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When A BYU Student Tried To Cure Homosexuality

Brigham Young University
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Brigham Young University is a university located in Provo, Utah. It is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In the 1970s, a Brigham Young University graduate student named Max Ford McBride conducted an experiment. The goal? To cure homosexuality with shock therapy.

For the experiment, McBride asked participants to view gay pornography. If they became aroused, they’d get shocked. It’s called aversion therapy, and its based on the idea that if a patient can associate an unwanted desire with a negative outcome, like an electric shock, the intensity of their desire will lessen. Recently, the organization Fair Latter-day Saints has refuted some of the claims that have emerged as a result of McBride’s study — including accusations that similar treatments were mainstream at the time. But religion scholar Taylor Petrey says it’s more complicated than that, and he’s joining us this Friday at noon to talk about it.

Air date: Friday, April 8 at noon and Saturday, April 9 at 11 a.m.


Taylor Petrey|@TaylorPetrey Associate Professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College, author of Tabernacles of Clay: Sexuality and Gender in Modern Mormonism