Monday, September 16, 2013

Brainwashing on Vinyl

I finally had a chance to search for that old record I mentioned a few weeks ago.  I found it in my parents' basement.  It was dusty and the cardboard sleeve was pretty worn, but it seemed intact.  But since my family was home I only had time to snap a few pictures on my phone for later analysis.

So here's the source of those vague musical memories I was having:
The Good Shepherd:  Children's Songs from the New Testament by Kristen 
It appears that I misjudged how old the record was, because the copyright on the back was 1983.  The record was attributed to Embryo Records, which doesn't seem to have a lot of internet presence.  After a little Google footwork, I determined that it wasn't a company owned by the church at the time but it was later acquired by Deseret Book.

Just as I remembered, however, the back cover did have all the lyrics for the songs, and I was surprised by how many I recognized and could even hum a few bars of.  The song in question was entitled "The Pharisees & Saducces":
my apologies for the clumsily-spliced-together-from-two-separate-shots-because-of-problems-with-horrible-glare look
Some points of irony about this song:
  • Many Mormons cannot see what doesn't fit their picture of the world.
  • Many Mormons like their "privileged places"--in the church they have divine nature and individual worth, but it's scary to think of leaving the church and stripping themselves of those comforting teachings.
  • Many Mormons do not think that a knowledge of the truth (that they are members of a cult, that Joseph Smith was a con man, that their donations fund extravagant lifestyles for the church leaders, etc) will set them free and will passionately resist any efforts to inform them of the truth.
  • Many Mormons resent the teachings or claims of ex-Mormons and uphold that ex-Mormons are bad, despite their "miracles" (being happy without the church, becoming financially successful, not becoming drug addicts, etc).  

So it exists--a relic of my childhood brainwashing, a testament to Mormon hypocrisy and a veritable snack tray of forced rhymes and rancid cold cuts.  It was kind of tempting to just light the thing on fire right there, but I thought that might attract a little too much attention.


  1. Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed seeing it. There are so many members out there who feel the need to share their so called talents. If they have the means, the labels with try marketing it through the various LDS Bookstores dominated by Deseret Book and Seagull Book.

    I believe Embryo was Lex de Azevedo's company. You know, Saturday's Warrior and My Turn On Earth. It then became Excel which was acquired by Deseret Book.

    Kristen is the wife of Guy who has been in the LDS music market for a long time and still is. He did The Planemaker and owns the studio where Michael McLean likes to record.

    All I can say is that the LDS Music Market has produced a ton of crap. There's a lot of talent, but they box themselves into an easy listening style that they think is more enticing to the spirit. I can't stand most of it. There are a few artists who try to break the mold and expand out with various amounts of success.

    It's amazing how many records like this have been produced over the years. Mormon's love to give this type of music as gifts. Of course general authority books are still very popular gifts as well.

    It's all part of the indoctrination process, and of course, people try to profit from it, including the prophet.

    1. Actually, there was a copy of Saturday's Warrior right next to this record, actually. I think those were the only two LDS records in that basement. I'm not sure what made this clearly less renowned record worthy of being one of the few Mormon-marketed purchases my parents made.

      I mean, looking through the lyrics, it's not the worst thing in the world as far as indoctrination goes. Definitely not as damaging as that Not Even Once Club book that's had some buzz lately.

    2. I have never heard of the book. When I see books like that, I wonder how repentance fits into it all. These kids aren't allowed to make mistakes. I went online and read the parent questions, and it said nothing about Jesus helping us by dying for our sins.

      What happens when a kid makes a minor slip up? Then they're a failure. What happens when a girl is sexually abused? In her mind, she is damaged goods, and might as well give up. She can never be part of that club. That kind of book goes together with the Licked Cupcake Object lesson and the better dead clean than alive unclean statement in The Miracle of Forgiveness.

    3. Yeah, it's a pretty horrible idea to teach to your kids.

      As nice as it is to strive for perfection, I really doubt the age group that book is intended for is made up of kids who can understand that perfection is unattainable and that success is indicated by forward progress and self-improvement instead of the lack of failures. Those kinds of ideals and distinctions are lost on children. All they hear is "don't do anything wrong, ever."