I Wanna Shake Your Hand

Last year I was hanging out with Steve Evans and Aaron B.  Steve’s dog had recently died, but they were dogsitting another wee pup.  The new dog walked in and Aaron B. did a double-take.  “I thought your dog died!  Is that a ghost dog?”  I immediately shot back:  “You should ask to shake its paw.” 

I remember this particular exchange because I thought I was supercool to be so funny in front of two of the funniest people I know.  I’ve reminded Steve of this incident several times, because I really want him to ask me to guest on Police Beat Roundtable, but I’m on some sort of “waitlist” that I don’t think I’ll ever get off of.  Kind of like Stanford Law School. 

But I digress.  Anyways, back to ghost dogs.  Why was this funny?  Because we were all Mormons of a certain age.  I like to call it the age of “crazy sh** in YW and YM convincing us not to join the occult or play ouija boards, leading to the highest rates of occult and ouija board participation in recent memory.”  I remember youth conferences where people would give guest talks about seeing evil spirits, or running into ghosts or Satan when they were working late nights at church.  (Which other than making me scared to spend time in church didn’t really provide a lot of spiritual value as I look at it in retrospect.)  Firesides with “experts” from the “music industry” (huh?) would talk about how listening to rock music invited evil spirits into your house.  Anyways, if pornography is the boogeyman of the 21st century church, the occult was the boogeyman of the 80’s.  I was terrified, and secretly I was fascinated. 

This leads us to the grand-daddy of Mormon ghost stories.  The infamous hand-shaking instruction.  If you see a spirit, you are supposed to ask to shake its hand.  One of three things will happen:  (1)  It will shake your hand, and you will know it is a resurrected being on a mission of righteousness.  (2) It will refuse to shake your hand, and you will know it is a non-resurrected being, but on a mission of righteousness because it was honest about it non-corporeality.  (3)  It will agree to shake your hand, but when you try to touch it nothing will be there, and you will be so scared you will pee your pants, and then you are supposed to remember to rebuke it.  I don’t know where this comes from, although Brad K. assures me it is rooted in the “physicality of Joseph Smith’s doctrine of deity.”  Okay Brad, I believe you. 

 Here’s my issue with the whole thing:  If I see a spirit, I am so running in the other direction.  Ask to shake it’s hand?  Heck no.  I’m not an idiot, I know what happens to the blond girl in movies involving spirit beings, corporeal or not.  (And also what happens in movies involving axe-murderers, and giant bio-engineered crocodiles.)  This is one blond girl with a high sense of self-preservation, someone else can rebuke the spirit. 

When I learned this particular “doctrine” in Young Women, it was not news to me.  I remember learning this along with Book of Mormon stories at my mother’s knee.  Why, oh why do children need to be exposed to this?  I remember many a night lying awake in bed trying to remember what the different handshake results meant, and hoping I could just fall asleep, and what in the world was making that creaking noise in the hallway…..

So, dear readers, spill your guts.  Is this the first time you’ve heard about the handshaking?  If not, when?  How old were you?  What was your reaction?  Do you remember the days of yore when youth conference meant church sanctioned ghost stories?  What were your favorites?  Do you have any left-over spirits from 80s hair bands still lurking in your basement, and if so, can they play the drums?

Comments

  1. Dude, that’s scriptural (D&C 129).

  2. Good ol’ D&C 129.

  3. My favorite stories were from Lynn A. Bryson (of Winning the Testimony War fame)–including a whole race of evil spirits with pointy Spock-like ears. Creepy. BTW, what ever happened to good old Brother Bryson?

  4. Chris Gordon says:

    Caught the tail end of all that as a deacon in the early nineties. I assumed that evil spirit themes and all that were a ploy to keep me engaged in our lessons. It worked. :)

  5. Could it be some other physical contact, like a fist-bump or pull my finger? Just askin’.

  6. My favorite occult story was that if you played Pink Floyd loud enough on your headphones demons would visit you. NOT TRUE.

  7. “I was terrified, and secretly I was fascinated.”
    Totally. And don’t forget the Dungeons & Dragons scare as well, it was going to warp your sense of reality and make you go insane (after it turned you into a devil-worshipper)!

  8. I remember a class in seminary where we watched a video about evil music. Problem? The video included each of the suspect songs complete with lyrics and discography. Some of the stuff I had never heard – I wasn’t into heavy metal as a teen – and for weeks afterward I couldn’t get the songs out of my head!

