Last year, the website MormonLeaks posted a recording of a woman interviewing 85-year-old Joseph L. Bishop, a man who used to run the Mormon Church’s main Missionary Training Center.
The woman alleged that, in 1984, Bishop attempted to rape her in the basement of that center. He didn’t admit to that, though he did later confess to molesting another woman in a similar position. The interviewer said at one point: “I don’t know how many women there are, but if this story went public, you would be the Harvey Weinstein… of the Mormon church.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints downplayed the recording by saying they knew about these claims in 2010, investigated them, and found no evidence the allegations were true. But in April, the woman who made that recording, McKenna Denson, filed a lawsuit against the Mormon Church and Bishop himself.
The lawsuit included many details about the alleged assault. At one point, when Denson says she finally kicked Bishop off of her body and left the room, he reportedly suggested “no one would believe her, saying ‘Look at you, look at me.’”
By August, a judge — who also happened to be a professor at Brigham Young University, which is owned by the LDS Church — dismissed most of that lawsuit. Bishop was no longer a defendant in the suit because the allegations had occurred too long ago. The judge did, however, agree that the statute of limitations against the Church hadn’t expired in certain aspects of the case, so the lawsuit could continue.
Still, the guts of the lawsuit had been ripped out.
Since that time, Denson has spoken out about the alleged abuse during a Fast and Testimony meeting (when Bishop was supposedly in the audience). Just last week, Denson had a front row seat when two other women said to their congregation that their leaders helped cover up for a pedophile.
That includes someone who snuck into her home and put Drano in her orange juice, someone who torched her car in her driveway, and someone in a hoodie who physically attacked her to the point where she ended up in the hospital.
There are no suspects, so it’s difficult for law enforcement to take action, but Denson says she now travels with security precautions.
Given that the only “enemies” she has in life are people inside the Mormon Church who think she’s trying to bring it down, she is convinced that the attacks are linked to someone on the inside. What else could it be?
That said, those would be some pretty radical ways for the Church to take revenge on someone. Denson is hardly the only vocal critic of Mormon leadership, and the judge did more to defang her lawsuit than poisoning a drink even could. Not to say she’s lying, either. It’s hard to imagine someone sacrificing so much to expose the Church’s problems would put her own credibility at risk… including by putting herself in the hospital.
I don’t necessarily know what to make of the attacks. But she’s certainly not alone in claiming there’s abuse within Church leadership.
(Thanks to Brian for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)