McKay ‘Spartacus’ Johnson is our guest today for this fantastic two-part Mormon Stories interview. Carah Burrell takes the reins again as lead interviewer as we talk to McKay about battling a “Nephi complex” growing up, early exposure to pornography, and his mission to Brasil where he describes being groomed by his mission companion and sexually assaulted. It’s an intense and undercover topic and we thank McKay for coming on the podcast to share his experience being a male sexual assault survivor.

In part two, McKay tells us about what it was like to heal from his mission and deconstruct the homophobic ideas he carried with him after his assault. Eventually getting married and divorced, we discuss with McKay what happened the night he confessed to his wife he had been occasionally viewing pornography and what can be done in Mormon culture to shift the unhelpful and counterproductive labeling of men like McKay. McKay is also a talented TikToker and musician, so we are happy he could find time to take a break from playing rock god to join us on Mormon Stories and we hope you’ll support him wherever his talents take him! 

Content warning: This episode contains discussion of sexual assault.


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Show notes: 


Part 1:


Download MP3


Part 2:


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  1. Fatfinger October 21, 2021 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Just finished part one, great interview “Spartacus” and great job Carah! I think this is the smoothest, most confident interview you’ve led, so far.

    Thanks for sharing McKay, I know it must be very hard and very triggering to revisit those ugly events. I haven’t seen the tik tok comments, but I can just imagine all of the “why didn’t you just waste that guy” type of talk., mostly from people that have no concept of the situation. Each circumstance has unique attributes, and that can be no more true than in the case of a believing Mormon in the midst of their mission. So many things to think about and consider and so not a “normal” environment in which to find oneself being sexually assaulted, and by your missionary companion no less! Anyway, thanks for being willing to tell your story.

    Also, I wanted to add that as a child of the 1970’s I love the rock talk. I was a huge Rush fan back in the day, saw them live multiple times, and considered them my second favorite band behind the mighty Sabs (Black Sabbath). Coincidentally, 2112 was by far my favorite of their albums. By the time Moving Pictures came along I was losing interest as they lost their metal edge and went to a more orchestrated sound.

    Thanks again. I love Mormon Stories. You guys provide a great service in helping the rest of us know we’re not alone and it is very much appreciated!

  2. Fatfinger October 21, 2021 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Oh, forgot to mention, please do include a mission picture. It’s just hard to envision a guy as a Mormon missionary when he looks like Uncle Ted (Nugent)!

  3. Lewis October 22, 2021 at 10:45 am - Reply

    This was by far Carah Burrell’s best interview so far! I appreciate that she dialed down the overly reductive rhetoric of gender and race that, up to this point, seemed to be shoehorned into each interview she had previously done. As NuanceHoe adds more nuance to her interview process instead of political persuasions, I can finally start to see what John Dehlin found so compelling to bring her on as a cohost. I understand why she would be compelled to bring gender, sexuality and race into every interview, but by encouraging McKay to tell his story, those topics fit much more naturally into the conversation than they have in the past. They also didn’t seem like a forced reduction of his experiences into labeled political categories that have otherwise seem to coerce interviewees to define themselves in the those terms. Great interview Carah and keep it up!

  4. Mr. Big October 23, 2021 at 5:08 am - Reply

    What happened for the church disciplinary action? They discussed having to go through it, but unless I missed it, not how it turned out. Also, more info on those 12 step anti-porn classes would have been interesting.

  5. D October 27, 2021 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    I have lost all confidence in the LDS Religion ever “self-policing” itself properly.

    My experience in it overall has been almost a nightmare.

    I won’t be fooled again, to almost quote The Who song.

  6. B Mons November 17, 2021 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    I’m currently working through the 1st part, but I couldn’t wait to share this thought:

    As a fellow millennial man who was a teenager of the 2000’s, I can totally relate to the weird Mormon youth dating culture McKay described, and I’m not even from Utah! No dating until you’re 16, no steady dating until after the mission, no hanging out in even numbers of boys and girls before your 16, no one-on-one dates before you’re an adult… Not being allowed to steady date really messed me up, and I’m only now realizing the impact that had on me and my understanding of committed relationships for a time. Finding weird loopholes to that rule like dating other people in between dates with your “significant other” were commonplace in my Mormon social circle. I’m really glad McKay talked about this, and I’ve heard it talked about in other interviews, but I think more needs to be said and understood about these problematic practices with Mormon youth dating!

    I cannot downplay the damage caused by the strange and seemingly harmless youth dating practices. They are a key part of the puzzle of Mormon youth sex shaming, and I’d love to hear more stories, more perspectives from therapists and experts, and more discussions on that topic.

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