everybody is a sinner. And so I'm willing to go through the process with him.

KING: Speaking of sex, before she made the trials of Ted Haggard, Alexandra Pelosi, the daughter of Nancy Pelosi, by the way, a terrific television producer, who produced this documentary -- she produced another one called "Friends of God." It included Ted Haggard touting marital sex. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. HAGGARD: You know, all the surveys say that Evangelicals have the best sex life of any other group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, come on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No way.

T. HAGGARD: Yes. Let's find out. How often do you have sex with your wife?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day.

T. HAGGARD: Every day? Twice a day sometimes? How about you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These guys, who would have thought these are a bunch of studs. Look at them. Look at that. We got to join this church. There's a lot of love in this place.

T. HAGGARD: There's a lot of love in this place. You don't think these babies just come out of nowhere, do you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You had to be doubly shocked, Gail?

G. HAGGARD: Doubly shocked. However, I do think that our sexuality is complex. But I don't like is when we put labels on each other, because I am here to say that 99 percent of Ted's sexual experiences were with me. So I'm not willing to deny that. But I am willing to explore, why is he having these other feelings?

KING: What about the drugs?

G. HAGGARD: That was the biggest shock of all.

KING: Bigger than gay?

G. HAGGARD: Well, as shocking, however when I heard that accusation, I laughed, because I thought, this guy can not know my husband, because everyone who knows my husband knows -- I mean he didn't even smoke cigarettes or pot in high school. I mean, my husband would not have anything to do with drugs. And so that was the shock.

KING: Ted's new accuser, Grant, looks like he's about the same age as Ted's kids. What would Ted do if someone he trusted sexually approached his children. We'll ask when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. HAGGARD: I'm worthless at this point. I never made big money. I never became a millionaire or anything at the church.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's been the worst financially for you since new life. What's been the worst financial --

T. HAGGARD: We're just spiraling down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many door hangers have you hung?

T. HAGGARD: Hundreds, maybe thousands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many calls have you gotten?

T. HAGGARD: Not one.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Tomorrow night, Joe Torre. Head to CNN.com/LarryKing and send him an i-Report. It's a question or an e-mail. We're back with Ted Haggard and Gail Haggard. Would it bother you if one of your sons was approached by a gay?

T. HAGGARD: That's why these two that have come forward about their experiences with me back in 2006, I understand their pain. And that's why I'm so deeply sorry. And that's why I apologized to them openly and will continue to apologize to them until they're able to hear it.

KING: When asked if there were others, you said only your family knows, and you didn't want to discuss it. I understand that. But do you get nervous when the phone rings?

T. HAGGARD: No. When Grant came out, as I said, I had so thoroughly discussed it with Gail and the family that I was able to said Grant's going to come out to the media, and no one in the Haggard house was nervous. When Gail and I went to bed and we heard the kids laughing and joking with one another until 1:00 in the morning in the kitchen, and they knew the next day Grant was going to be on TV.

KING: Why did he come out?

T. HAGGARD: I don't know.

KING: Let's take a call for the Haggards. Orlando, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi, this is Sam from Orlando, Florida. I knew you, Ted, when you lived in Colorado Springs. I was with the Family Inn. I was wondering -- I have come out as a gay man and I am living my life as gay. Do you feel that I can still be the Christian that I was then and I feel that I am today?

T. HAGGARD: I think every one of us need to read our Bibles and pray. I am a Protestant, and what that means is we don't need others to tell us what God's will is. We've got the scriptures and we have the holy spirit. So I would encourage you to do just what I'm doing, settle it in yourself. But use the scriptures as your guide and ask God to reveal things to you by the holy spirit in fellowship with believers. You will grow, just as all of us hope to do.

KING: But if you're gay and the scriptures are telling you you're a sinner, a pretty tough day in court.

T. HAGGARD: Yes, that's something he would have to work.

KING: how do you work it out? How do you reconcile that?

T. HAGGARD: That's what I'm going to therapy about. I think every one of us have issues we have to work out, because the human race is such a mess. We have hatred and we have judgment and we have bitterness and we have high-mindedness and arrogance and all types of sexual things. We're all a mess. I'm a mess. I'm a disaster. I'm not a Christian because I'm -- I'm not a Christian for fun. I'm a Christian because I really need to be.

And I need mercy and grace. None of my righteousness is of my own. The only righteousness I have is just a gift.

KING: Do you have dark things?

