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6 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 12:13AM #1
sonrisadeallah
Posts: 192
Greetings,
A Mormon applied for a job somewhere the other day.  There was a discussion about the applicant.  There was a concern that if this person was hired, they would no longer be able to listen to music in their work areas because "the last Mormon" they worked with couldn't listen to music.  I had a bad reaction to this assumption being made about this person.  But then I thought, what do I know?  The only Mormon's I have ever met were these two guys on bikes that helped me when my car broke down in 1987.  So I am wondering, are there or were there ever restrictions on listening to music for Mormons?

Thanks in advance for any comment.
SDA
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 2:09AM #2
moksha8088
Posts: 4,942
Far as I can tell, Mormons are into all types of music based on their individual tastes.  I know that my sons taste in music and my own were quite different.  My most common response to their music was to tell them to turn it down.  I absolutely hated the noise from MariIyn Manson.  I suspect their taste in music will be quite different from their childrens as well.
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 1:52PM #3
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,206
Church leaders have repeatedly cautioned members of the Church to be mindful of the effect music - as well as other forms of entertainment - have upon the mind.  As the old scripture says, "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly."  Jesus, himself, gave a couple of cautions about the mind-body, thought-action connection.  In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke of the two biggest sins under the old Jewish law (adultery and murder) and reminded his followers that the sin starts in the heart.  He condemned "he who is angry with his brother" and said that one who looks upon a woman with lust "has committed adultery with her already in his heart."

I have repeatedly argued that Mormonism is a path that trains its adherents to rediscover their innocence.  Whether I am right or not, there are Mormons who approach Pentecostals in their quarantine on what they watch or listen to.  Even before Ezra Taft Benson cautioned against watching R-rated movies (a caution that was about ten years too late), many Mormons were avoiding movies laced with violence, sex and profanity.  While some would laugh at that approach, it's obvious these Mormons were trying to "let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly."

Other Mormons, short of being "jack Mormons", are more liberal in their approach.  They distinguish between counsel and the strictest of rules.  They understand the "whys" of good counsel, follow it where it works but use their best judgment in determining how to live a decent life.  When I was at BYU, the Games Center piped in music from the local pop station, though I knew plenty of Mormons who listened to rock, rap and everything in-between.  Preparing for the law school's "briefcase brigade" - as part of Homecoming - I and a colleague listened to Ice T's album, "Body Count," before the album was purged of its most controversial track: "Cop Killer."

If you've never cranked up "Cop Killer," as if on your way to a hockey game or a prize fight, I think the song's lyrics merit a moment of their own.  Trying to get psyched up for BYU's Homecoming parade - and our law school's rendition of the Briefcase Brigade (law students marching in shorts while toting briefcases), we fried our brains on such wholesome lyrics as:

I got my black shirt on.
I got my black gloves on.
I got my ski mask on.
This sh*ts been too long.
I got my twelve gauge sawed off.
I got my headlights turned off.
I'm bout to bust some shots off.
I'm bout to dust some cops off.

Im a cop killer, better you than me.
Cop killer, f*ck police brutality!
Cop killer, I know your family 's grieving,
(f*ck em!)
Cop killer, but tonight we get even, ha ha.

I got my brain on hype.
Tonightll be your night.
I got this long-*ssed knife.
And your neck looks just right.
My adrenalines pumpin.
I got my stereo bumpin.
Im bout to kill me somethin.
A pig stopped me for nuthin!

Cop killer, better you than me.
Cop killer, f*ck police brutality!
Cop killer, I know your mommas grieving,
(f*ck her!)
Cop killer, but tonight we get even, yeah!

Die, die, die pig, die!

F*ck the police!
Fu*ck the police!
F*ck the police!
F*ck the police!

Fuck the police!
Fuck the police!
Fuck the police!
Fuck the police!
Yeah!

Cop killer, better you than me.
Im a cop killer, fuck police brutality!
Cop killer, I know your familys grieving,
(fuck em!)
Cop killer, but tonight we get even, ha ha ha ha, yeah!

F*ck the police!
F*ck the police!
F*ck the police!
F*ck the police!

F*ck the police, yeah!
F*ck the police, for darryl gates.
F*ck the police, for rodney king.
F*ck the police, for my dead homies.
F*ck the police, for your freedom.
F*ck the police, dont be a p*ssy.
F*ck the police, have some muthaf*ckin courage.
F*ck the police, sing along.

Cop killer!
Cop killer!
Cop killer!
Cop killer!

Cop killer! whaddyou wanna be when you grow up?
Cop killer! good choice.
Cop killer! Im a muthaf*ckin
Cop killer!

Wouldn't you know it?  After listening to three choruses of Cop Killer, my friend and I went into the Briefcase Brigade ready for blood.  We were behind the BYU Dancers, whom we mocked mercilously (I'm told we made at least one of them cry).  We did things we probably should not discuss without a lawyer present.  In fact, we were summoned to the Dean's Office on the following Monday and read the riot act.  Among other things, we were told that if something like this happened again, the law school would be permanently banned from Homecoming.

We, of course, blamed Ice T but I think he'd tell us the song was a fantasy projection of urban unrest following the Rodney King trial, and that we were on our own.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2008 - 2:07PM #4
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,206
I'm 43.  I watch what I want.  I listen to what I want.  I eat what I want.  But I'm also mindful of the effect of my environment upon my mood swings and thought processes.  I'm a news junkie but in the days following 9/11, I turned the TV off and went bowling.  I could feel the hatred coursing through my veins and knew I needed to distance myself from it.  I've learned not to take anything at face value - not even the statements of Church leaders.  Because I have an active filter and am living what Socrates would have called "the self-examined life," I don't cloister myself away from the world; I engage it.  My iPod has 3,000 songs on it - including tracks from both AC/DC and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I've got Enya and the Sex Pistols, Miles Davis and Ice T, Johnny Cash and Keyshia Cole, Akon and Abba.  On my iPod, Pat Benatar is followed by Aimee Mann, followed by the Police, followed by the Goo Goo Dolls, followed by Alice in Chains.