    Message: Children! You shouldn’t listen to evil music. Here, let us show you what we mean . . .

    I don’t remember where I first heard the handshake thing though.

  9. Ah yes, and by the same logic the church fails to understand why subscriptions to porn in Utah are the highest in the nation. Gotta love how it uses scare tactics to keep the youth “in line” with what the brethren teach rather than, you know, letting people learn these things for themselves by exercising their agency.

    As for the handshake part, I’d likely be one of those who’d run like hell if seeing a spirit being, which is most likely why I only ever hear and not see them during spiritual experiences (such as conversing with my late brother recently).

  10. Great post, it brought back memories and some chuckles. The D&C 129 stuff is only one part of it. And I have never been able to figure out why an unembodied evil spirit would try to shake your hand, knowing it would be a dead giveaway of its demonic status.

    I came of age as an LDS youth in the 1970s. Stories about ghosts, evil spirits, casting out demons, and how rock music and ouija boards could invite a demonic takeover of your body were routine in my area in those days: seminary, YM/YW, sunday school, special firesides, you name it. Our stake patriarch came to early morning seminary class one day and told us a story about a hitchiking evil spirit in Idaho that caused a young LDS man to commit suicide (one more reason to not pick up hitchhikers), That one basically gave me insomnia and an anxiety disorder for about 3 months. And yes, I remember Brother Bryson’s “Winning the Testimony War” and a fireside of his I attended in Pullman, Washington in the 1980s, on the evils of the music biz, satan’s influence, etc.

    I don’t hear much about magic, angels, good or evil spirits, and demonic posessions in the church these days. In fact, it seems taboo. Ministrations of angels are discussed as metaphors for people helping out other people in a time of need. I guess we are less comfortable these days with “The Magic Worldview” as Michael Quinn called it. The old days had some bizarre aspects, but I admit I miss that energy and feeling at times.

  11. I’m on some sort of “waitlist” that I don’t think I’ll ever get off of. Kind of like Stanford Law School.

    We all seek to comfort you in your stress over having to settle for Harvard! :)

  12. Is this the same Lynn Bryson, now a Seventh Day Adventist?

  13. I knew about the handshake thing from D&C 129 as a teenager in the late 60’s. I also remember all the scary stories about Ouija boards, evil rock music, evil spirits, and all the really juicy scary stories that went with them. Which just really fueled my curiosity. I think I played with a Ouija board once or twice as a teenager, but was disappointed that nothing ever happened.

    But then, isn’t Ouija made by that famous purveyor of FHE board games, Parker Brothers? So it can’t be all bad, can it? No worse than the robber baron capitalism of Monopoly, or the war carnage of Risk or Stratego? Hmmm…

  14. Dave P sez:

    Ah yes, and by the same logic the church fails to understand why subscriptions to porn in Utah are the highest in the nation. Gotta love how it uses scare tactics to keep the youth “in line” with what the brethren teach rather than, you know, letting people learn these things for themselves by exercising their agency.

    Actually, that’s not by the same logic at all.

  15. Oh, yes, I too am a child of the 80s. I remember well the firesides on the evils of hard rock. My favorite Sunstone session ever featured a bunch of Student Review alum-types playing rock music backwards and finding some not-so-satanic messages. And one of the most awesome moments of that session was attendee A. Laurence Lyon (yes, the church composer) bawling them out for making fun of Lex DeAzevedo. Good times.

  16. We got the ouija board scare and the stay-away-from-Jesus-Christ-Superstar lectures in the ’70s, but otherwise I don’t recall any of this first-hand. Oh, wait, yeah, we did get the “Satan rules bodies of water” talk, too.

    The handshake was discussed in seminary during the church history year. Other than wondering why evil spirits wouldn’t learn from all the buzz and refuse to shake hands, too, it didn’t make much of an impression on me, I guess. I never was into ghost stories anywhere except in genealogical research.

  17. Norbert #6, how do you know? Maybe you didn’t play Pink Floyd loud enough….

    I am a kid of the 70s, joined in 75 as a teenager. We did plenty of seances prior to my baptism to last a lifetime. And yes, I did see some creepy things come out of those….

