An advocate did something rather unconventional during The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ General Conference.
“Stop protecting sexual predators!” Crystal Legionaires yelled as leaders of the church walked up to their seats overlooking the 21,000-person audience Saturday afternoon at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City. The General Conference is a semiannual function where speakers include all 15 men regarded as “prophets, seers, and revelators” by believers.
Legionaires told Fox 13 that she was the individual who shouted. Allegations last month of sexual abuse in the Mormon church moved her to do it, Legionaires said.
“This is the new presidency, and with a new presidency we need to reflect on the old and the things that have been problematic in the church,” she remarked.
Legionaires raised her hand to oppose during the period in which church leaders were sustained, but she thought that wouldn’t suffice for sufficient communication of a differing opinion, she told Fox 13.
“We need to focus on all the individuals who are neglected and forced to be silent,” she remarked.
She pointed out to Fox 13 an issue where a woman said that Joseph Bishop, a former president of the church’s main Missionary Training Center, sexually assaulted her.
“There was a woman who was sexually assaulted by her MTC president, and he even admitted to it on a recording and even with that, the response from the church was: We don’t have enough evidence. We aren’t going to do anything,” she said.
The church did not respond to Fox 13’s request for comment on Legionaires’ advocacy, though it stated within the past few weeks that when it comes to sexual violence, the church is in opposition.
People who were within the conference center told Fox 13 they were surprised by Legionaires’ action.
“She was actually sitting right across from us and it scared me more than anything,” said Brenna Pincock.
Hyrum Ward wasn’t sure about how the advocacy took place, Fox 13 reported.
“No, I don’t think it’s the right time and place,” said Ward, at the conference with family. “I suppose they have their freedom. But it’s a little bit disruptive.”
Michael Carthew told Fox 13 he thought about the shout.
“It causes you to wonder what’s gone on that someone would want to do that,” Carthew said. “Then you focus on why you’re there and the peace that you feel and what it means to you.”
Legionaires wasn’t disciplined after she yelled, though security took her away from church grounds. She doesn’t regret her action and wants to see the church make related changes, she told Fox 13.