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Henderson man creates 'Mormon Wikileaks' website

Posted at 6:50 PM, Dec 23, 2016
and last updated 2018-11-21 17:26:33-05

A Henderson man is making national headlines for creating a website called Mormon Wikileaks, which provides a way for people to anonymously leak inside information on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Ryan McKnight says he grew up in a Mormon family and was committed to the church, doing a mission in Barcelona, Spain, and getting married at the LDS Temple in Las Vegas.

But a few years ago, McKnight began studying church history, and began to reevaluate what he believed in. That led to a decision to leave the church he'd been a member for 32 years.

"I lost almost all my friends over it," he says. "It was very difficult."

But last year, McKnight found himself involved in the church again, this time from the outside. He obtained leaked information about the LDS church's 'November policy,' which kept children of same-sex couples from certain church sacraments like baptism.

"It was just being in the right place at the right time," McKnight says. He says if he hadn't leaked the information, someone else would have.

That leak led to more informants coming forward.  He shared multiple videos on his YouTube channel that show inside meeting with top LDS church leaders talking about everything from marijuana to LGBT issues.

Soon, as McKnight had more and more people coming forward with church information, he realized they needed an outlet to maintain their anonymity.

So, he created the website. It allows a secure way for people to come forward with inside church information.  McKnight says he vets the information and then leaks it to the public. So far, he's already released a few documents from high-level LDS leaders, including a memo expressing concerns over pictures being taken inside temples without permission.

It's created a lot of interest, but also some criticism from LDS church members. "They might feel I have an axe to grind or that I'm trying to hurt the church," he says. "I don't think they're correct and if they would talk to me for 10 minutes, I think they would change their mind."

McKnight says nothing he's released has hurt the church in any way.  He says his main focus is church transparency, and says knowing how the church spends its money should be important to church members.

McKnight says so far, he and a team of six people have done all the work setting up the website, and have funded it themselves. They've set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Mormon Wikileaks. In addition to the main site, they also have a Facebook and Twitter page.

He says so far, he hasn't heard anything from church leadership against what he's doing. 13 Action News reached out the church's headquarters in Salt Lake City. They said they had no comment on the website.