    As for the handshake thing, yes, I’ve known about it since I was a teen, because I actually read D&C 129 on occasion….

  18. Ardis #18,
    Maybe the evil spirits are kinda like Roger Rabbit. You start singing “shave and a hair cut”, and he can’t help but finish it. Maybe they just can’t help themselves but to grab your hand and shake it.

    Dang! I keep falling for that ole D&C 129 gag.

    Evil spirits, gets ‘em every time!

  19. Ardis, whenever I hear the Satan-water thing I think about the Calvin Grondahl cartoon of a Satan guy with horns waterskiing.

  20. Kevin Barney says:

    Yeah, I remember all that Ouija board/evil spirts stuff when I was a kid in the 70s. The missionaries on my mission were fascinated by purported evil spirits.

    Speaking of the Jesus Christ Superstar thing, I once opined on how horrible that was, and my friend, the son of a minister, called me on it and asked me what was horrible about it. I had no idea. I learned a lesson that day about mindlessly repeating reactionary stuff I hear at church…

  21. it's a series of tubes says:

    Ah yes, and by the same logic the church fails to understand why subscriptions to porn in Utah are the highest in the nation.

    The ease with which this supposed “statistic” is bandied around is always amusing. If you have read the original article:

    http://www.people.hbs.edu/bedelman/papers/redlightstates.pdf

    you would no doubt be aware that the data presented therein do not lead to the conclusion you state.

  22. Oh my gosh, this made me laugh! When I was in high school in the mid-70’s, before I joined the church, I used to hang out with a group of Mormons. There were two or three Mormon boys who used to tell these “ghost” stories late at night to me and another girlfriend who was also not a member. They would get us so scared that I would be afraid to go home to bed in my dark lonely room. I used to literally pray to Heavenly Father to please NOT send an angelic visitor to me! The clincher was that at the end they would always say, “Don’t worry, if you ask to shake it’s hand and you can’t feel it, you can always call one of us, because we have the Priesthood and can cast it away!” That’s a pretty crazy way to try and impress the ladies! I often wonder how I later decided to join the church after being taught these kind of stories.

  23. “Dave P sez:

    Ah yes, and by the same logic the church fails to understand why subscriptions to porn in Utah are the highest in the nation. Gotta love how it uses scare tactics to keep the youth “in line” with what the brethren teach rather than, you know, letting people learn these things for themselves by exercising their agency.

    Actually, that’s not by the same logic at all.”

    I think it’s probably closer to the truth than not. You preach about pornography ad nauseum, in every general conference talk, every stake conference, on and on and you don’t think that some portion of the listening audience isn’t going to wonder what the heck you’re blathering on and on about?

    I’m sure there are more than a couple of young men or women who have googled “pornography” just to get a definition. Sort of like the whole “necking” and “petting” thing of the 80s and 90s. To this day, I still don’t know why the church has such serious beefs with anyone petting my dog when they stop by the house. Redonkulous.

    As to my favorite boogeyman story of Mormondom, I’d have to go with the Windrunners (at least that is what we called them). A group of spirit Indians / Native Americans / God knows who, who had killed a Mission President somewhere, could run through the air faster than your car, would stop at nothing to kill you and you couldn’t do anything about them or it. It used to give me the willies in a serious way. It’s probably just one of the kazillion urban legends you hear on your mission, but that one somehow managed to make me get the shivers every time I or anyone else ever discussed it.

  24. +1 to MattG. D&D was the great evil of the world of my childhood, along with face cards and soap operas. (Where’d the soap opera thing come from? No idea)

  25. “you would no doubt be aware that the data presented therein do not lead to the conclusion you state.”

    You mean, this line, from the study you reference, means something other than what it states:

    “Controlling for broadband access, states show remarkable similarity in their subscription quantities, as shown in Table 2. Dividing state subscription counts by the FCC’s Broadband Deployment quantities, the most-subscribing state is Utah (where 5.47 of every 1,000 broadband households subscribed to the service at issue), while the least-subscribing state is Montana (1.92 per 1000 broadband households).”

    Likewise, table 2 (p. 217), has Utah as the top of the list in (a) most subscriptions per 1000 people, (b) most subscriptions per 1000 home internet users, (c) most subscriptions per 1000 broadband users, and (d) *another* metric that is too long for short snippet here.

    You might want to clarify yourself, because as of now what you’re claiming in no way matches the study you presented to back up your point of view.

