Photo by Derrick Clements.
In the previous episode of this series, McKenna Denson shared her experience recording a conversation with her former Missionary Training Center president, Joseph Bishop, in which he can be heard admitting to sexual misconduct with multiple women while he was a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On the recording, she confronts him with the allegation that he raped her while she was a Mormon missionary in 1984, an allegation he denies.
In this part of the series, the spiritual dimension of this story begins to untangle.
How has the church responded to emerging facts — both “the church” as a collection of individual believers, as well as the corporate institution based in Salt Lake City?
On today’s episode:
“‘This Former Church Member’” (0:00-34:47) — McKenna Denson tells her story of conversion to the LDS church and how her faith changed after the MTC. Plus, Lindsay Hansen Park offers analysis of the LDS church’s institutional response to her story. What does this response suggest about the institution’s own competing priorities?
“Paradigm Shifts” (34:47-56:35) — How have Mormons reacted to details of McKenna’s story in their private experiences of faith? Nicole Jensen explains how the story has triggered some Mormon paradigms to shift, like coming to see the LDS church as a corporation, or reevaluating church authority. How, in particular, are other Mormon survivors of abuse processing the news?
“Belief Unto Repentance” (56:35-1:08:22) — A call to repentance. Featuring excerpts from a 2002 talk by former LDS general Relief Society leader Chieko Okazaki.