Monday, September 19, 2011

Electroshock Therapy to "Cure" Homosexuals at BYU

"As far as I can tell, the earliest experiments with aversive therapies at BYU to 'cure' homosexuality date to the mid-1960s and were spearheaded by D. Eugene Thorne, head of BYU's Psychology Dept. ... 'A lot of times BYU security would catch people in compromising positions on campus. Those people would have the choice to either be kicked out of school and have their families notified about what they had done or they could go through this therapy. ... [The therapy patients] would come in usually three times a week. ... They had their choice to look at pornographic magazines or watch porno videos. We would tape electrodes to their groin, thigh, chest and armpits. We had another machine that would monitor their breathing and heart rate. If there was a difference in their heart rate when looking at homosexual pornography, we would turn a dial which would send a current to shock them. ... For the people that had been doing the therapy longer we turned the voltage way up so that you could see burn marks on the skin and quite often they would also throw up during the therapy. ... We did have some people who became completely asexual after undergoing the therapy. But no, we never changed anyone from gay to straight. ... We had several people who committed suicide during the therapy. We had three different people who hung themselves in the Harris Fine Arts Center on BYU campus.' I also personally recall an Affirmation meeting in 1988 when a man showed up calling himself only David. ... He requested that I remain at least six feet in distance away from him. He then rolled up his shirt sleeves and showed me his arms. The deeply-scarred skin on the inside of his arms looked like raw hamburger and I almost vomitted from the sight. He informed me that he had participated in electric shock therapy at BYU in 1977 and had been allowed to turn up the voltage as high as he wanted to. The results were badly burned arms and a complete inability to come physically close to any male without him emotionally breaking down from the trauma."

Connell O'Donovan, "'The Abominable and Detestable Crime Against Nature': A Revised History of Homosexuality and Mormonism, 1840-1980," 2004.

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