  26. Nobody, maybe the Windrunners were actually the large and scary looking Lamanites that stood behind the sister missionaries when they tracted into a rapist’s house.

    Sorry everyone for the D&C 129 mistake. whoops!

    Ardis, the Satan in the water thing was big during this time too, as was the book and movie “Jaws.” Hmmm……

  27. I may or may not have taught all my (non-Mormon) girl friends how to rebuke evil spirits/ Satan while I was at a sleepover in 4th grade. Embarrassing.

  28. The fear of ouija boards and such was still alive and well into the 90’s in my neck of the woods. I remember as a teenager in seminary/YW being told that we shouldn’t even talk about evil spirits because if we did, they would come and the Holy Ghost would leave. I didn’t point out the obvious, i.e. that we have church lessons on Satan from time to time…

  29. Mark Brown says:

    Once after a rambunctious game of church basketball I offered to shake my opponent’s hand but he refused, thus confirming what I already knew about those people from the fifth ward.

  30. Kyle M– I still learn about the evils of face cards in institute ever so often from the area 70 that teaches it.

    Oh darn, looks like the King of Hearts is blocking the entryway to heaven again. Maybe the Queen of Spades can convince him otherwise while I play Pink Floyd.

  31. living in zion says:

    I’m with Kyle #26. D&D, Face Cards, Soap Operas, Rock Music (Backmasking ) Let’s Get Physical- Olivia Newton John. Caffeinated sodas and sitting on a boy’s lap were all in the fast lane to Outer Darkness.
    I don’t hear much about OD any more. I wonder if it’s fallen out of Vogue.

  32. If soap operas as a genre weren’t bad enough, there was always Dark Shadows!

  33. it's a series of tubes says:

    You might want to clarify yourself, because as of now what you’re claiming in no way matches the study you presented to back up your point of view.

    The article identifies the source of the data as the internal corporate records of a single commercial porn company. Please tell me you don’t need an explanation as to the basic statistical principles ensuring why such a sample cannot be representative?

    Note also that the rate of paid subscriptions to THAT COMPANY per thousand state residents varies from 1.69 per thousand in Utah to 0.5 per thousand in West Virginia. If you believe that overall, less than two in a thousand people in Utah are paying for porn, boy do I have a bridge to sell you. Further, the prevalance of paying for a subscription != the prevalance of consumption. Consumption is orders of magnitude higher.

    The article is examining a tiny snapshot of data, and not a statistically representative one. As such, using the snapshot to draw conclusions about the demographic as a whole is flawed.

    Let’s be clear here – I’m not trying to “defend” Utah. I’m merely pointing out the limits of the usefulness of the data presented.

  34. I didn’t watch Ghost Busters for several years because of this type of stuff. My parents forbade it, and I had no method of watching it on my own until we moved and I could see stuff at the neighbors without them knowing there was a taboo. Face cards were off-limits, so we played all the same games (minus poker and actual gambles) with Rook cards. Pepsi and Coke were off-limits, for a long time I thought Mellow Yellow was an alcoholic beverage because of the way my dad acted after accidentally drinking some and then discovering it’s contents. Around the campfire at scouts, the adult’s ghost stories always gained legitimacy when they talked about something that happened on their mission.

    It hasn’t completely died out though, about 2 years ago, my Bishop devoted a 5th Sunday lessons to the evils of Harry Potter and Twilight.

  35. I grew up in the 80s. I don’t remember very many talks about this sort of thing, but my parents did warn me against oujia boards and told me to stay away from music with extreme (sexual, violent, etc) lyrics. They also passed along the shaking hands thing but it was just an interesting “fact” not anything that was a big deal.
    I still happen to think that a lot of the music industry is corrupt and a lot of music is bad. Also, I think the occult is bad!
    I did know some older kids who hung out with my sister and claimed to worship the devil. They were probably harmless but I think poorly of joking around with worshipping Satan or worshipping him for real. Either is messed up and I will encourage my kids to do neither.
    So, a true child of the 80s who drank the very mild koolaid and is STILL against worshipping Satan.

