An empty classroom revealed the recent presence of students, chairs carelessly scattered around, as Branden Murphy, a third-year public relations student from Tucson, Ariz., walked inside, his hand comfortably holding the hand of his girlfriend.
Despite the innocence of the looks shared between him and his girlfriend, Murphy is no stranger to temptation.
“Before I lost my virginity, I had no girlfriends, ever. Girls did not like me,” said Murphy, who lost his virginity at the age of 13. “Then, once I got my braces off, stuff changed. So I became adamant to…catch up on all my lost years. That’s how I felt. “
For Murphy, a promiscuous lifestyle was what he thought he needed in order to fit in and escape the stereotypes associated with being a “pastor’s kid.”
“Every girl I talked to was a scheme or something sexual,” said Murphy. “I’m not going to say it was always sex, but sexual things, whatever it could be. My whole motto was like, if I could get a girl to send me a picture naked then when I see her in person, it’s fair game.”
A pregnancy and STD scare from a woman who cheated on Murphy was enough to help Murphy slow down his fast-paced lifestyle.
“That also propelled a lot of my promiscuity. I got cheated on,” Murphy said. “Once that happened, it was like I’m not trusting nobody. I didn’t care for women’s feelings.”
Murphy always knew he wanted to go to school out of state, and believed becoming a father would put a hold on his future endeavors, but it was something stronger that changed him.
“What really brought me to celibacy was I started going to Every Nation Tallahassee, then got invited to Every Nation Campus Ministry,” Murphy said.
“I was used to fake Christians. I was used to everyone saying that they were Christian but we all hollering at the same girls and going to the same parties, but, we Christian. We are going to be at church on Sunday.”
Murphy recalls the day he told his friends that he was living for God and he was going to be celibate.
“That moment for me was huge because I took a stand when I was used to just fitting in with the crowd…I realized that if I really wanted to say I’m a Christian, my life had to start reflecting it somehow,” Murphy said.
A life void of kissing, masturbation, parties, movies with nudity in them and even R&B music is necessary for Murphy to continue his celibacy.
“The hardest thing about being celibate is like not masturbating. Straight up, I’m just gonna keep it real. You’re not allowed to do anything,” Murphy said. “Like if you’re not with somebody, from a man’s perspective, you’ll at least be like…maybe I can get some head or something. That’s just how a male thinks.”
Courtnee Willis, 20, a third-year family and child sciences student at Florida State University from St. Augustine, has been dating Murphy for nine months.
The two met at Every Nation, Tallahassee. Willis emphasized that if Murphy had not been celibate, the two would not be dating.
“I wasn’t focused on looking for a guy,” Willis said. “I was pretty much just looking for God and doing whatever He was calling me to do at that time and along came Branden.”
Amos Landers, 20, a third-year pre-pharmacy student is a close friend of Murphy’s, and said his friendship with Branden has helped him grow in his own spiritual walk.
“If there is anything to learn from Branden, it is that in order for you to fight your greatest spiritual battles…you can’t do it on your own because you are not strong enough,” Landers said.
“Branden makes sure his brothers in Christ keep him accountable while also practicing character behind closed doors.”
During Murphy’s free time, he likes to freestyle rap, dance, read books and keep himself involved with ministry.
Murphy has specific things he does in order to keep his mind from wandering in the wrong direction.
“My girlfriend and I set a curfew for hanging out at night so we don’t put ourselves in a tempting situation. I also memorize verses and say them in my head to remind myself,” said Murphy.
“Verses like Ephesians 5:3, Job 31:1, Job 31:11-12, and ultimately, I just try to stay busy because idle time can be the devil’s playground.”