At a recent ward activity, I somehow got into a conversation with a member of my Elder’s Quorum, and his wife, about the alleged connection between “Dark Side of the Moon” and the “The Wizard of Oz.” For those of you unfamiliar with the juicy details, let me tantalize you:
Apparently, there is a bizarre synchronicity between the Pink Floyd song and the MGM classic film. If you play “The Wizard of Oz” with the volume turned down and start the Floyd song right after the third roar of the MGM lion, and you then sit back and observe what happens, you will notice all sorts of bizarre coincidences and connections between Dorothy’s shenanigans on-screen, and the pot-banging blaring out of your stereo (Nope–I’m not a Floyd fan). I won’t get into the details. (Go to http://www.rareexception.com/Garden/Floyd/Floyd.php if you’re interested in learning more).
Well, after explaining to me how this works (for this was news to me), the couple then related their own initiation into the dark underworld of Judy Garland movies. Apparently, they were first exposed to the awful phenomenon at a party a few years back when somebody popped the movie into the VCR and turned on the CD player. They immediately noticed the uncanny connection like a blow to the head. What’s worse, they then experienced a deep, dark, diabolical feeling of foreboding and dread, which I can only compare to Joseph Smith’s experience in the Sacred Grove, minus any heavenly interlopers. The conversation drew to a close with their fervent testimony that this was the creepiest, most demonic experience of their lives, and an admonition that I should NEVER try this at home!
Now, I’m not one to usually make fun of others’ spiritual (or unspiritual) experiences. (O.K., maybe I am, but not unless they’re told in testimony meeting! J ). But PUH- LEEEEZ!! I and another brother looked at each other knowingly, and we might as well have been telepaths: “We are DEFINITELY going to try this for ourselves before week’s end,” the brother thought to me. “Yes, I’ll go rent the video,” I responded with my eyes.
Friday night rolled around, and we had everything set up. I was waiting and hoping to be blown away. We started the film, and then the CD. (Drum roll please… )
How can I put this? I was, shall we say, rather UNDERWHELMED. Not only were there no evil spirits, but I couldn’t even see the alleged coincidences. Yes, Toto does utter a bark, just as some other dog is doing likewise on the soundtrack. Big deal. It probably would have worked with “101 Dalmations,” too. I paid $4.10 at Blockbuster Video for this??? I want a refund! (I have a theory as to what’s really going on with this alleged “synchronicity,” but that’s a story for another day!)
Obviously, I am not a believer in this hooey. But here is my question: Let’s assume for the sake of argument that there really is a bizarre relationship between Pink Floyd and Dorothy. So what? Why is this “evil?” If my fellow churchgoers’ interpretation of their experience were unique or anomalous, this wouldn’t be an interesting question. But I don’t think it was unique or anomalous; I can think back to all sorts of events or conversations in my life in which Satan, or the Devil, or the Adversary is blamed for incidents or goings-on that have no discernable “satanic” quality to them. If you think you’ve been personally possessed by Beelzebub, fine. I’m not here to disparage all run-ins with the supernatural. I just want to understand why every feeling of eebie-jeebies is met with the default explanation that Lucifer is somehow behind it all. Did we all get spooked by Bruce R. McConkie’s _Mormon Doctrine_ entry on “Ouija Boards” one too many times as children, and now we’re oversensitive? I don’t know.
Maybe some will feel that I’m making too much out of an isolated incident. But I don’t think it’s isolated, and I really am interested in understanding why Satan gets invoked when and where he does by so many LDS people. (I should note that the LDS couple I mentioned above are both young, intelligent, articulate professionals). Is there a systematic way of thinking about this question? Any thoughts?
P.S. Also feel free to share your own experiences with the alleged Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz connection, if you have any. If you don’t, go try this at home, and tell me if it works for you! (Maybe I just didn’t have eyes to see… )