  36. It never really will die out, Steve_G.

  37. I can’t believe that the discussion has gotten this far without reference to this definitive text: http://www.myregisblog.com/2008/09/one-grand-and-five-not-so-grand-keys.html

    Also, I mistakenly thought the reference in #30 was to Jay’s Journal of Anomalies. Which is awesome. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay's_Journal_of_Anomalies

  38. #33 – Maybe the Queen of Hearts is always your best friend because she keeps the King of Hearts from blocking the entryway to heaven.

  39. None of that ghost stuff ever scared me. I think I secretly didn’t believe in it.

    My husband’s father died when my husband was four years old. As he was growing up, he kind of wanted to experience a visitation from his father’s spirit. In retrospect, though, he thinks that actually would have been pretty terrifying.

  40. jks, agreed that Satan-worship is bad.

  41. P.S. “Ask to shake its paw” = LOL

  42. I missed all of this stuff. I was way far out in the mission field during this period. My wife has mentioned to me a couple of times that there was a strong anti ouija board anti hard rock vibe in the church in Utah in the 1980’s. her and her friends response of course was to try out a Ouiji board game for kicks

  43. Steve_G, I’m not sure I know the evils of Harry Potter, but the evils of Twilight are manifold. I couldn’t get through the first book, and then they made really crappy movies from them. I actually had to ask my wife if we had really seen two or three Twilight movies, because they kind of all blended together in kind of a feverish nightmare scenario of bad scripts, bad acting, and bad directing.

  44. When I was about 2 or 3 and living in Clearfield UT, Relief Society was still held during the daytime. That meant there was also a nursery provided for us toddlers. Boy, did I ever love going to Relief Society. In retrospect it was more like Lord of the Flies than a Church meeting, but that’s what 38 years worth of grey matter filter will do for you….

    Anyway, there was a toy/game closet in the nursery room. And at some point, somebody had put a glow-in-the-dark sticker or paint on the wall, a big handprint. Worse yet, it was up near the ceiling, and the fingers were pointing down. So, we’d take turns going into the toy closet and getting up the nerve to turn off the light so we could see the green hand on the wall.

    Of course, you turn a bunch of little kids loose in the early 70s in an LDS church with a glow-in-the-dark hand reaching down from the heavens, and it doesn’t take long to arrive at the story that Evil Spirits (TM) are reaching in through the roof to grab the souls of children who opened their eyes during the Sacrament prayer, or listened to bad music, or played with wee-gee boards. I’m also pretty certain that adults in the room may have encouraged these tales, probably telling us that if we didn’t share the Sit-N-Spin, we’d have to go to the toy closet so the Evil Spirits could smack us on the butt for acting like little demons.

  45. Is this related to the belief I have since my ’80s youth that if you say something out loud, Satan will hear it, but if you keep it in your brain, it is off limits? Or is that actually doctrinal?

  46. Willf – I think it is doctrinal. That is, that if you believe that only God/Jesus/HG can read your thoughts, but obviously if you say it out loud Satan (or his little helpers) might hear it.

  47. Norbert #6, how do you know? Maybe you didn’t play Pink Floyd loud enough….

    Yeah, try turning it up to 11 and see what happens.

  48. The evils of rock music thing is still alive and well. Three years ago in a 25-30 institute class, the teacher played ‘Thunderstruck’ (seriously) and told us in no uncertain terms that if we listened to that kind of music, the beat would make us want to have sex. We commented after that given the crowd in question, we weren’t sure that was such a bad idea…

  49. obviously if you say it out loud Satan (or his little helpers) might hear it.

    Good grief, people. Santa has little helpers. Satan has minions.

  50. @ #36:

    “Please tell me you don’t need an explanation as to the basic statistical principles ensuring why such a sample cannot be representative?”

    I absolutely love the histrionics. Thank you for the good chuckle. I appreciate the furled brow you must have sported while feigning such disgust and contempt.

    I’m not as bent on downplaying something that nevertheless remains correlative of the general society. My biggest beef with the study might be that its based on paid subscriptions. Unpaid subscriptions – the free stuff – would be a much more compelling study and is much more widely used (IMUO). Heck, all it takes is a simple google or bing images search to get what you want these days…or a text, all for free. No need to buy anything and face the shame of having your CC# AND show up somewhere…

    Correlative with that, Utah has been noted to be #1 or #2 in Google trends for searches of various terms related to pornography, like “naked girls”, “pornography” and “topless.” [Those are links to Google trends, fwiw.] Not so ironically, Utah is also near the top for searches like “Jesus” and “Home storage”. It’s not hard to correlate the results and see that Utah has some issues on this front, discount them as you may.

