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Radio Free Mormon: 144: There Will Come Soft Rains

And now for something completely different!  RFM shows us how he uses great literature to deal with the current Corona Virus crisis!  Be sure and leave a comment as to whether you like this podcast and would like to see more along this line.


28 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 144: There Will Come Soft Rains”

  1. Great podcast- you are so well read and I loved hearing poetry and things that I haven’t thought of in years. Lovely. I listened while taking a walk on a beautiful and sunny Washington day ( yes, I’m a Washingtonian too!). It inspired me to take in the trees, earth and beauty. Thank you!

  2. As someone that will be heading to law school soon, I can never get enough of the facts and analysis. That being said, I certainly enjoyed the departure from the typical content in today’s episode. I have not thought about that short story by Ray Bradbury in sometime, and it has left me in a lot more of a pensive mood this evening. And pensive is a hell of a lot better than the usual coronavirus anxiety.

  3. I agree that wisdom can be found in many places. I am not very well read in high literary forms, and I just don’t get poetry at all, so I would enjoy hearing from someone like you who has sifted through so much of it already. I, for one, enjoyed the literature podcast and look forward to future gems you choose to share.

  4. This is pure gold. Please do more like this. There is so much value and inspiration to be gained from discussions like this. This episode reminded me of all the good poems, songs, pieces of prose that I have pondered on and cherished. Late night poetry reading with mom after dad died comes to mind. We read The Hellbound Train from Best Loved Poems of the American People late one night. I remember driving through the night and around four in the morning One Tin Soldier came on the radio and tears streamed down my face. You know how it is when you are tired enough emotions are more readily touched. I have often reflected on The Charge of the Light Brigade and the miscommunication of orders that brought that suicidal mission but it wasn’t for those horsemen to question why. That crosses my mind quite often and I appreciate Tennyson for his words. Another one of great value, “Then outspake brave Horatius, the captain of the gate “To every man upon this earth death cometh soon or late and how can man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his gods” Horatian and two others held the enemy on the far side of the Tiber while others cut down the bridge. The two other men ran back when called “and as they ran beneath their feet they felt the timbers crack.” They would have run back to help him but the bridge fell down. The poetry and prose you went over touched my heart and my mind. Robert Service poetry was deeply appreciated in my home as I grew up and there is so much more than just The Shooting of Dan McGrew and The Cremation of Sam McGee. The Spirit of the Unborn Babe and My Masterpiece are thought provoking. My Masterpiece is about this amazing book that is loved by everyone and quoted far and wide but it turns out that “Alas a better man must write that little book I never wrote.” Another good one, among many, is The Cookie Thief, I think. A great little poem about how someone slipped into a false accusation. Anyway, I just want to say thank you very much. This quality material “out of the best books”, at least some of it, and some of it from some other places but still valuable. That quotation you used from the Stephen King book “It” in an earlier podcast was powerful but I would probably never have read the book at all but I made it a point to get a copy and ponder on that part. Quotations from Shakespeare, Dickens, Oliver Wendell Holmes and many others rattle around in my head and are helpful. In the Movie Secondhand Lions Uncle Hub, Robert Duvall, says “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean you can’t believe it.” Good food for thought comes from many places. Thank you, this episode spoke to me and as always you try to “liken” worthwhile words to your own life. Please do this kind of episode again and again. Thank you.

  5. Hi RFM
    Thank you for sharing my story concerning mums budgie, Joey, on Podcast 140 I believe that one of the signs of greatness of character is the willingness to share a little limelight with others around you so thank you again for sharing a little of your limelight with me. I am so glad that you found Miss Mouser. This was a prayer answered yet you say that you have a bad record for getting answers to prayer well I have a theory why this particular prayer was answered and incidentally this same theory applies to why Joey was healed so dramatically. I have noticed over the years that where childlike faith and innocence abounds then usually more success in prayer and blessings occur. In other words I believe that your prayer may have been strengthened by the innocence of your anxious children. In Joey’s case the innocence of my anxious mother may have added the strength to the blessing we gave Joey. My mother Mary was a kind, loving and gentle lady. She held no malice in her heart, kind words were always on her lips, she would give encouragement to all, she was generous in her thoughts and actions. I never saw her angry, I never saw her lose her temper. She was a sweet innocent soul who had the rare ability to cheer all those around her. She was the genuine article what you saw is what you got. No airs and graces, no false pretences, no lies or innuendo. She thought of others always before herself. When she said to you “all the best love” she meant exactly that. And that was the dearest wish of her heart that all those she loved would have “All the best”. Could it be the presence of pure innocence that makes the difference? What do you think RFM?