G. HAGGARD: Do I have dark things?

T. HAGGARD: No, she doesn't.

G. HAGGARD: I do. I believe every human being does. And we all have to go through this journey of working that out. And I think what we do need is to have more compassion on each other, as we're in our journeys. And we need to really hear each other, see each other, and understand each other more. And I think in this process, I have learned the value of that.

KING: So you have grown with this?

G. HAGGARD: Yes, definitely. I think we're both better people. I think our marriage is better. I know our family is stronger. We're more open and honest.

KING: What if he slipped again?

T. HAGGARD: If he slipped again, I have always said to him, I don't know what I would do. However, it's the same principles that have gotten me through thus far I believe would get me through again.

T. HAGGARD: I prefer not testing it.

G. HAGGARD: As would I. As would I.

KING: Good thinking. We'll be right back. That HBO documentary aired -- debuted tonight. It will air frequently throughout the month of February. Back with your blog comments in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: A lot of you have been sounding off on our blog, CNN.com/LarryKing. Here's David Theall with a look at some of your comments. David?

DAVID THEALL, LARRY KING LIVE PRODUCER: Larry, all day long on the blog today, we have been talking about Ted Haggard's appearance and the appearance of the Haggard family on the program tonight. That got us to thinking, because the conversations is happening -- we asked, what do you want to hear Ted Haggard say?

Mark chimed in. He says, "I want to hear him say that for many years some remote part him felt like such a fraud for preaching one thing and living another."

We also heard from Dennis, who said "I would like to hear him speak out against anti-homosexual teachings, such as he preached, and maybe help his fellow Evangelicals accept their gay children." Now, we also heard from people who are supporters of the Haggard family. One of them was Dolly, who told us that she's a former congregant of Mr. Haggard. She says, "I want to hear Pastor Ted tell us when and where our next New Life Church will be." She says, "I've forgiven my pastor since day one and I pray that God uses hem again."

We're going to continue this conversation, as we always do, on the blog, CNN.com/LarryKing. Look for that blog link, click, jump into the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

KING: Thanks, David. Do you think, Ted, that more preachers should condemn those who attack homosexuals?

T. HAGGARD: I think every human being falls short. And whether it be a sexual sin, a thought sin, some other behavioral sin, every human being falls short and needs the grace of God. And so to pick out homosexuality as the exclusive bad sin is wrong. And I think the people have said under my ministry for 22 years would not say I ever did that.

KING: The Haggards have five children. We'll meet their 25- year-old son right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

KING: Back with the Haggards. Joining us now from Colorado Springs, Colorado is Marcus Haggard. He is one of Ted and Gail's five children. Marcus, how are you. I see, you're looking good. Marcus, what do you do for a living?

MARCUS HAGGARD, SON OF TED HAGGARD: I work in economic development. I work in -- for a foundation that does work in India. So we do economic and human development and I help coordinate the activities there.

KING: I understand from your dad that you coached the siblings on how to deal with all of this. How did you deal with it?

M. HAGGARD: Immediately after everything happened, it was a bit of a shock and it helped me to be able to focus on helping the family through it. And so I didn't deal with my own frustrations or anger or sadness for probably a month or two after everything happened, because I was so focused on working with my family through it.

And then after that, I was surrounded by great friends, and my family is talkative and open and excited to express themselves. And so there was a lot of discussion. So I was able to talk through it pretty well.

KING: Weren't you shocked by how well your mother dealt with it?

M. HAGGARD: Yes. She's a saint, isn't she? She really set an example for us as a family and pulled us through. Yes, she was a great example. KING: How did you, Marcus -- how did you deal with a shock like that?

T. HAGGARD: Well, you know, I was -- it was difficult, obviously, and incredibly shocking. I wasn't so much -- I mean, I was shocked at the specifics of the accusations, and what my dad confessed to be true. But it wasn't those things that really bothered me. It was the dishonesty.

But it was mixed with the component of relief, as, you know, we have expressed this -- you know, all of us kids have talked about this quite a bit. The way that there is a sense of relief as my dad had lived for so long on a pedestal. He was incredibly busy, traveling and doing the ministry. And it had gotten to the point that it felt like we had lost a father. He was on such a pedestal and so many people lifted him up, it was difficult to connect with him.

Certainly, on the level of us dealing with our own faults and wanting somebody to be able to go to, he seemed practically perfect. So there was a sense of relief in the fact that we could connect with our dad. That's why it's strange explaining exactly the feelings that we felt after everything happened, because it was all the anger and frustration and all the sorrow, mixed with an excitement about a genuine relationship with our father.

