Episodes

Radio Free Mormon: 28: Church Sex Scandal Cover-up

In Radio Free Mormon fashion, RFM dissect the Church Sex Abuse Scandal coverup like a legal case.  He shows the incredible evidence that the Joseph Layton Bishop Jr. case was an attempted cover-up by the Church throughout the entire event.

Less Redacted Police Report

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20 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 28: Church Sex Scandal Cover-up

  1. Oh, My, Goth! BTW, “protecting the image of the church???”
    Being honest in their dealings with their fellow men might go a lonnnnnnnnng way toward that goal, ya think? Standard Apologetics (defending the indefensible – lies, theft, abuse…) is a 180 from “protecting the image of the church.”

    Shows just about how much THEY want to protect the churches image, or stand for Christ?
    “By their apologetics ye shall know them.”
    Like a lying entitled child, they just dig themselves deeper and deeper…

  2. WOW!!! This is a microphone drop moment in church history. I don’t know what to say… I mainly want to thank you RFM for sharing with us your expertise in this area with the law because frankly, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I have in the process of several months now come to the conclusion that the LDS church is not God’s church. Its not what He intended in the restoration. I have been really deeply studying polygamy and polyandry in the church in Nauvoo and I believe that everything after Joseph Smith, starting with Brigham Young has been a huge conspiracy. I have read the first volume of Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy and am part way through volume 2. So, I wasn’t thrown off with your statement that the current 15 men should not be sustained, I’m already there. But I think what I may be feeling is a psychological injury that I thought they were at least mostly good, but they really are so filthy.

    I am where I am at in my journey because of bad men and women in positions of local authority. I seen the abuse and evilness first hand by how they as leaders in my ward treat and/or neglect others especially the widows and fatherless. To give just two examples: as primary president I intervened when nothing was going to be done by the bishop when a two time felony sex offender of children was grooming a child in our ward (before sacrament began) who was brought by family friends. I assume no one knew of this man’s history except leaders because it wasn’t talked about. Being in charge of the children I looked this list up so that I could watch out for my primary kids. The Bishop was reluctant to do anything but finally did ‘something’. He however wouldn’t reveal to me what took place between him and the man. The child stopped attending. I did follow up and the family preferred not to send her anymore. I never got a full story. Another example is that I was contacted late at night by a single mom who’s son attempted suicide that day and was in the hospital. She asked me to cover for her at church the next day so that no one would know. She wanted someone to know so that her calling would be taken care of, but that she didn’t trust anyone else to know. She asked multiple times for me not to tell anyone especially not the leadership. This speaks volumes of the LDS society. Also, everyone who is LDS knows that primary is looked down on as the least of all. Yet this woman didn’t trust any other auxiliary and came to the primary for aid. The leaders in my ward expect to be hailed as rock stars who wear a crown, they are totally arrogant and prideful. After almost two years in primary of taking a beating at church from unchristian members and leaders. I and my husband have stood up to the leaders at the ward and stake level because of the unchristian behavior and attitudes in our ward and we have been punished. We were told that we as members must sustain the position or calling of our leaders, not the individual, but actually in-spite of that individual. Also, that by not sustaining and becoming inactive I was leaving the covenant path, that I was breaking my temple covenants, that I had defiled the temple the last time I went (my brother’s wedding), that I would most likely not make it to heaven, and that they were concerned for our children because of my choice.
    However, I am grateful for my eyeopening experience. It has been a rough road, but I would not know what I do now and I would never go back. I completely appreciate the perspective and the knowledge I have now. I’m so glad that I’m not still in those mists of darkness full of excuses and answer-less. I am feeling closer to the Savior than ever, and I feel as though I was led through the whole uncomfortable process. I love my Savior more than ever. I see now that it is only Him that I need.
    I hope my experience can help someone else out there, especially in light of what the LDS church is doing right now. That though the experience might seem bad while you’re in it, it is worth the struggle. It is always worth standing up for others, it is always worth being there for others. I will also be voting no during conference RFM, and wishing you and I peace during this time of new realization…

  3. Thank you for this podcast. It compiles, analyzes and sums up the events of this timeline very well.

    I consider this case an extremely significant one in church history. One that will mark the Church forever.

