Amyjo, what happened is that the students who were forced to participate in the program all signed the necessary paperwork to preclude them from filing lawsuits. It was worse than a Hobson's choice. Please keep in mind, none of the following is original from me. It's all from the "Crimes Against Nature" dissertation.
The pronoun "I" in the following is Connell O'Donovan, the author:
Shocking Events at the Y
On September 5, 1935, New York University professor Dr. Louis W. Max informed a meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA) that he has successfully treated a "partially fetishistic" homosexual neurosis with electric shock therapy delivered at "intensities considerably higher than those usually employed on human subjects," the first documented instance of aversion therapy used to "cure" homosexuality. (Note that the APA's 2007 Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation has concluded that "efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm.")
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. By 1968, he had gained enough information to report his findings from BYU in a paper given in San Francisco that year for the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.
Then in 1969, school administration became more careful in its use of controversial therapies for treating "sexual deviancy" as they put it. The administration publicly claimed that use of such therapies had been curtailed but unofficially they continued unabated. BYU's Academic Vice President, Robert Thomas, advised college deans to alert those who were using aversive therapies to be "particularly cautious in utilizing them" not because they might prove harmful per se, but out of fear for lawsuits.
In 1975, the BYU Psychology Department administrators organized a Board of Review for Psychotherapeutic Techniques to recommend "policies governing the use of sensitive treatment techniques" on campus. Within a year, the review board had assembled a list of eight therapies being used at BYU which "could conflict" with church teachings. However, most of the therapies were not stopped (including electric shock, vomiting aversion, and the use of pornographic materials).
Gary Bergera interviewed Gerald Dye, chair of the University Standards office, in February 1978, and Dye reported what the "set process" was for "homosexual students referred to Standards" for counseling:
They are asked to a personal interview with Standards...to determine the depth or extent of involvement; previous involvement, if any, of the offender; does the student understand the seriousness of the matter; if the branch president or bishop [is] aware. The individual's branch president or home bishop is contacted.
Standards is to determine if the offense is serious or not:
a. serious: repetition; anal/oral intercourse.
b. less serious: experimential [sic]; mutual masturbation.
If determined to be serious, the student is expelled.
If less serious, the student may remain at BYU on a probationary basis.
Standards also acts as an intermediary between the student who remains and counseling service; Students who remain are required to undergo therapy.
Although "therapy" was required for homosexual students, Dye promised Bergera that "no student working through Standards will ever undergo aversion therapy". Electric shock and vomiting aversion therapies were nonetheless used in special cases.
Max Ford McBride's Ph.D. dissertation, completed in August 1976 under the direction of BYU psychology professor D. Eugene Thorne (note that Dr. I. Reed Payne, of the "Payne Papers" infamy, was also on his dissertation committee), is an excellent example of clinical dehumanization practiced by Mormon "therapists". In the Mormon worldview, the end certainly justifies the means: heterosexuality must be attained and maintained AT ANY COST - even if it means using pornography (which the Mormon Church is usually vehemently opposed to) and physical torture.
Under the oversight of his committee chairman, Dr. Thorne, McBride experimented on fourteen Gay male subjects to determine if using photographs of nude men and women from Playgirl- and Playboy-type magazines were helpful in electric shock therapy.
The 14 Gay BYU students in McBride's study were compared after being "treated" on an out-patient basis during 22 sessions of shock therapy. Each of the 22 sessions lasted 50 minutes. 10 of those minutes were spent in "assertive training" and the remaining 40 minutes in "aversive conditioning." The average duration of treatment for the men was three months. The release form these men were required to sign informed them that "damage to tissue or organs may occur," that they would be looking at "sensitive materials" possibly contrary to their values [ie. pornography], and that BYU would be released from any responsibility for any damage done to them.
The longterm effects of the electric shock "therapy" these men were subjected to has been crippling. Two of the men committed suicide soon after completing this torturous study. Every survivor I have interviewed has suffered life-long emotional, spiritual, and sometimes physical damage.
In 1999, John Cameron, one of the 14 men who went through this horrific experience in 1976 when he was a 23 year old BYU student and member of the Young Ambassadors, wrote to me, "For 22 years now I have lived with the scars of the experience - unable to articulate a personal suffering and longing that have almost crippled me....I didn't completely come out of the closet until I was 34, and only after much angry, pissed-off therapy. I spent a lot of money just so I could yell at my psychologist and break things in his office for an hour every week for two years. But it was a hell of a lot more fun than Ford McBride and the electrodes."
A Gay psychology intern at BYU named Ray actually assisted in giving electric shock therapy to fellow Gay men in the late 1970s. In an interview he did for Sean Weakland's documentary on aversive therapies at BYU called Legacies, Ray gave the following report on his activities and their results (which I quote here extensively because Ray has so much "insider" knowledge):
"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. We had quite a few people who were going through it. There were others in the therapy who felt so much guilt for being the way they were or they had been promised that if they underwent the therapy they would be able to marry and have children and they would be turned. Of course, they had to have the desire to change, and if the therapy failed (which it always did), it was their fault for the failure since they didn't have enough desire.
"Anyway, they would come in usually three times a week. I would be behind a glass one-way mirror, and they would be on the other side of it. 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. If they were a new patient, we would use a very low current. From the reaction that I saw there were muscle spasms which looked very painful.
