Resurfaced Documentary Uncovers Accusations of Child Abuse Against Former Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley

By Derrick Broze

The documentary The True Story of Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley and its accusations against Mormon Church leadership has not been seen by the public in almost 30 years — until now.

In late May, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office announced an investigation into “ritualized child sexual abuse” in 3 different Utah counties. Following that announcement, The Last American Vagabond (TLAV) produced a series of 5 articles focused on the sheriff’s investigation, as well as claims of child sexual abuse in Utah at large, and within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

In our 5th report we investigated the history of claims of child abuse within the Mormon Church. From the Pace Memo to Paperdolls, accusations of various church members and officials participating in and/or covering up organized sexual abuse of children are not hard to find in LDS history.

On the heels of our reporting on these historical accusations, The Associated Press dropped a bombshell of an investigation which is causing headaches for the LDS. Their reporting shows that church leadership used their “help line” to cover up reports of pedophilia.

The AP obtained almost 12,000 pages of previously sealed records from a child sex abuse lawsuit against the Mormon Church in West Virginia. These documents and testimony from victims make it clear that the so-called help line can “easily be misused by church leaders to divert abuse accusations away from law enforcement and instead to church attorneys who may bury the problem, leaving victims in harm’s way.”

The AP reported:

“The father, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an admitted pornography addict, was in counseling with his bishop when he revealed the abuse. The bishop, who was also a family physician, followed church policy and called what church officials have dubbed the “help line” for guidance.

But the call offered little help for MJ. Lawyers for the church, widely known as the Mormon church, who staff the help line around the clock told Bishop John Herrod not to call police or child welfare officials. Instead he kept the abuse secret.

Herrod continued to counsel MJ’s father, Paul Douglas Adams, for another year, and brought in Adams’ wife, Leizza Adams, in hopes she would do something to protect the children. She didn’t. Herrod later told a second bishop, who also kept the matter secret after consulting with church officials who maintain that the bishops were excused from reporting the abuse to police under the state’s so-called clergy-penitent privilege.

Adams continued raping MJ for as many as seven more years, into her adolescence, and also abused her infant sister, who was born during that time. He frequently recorded the abuse on video and posted the video on the internet.”

Adams was never reported by the church or excommunicated. He was only arrested in 2017 after Homeland Security agents were tipped off by police in New Zealand when one of the videos of sexual abuse was discovered in another pedophile’s phone. Adams would kill himself in police custody before trial.

Some critics argue that the Pace Memo, Paperdolls, and other such accusations are lacking in credibility. Defenders of the church also believe these latest reports of child sexual abuse are only isolated examples.

However, we believe the history of LDS leadership should be examined for signs of similar behavior. If the church is failing to intervene in child sexual abuse in recent years, then we must ask whether there are examples of failure to act — or outright coverups — in the history of the Mormon Church.

The True Story of Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley

In March 1995, after decades of committing his life to Mormon doctrine, Gordon Bitner Hinckley became the President of the LDS Church. Hinckley would serve until his death on January 27, 2008, at the age of 97. Hinckley’s rise is a story of persistence and being in the right place at the right time.

Hinckley was born on June 23, 1910 to Mormon educator Bryant S. Hinckley and his wife Ada Bitner Hinckley. Due to the influence of his father, it was all but inevitable that the younger Hinckley would follow in his fathers footsteps.

Hinckley’s star began to rise in September 1961 when he became an apostle in the church’s “Quorom of the Twelve Apostles”. In this role he served on the First Presidency to the 9th President of the LDS, David McKay.

It was during the 1960s that Hinckley played a major role in expanding the LDS message by facilitating the purchase of shortwave radio stations and TV networks. When the church formed Bonneville International Corporation in 1964, Hinckley was named a vice president, a member of the board of directors, and a member of the executive committee.

It was also during this time that Hinckley is accused of participating in extramarital affairs with prostitutes, men, and young boys.

The accusations against Gordon Hinckley first began to surface in the early 1980s. This was largely due to the investigations of a Mormon man named Bill Claudin who had been pursuing claims of sex affairs relating to Hinckley.

As part of his investigation, Claudin claimed to have interviewed several witnesses and collected signed affidavits testifying to the truth of their statements. These interviews resulted in hours of videotapes which were then edited into short clips and included in a controversial documentary released in 1992 under the name The God Makers II.

While The God Makers II does include small pieces of these interviews, the main focus of the film deals with claims relating to the origin of Mormon rituals and prayers. When The God Makers II was released the LDS community rejected most of its claims, including accusations against Gordon B. Hinckley. The films were made available on VHS and circulated among Utah churches, but are hardly known outside of the LDS Church.

Although the full unedited interviews conducted by Bill Claudin and team have never seen the light of day, an edited version of the investigation and interviews was released as a documentary under the name The True Story of Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley.

This documentary was distributed among Claudin and associates as they hosted screenings at any church willing to listen. At one point there may have been as many as 3,000 copies of this tape. As of the publishing of this investigation we have been unable to locate more than one physical copy of the tape, and no digital version has been uploaded to the internet. Until now.