But I'm mindful of where my mind takes me.  I think music gets a bad rap because it talks about issues that are not necessarily "uplifting."  When Suzanne Vega released "Luka," a song about child abuse, she was doing an interview tour that led her through Utah.  Asked by a local nitwit why she didn't do more "positive" material, she replied, "I consider it very positive.  I'm talking about an issue that needs to be addressed."  Some Mormons do confine their musical tastes to Mormon Tabernacle Choir and muzak, but there's no need for self-imposed infantilization.  But there are many others who listen to the same music everybody else is enjoying.  If they're like me, they use common sense in knowing which messages are uplifting and which ones are just passing junk.

When I was a kid, preachers - from a variety of faiths - were condemning rock music.  In the meantime, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers were singing the warm-and-fuzzy "Islands in the Stream" - a sweet little dittie played in office after office - advocating a lifestyle of going "from one lover to another, uh huh."  Yet, people didn't suddenly drop marriage for a lifestyle of going "from one lover to another, uh huh."  Those who believed in "true love" continued to seek out the right person to settle down with; those who wanted to be "islands in the stream," did that.  If anything, the song reflected a late-70s, early 80s reality, that so many Americans were schlepping from one relationship to the next.  It added an argument (often unnoticed) to the popular culture, but every person decides, for himself or herself, which messages are worth listening to, and which ones are just the equivalent of mental pork rinds. 

It's a mistake to assume that all Mormons listen to the same music, or that Mormons - as a group - don't listen to music at all.  The people who think such things have Mormons mixed up with the nuts from any one of 32 flavors of zealotry.

In my opinion, if you can watch a movie about a murder - such as a detective mystery - you can listen to a song about the same subject.  If you can watch a movie with a subplot involving an affair, or two people who just end up in the sack, you can listen to a song about the same issues.  Music, and storytelling, are how human beings discuss the issues of the day.  Listening to Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" doesn't make you go out and shoot people in the subway.  But maybe the fact that there are people out there who shoot people in the subway is enough to make you listen to "Another One Bites the Dust."

To me, the "sin" is not in the thought but in the action that follows.  It may be unwise to entertain a "bad thought," but how can you struggle with temptation without the space with which to work it out before you act.  Jesus may have spoken of committing adultery in one's heart, but that doesn't make lust the moral equivalent of adultery.  Nor is anger the same as murder.  One should guard one's thoughts, if only to stop some of them from becoming regrettable actions.  But a thought is not a deed.

There is also a difference between being mindful of one's thoughts and engaging in thought control.  I have no interest in being a zombie for Jesus.  I've known some Mormons who wouldn't let their kids read "Cat in the Hat" because they thought the Cat was a bad infuence (In fact, he was the projection of restlessness predicting the social unrest of the 60s), but I'm of the opposite stripe.  I think most stories - including Sin City - are morality tales.  In each chapter of Frank Miller's graphic novel, set in a world of vice, each main character acts as a moral agent.  It is a mistake to assume that religious people are the only ones in life who are trying to navigate a moral minefield.  While some have abandoned morality for immediate gratification, most people actually see themselves as moral, even if not religious.  Whatever the sect, whatever the creed, even inmates in prison have moral standards, what some have dubbed "honor among thieves." 

If there's anything you should expect from someone's affiliation with the Mormon Church, it's the idea that a person shouldn't act on every impulse - or every influence - that comes along.  In that respect, most Mormons are less likely to be found humming "Cop Killer," but only an overzealous Mormon would go to war with the radio.  In that respect, he or she would have more in common with the strictest Pentecostals, the Amish, ultraorthodox Jews and maybe certain types of Muslims.  Nutty people have a way of showing you who they are, because being nutty is so important to their identity.  No one should assume that such nuttiness goes hand in hand with being a Mormon.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2008 - 2:04AM #5
sonrisadeallah
Posts: 192
Thanks so much for the detailed responses!  SDA
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2008 - 11:06AM #6
UwishUwereMe
Posts: 2,352
I love anything from ABBA to AC/DC, from ZZ Top to Zeplin and EVERYTHING in between!

I love good music and bad music and old music and new music!







...and I also *gulp* like the Tabernacle Choir...
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 11, 2008 - 10:53AM #7
christianguy1
Posts: 51
Maybe your co-worker who said she/he couldn't listen to music was misrepresenting the situation a little so that he/she wouldn't have to listen to music that he/she didn't like.  Members of the church never have to give an accounting of the music we listen to, though we are taught to listen to things that will uplift us. 
I don't have an ipod or listen to much music, but it's not because I'm mormon, it's because I'm poor and very busy.  And when I do turn on the radio I usually listen to talk/news radio. 
When I do listen to music I listen to all sorts, but nothing too raunchy
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 11, 2008 - 2:40PM #8
UwishUwereMe
Posts: 2,352
christianguy1 said :

I don't have an ipod

UWUWM says:

Neither do I I think they are ridiculous.  They are a great way to detach yourself from the real world.  Prolly people Like Barak Obama and George W. have them.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2008 - 9:59AM #9
christianguy1
Posts: 51
Yeah, people like them :)
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2008 - 12:24PM #10
UwishUwereMe
Posts: 2,352
UWUWM said:

detach yourself from the real world = people Like Barak Obama and George W.

Enough said
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