Friday, September 24, 2010

Demagogic Seeds

This post over at USU SHAFT spawned a random memory from my past.

Back in 1985, I attended a Mormon fireside in one of the North Logan, Utah stakes where some music "expert" talked about how the evil music industry used reel-to-reel recorders for evil and other such nonsense, reasoning that because they had the ability to play the tape backwards, it allowed them to create or manipulate this so called "back-masking".  He used several examples including the infamous Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" to prove his point.  (See videos posted at USU SHAFT)

The Akai GX-4000D,
one of my many tools
I used for Evil.
When he ran the tape backward the first time, I personally
couldn't hear anything in it.  However, before he played it again, he made sure to read to us what it was suppose to say. Then, while he was playing it, he would lip-sink to it to make sure the suggestion registered.  I thought it was a stretch but many in the audience gasped in horror during the demonstration.

I lost a friend that night because I just happened to own a reel-to-reel recorder.  Never mind that the model I had was incapable of reverse playback, it didn't matter, he berated me in front of everyone, then got in his car and left.  He was my next door neighbor.  He had driven me there; he was my only ride home.  I was left to ponder his and the speaker's words with frustrations and shame on that long, cold, dark and lonely walk home.  For a few months after that, he continued his efforts to embarrass and shame me in front of other peers at school and church.  The bridge was burned.  No matter how nice he was to me later in life, I never gave him any more of my time.

Looking back, that whole thing reminds me of something...  ah yes,  Alma 32:28-43, where Alma compares the word to a seed.  Go ahead and read it, I'll wait.  I'm not going to get into a detailed word for word analysis, instead I'm going to simply state my own cynical and biased summary of it which is:  Plant that seed whatever it is, and nourish it with your own misguided beliefs, fears and prejudices, and it will grow into whatever irrational zealotry you want it to be.  And no, I don't care if you believe that that is a gross misinterpretation.  It doesn't really matter.  As scripture, it makes as about as much sense to me as JRR Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings".

But, I digress.

That night at the fireside, the words of a religious demagogue with his fears and prejudices were planted in the mind of my former friend.   The words appealed to his ego so he nourished them until they bore fruit to which he based his faith upon.  The result, conflict where there never was before and would never have been at all.  So, is that a good seed or a bad seed?   It's hard to say because for him it was a sweet fruit, for the rest of us, it was rotten. 

I think too many Mormons are oblivious to the fears and prejudices they use to nourish the word because of how easy it is to get caught up in the fears and prejudices of the people they trust.  It's not hard to see such fruits in the Mormon church when it comes to pretty much anything involving homosexuality.  Fear, fear and more fear.

When I got to college, I was able to escape much of that stupidity, but my fear of rejection had been amplified that night.  Sadly, I still don't have it all out of my system.  I still get paranoid that I'm going to be rejected for something stupid like, for instance, being gay.  I really don't need to go on anymore about what those demagogic lunatics, Mormon or otherwise, have to say about homosexuality. And since I never know what new shit they are going to stir up, I'm constantly playing it safe, especially around the ultra-religious people I have to work with everyday.

Nonetheless, I get the urge to want to poke them a bit to get the rejection over with quicker rather than tip toe around all of the time.  I really get tired of holding back my life to make sure someone else's life remains comfortable.  I'm tired of nourishing myself with my own fears and prejudices just to protect someone else from facing theirs.  I want to move on and put all these people behind me for good.  But, I don't do it.  I don't poke them.  I'm too afraid to be alone.


  1. I remember attending a similar fireside involving Satan's music, and reel to reel tape recordings. At the emotional height of the meeting one person claimed we all had to be so careful because even someone like Donny Osmond once bit the head off a bat! If a good Mormon boy could be so corrupted then there was no hope for modern music! None of the adult understood why us kids were all snickering after that comment.

    P.S. I still personally hope out hope for a the soul of Donny Osmond.


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