    I was intrigued by Ray Bradbury’s “There will come soft Rains” written in 1950 it was so prophetic our world now is almost exactly as he saw it ruled by electronics and even perhaps near its demise that could be easily caused by mans desire for wealth and power. I found the story sad and a little scary.
    In four short years I will be 80 born in the 1940’s I have seen 9 decades including the 2020’s just beginning I have seen so many changes in my lifetime and experienced so many things many I cannot explain.
    May I tell you here of another prayer, with an electronics theme, that was answered in a dramatic way. My career has been in sales 15 years selling insurance door to door from 1967 to 1972 then in commercial selling 1982 to 2007 when I retired. I have been on numerous sales courses over the years and in 1985 myself and a colleague were sent off to Birmingham, England for a week on what turned out to be a very intensive sales training course run by a couple of smart alec wizz kids who thought they knew it all. Each night we were given an assignment to complete by next morning by 8am. Third day into the course we were split into 6 teams of three I was paired with two attractive young ladies the assignment was to invent a new product and then sell it to these two guys next day. After the evening meal at about 7.30 we met in the lounge bar for a brain storming session 2 hours later the three of us had nothing. We were getting nowhere and my two young companions were getting worried so I said “You two go and get a good nights sleep and I will have it all sorted by tomorrow morning meet me here at 7.30am and off I went to my room. On my Knees I discussed the problem with my Heavenly Father then went to sleep. By morning I had the product and how to present it in order to guarantee a sale from these two smart alecs it all came as a vivid dream during the night. I met the girls told them to follow my lead. This was 1885 before the advent of any electronic device we were still using the Filofax to record our appointments etc reliant on pen and paper.
    The invention was to be an electronic device to replace the Filofax which would revolutionise sales record management and reporting we merely had to speak and every word would be recorded electronically. I watched the other teams struggle and stumble through there presentation hardly making a sale. Now it was my turn before long I had these two guys eating out of my hand as I followed the instruction in the dream. I told the two guys nothing except that this was top secret that would revolutionise record keeping and that if they wanted to buy into my invention they would have to sign a declaration of absolute secrecy until we were in full production. They tried to break me but could not and they eventually signed beaten by a daft lad like me but it all came as a result of prayer.
    Pity I didn’t think to patent it because a few years later my invention was in the shops. Maybe it was the two smart alecs who won the bigger game.
    Another prayer answered and I know that I would never have thought of that idea on my own it was give to me as a result of prayer I did not even know what electronics were. Now they have taken over the world just as in Ray Bradbury’s Tale.

    Yes Please More of the Same RFM
    Thank you for all that you do.

  6. “be sure to leave a comment” – be careful what you wish for! 🙂

    Short version. More please! 🙂

    Long version: this is a good time to talk about the future. I am sure I am not alone in hoping that you don’t go the same way as your predecessors. That is, what happens when the day comes that you burn out? When investing countless hours into Mormonism is no longer fun? You could gently segue into reading and discussing relevant short stories like this. I would certainly be on board. But there are other options: may I suggest some?

    1. I hope you don’t one day just stop, like Mormon Expression. By the way, on a tangent: when exmos rank their favourite exmo podcasts ever, I often see M.E. as number one and yours a close second. I think that merely reflects M.E’s populist style. I am an ex-apologist like you, so I wanted more depth than Mormon Expression could provide. For my money, your background plus legal skills put your podcast head ans shoulders above any other. but I also realise that this takes a huge amount of time and energy, hence my concern for the long term.

