Mormon Stories is honored to have conversion therapy survivor, suicide survivor, and LGBT+ advocate Nate Winterton to tell their harrowing story. If you thought the days of Mormon electroshock torture were relics of the past, Nate recounts what they endured at the hands of an LDS “therapist” as recently as 2016.

Growing up with enormous health challenges, Nate recognized feelings of same-sex attraction early in childhood. With hosts John, Margi, and Carah, we discuss Nate’s staunch commitment to the Mormon faith, anorexia while serving a mission, and decision to confide in a bishop about their feelings for men, leading Nate to a house and a therapist that would change the course of their life.

Please practice self-care as you listen to this episode as we highlight the unfortunate reality that conversion therapy and torture to change the sexual orientation of gay Mormons continues still today. 

***Trigger Warning: This episode contains descriptions of conversion therapy, torture, anorexia, and suicide. ***


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Timecodes: (for YouTube video)

00:00 Intro to Nate, Elder Oaks’ electroshock therapy comments 

07:05 Nate’s Mormon story begins, adoption

10:00 Recognizing gay feelings as a child 

12:05 Gender identity vs sexual orientation 

14:40 Margi’s question to Nate about fighting their entire life 

16:40 Growing up Mormon, religious OCD 

24:36 Junior high bullying 

27:32 Going to private LDS high school 

30:20 Nate avoiding confronting church’s teachings on gay people 

31:30 Getting kissed by girl, signs Nate was queer 

36:15 Struggling with depression over God’s view of Nate’s sexuality 

39:20 Margi’s question to Nate about their true self, gay uncle 

42:17 Is the church healthy for LGBTQ youth? 

47:50 Serving a mission in Florida, teaching gay man

52:30 Eating disorder, coming home 

56:10 Church resources for gay Mormons 

1:00:28 Nate trying to watch straight porn, coming out to bishop 

1:04:02 Margi’s question to Nate about telling their secret 

1:06:02 History of “Same Sex Attracted” terminology 

1:09:54 Nate gets referred by bishop to a “therapist” for electroshock therapy 

1:17:00 Being waterboarded in conversion therapy 

1:19:40 Carah’s question about why Nate felt the need to do this therapy 

1:22:13 What a bishop’s council means to a Mormon 

1:28:02 The data on Mormon trying to change their sexual orientation 

1:30:04 Nate’s experience chasing God’s acceptance 

1:31:00 Margi effected by queer Mormons, why queer Mormons take their own lives 

1:36:50 Nate’s parents helping them step away from the church

1:41:05 Do Mormons love gay people? 

1:48:30 Nate’s thoughts on Elder Oaks’ comments 

1:51:40 How Nate has rebounded from their dark upbringing and suicidality 

1:57:30 Nate’s gender identity 

2:16:09 Margi’s question to Nate on where they get comfort  

2:20:50 Carah’s question to Nate about judgment 

2:26:15 Nate’s spirituality, moving home, Nate’s type of man 

2:31:50 Margi’s question to Nate about their late mother 

2:33:20 Outro  



  1. Monica mcneil December 4, 2021 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    Will there be an audio only?

  2. Curtis Yergensen December 5, 2021 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    Perhaps someone can help me understand. The desire for different pronouns (outside of the traditional “he” and “she”) is reasonable. But why go to plural pronouns such as “they” / “them”. Doesn’t this create more confusion? I certainly am not attempting to be disrespectful, but am confused with the use of plural pronouns referring to a singular person.

    • Jay G December 10, 2021 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      You could just grab a dictionary or do an internet or YouTube search. Here’s a link to the American Heritage Dictionary entry on the definition and usage…

      [Retrieved December 10, 2021]

    • Marlbey December 31, 2021 at 1:53 pm - Reply

      There could be confusion to untrained ears, but there is precedent for this, specifically second person pronouns are both non-gendered and the same whether plural (“you”) or singular (“you), so why must third person pronouns be gendered AND also be different in singular rather than plural?

      The English language is unusual as compared to other Indo-European languages in that almost all pronouns are non-gendered: ie third person plural (they/them/their), first person singular (I/me/mine) and plural (we/our/ ours) second person singular (you/you/your) and second person plural (you/you/yours), third person thing (it/its). Third person singular is the only gendered pronoun (he/him/his and she/her/hers) in our language.

      As noted above, in English the second person singular and second person plural are the same word, that is to say “you” is both singular and plural, other than the possessive tense (your/yours). Nonbinary people are simply making the third person singular and second person plural the same as well (they/them/theirs).

      There is also a historical basis for doing so. Old English had a lot more pronouns than modern English, including more gendered pronouns, and in the transition from Old to Middle to modern English, many pronouns have been dropped (e.g., thee/thy/thou). Early modern English speakers and writers sometimes used “they/them/their” as a third person singular term, and there are many instances of these terms being used as third person singular in literature until approximately the 1800s.

  3. MormoninCT December 7, 2021 at 5:37 am - Reply

    I find it almost unbelievable that ELECTRO-SHOCK and WATER-BOARDING were being used in 2016 to “cure gayness”. WTF?!? John, why didn’t you ask more about this so-called therapist who’s taking people into his basement and torturing them? This guy should be arrested. Has he been? Is he still doing this? A few years back, much of the U.S was really upset that the government was using water-boarding on suspected terrorists and we’ve got this guy in Utah water-boarding gay people in his basement? I can give a tiny bit of leeway to people in the 1970’s for doing this kind of thing, but in 2016 there is absolutely no excuse.

    I thought you should have spent a little more time asking about this torturer. In all honestly, I almost don’t believe it’s true. If it is, we’ve got to stop this guy. Can someone reassure me that this guy isn’t still out there doing this?

    • Phil December 7, 2021 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      Agreed, waterboarding was banned by executive order in 2009 in interrogation of government detainees. It’s inexplicable that someone holding themselves out as trained professional of any kind would be doing this in 2016. That guy needs to be held accountable.

  4. Lance Steele December 7, 2021 at 8:50 am - Reply

    Regarding the recent study that the church is better for lgbtq+ youth than no religion. Here are the flaws in my opinion. First the people who struggle may leave the church, so saying the ones that are here are not struggling does not show that the church does not cause youth to struggle just that those that struggle leave. Also specifically the LDS church discourages youth from pairing off, and dating. I feel youth are therefore able to delay coming to grips with their sexuality until adulthood. If you do not have to pair off you can group date and avoid the concept altogether. When these youth age out of the young W/M program they then are confronted with their sexuality; the damage done in youth is not realized until adulthood. Additionally, the study is comparing Mormonism against no religion, not Mormonism against all religions, or Mormonism against all people religious.

  5. JC December 7, 2021 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    So I am a conservative guy in my 60s and not anti-gay at all, but have not really given enough thought to the huge struggles young gay people can face. This podcast has actually changed my life. Thank you Nate, you are a very very impressive person.

  6. Laura December 9, 2021 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    Nate, you are such a lovely, articulate human! And I LOVE your makeup! Wonderful to get to hear from you.

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