    People, after all, are just trying to get their year’s supply of pornography and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    *Now, back to your regularly scheduled boogeyman discussions*

  51. re #32, Mark Brown “Once after a rambunctious game of church basketball I offered to shake my opponent’s hand but he refused, thus confirming what I already knew about those people from the fifth ward.” LOL!

    Do any of you remember a general epistle from the first presidency back in the mid-70s about what music was not appropriate for church dances and other activities? I recollect that it specifically referred to (without naming the titles) the Stones “Sympathy for the Devil,” John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and anything from “JC Superstar” as being on the forbidden list. It was widely distributed, in all of the YW/YM leadership materials. Nothing was mentioned about Pink Floyd, however.

  52. re: #48 and #49, it is indeed doctrinal thought only God can know your mind and thoughts–see D&C 6:16. For some time as a teen and in my 20s this idea made it very difficult for me to offer personal prayers vocally. I figured that if I kept them in my mind, Satan wouldn’t get any hints or head starts on my many weaknesses that he could then leverage against me even further….

  53. like 41

  54. The other day I was told the game Twister not only encourage teenage sexuality, it also encouraged ungodly conduct by having your shoes off. With all seriousness.

  55. Somebody else says:

    Correlative with that, Utah has been noted to be #1 or #2 in Google trends for searches of various terms related to pornography, like “naked girls”, “pornography” and “topless.” [Those are links to Google trends, fwiw.] Not so ironically, Utah is also near the top for searches like “Jesus” and “Home storage”. It’s not hard to correlate the results and see that Utah has some issues on this front, discount them as you may.

    ************

    By inference, there are 49 other states that would be tops in various others of the many hundreds or even thousands of common pornography-related searches. And also tops in searches for who knows what else. “Beanie babies”, maybe. Or “chocolate”. Shall we infer a correlation there, also?

    Lets face it – pornography is *everywhere*. It’s become a societal norm. Attempting to link the Church to a higher rate of consumption of it is grasping at straws, IMO.

  56. As far as appropriate music goes, even the new handbook does have this curious phrase:

    The beat of the music, whether instrumental or vocal, should not overshadow the melody.

    13.6.6 Dances and Music

  57. I would be remiss if I neglected to pass on my all-time favorite column from my all-time favorite Mormon Times author:

    Wizards, werewolves, vampires and ghosts

    This guy is the gift that keeps on giving.

  58. RE: 13.Rob Says:
    Is this the same Lynn Bryson, now a Seventh Day Adventist?

    I don’t think so. The Lynn Bryson I saw in concert and in fireside back in the mid-80s would be quite a bit older than this guy on your weblink appears to be. And my recollection was that he was much “burlier” than the guy in the photo. When I saw him perform in 1984 or 1985, he was probably in his 40s. He accompanied himself on accoustic guitar (was a good player), backed by recorded backup band (the beat did not overshadow the melody or lyrics), and he had a good deep baritone voice. And he could sure tell the stories.

  59. D&C 129 was the cause of one of my difficult moments. I was teaching the Gospel Doctrine class on four sections, including 129. I do not remember how Section 93 was included in the lesson, but it was. In the introduction I said that this lesson went from the sublime to the ridiculous, and that I would cover the ridiculous first.

    As an engineer I was aware of “nifty” things which catch one’s attention but are useless, and I thought that section 129 was such a thing, that the hand shake was included because it was a “nifty” invention but basically useless. I think I used the word silly in the lesson. Bad mistake.

    I set the scene, “Imagine the room starting to glow and the glow gathering strength and gathering itself around a personage standing in the air in the middle of the room. At this point I say, ‘Sir before this interview goes any further I must shake your hand!’ That would just be plain silly.” I spent the rest of the lesson fending off the heretic burners.

    I still maintain that this is a silly test and only one person in a dispensation can use it. But there is a lesson: never say anything in scripture is silly or ridiculous. In retrospect I should have just fallen on my sword and had done with it and moved on to section 93, which is truly sublime and one of the reasons I love Mormonism.

  60. Oh boy! I was a teen in the late 70s and early 80s and I certainly remember all these wonderful stories. The handshake thing is something I remember since forever, and I remember the ban on Jesus Christ Superstar. What was odd to me, though, was that Godspell evidently got the okay, but JCS didn’t.

