Mormon 'Gay Cure' Study Used Electric Shocks Against Homosexual Feelings
March 30 2011
"As teens we were taught that homosexuality was second only to murder in the eyes of God," he said.
"I was very, very religious and the Mormon church was the center of my life," said Cameron, who had done missionary work in Guatemala and El Salvador.
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 his ----- to measure the level of stimulation he experienced when viewing nude images of men and women.
Shocks, given in three 10-second intervals, were then administered in conjunction with certain images. Participants set their own pain levels.
Cameron said his shame was so deep that he selected the highest level.
"Max didn't do it, we did it," he said. "I was always turning it up to get the most pain because I was desperate."
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."
And those weren't the only attempted cures that were used in that era. Others allege they were given chemical compounds, which were administered through an IV and caused subjects to vomit when they were stimulated.
Psychologists confirm those harsh experiments were used in a variety of medical settings by scientists of all faiths.