KRCL 90.9 FM’s RadioActive host Troy Williams appears in the documentary Tabloid from Oscar-winning director Errol Morris, which tells the story of Joyce McKinney, accused in 1977 of holding Kirk Anderson—a Mormon missionary in England—hostage and forcing him to have sex.
How were you approached about participating in Tabloid?
Originally, Joyce McKinney called me. I was just sitting in my office at KRCL, and she said, “Hey Troy, this is Joyce McKinney … I’m gonna give you the scoop of a lifetime!” My brain started racing: “Joyce McKinney, who is that?” I spent hours talking to Joyce, but I realized early on that I didn’t want to bring her on RadioActive because all she wanted to do was talk about how Mormonism was a cult.
What was your experience like with Morris’ legendary Interrotron (a unique interview camera)?
It was so intense and fun. First off, I’m film-geeking out, giving my iPhone to the producers: “You have to take a picture of me [being interviewed].” Then it begins, and you lose yourself, and you just see Errol, and he’s such an intense interviewer.
Your role in the film is sort of to be the “translator” for viewers unfamiliar with LDS Church doctrine. How comfortable are you with that role?
It’s 20 years later, and I’m still a missionary. The Mormon experience … doesn’t belong just to current members of the LDS Church. I think it’s important that Mormons allow different interpretations. I just tried to be as theologically and culturally correct as possible, but because I’m who I am, I’m kind of fearless about going places others wouldn’t want to go.
Part of McKinney’s defense has always been her belief that she was saving Kirk Anderson from a “cult.” Is that perception of Mormons as prevalent now as it was in the 1970s?
I think people know Mormons more than ever. It’s still perceived as Scientology-lite, however. We see these strange religions, but we tolerate them more.
Do you have a personal opinion about who’s telling the truth in the he said/she said of this story?
That’s the beautiful thing about the movie: It’s a total Rashomon experience. Morris doesn’t force an interpretation; you have to wrestle with it. … I think the truth is somewhere in between. I suspect Kirk may have gone along willingly at first, but somewhere along the line, he wanted it to stop. … This is a story about LDS&M. Where else would you find this?