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Christine Carol Robinson Burton is the niece of the late Mormon prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, and the daughter of Oliver Preston Robinson and Christine Hinckley Robinson.  Christine’s father, Preston or “Pres” was a prominent professor of advertising a the University of Utah, general manager of the Deseret News Publishing Company and editor of the Deseret News, and a personal mentor to the late Mormon prophet Thomas S. Monson.  Preston was mentioned seven different times in the LDS Church-approved biography of Thomas S. Monson.

In Christine’s heartbreaking and inspiring story, she relates several tragic Mormon-related stories, including:

  • Experiencing psychological, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her parents.
  • Feeling deep confusion trying to reconcile her parents’ abuse with her own self-worth, given that her parents/family were publicly lauded on multiple occasions by several Mormon prophets as being exemplary.  This included her father being called as mission president in England, and both of her parents receiving their Second Anointing after the abuse.
  • Her attempts to tell both Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson (as sitting prophets/apostles) about the abuse she experienced at the hands of her parents – wherein she was told by both that she needed to “put it behind her.”
  • The death by suicide of her gay son.
  • Her loss of Mormon faith.
  • Her commitment to helping others heal and grow after Mormonism.

We hope you find value in this heartbreaking and inspiring episode.

Show Notes:

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16 Comments

  1. Another View July 6, 2022 at 10:04 am - Reply

    One of the best interviews I have heard. So sorry she went through that.

    I hope it will help others in her shoes.

  2. Laura Long July 6, 2022 at 10:26 am - Reply

    Oh, my goodness! I am only 10 minutes into this interview and I am speechless! This is so sad on so many levels. I can’t believe that Christine’s mother was basically thrown out by her own father. Amazing interview.

  3. SPEECHLESS July 7, 2022 at 7:33 am - Reply

    So dramatic interview and as a Finn I don’t find words to describe what goes in my mind.
    Thank you Christine for your/your mother’s story, so sorry what you had go through all that and more.
    Thank you John and Crew for providing us authentic information.

  4. Janie Hamai July 7, 2022 at 9:31 am - Reply

    I loved this interview. Being a Mother is hard on its own. Being a Mormon mother is weirdly, wonderfully HARD. You get good guidelines for raising children. You try to adhere to a good moral standard. You have a community. Pile on to that eternal commitment, loads of babies ( who I love), callings that you would never say no to, temple work, genealogy, meetings, Eagle Scouts, Secrets in religion, and ancestral secrets, perfect body , being sweet, ETC. I did put my should to the wheel just like my ancestors. However the cart was so flipping heavy. I pushed myself and the cart off the cliff because I was so blind and busy I couldn’t really see where I was going.
    I wish my Mother felt free to share with me about real life and not only the Mormon mind set. She too was a product of the complete mind control. I followed the pattern.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. You lived in a fish bowl trying to be perfect. I can’t even imagine how hard that was. But guess what? We are perfect just the way we are! I survived the fall, trying to rebuild my wagon, or maybe just a Fanny pack and of course carry on the best I can! Cheers to you three!

  5. Linda July 7, 2022 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    This was so very harrowing to watch. I had to keep pausing it to catch my breath. Christine , you were so brave to share your story and those of other members of your family. I hope with all my heart that talking about it somehow gives you some comfort.

  6. Mary Moon July 7, 2022 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    Never Mo, but abuse survivor and I want to say that I think that Christine has done a huge and brave thing here by telling her story. So many families who appear to be absolutely perfect in every way from the outside are often harboring the darkest secrets. Listening to her story I am enraged at every authority figure (and what hugely authoritative figures in this case!) who told her to just get on with her life. Christine’s story is the perfect example of how not only abuse but the denial of it and those who make light of it can affect and poison a person’s mind and soul for their entire life and then affect the victim’s children too. Throw in a religion which is so ardently protective of its abusers and so demanding of its members, and it’s a miracle that anyone survives. I want Christine to know that she has been heard and that many of us out here admire her tremendously and grieve that she has had to face this life of such unbelievable difficulty.
    I will also add that in my experience, people who were abused by their mothers have the hardest time ever coming to any sort of healing. The most basic and supposedly instinctual bond is between mother and child and when that is broken so horrifically at such an early age, it is a tragedy beyond bearing.
    Thank you, Christine. You have helped legions with this interview.

  7. Gary July 8, 2022 at 11:24 am - Reply

    Fascinating, enthralling, tragic, enlightening, tender.

    Mike P was my very close friend, colleague at the business where we worked together, and soul mate for many years. Later, both Mikes became dear friends.

    The hurt over the loss of these friends is and always will be tender.

