Over the past year, the website MormonLeaks.io has published a number of internal Church documents that its leaders would never want you to see.
Those include leaked videos, a Powerpoint presentation with a slide about why people are leaving Mormonism, a document urging bishops to ask intrusive questions about children’s sex lives, and a disturbing exchange between a parent and a Mormon leader.
The site’s founder, Ryan McKnight, now hopes to duplicate that success for other religions.
FaithLeaks, like MormonLeaks, is founded on the belief that increased transparency results in fewer untruths, less corruption, and less abuse in any organization. It provides the same service of anonymizing sources from all religions, religious nonprofits, cults, and creeds with documented information they believe deserves to be made public.
Hear that, Jehovah’s Witnesses? Scientologists? Megachurch pastors whose finances are kept hidden from your own congregations?
This could be fun.
I asked McKnight what he hoped to accomplish — and whether he really believed this would generate anything newsworthy — and his response focused on transparency and honesty:
When I founded MormonLeaks in 2016 I never imagined that it would have the success that it did. I think it is safe to say that we have had a very real impact on advancing the discussion of transparency within Mormonism.
Based on feedback from people from various different religions and my own passion for the subject matter, I wanted to take this message to a wider audience. I am very proud of what we have done at MormonLeaks and I have no doubt we will be just as successful, if not more successful, with FaithLeaks.
Religions have a moral and ethical responsibility to be transparent to the public. To their members who are donating money for the advancement of the cause and to the public in general who have granted them tax-exempt status.
Dodge told me this project grew from a talk he gave at DefCon, the cybersecurity event, where he spoke about MormonLeaks.
After getting off stage I was approached by multiple people both current and former members of a wide range of religions and cults expressing interest in launching a similar project for their respective org.
Even weeks after giving the talk, I was receiving emails from people that were in attendance also wanting to team up. I was thrilled and quickly began talks with a couple people about launching individual projects for each organization.
This quickly became overwhelming as I spend anywhere from 10 to 20 hours a week on MormonLeaks and that would easily multiply per new project. What’s more is most of the people I was talking to didn’t necessarily want to be involved long term with the project.
That’s when it became obvious to me that something like FaithLeaks had to exist.
It’s still going to be just as overwhelming, and I’m ready for that, but these people that I spoke with can still be involved on demand should we receive documents concerning their religion. It is the ideal situation.
The non-profit organization overseeing both the Mormon and overall leak sites is called the Truth and Transparency Foundation, and donations to that group help keep both sites going.