    I know LDS parents that light up with excitement about that mission call letter, and deliver their young sons and daughters at the footstep of the MTC.

    To have these young women raped at the hands of an MTC president only to have the Church cover up for the perpetrator and demean the victim is something that can’t just be dismissed as an issue of “imperfect men.” There is something sinister about this. This is evidence of a disgraceful state of the church leadership.

    For the safety of LDS members, I hope this case will gather even more momentum and topple the vile corruption that has long been brewing among the top leaders. Shame on them.

    The LDS church remains the single greatest disappointment of my life.

  4. Thank you RFM for this report. Wow!

    I do not know what to say. My questions seem frivolous in comparison to the evidence provided.

    I wonder how she got out of the basement; were the doors locked behind them? Had she gone to the basement more than once? Etc. But none of these questions matter.

    She went to the MTC with such hope of serving Lord Jesus only to be preyed upon by his anointed servant. Then, she was rejected by his other anointed servants when seeking justice. This is gut wrenching and a price will be paid.

    The late author Robert Smith said about the church leaders that they will be cast into outer darkness for what they have done and what they are now doing.

  5. Great thorough coverage. Thanks. First time listener. I’ll be back.

  6. Your analysis does NOT have the ring of truth. It has the characteristics of sensationalism fabricated to confuse and confound and hold the attention of gullible listeners. Stretching a ten minute report into an hour and 54 minutes by tantalizingly repeating the same lies and hints of further lies, dozens of times does not make the lies truer.

    It is unlikely that a young woman would have her clothing torn off in the basement of a crowded building and have it go unnoticed as she made her way back to her living quarters to redress herself unless she was as culpable and sneaky as the alleged predator. To call her knowledge of an alternate office “the smoking gun” because a student janitor confirmed the room’s existence is ludicrous, because if one student janitor knew about it, then many did, so she could have found out about it from any of them, or because she was one herself. I believe the Student Ward Bishop had the spirit of discernment when he said her story three years later didn’t sound credible because it was so inconsistent.

    To report that she was willing to negotiate for “hush money” gives further lie to her credibility and does not damage the church’s credibility considering she came forward at the height of the “#me too” hysteria since Oct 2017 and the church did not cave-in to her money demands.

    Anything done anonymously is suspect. Timing of this makes it even more so. The BYU police report and 2010 “second woman” report shows there was probably something immoral going on that probably had been repented of by the time it was reported three years later, but it is unlikely that anything illegal happened. Church discipline is no one’s business except those directly involved. To call church justice inadequate when one is not directly involved and not privy to all the evidence is meddling at best and salacious at worst. As done in this report, it is more subversive than anything else.

    • Actually, Jack, it has exactly the ring of truth. As an attorney trained in investigative and analytical thinking, I find RFM’s approach far superior in its logical structure than your rebuttal.
      As an active, believing, and faithful member of the church, I want you to understand how ugly, repugnant, and un-Christlike members like you are.

    • The two major points that I took away from this, is that The church blurred the ecclesiastical and corporate roles, when they gave out highly confidential church adoption and discipline records to an outside party, when those details had no bearing on the case, except to be used as a character smear of McKenna Denson.

      At the same time, they appear to have no record or lost, any actions, discussions, tags, meetings, when it comes to Bishop.

      How do you feel about that?

      Regardless of the veracity of Mckenna’s story, the church were willing to use bribery and character assassination in order to protect a potential abuser and self confessed molester and sexual predator.

  7. In the end I don’t think we can expect anything better, considering a sexual predator founded the LDS church. JS coerced young women, slandered those who threatened to expose him and lied to everyone except those in his inner circle. Not only does the stinking corruption go up to the top levels but it’s been that way since day one.

