Wednesday, March 21, 2012

FARMS Vigorously Defends Michael McLean Songs

By Stephen Carter XII

NEW PROVO, MARS—In a special issue of the FARMS Review (August 2231), Mormon scholars Michael J. Wash, Robert Q. Humbling, and Horace H. Snedvet are defending the historicity of certain ancient Michael McLean songs (some over 200 years old) which were recently the subject of attack by anti-Mormon sources. The sources claim that some of the most inspirational songs attributed to McLean could not have originated in the 1980s and 90s, rather, they are forgeries perpetuated by a later musician attempting to satirize late 20th century Mormonism.

The FARMS scholars, from the BYU-Mars campus, muster archeological, literary, and prophetic evidence to support their arguments.

Wash’s article describes video cassettes unearthed from deep within LDS Church archives containing evidence of two contested McLean songs, "You're Not Alone," and "Together Forever."

Though some of the videos had suffered extensive damage, a team of experts was able to decipher evidence of mullets, poofy bangs, and leg warmers; "all incontrovertible evidence that the songs were indeed produced during the 1980s and not at some later date by a McLean imposter," Wash declares.

Humbling takes a literary approach. "Consider some lyrics from one of McLean's contested songs," he writes, “ ’You're not alone / Say it one more time, You’re not alone / You are loved in ways that can't be shown / Your fears are known / You're not alone.’ A well-trained eye will discern after some study that every line ends with the 'own' sound—a trope well known and prolifically practiced by pop musicians during McLean’s day."

Humbling has also delved into historic McLean vinyl recordings, which are kept tightly locked in the vault of the First Presidency. He reports that he has detected no irony in the songs, which could have suggested satiric intent. “Indeed, from my extensive studies, I have concluded that irony had not yet infected Mormonism at that point in its history,” he writes.

On the prophetic front, a made-for-television film Mr. Kreuger's Christmas—though now lost—strides to the defense. 

"McLean was an unknown at the time he wrote and produced this legendary film," Snedvet writes. "There is evidence in the archives of KSL that the great Jimmy Stewart played Krueger's role—a miracle in itself!"

After much research in the BYU library's special collections, Snedvet discovered that Stewart was suspected by Ezra Taft Benson of being a Communist. "President Benson’s administration significantly overlaps the history of McLean’s songs,” he writes. “Yet another brick added to the monumental wall of evidence for the truth of McLean’s inspired music.”

Another article provides new support to the claim that McLean may have ghostwritten some Rick Astley tunes.

The next issue of the FARMS Review will defend novels by early Mormon author Jack Weyland.

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