In the interest of the historical record, providing a voice to alleged victims, and in the hopes of encouraging more witnesses and/or victims to speak out, TLAV is releasing the documentary in full as originally produced:

The Accusations Against Gordon B. Hinckley

Bill Claudin reportedly began investigating Gordon B. Hinckley sometime in the late 1980s. In the video, Claudin, who was a Mormon, says he was encouraged by other Mormon friends to pursue “the story of truth”.

The story Claudin found involved Gordon B. Hinckley and the Hunter brothers, Alvin and Walton, owners of the Hunter Motor Co. car lot, hosting parties which were frequented by prostitutes. These parties allegedly took place at the apartment above the car lot, and another house which was purchased by Hinckley or associates as a safe place to party.

“I know the story is true through 8 months of an investigation. My wife and I have spent untold hours, man hours and dollars, investigating this to find out the truthfulness of what we believe is the highest proportion of hypocrisy that I have ever heard of,” Claudin stated at a press conference shown in the video “I think that it should be known by all LSD people and church members.”

Claudin, like most of the people involved in the investigation and witness to the alleged activity, is deceased.

Louis Sims, a Hunter Motor Co. employee, speaks in the film describing what he witnessed. Sims states that he knew many of the women who were present at these sex parties and recruited them. He claimed he would typically bring four or five girls to the parties.

“I took a lot of girls to Chuck Van Damme’s house… and a lot of people — that were supposed to be important people, supposed to be good church going people, some of them were bishops, counselors — that I actually seen go in there or leaving there,” Sims states on the tape.

Charles Van Damme was the manager of the Hunter Motor Co. for the Hunters. During the recording of the tape, Van Damme was dying from AIDS. He claimed to have had a love affair with Gordon B. Hinckley from “about 1964 to 1966”. Van Damme also claims to have seen Hinckley with prostitutes.

Van Damme claimed that Hinckley and the Hunter’s provided the money for him to purchase the house off Lakeline Drive in Utah. “We bought that house for a party pad. And Gordon Hinckley, Alvin and Walton Hunter came up there all the time and I had to arrange women for them, I had to arrange booze for them. I had to arrange everything,” Van Damme stated.

Van Damme said he was excommunicated from the LDS by Hinckley in 1970 for being a homosexual.

Another alleged witness to Hinckley and the Hunter’s “party house” was a Mormon man named Ben Pelham. He claims to have been introduced to Gordon B. Hinckley via the Hunters and their manager for the car lot, Charles Van Damme.

“The hunters built an apartment above the car lot, which they held parties at. With both men and women, drinking and carrying on up there, most all the time,” Pelham states in the documentary.

Allegations of Abuse of Young Boys

Up to this point the allegations against Hinckley and the Hunters range from violating Mormon norms and customs to infidelity in their marriages. However, the most disturbing of the allegations involve claims of young boys being present at these sex parties.

Ben Pelham was also one of four people who claimed they saw young boys in the apartment and/or house.

“I did see Alvin, Walter, and Hinckley go up to the apartment with prostitutes — I would guess they were prostitutes — and young boys,” Pelham stated. “These parties were frequented all the time by the Hunters and Mr. Hinckley and some of the other church officials. And they weren’t there to play poker.”

Charles Van Damme also accused Hinckley of having “anal intercourse” with “feminine looking boys”.

“Youngsters, Im talking about 15, 16 years old. Just little youngsters, babies,” Van Damme said.

Viola Gallo was also claimed to have been at the parties, met Hinckley, and witnessed young boys at a party.

“I remember hearing them saying, calling him Gordon Hinckley and I was introduced to him one time,” Gallo said in the film.

“There was a couple of young boys one night at a party. I would say around 15 or 16, and they went off to a bedroom together – Hinckley and the boys, two boys, in fact. And they were in there for quite a while.”

Corroborating Witness: Darrel Clegg

The allegations against Gordon B. Hinckley refer to the time period of the mid-1960s, when he was serving as an apostle. However, in the 1980s, when the interviews were being conducted and these films released, Hinckley had been appointed to the First Presidency, serving as counselor to LDS President Spencer W. Kimball.

When Kimball died in 1985, Eza Taft Benson became President of the Church with Hinckley as his first counselor. By time The God Makers II was being released in 1992, Hinckley was taking part in an official visit to Rome to present a copy of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism to the Vatican.

Clearly, Hinckley was an influential and powerful figure in the Mormon Church well before he became President in 1995. Hinckley’s stature in the church makes it all the more likely that the LDS would seek to silence accusations against him.

According to Utah native Darrel Clegg, an associate of Bill Claudin’s who met several of the witnesses, a lawyer representing Hinckley attempted to stop the released of the film.

Clegg provided his version of events in a video testimony recorded in March 2014. He also preserved a VHS copy of The True Story of Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley. He asked that these not be released until after his death. Clegg passed away in 2017. These tapes were sent to TLAV and used for this investigation.

Read rest of Part 1 HERE

Continue reading our investigation in part 2 concerning the accusations against Mormon Bishop Walton Hunter — Daughters of Former Mormon Bishop Walton Hunter Accuse Father of Rape.

Source: The Last American Vagabond

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