And so that's been the road we have gone down over the last two years, has been that mix. We committed to stick together. We fought to stay together. We basically made a commitment to stick together through the fight. And it's paid off.

KING: You're an amazing young man. We'll be right back with Ted Haggard, Gail Haggard and their son Marcus, who I think has a lot to do with the glue in this family. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you're living at this hotel. And all your worldly possessions are in this U-Haul, which you don't even lock?

T. HAGGARD: We don't lock it. But it's fine. Nobody is stealing it. All our stuff is in there. You see, there's my stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you a fool or are you a Christian?

T. HAGGARD: I think I'm still naive. I still see the best in people. And I'm still heart broken that people don't see the best in me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Well said. A question from our blog. "Did you ever have a drug or meth addiction?" T. HAGGARD: No, I didn't. And after this episode, I was concerned about that. And so the therapist tested for that and they said no.

KING: Let's take another quick look at HBO's "The Trials of Ted Haggard." Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

T. HAGGARD: I'm 51 years old and I have never interviewed for a job in my life. I feel like a 19-year-old or a 16-year-old. And so it's kind of exciting, because I put my tie on thinking, oh, I'm going to a job interview.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's get ready for the interview. Why should they hire you and not somebody else?

T. HAGGARD: There's nobody else that has my experience in motivating people and encouraging people to do what will improve their life, like me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Let's take a call. Sudberry, Ontario, hello.

CALLER: Hello, how are you.

KING: Fine.

CALLER: I just have a question for Ted. I would like to know if you have any desire to go back behind a pulpit or do you just want to take life easy now and kind of do his own thing with his family?

T. HAGGARD: Yes, good question. Certainly, we as a family are appreciating private time. We have never been alone before. And we have never had our weekends before and our holidays before. And so we're loving that. I do want to tell the story. I think Gail and I both want to tell our story to the degree that it's helpful for other people.

And so I don't know that that would mean a pulpit. But certainly I would be interested in public speaking.

KING: What would you do if one of your kids said they were gay?

G. HAGGARD: Well, I would want them to feel that our home is a safe place to process that, and that they could come and talk to us about that. And we would try to help them through their process, help them figure out why am I feeling this way and what do I want to do about it.

KING: Marcus, was there a time where you disrespected, angry, fell out of love with your father?

M. HAGGARD: No, I don't think I did. I think my respect for my father was always based off of something different. It wasn't based on his ability to be perfect. And so, no, I never stopped loving him. I was certainly angry -- angry and frustrated. Those were the emotions that I felt. But I was always committed to him.

KING: What did you hear from friends when this happened?

M. HAGGARD: Nothing but support. My friends were great.

KING: Really?

M. HAGGARD: Oh, yes, yes. Most -- I wouldn't be the -- probably the best candidate for people to vent their frustrations toward my family to. So that may have had something to do with it. But my closest friends stood by me very loyally and supported my family and said, if we ever needed anything, they were there for me. They were great.

KING: OK, where do you go from here, Gail? You're selling insurance? Do you go back to Colorado, on with your life?

G. HAGGARD: And we finish our story. And I think we have an important story to tell. There are many facets to this story that have yet to be told.

KING: Do you go on optimistically?

G. HAGGARD: Absolutely. I believe in family and I love my husband and my children and we're going forward.

KING: Are you optimistic, Ted?

T. HAGGARD: Very, very. I'm much more optimistic than I was before June. In June, we moved back to Colorado Springs. And the people of Colorado Springs have been so warm and embracing. It's healing us. We're in that process now, dynamically. So I'm very optimistic.

KING: When you have the dark thoughts, what do you do with them?

T. HAGGARD: I just dismiss them. Where before they were so compulsive I couldn't just dismiss them, where now I can.

KING: You said you might go back to the church. You might start another church again?

T. HAGGARD: No, I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that we want to tell our story. I have no desire to do that right now. But we do want to communicate.

KING: Thank you all very much. Thank you, Marcus. Thanks for joining us, Ted Haggard and Gail Haggard. Thank you both. Don't forget, "The Trials of Ted Haggard" is the focus of the new HBO documentary now airing.

You can participate in our quick vote. Do you care if someone is gay? It's at CNN.com/LarryKing. You can also download a Blagojevich podcast and find show transcripts or check out our blog. Tomorrow night, Joe Torre, the famous baseball manager of the Yankees in the past, the Dodgers now. He managed A-Rod and Derek Jeter and lots more. His book comes out next week. We get a preview tomorrow night. And Joe will take your i-Report questions as well.

Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?