In 2009, at the age of just 15, Alex Cooper came out to her parents as gay.
And so, following the teachings of the Church that homosexuality is immoral, Cooper’s parents sent her away to Utah for “conversion therapy” for eight months, where she suffered torrents of abuse for admitting something that was at the core of who she is.
In her new memoir, Saving Alex, Cooper recounts how she was “exhausted and humiliated” by Mormon couple Tiana and Johnny Siale who promised her parents they could “cure” the young teenager of homosexuality.
“They were total strangers,” Alex said, according to Religion News.
“My parents just signed over custody to them in front of me. And I knew that my parents had never met these people before.”
Now 21, Cooper says that the couple did not have any therapy qualifications and made her carry around a backpack full of rocks for 18 hours a day to symbolise “the burden she was carrying by choosing to be gay.”
Suffering months of torture and physical abuse, Cooper writes in her new book that she attempted suicide on her 16th birthday to escape the pain.