Exhibit A: "I Love to See the Temple"
I love to see the temple.
I'm going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I'll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.
I love to see the temple.As a primary student, I knew these words by heart, forward and backward. I would sing proudly that I was doing my "sacred duty," promise to go to the temple when I was older, reinforce my obedience, and claim to know some eternal truth (which--let's be honest--coming from an eight-year-old is absolutely absurd.) The song maps out a life of obedience and diligence, which children unwittingly subconsciously commit themselves to by virtue of singing these lines over and over again.
I'll go inside someday.
I'll cov'nant with my Father;
I'll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I've learned this truth:
A fam'ly is forever.
Exhibit B: "Nephi's Courage"
The Lord commanded Nephi to go and get the plates
From the wicked Laban inside the city gates.
Laman and Lemuel were both afraid to try.
Nephi was courageous. This was his reply:
"I will go; I will do the thing the Lord commands.Not only does this and the song's subsequent verses pound obedience into young Mormon skulls, but it also familiarizes children with Book of Mormon stories so that they grow up without questioning whether or not they make sense.
I know the Lord provides a way; he wants me to obey.
I will go; I will do the thing the Lord commands.
I know the Lord provides a way; he wants me to obey."
It also oversimplifies the events of the Book of Mormon. For example, I've never heard a verse of the song cover a difficult Book of Mormon concept:
The Lord commanded Nephi to cut off Laban's head.
To save the souls of millions, his blood had to be shed.
Nephi recalled the seventh edict from Sinai.
But Nephi was courageous. This was his reply:
"I will kill, I will do the thing the Lord commands.Hey, if they think it's okay to teach children to spit back "I will go; I will do" like robots, what's so wrong about having them talk about killing in the name of God like robots? It's not a big leap.
It doesn't matter if it stinks of flimsy reasoning.
I will kill, I will heed the voices in my head.
I know there couldn't be a way that they'd lead me astray."
Yeah, I know, milk before meat. But they're children. Religiously speaking they're not ready for milk or meat.
Exhibit C: "Follow the Prophet"
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,Catchy, easy to remember, fun to sing, and very repetitive. Shameless. Let's not forget that this song has nine verses. Nine verses about prophets, each followed by that chorus. By the time a primary class has finished singing this song, each of those poor children has proudly said "follow the prophet" fifty-four times.
Follow the prophet; don't go astray.
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; he knows the way.
Fifty-four. How is that anything other than outright brainwashing? But this was one of my favorite songs as a kid, and I know some of my classmates really liked it too. We didn't really understand what it all meant, but we love the song and we were conditioned to think it gave us truth.
And that doesn't seem right to me.