WWJD: Who Would Jesus Defend?

In 1984, a vicious crime took place in Utah: Two men murdered their brother’s wife and infant daughter. The perpetrators confessed, expressed no remorse, said they’d do the same thing again — and claimed to be following orders from God. Jon Krakauer used the crime as a starting point for Under the Banner of Heaven, a wholesale exposé of Mormon fundamentalism that goes back to the church’s origins and reveals in painstaking detail the multiple ways the monolithic institution hides and protects its darkest practices. Investigative journalist Lisa Davis takes a similar route in her book, The Sins of Brother Curtis: A Story of Betrayal, Conviction, and the Mormon Church. She starts with Frank Curtis, “a sweet grandfatherly type” taken in by a woman named Sandy Scott after the two met through a Mormon ward. Long after Curtis had left, Scott discovered that he’d repeatedly molested their son Jeremiah, who at the time was 11. Davis, a former staff writer at SF Weekly, follows the Scotts into court, where a lawyer finds multiple victims who span several states and decades. We later learn that Curtis uses his position in the church to get close to children — buying them gifts, acting as a scout leader, living temporarily with families such as the Scotts — all with church approval and accommodation. What’s perhaps most shocking is the lengths to which the church goes to legally defend Curtis and avoid his exposure.
Tue., March 15, 7 p.m., 2011

 
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