"After that was over, we would switch the pornography over so that it was a man and a woman having sex, and we would play very soothing music in the background to try and get the mind to relate to that. 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. This is speculation, but most of the students at BYU probably hadn't even seen pornography before.
"After undergoing that kind of pain over a number of months, everyone said that they had completely changed. They kept records for as long as the people were at BYU. After they had graduated, there were no records kept to see what kind of success rate they had. The BYU statistics were wrong because the people were lying. They were desperate to get their degree and get out of the situation. They had been blackmailed into the situation in the first place.
"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."
In the late 1970s, Carol Lynn Pearson, a famous Mormon poet whose husband Gerald Pearson was Gay, met one of Gerald's Gay friends at BYU named Sam. Sam told Carol Lynn that "they strapped me in a chair and attached wires to me. Then they showed me porno movies of men in sexual activity. When I got turned on, they gave me a shock." At first, they just shocked his hands. "After that, they added my forearms, and then my calves and thighs. That was when they started cranking up the voltage. I had to go in two or three times a week...Only it didn't work. All I wanted was not to touch anybody, not to be with anybody. I felt like I was being turned into a zombie. I would walk down the street and be freaked by everyone. The idea of touching anyone, even my family, made me sick." After enduring several "treatments", Sam started to question his participation in his own torture. "I made myself walk up those steps and go into that building and sit down in that chair. And take the shocks. Until I gave up...There were burns on my arms but inside there was nothing different. Nothing! Just more pain." Sam left and never went back.
Later, Sam told Gerald and Carol Lynn Pearson about another Gay BYU student named John who had committed suicide after going through electric shock treatments at BYU. After leaving BYU both Sam and John had decided to move to Los Angeles together, although just as friends, not lovers. "We were going to drop everything and go make a new life. [John] told that to the General Authority that was on his case, and the man told him he'd be better off at the bottom of the Great Salt Lake with a millstone tied around his neck than to stay a homosexual. John believed him. He believed everything they said to him. He drove back to Provo, told his roommates he was going to the laundromat, drove up Rock Canyon, laid out a blanket, and blew his brains out." Sam fared almost as badly as John. In 1981, after leaving a Gay bar in San Francisco, without any warning he was attacked in a vicious anti-Gay hate crime by two young men wielding a crowbar. He nearly died when they smashed his head in. Sam went through five major surgeries and $70,000 in plastic surgery to re-piece his face together again. He was also blinded in one eye, which was replaced by a glass eye.
I also personally recall an Affirmation meeting in 1988 when a man showed up calling himself only David. He sat alone in a corner during our meeting and became extremely jittery when anyone approached him. I spoke with him but 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 vomited 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. His homosexual desires were as strong as ever but he was unable to touch another man even for a simple hug, he had no heterosexual desires whatsoever, and he was constantly on the verge of suicide.
David never returned to Affirmation and I suspect from his fragile emotional state that he did not survive his ordeal for much longer. I also met two Lesbians in 1990 at the Gay Pride festivities in Salt Lake who claimed that they had also gone through electric shock therapy at BYU in the 1970s but I was not able to conduct a formal interview and we lost contact. That is the only knowledge I have of women being subjected to this torturous treatment at the hands of so-called therapists.
Another Gay BYU student named Randy Smith went through aversion therapy at BYU in the late 1970s, but when it failed to make him heterosexual, he was excommunicated and expelled from the school. Disillusioned by his treatment by the church and school, in 1981 he organized a protest against the LDS Church during its semiannual conference in October. After he got legal permits to do so, he and 16 other protesters marched around Temple Square with signs and banners protesting the unethical treatment of Gays by the Mormon Church and then held a press conference, calling for the end of aversion therapies. Almost all Mormons present simply ignored the vocal protest in their midst.
Dr. Eugene Thorne's career after BYU has continued to be controversial. Thorne became co-owner and Executive Director of the Provo Canyon School (for severely "troubled teens") in March of 1979. In Milonas v. Williams, two students named Timothy Milonas Jr. and Kenneth Rice sued Provo Canyon School administrators, including D. Eugene Thorne, for causing Milonas, Rice, and other students at the school to "suffer and to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, anti-therapeutic and inhumane treatment, and denial of due process of law."
The school (and Dr. Thorne) were found guilty of violating the students' First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by monitoring and censoring student mail, using isolation rooms unnecessarily, and using physical force to coerce behavior modification. The guilty verdict was appealed but the rehearing was denied by the Court of Appeals on November 9, 1982. Despite being successfully sued for inhumane treatment of students, Thorne left the Provo Canyon School and became director of the Discovery Academy, a school similar to Provo Canyon School, but located in the city of Provo itself. Dr. Ford McBride is also currently in practice in Provo, Utah.
In April 1997 I made a call for BYU to admit what had been done to these people, apologize, and make financial reparations to them. However despite the massive evidence to the contrary, Merrill Joseph Bateman, then President of BYU and a high ranking LDS General Authority, issued a statement to me via email on April 9, 1997 in response to my call, indicating that, "we have not been able to verify your assertion that electric shock therapy...was ever used on gay and lesbian students at BYU."
At least a dozen other people over the course of several years thereafter received similar denials from Bateman or his office, when they have contacted him about this issue. To my knowledge, Bateman has never retracted his denial. Bateman is currently a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Again, the source is http://www.connellodonovan.com/abom.html