Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
This collection of essays explores my experience as a gay Mormon missionary, when I studied the Mormon Church‚Äôs Addiction Recovery Program in an attempt to alter my sexuality. The initial four essays take place during the two years that I lived in Southern California as a Mormon missionary from 2011-2013. They present the text of the LDS Family Services Addiction Recovery Program workbook, with my own thoughts, experiences, and stories driven into the margins. Through these four essays, I demonstrate the hope, anguish, and longing of a gay man who desperately wants to live the model of a righteous Mormon man.
The final essay explores the year after my mission, when I returned to Utah State University, and began the process of leaving the Mormon Church. In this essay, I abandon the text of the workbook to create a space for my own story, mirroring my experience leaving the Mormon Church.
This work explores the damage of conversion therapy, and stands as a testament against the practice of conversion therapy in all of its insidious forms. My aim is to hold institutions who encourage conversion therapy accountable for the harm they create, while simultaneously creating a space of validation and understanding for survivors of conversion therapy.
Anderson, Shaun M., "A Mormon Missionary's Guide to Conversion Therapy Addiction Recovery" (2020). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 7890.
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