    Well done Christine! Hugs to you. Both Mikes always spoke so affectionately about you.

  8. Lee July 8, 2022 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Wow, this is an amazing story. Thank you for sharing Christine. What courage and yes, you are remarkable! To go through what you did and come out a functioning, kind person. You are beautiful!

  9. Lee July 8, 2022 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Is there a mormon stories podcast with her son Mark? I couldn’t find one…. Is there somewhere we can go to read more about Christine? Does she have any social media sites? I’m so sorry Christine about the abuse you suffered, and the hard life you’ve had. No one deserves to have a child die before they do. I’d love to hear more about Mark’s story in figuring out the church wasn’t what it claims. I’ve gone through my own journey and it always is validating to hear of others.

  10. Heidi July 8, 2022 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    I, too, am grateful to Christine for telling her Mormon story, so full of tragedy and thus, so courageous and powerful.
    I do want to say that as a therapist for 22 years, I have come to believe that forgiveness is not only not necessary for healing, but at times can feel like re-victimization or gaslighting. It is complex. Letting go and developing coping strategies is definitely crucial.

  11. Leni July 8, 2022 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Christine, Thank you so very much for telling your story out loud, on camera, on MSP where we see you and hear 6our voice and 3motion. I’ve not suffered like you but I was nodding away at every conclusion you’ve made about the church & its leadership. I’m just sorry you had a horrendous journey towards your conclusions. May our virtual arms wrap you tight with gratitude and love.

  12. Tahna Elwood July 9, 2022 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Christine, thank you for telling your story. I am so sorry for what you went through. You are a survivor of great proportion. Thank you for your perseverance. It is contagious!

    John, once again thank you for an important episode! 💜

  13. Teancum July 9, 2022 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    Great interview! This was touching for me on many levels.
    I am a fully active and believing follower of Christ as an LDS church member. I have read all the anti stuff for years and listened to Mormon Stories for many years as well (a brief background of my history).

    The scriptures teach that we will be tried and tested, and this interview provides details of just how difficult the trials and testing can be.

    The Book of Mormon starts out with the calling of a prophet (Lehi). Then moves on to detail the depth and breadth of the trials Lehi and his family had to endure. Heavenly Father doesn’t make it easy, but He will make it worth it in the end.

    Christine and her family’s trials appear to be on a similar level of those experienced by Sariah (Lehi’s wife) and her family.

    When I read the kinds of things the people in the Book of Mormon had to deal with–Mormon Stories interviews have helped me see LDS in our day our experiencing some of the same things. I’m confident that most if not all of those John interviews who have left the church do so for good reasons. I am also confident that most if not all will return to church including John D. (if not in this life, the next).

    The reason I am able to be faithful after listening to hundreds of Mormon Stories interviews and studying all the internet anti material is because of the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit I have been given (2 Nephi 31:13-21 and Helaman 5:12).

  14. Sue Bernstein July 9, 2022 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    What an eloquent woman!

    Me thinks the LDS culture of sexual repression must be the root of so much abuse. It leaves men ignorant and misinformed about their own needs… with too much responsibility, all of which can foster predatory behavior. Meanwhile, victims are abandoned. Clearly, the aged leadership is ill-equipped to recognize and remedy this crisis.

    As for Ms. Burton, my compliments for her many insights about church culture. (What a trial as a youngster! Living within, it was almost impossible to recognize the flaws of a ‘house’ that was so badly constructed.)

  15. Marlbey July 10, 2022 at 4:34 am - Reply

    Long time listener and donor, but I have to express some real concern with this one. I had to stop listening to the episode because it felt exploitive. I am not confident that this elderly interviewee, with acknowledged mental health challenges, was in a position to consent to the interview. Nor was it apparent that she had fully considered the consequences of her revealing statements about her children’s abuse and mental health diagnosis.

    More concerning, I would think that this podcast would have a policy about not identifying victims of sexual abuse without their consent, yet you aired gory details about one the interviewee’s relatives abused by an area pediatrician employed by Primary Children’s Hospital.

    I fear that the interviewer put too high a value on salacious gossip about Mormon elites, which this interviewee happily provided, over the well being of this interviewee and her family. The interviewer was at times clearly giddy about the unseemly details provided about Mormon elites.

    Again, I quit listening because I felt like a voyeur, but unless there was careful prescreening done about which I am unaware, and specific consent from the relative to reveal her childhood sexual assault, I do not think it was a responsible interview.

  16. Jennifer May July 12, 2022 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    I hear you and I validate your Christine. Wish we could be friends. I connected to your every word. So many people will benefit from this. Thanks for being brave enough to share your story. ♥️

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