  8. Well, just when you drop the mic it gets even worse and we find out the church that didn’t have the resources to investigate Bishop actually helped their legal team assemble the dossier (that Bishop’s son used) on the victim in order to decrease the value of her settlement (or blackmail her? I’m not quite sure). This whole thing gets me so fired up.

  9. A member of the Quorum of the 12 is the chair of the public affairs council is is consulted every day by the executive director according to Michael Otterson former managing director. They certainly approved and were part of the newsroom releases. Its a shame that leaders in the church supported such a statement full of victim blaming and even had lies about what they knew. Our church should support victims not blame them.

  10. Thank you RFM for your time and effort in putting this together. This incident has been a whirlwind and my already shaken faith in the church’s leadership is hanging by a thread, if not already broken and I’m just not accepting it yet… Full of overwhelming questions and emotions right now. My heart hopes that this incident is a “first” for the church in covering up abuse. But my mind is telling me that that’s likely a low probability scenario.

    Bless you for all you do.

    • I listened to this podcast whilst on a long drive the other night. I did not need any caffeine. This blew my mind wide open. The blatant lies. The entitlement on the part of the leadership. The hypocrisy. Wow. Invaluable information, especially those with children going through the church’s programs. This, and your other podcasts RFM, have brought so much awareness to me and I can’t thank you enough for your work.

  11. Thanks for your research and for your report on this matter. The story is really shocking. On the other hand I am not so much surprised about the attitude of the Church top leadership (that is a long story, as I found out doing my own research over the years).
    2Nephi 28 comes to mind. I would not want to be this Joseph Bishop for the world. Wow. Some people seem to think they can live forever. But they don’t live forever. Being 85 years of age he will soon find out. I wonder what will be his position at the final judgement.
    My sympathy goes to the victims.
    Thanks again, and greetings, Rik Metz, Groningen ,the Netherlands.

  12. It’s clear that sister x was taken to a basement room. The fact that Bishop remembers it as a room off the cafeteria or basement is irrelevant. The question is what occurred in that basement?

    Imagine a scenario where Bishop is a man “addicted” to pornography and masturbation. (The TBM definition of addiction… every now and then). An attractive sister missionary comes in. She tells him about her permission sex and child. Perhaps she comes onto him. He’s tempted. He takes her to basement and asks to see her breasts. She does, willingly. The incident ends.

    Bishop feels horrible about it. He confesses it to leadership a year or so later. There was no contact, no force, two consenual adults. Yes he was her leader, and that was wrong, but from a discipline / chastity standpoint there’s no law broken. He’s on probation. And gets some low level positions going forward. He’s passed over for higher callings.

    Later the woman, either maliciously or “false memory” (the conflation of her experience with Bishop and past rape/abuse) changes the story from willing breast exposure to rape. The church investigates and concludes: Bishop already told us about this, he’s been clean for 30 years since, there no need for discipline according to his version. She’s on record as fabricating a rape on her mission… ultimately this is he said she said, there’s not much we (the church) can do at this point.

  13. RFM, in the episode you wonder about how Joseph Bishop got Sister X’s phone number. Remember, that she contacted him posing as a reporter first, and that was the initial contact. She got permission to talk to him in person via the phone. I also seem to recall that in the interview, they talked about calling each other, and they both indicated they knew each other’s phone numbers. I don’t think anything suspicious happened in regards to that specific detail.

    Thanks for the thorough analysis of the entire event.

  14. What’s the statute of limitations on an ongoing cover up of a sexual allegation? Isn’t conspiracy a crime in Utah?

  15. RFM. Question.

    How do you plug up the hole that Mckenna may have learned about the room from someone else–perhaps an employee telling her? You did mention that it was eventually admitted there was another room, but could she have found out about this another way other than physically going there?

    I ask NOT to be adversarial, but because you are a lawyer. I’m genuinely curious.

    I also think the Church is guilty as sin in this…and since we know the church will not apologize, they have given themselves carte-blanch to do all they can to “protect their good name.”

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