#MormonMeToo Part 1: The First Law of Heaven

 McKenna Denson (left) is pictured at the Provo Missionary Training Center in 1984. Image courtesy of Jessica Lowder, with permission by McKenna Denson. McKenna Denson (left) is pictured at the Provo Missionary Training Center in 1984. Image courtesy of Jessica Lowder, with permission by McKenna Denson.

While McKenna Denson was was training as a Mormon missionary in the MTC in Provo, Utah in 1984, she says the MTC president, Joseph Bishop, raped her in a basement room.

Last year, she confronted Bishop in person and recorded their conversation, where he can be heard admitting to sexual misconduct with multiple women throughout his time as a high-ranking church leader.

Bishop denies the rape allegation, but a Brigham Young University police report shows that he told officers that while he served as president of the MTC, he asked a young sister missionary to expose her breasts to him in a basement room.

On this episode of Mosaic, the #MeToo movement comes to Mormonism.

In this first entry in a special series on #MormonMeToo, we’ll look at how the Mormon concept of obedience helps shed light on this complex, difficult story.

On today’s episode:

“Do You Know Who I Am?” (00:00-28:40) — A sister missionary confronts her MTC president on tape, she obtains a confession, and the tape gets out.

“In Her Words” (28:40-54:43) — McKenna Denson describes her decision to confront Joseph Bishop and what she experienced during the meeting.

“Dossier” (54:43-01:29:37) — We meet Denson’s biological daughter Jessica Lowder, who was brought into this story after she was named on a dossier compiled by a lawyer for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in an apparent attempt to undermine Denson’s credibility.

6 thoughts on “#MormonMeToo Part 1: The First Law of Heaven

  1. Honestly nice post. I really enjoyed it, on of my favorites on this subject. I hope you will like the one I did.McKenna Denson a force for goodhttps://seekingyhwh.com/2018/10/25/mckenna-denson-a-force-for-good/

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  2. Wow! More revelation here than Leaders have given in 189 years. The First Law of Heaven is Agency and Not Obedience. That was Satan’s Plan to force obedience to God through Him. That plan is the same as in the hierarchy as the LDS Church to this day, in christ’s name only. Do we have eyes to see, ears to hear, Him? Obedience to leaders who claim that obedience to Them is the Only way to God defies God and Christ. This robs us of the First Law of Heaven, our agency, our growth and progression, the glory to Them.

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  3. I removed my name from the church roll this month. I’m a convert, and many times through the years I have said, "There is nothing you people can do to make me leave your church." And that’s still true, so when President Nelson invited members of the conference congregation to pray about concerns, fears, weaknesses, and “the very longings of your heart. . . .And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions you are prompted to take. " I took that challenge, and then I took the action directed by the Lord.

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  4. I have no doubt "something" bad happened to this woman, via Joseph Bishop. However, listen to her Mormon Discussions Podcast interview, and compare it to this interview. You will find a few glaring contradictions. So, either she was "holding back" true info, or she’s exaggerating. Could be the former. Or, she could be making stuff up for emphasis, like Paul Dunn did. Honestly, I don’t know. She claimed before "there was no penetration" and she claims here "after he penetrated me". Okay. Again, maybe, she was holding back before. Or, maybe she is making things up. I have no doubt that Bishop asks to see her breasts, and she took them out for him to view. After that, she contradicts herself.

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  5. I was at the MTC when McKenna was there, and when Joseph Bishop was MTC President. I heard and saw Bishop and his wife (who was 50ish at the time and SUPER sexy), give a talk. They said if not for this ‘calling’ they’d be ‘living on the street’ because they lost ‘millions’ in ‘bad investments’. I remember asking myself: "How could a man of God, who has the Spirit of God in him, make any bad investments?" I remember thinking that. I remember staring at Bishop’s wife because she was in great shape but had "curves". Nice ones. I felt guilty looking at her. Sinful. But I repented.

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  6. I have a few questions: How do they know Craig Bishop is the one who leaked the dossier to the press? McKenna made that statement but the reporter did not follow up on that point. Perhaps someone on her side leaked it so they could make the argument they now make — that the Church is slimy for leaking it. How do they know Joe Bishop did not have serious Church discipline and then return to full fellowship? McKenna and her daughter make it sound like the Church never did anything to him. If there is no corroborating evidence and the accused denies the charge (here, rape), the Church can take no action. Did he ever actually confess to raping her in the interview? I did not hear that. I heard a elderly man who knows he did thing wrong things in his past and it sounded like he was “autopilot contrite” but clearly confused. The fact he said she “ought to be” mad at him could mean he knew he probably did something inappropriate to her in the past but could not recall her specifically. His confusion about her earlier-life situation before she arrived at the MTC bears this out. In any event, I am glad we have court systems and I hope every party gets a fair trial and McKenna gets her day in court and has some closure.

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