Former employee confirms 'odd' MTC basement room with bed and TV

A file photo of the Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah before a remodel. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — A former employee tells 2News the LDS Missionary Training Center (MTC) had a room like the one described by a woman accusing a former mission president of sexual assault.

The former employee, who asked not to be identified, says the room did have a bed, TV and VHS Player. Those details were key to the woman’s story, first leaked by MormonLeaks on Monday, but were contested by Joseph L Bishop when he spoke to Brigham Young University Police detectives last December. The former employee doesn’t know the alleged victim, but recognized her description of the unusual room in the basement of the MTC.

The employee said the room was in an otherwise unfinished area in a lower junction part of the building. The area provided access to the building’s water pipes, electrical lines and tunnels connected to other campus structures. It was only accessible after passing through more than one locked door. The employee said the room itself had no windows, but was fully furnished inside. The furnishings included a single bed, similar to those used in the MTC dorms, and a TV and VHS player on a mobile cart.

2News was provided with an employment document which shows the employee worked for BYU shortly after the time Bishop served in the MTC. BYU students commonly work on site at the MTC. The former employee said they were told the room was “used by the previous MTC president as a place he would take naps and sometimes pray and also watch [Mormon Tabernacle Choir] videos to help him relax.”

“Based on the nature of the basement alone it would be shocking for anyone to take a sister missionary down in that basement for any reason. It was very dirty, dusty, [with] water dripping, running down the walls. It was a dark dank smelly place,” the person told 2News. “That’s why the fully built out little room down there was so odd. It had nice floors, walls, ceilings but no windows. It looked like almost any other training room in the MTC with the exception of the bed of course. It was just really odd and totally out of place.”

The former employee told 2News they felt compelled to share their experience after hearing Bishop’s accuser’s story. They said “There is no earthly reason she should’ve known that room existed, and no reason anyone should’ve been in the room alone with her.”

When asked about these new details, Eric Hawkins, spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, "Yes, Joseph Bishop had an secondary office in the basement of the MTC. People we have interviewed who were familiar with the office report it did not contain a bed."

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