  61. You forgot the part about saving yourself by calling upon the power of Christ to rebuke the (evil) spirit, and I well remember we practiced, no mention that it had to be via a Priesthood holder in my crowd: whereupon “he” would disappear, purportedly. It DID give me great comfort that it would resolve the problem should I ever encounter it. And you forgot the hook left hanging on the car door handle. And the casket that had to be opened because the graveyard flooded and the occupant had pulled his/her hair out. And BTW, Jay’s Journal was a Big Deal in this neck of the woods.

  62. The Stan on the waters thing comes from D&C 65, so is also scriptural.

  63. oops, I meant D&C 61, obviously.

  64. Whenever I visit the Temple I think of D&C 129, I know it’s figurative but the when Adam greets Peter, it just stands out as a massive error.

    I missed the ouija board frenzy but I did have a member of the bishopric tell me to avoid Beetles music, it was the 90’s I was 12-14 I had no intrest in that old fashioned stuff till that point, I love the Beetles now one of the greatest bands of all time.

  65. John Mansfield says:

    A few years back I went up to scout camp for the last few days. I was lucky to have with me a copy of the Washington Post with a lengthy, somewhat artsy piece on Randall Smith killing people on the Appalachian Trail. (“Blood on the Mountain.”) Nothing supernatural, but lots of topical suspense and a bit of gore. I think the boys liked hearing me read over the campfire one evening. I felt it my duty.

    The two campers loved so much about the mountain. How it gave to its visitors, how generous it seemed: There’s another deer; listen to that owl; the trout are running.

    But a murderer was in these woods, too. And he brought darkness to the light.

    When Randall Lee Smith rose from a meal with Scott Johnston and Sean Farmer at their campsite along the Appalachian Trail here in southwestern Virginia in May, he politely thanked them for the fried trout and beans. Then he pulled out his .22 pistol and calmly turned from one to the other.

    The first bullet hit Sean in the temple.

    The second hit Scott in the neck.

    The third hit Sean in the chest.

    The fourth hit Scott in the back of the neck.

    Blood gushed against the moonless night.

  66. @gst, yes! And also Matsby’s awesome pac man offering his handshake to a ghost pic.

    http://www.myregisblog.com/2009/06/ldsploitation.html

  67. As far as the Utah/porn thing goes, I think it has more to do with age demographics than anything else. Young people look at porn more than old people. I don’t mean to say that that’s the only difference between Utah and other states when it comes to porn subscriptions, but I think it’s a huge factor that would be silly to overlook.

    That said, I’m not a fan of Utah. I think Mormons in Utah need to get up and move. The salt of the earth doesn’t do much good just sitting in the salt shaker.

  68. StillConfused says:

    I can remember being at youth conference at a nearby college and some man was trying to freak us out with all kinds of crazy talk (like it is no coincidence that LSD and LDS were using the same letters). Problem is that I was so distracted by his (how do I put this…) wet spot that I really can’t remember much of what he said.

  69. re: #68, Mr Q&A: Your bishop was correct to encourage you to eschew “beetles music.” These creatures have many compelling virtues and can teach us a thing or two about adapting and surviving, but I’ve never known music to be their strong suit. On the other hand, “Beatles Music” as in the fab four, can be downright sublime (except for that strange “White Album”). Need some sunshine or inspiration? Go listen to “Abbey Road.”

  70. “That said, I’m not a fan of Utah. I think Mormons in Utah need to get up and move. The salt of the earth doesn’t do much good just sitting in the salt shaker.”

    Mormon from Utah should only be allowed to leave if they sign on penalty of death that they will not try to make the places they move to more like Utah.

    Salt of the earth my @$!

  71. Believe me, Benjamin, this Utah Mormon has absolutely no interest in living anywhere near you, and hopes you don’t visit us anytime soon. Deal?

  72. @75 Ardis. Yes, agreed. Mote, beam, etc.

    gotta love Jesus and his advice for avoiding being a jerk.

  73. Which advice, Karen? The bit about staying away from BCC? Got it.

  74. No, the advice about not making fun of people from Utah when everyone has their hangups. (or at least that’s how I extrapolate). Us SLC natives have our feelings too. I was agreeing with you calling out Benjamin’s comment.

