Mormon Anti Gay Shock Therapy

In America, ABC news service recently revealed how the Mormon Church, under the guise of one of its universities, used shock therapy as one of the methods to "potentially treat" same sex attraction in the 70s.

Then student, John Cameron, said he was a naive and devout Mormon who felt "out of sync" with the world, when he volunteered to be part of a study of "electric aversion therapy" in 1976 at Utah's Mormon owned Brigham Young University.

Twice a week for six months, he jolted himself with painful shocks to the penis to rid himself of his attraction to men.

"I kept trying to fight it, praying and fasting and abstaining and being the best person I could," said Cameron, now a 59-year-old playwright and head of the acting program at the University of Iowa.

His undercurrent of gay feelings put him in direct conflict with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (LDS) and its principles.

"As teens we were taught that homosexuality was second only to murder in the eyes of God," he said.

The 1976 study at Brigham Young, "Effect of Visual Stimuli in Electric Aversion Therapy," was written by Max Ford McBride, then a graduate student in the psychology department.

"I thought he was my savior," said Cameron, who enrolled with 13 other willing subjects, all Mormons who thought they might be gay, for a three- to six-month course of therapy.

A mercury-filled tube was placed around the base of the penis and the students were shown alternating slides of men and women in various stages of undress.

When participants responded to images of men with an erection, the closed electric circuit was broken and they received three-second electrical shocks at 10-second intervals. Each session lasted an hour. Participants set their own pain levels.

Cameron said his shame was so deep that he selected the highest level.

Homosexuals were seen as a "prurient, expendable population," according to Cameron. "To admit homosexuality in 1976 was the kiss of death. You could be targeted, lose your job, lose your income, lose everything."

Psychologists confirm those harsh experiments were used in a variety of medical settings by scientists of all faiths.

Church officials say they no longer support aversion therapy, but a generation who grew up in the 1970s say they have been scarred for life because of well-intentioned attempts to change their sexual orientation.

Today, the Mormon church still steadfastly opposes homosexuality.

Carri P. Jenkins, assistant to the president of BYU, confirmed that McBride did study the effects of aversion therapy in the 1970s. She said the experiment was an "outgrowth of the behaviorist movement, which believed that any behavior could be modified.

"Our understanding is that most behaviorists no longer believe this is an appropriate treatment for those who are seeking change," she said.

Jenkins said other universities at the time used similar techniques, and none of this type has taken place at BYU since then.

"The BYU Counseling Center never practiced therapy that would involve chemical or induced vomiting," she said.

The university, which is owned by the Mormon Church, said its policy on homosexuality is in line with Mormon doctrine -- today's students are not disciplined unless they engage in sexual activity, and that includes heterosexual sex before marriage.

"BYU will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or attraction, and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards," said Jenkins. "Members of the university community can remain in good standing if they conduct their lives in a manner consistent with Gospel principles."

Another ex student of the university, Connell O'Donovan, who now works at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told ABCNews.com he was sent to BYU in 1976 for vomit therapy, but couldn't go through with it.

BYU said its counseling services never conducted such treatment, but O'Donovan counters that he was evaluated by Joseph Smith Family Living Center, another Mormon service on campus.

In 1986, he said he volunteered for "extremely debilitating hypnotherapy" through another Utah counseling center, He said a Mormon intern hypnotized him, splitting him into "Gay Connell" and "Straight Connell."

"He then had me visualize Jesus coming down through the ceiling and utterly destroying Gay Connell to dust and then 'a mighty wind' blowing all the dust away," said O'Donovan. "This is the single most emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually crippling experience of my entire life."

"Some 18 years later I am still healing from that traumatic "therapeutic" experience," he writes in a 2004 essay on his journey.

Charles Silverstein, a clinical psychologist with New York City's Institute for Human Identity, said every psychiatric and mental health organization opposes aversion therapy.

Silverstein was recently given the American Psychological Association Lifetime-Achievement Award for helping to remove "homosexuality" from the list of illnesses in psychiatry's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" in 1973.

"There is no treatment for homosexuality today in the professional community," said Silverstein. "All of them are on the record as saying that homosexuality is within the normal range of human behavior."

Of his clinical patients over the years, he said those who were Mormon "suffered the most."


comments

health & exercise

Aquatic fitness exercises
Aquatic fitness exercises

Hints and tips for Aquatic fitness training

Upper Body Cobra Hold Exercises
Upper Body Cobra Hold Exercises

We show you how the Cobra Hold Exercise can strengthen your back  [ ... ]

Vital Training Stretches
Vital Training Stretches

A few stretch techniques to optimize your training

women

Matching Socks and other stuff
Matching Socks and other stuff

A reader's thoughts on why socks don't want to be matched

Haters and their words
Haters and their words

A reader's feelings when she witnessed blatant homophobia

Beauty Sell By Date
Beauty Sell By Date

A reader explains What makes a woman beautiful

Money

On Changing Banks
On Changing Banks

Unhappy with your bank? Here's a few tips when moving to a new bank

Reducing Credit Card Debt
Reducing Credit Card Debt

Here's a few tips on how to reduce your credit card debts

Be Smart With Your Debit Card
Be Smart With Your Debit Card

Here's a few tips on how to use your debit card smartly

gay relationships

Is He Trying To Steal Your Man?
Is He Trying To Steal Your Man?

What to do if one of your friends try to steal your man

Scaring Guys Away
Scaring Guys Away

Do you think you scare guys away? Here's advice

Don't Be Afraid Of A Little Smooch
Don't Be Afraid Of A Little Smooch

Kissing can really enhance your sex life

cars

The New Renaultsport R.S 01
The New Renaultsport R.S 01

All about Renault's new racing car, the R.S 01

New Ford Mustang Is A Go
New Ford Mustang Is A Go

An all new Ford Mustang is currently in production

2015 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG
2015 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG

All about the new Mercedes GLA 45 AMG

food

Irish beef stew
Irish beef stew

Hearty and wholesome, this stew is the ultimate taste of Ireland.

Oyster loaves
Oyster loaves

Almost like mini bunny chows, except with oysters.

Chocolate and ginger tarts
Chocolate and ginger tarts

These chocolate tarts make a quick and easy anytime snack.

elsewhere on ql

#9 Open or Exclusive
#9 Open or Exclusive

Trey is suddenly challenged with his commitment issues

Weekly Male Austin Scoggin
Weekly Male Austin Scoggin

Our male model of the week is sexy Austin Scoggin

The Western Cape By Air
The Western Cape By Air

There's a new report on tourism in South Africa just released

Visiting South Africa's Forgotten History
Visiting South Africa's Forgotten History

We visit the Western Cape's rich cultural heritage sites

Accolades For uMhlanga pier
Accolades For uMhlanga pier

CNN says uMhlanga pier is the most beautiful in the world

Joburg - A Tourist Haven?
Joburg - A Tourist Haven?

Johannesburg is a global but distinctly African City

weekly newsletter