    I would never advise people to stay away from BCC….where would we get our entertainment if our commenters evaporated?

  75. Duke of Earl Grey says:

    @21. That’s funny, because it always makes me think of Satan paddling around in a kayak that’s too small for him, but raising his paddle triumphantly over his head and laughing whenever he thinks someone is watching.

  76. Love this! Karen, this explains your wild affinity for Buffy in college. The pieces are finally falling into place! Also, makes me want to read the D&C for scripture study (and occult fun facts), so for that, my hat is off to you, good woman.

  77. 68 – Actually, I don’t remember where I heard it, but I was told one time that the shaking of the hand in D&C was possibly a reference to the “handshaking” that goes on in the temple.

  78. Of course, I immediately went and listened to Thunderstruck on Youtube. No dice. I didn’t want to have sex at all! My husband will be so sad.

    Then I listened to part of Jesus Christ Superstar, the Gethsemane part. Yeesh. I couldn’t get past 1 minute. *cringe* And I usually love Andrew Lloyd Weber! I’m pretty sure my friends’ broadway-musical-lovin’ families were obsessed with it though. I guess the ban lifted in the 90s?

    I was a child of the 80s and remember all the ouiji board hoopla. Didn’t hear the part about the handshaking, but my dad did teach me how to expel evil spirits.

    I don’t even think my kids know what a ouiji board is. Hmmm.

  79. “…always gained legitimacy when they talked about something that happened on their mission.”

    A lot of this stuff is still alive and well in the Mission Culture. It’s a combination of the still standing prohibition of missionaries swimming (or anything like unto it) and the unusually common (as compared to off-mission) practice of casting out evil spirits.

  80. @ Ken, I gave up a long time ago apologising for iPhones predictive text.

    @ Jacob M, my point is pre earth spirits are not corporeal, Peter had not received a body yet there was no way to shake hands?

  81. Mr Q&A – I’ve always wondered about that, too, but I was using your comment as a springboard to mention that maybe when D&C says “shake hands”, it might really be talking about temple stuff. I was not arguing against your point. Sorry about the confusion.

  82. I see your point, that’s interesting. Adam makes reference to the messengers being from God and can be trusted. I’ll look at things differently next time I attend.

  83. I have the impression D&C 129 (Feb, 1943) precedes the development of much of the temple ceremony, so I’m not convinced there’s a good case the “shake hands” means temple stuff.

  84. Or it leads to the evolution towards the temple Martin. Recall the temple ceremony evolved over a relatively long period.

  85. I’ve reminded Steve of this incident several times, because I really want him to ask me to guest on Police Beat Roundtable, but I’m on some sort of “waitlist” that I don’t think I’ll ever get off of. Kind of like Stanford Law School.

    Goll, I’d be happy if he’d just accept my friend request . . .

  86. Steve Evans says:

    We both know that’s not gonna happen.

  87. Indeed.

    My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.

  88. I completely remember the cautions regarding ouija boards, rock music and evil spirits. Growing up in the L.A. area in the 70’s this was a regular youth fireside topic. Of course we immediately went to the Bishop’s daughters home to pull out the ouija board complete with candles glowing and Pink Floyd playing for “atmosphere”. Our ward also had a scary movie night one time that caused my sister and I to lose sleep for days. We were afraid because we didn’t have a cross to show the demon, vampire or whatever evil spirit decided visit our home. We decided that our picture of Jesus would have to suffice and would place it next to our bed before we went to sleep. Apparently it worked because we never had any evil spirits come to visit.

  89. Carol Johnson says:

    Lynn A. Bryson was a phenomanal speaker and his concerts were very proofessional. He died in 2005. I have his book “Winning the Testimony War” and the entire set of his cassette tapes. He did a concert in Fargo stake in 1981 or 1982 and in Bemidji, MN in 1983.

  90. Carol, thanks for the info on Brother Bryson and sorry to hear he has passed on. Now to just find a copy of his tapes!

  91. Of course, hearing that Lynn Bryson has passed on makes me even more interested in whatever happened to him after dropping out of the spotlight in the 1980s as well as his continuing legacy. I would love to gather more info. If anyone has more info or knows the family, or knows where I can get a copy of his tape series, please contact me privately at birdchaser AT hotmail DOT com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,671 other followers