    2. I also hope that you don’t branch out into topics where you have less expertise. I think this happened with Infants on Thrones. Their early podcasts were amazing, but eventually they had said everything they had to say. They then branched out into discussing broader topics. But in those areas they don’t have any more expertise than anybody else, and I find those far less interesting.

    3. I also hope you don’t just keep talking for talking’s sake, though if you did I would still listen. This seems to be the Mormon Stories approach. Now talking for talking’s sake has value, and Mormon Stories helps a lot of people. But RFM’s great selling point is its high density of cutting edge analysis. That is why we come back.

    So how do we square the circle? How can you fill a podcast with high quality information without needing ten hours of research per one hour broadcast, and without runing our of interest? I think that RFM has two advantages over those other podcasts, and these advantages suggest a solution.

    First advantage: your apologetic/legal background. You are aware of more details than other people. You can discuss topics like Biblical criticism or the latest Mormon scandal without dumbing down.

    Second advantage: you seem to genuinely care. You often praise Mormons when they do good, and not in a condescending manner (like come exmo forums I could mention!) I think you genuinely had, and still have, a vision of what Mormonism could have been: the thirst that motivates Utopian thinkers and theologians down the ages.

    So, what I suggest, if there ever comes a time when you need more content but lack the time of passion, is to use your “Behind Enemy Lines” metaphor and give us military style briefing of some vital aspect of Mormonism/Theology/Utopianism. Imagine being in a bunker, with the sound of bombs, and the enemy approaches. You spread out your maps and charts and have half an hour to prepare us to fight, against the background noise of bombs and gunfire. You could use Wikipedia or whatever, but show why these topics REALLY MATTER to us today, and are not just obscure curiosities of history. Today’s podcast is a great example: human extinction. That matters! Plenty of great thinkers have dug into the topic. And existential fear of death is a big motivator behind most modern religions, including Mormonism. So this ticks the box of being like “an approaching enemy”.

    Here are other examples of “approaching enemies” suitable for urgent military briefings, with a Mormon twist:

    * Death. Plenty of “false religions” are surprisingly deep and satisfying on this topic. Personally I think that animism is extremely profound. but Pythagorianism and Buddhism also desevr a mention. You could tie this to Nibley’s comments on the Axial Period of history: there is plenty of evidence that the concept of death as we know it was only invented around 600 BC. (I could write a lot more on this topic.)

    * Barbarians at the gate. The rise of China, the Mexico wall, the rise of anti-science: thse are relevant and often urgent. You could link this to James E Talmage and his dismissal of Marcus Aurelius (in The Great Apostasy), and note why Marcus Aurelius was no idiot.

    * Apocalypticism. I wrote in another reply about the Mormon belief that America would fall, and then natural disasters would usher in the Second Coming. This idea goes well beyond Mormonism or even religion, yet is also deeply Mormon.

    * Purpose of life. And the related “What if we are on the wrong side?”, “What if everything we believe is wrong?” This is familiar to exmos, but is very scary of we allow ourselves to think it through. A good opportunity to talk Socrates and Nassim Taleb, and what we really know!

    * The secret underground: villains who turn out to be heroes. From William Law to the Tanners, and non-Mormon parallels. You can hear the gasps in the bunker as the soldiers realise the war is not what they thought.

    * Orwellian Propaganda: from destroying printing presses to Search Engine Optimisation and “blessings” and new logos. And the broader context of fake news, of who counts the votes, and the Overton window: we are fighting for the concept off truth itself! Who are thr good guys?

    * Lost ancient civilisations. I don’t mean Edgar Cayce nonsense, I mean the real thing: personally I would focus on the Bayaka, but that is a whole other topic!

    * And so on and so on. A hundred episodes could be made simply outlining the major players! Rigdon’s Campbellites and why they matter, the REAL religion of the native Americans, what the Gnostics REALLY said, the Community of Christ and why Moroni is being taken off temples, and so on and so on.

    OK I have writen too much again, and it’s time to go to work (essential worker 🙁 )

    Keep up the good work!

  7. I really loved this episode. Poetry pulls at your emotional basement that Mormonism, I felt, always told me not to go visit. I already had all the answers, so the prophet said, why make myself feel nervous about the way other people see the world.
    Please do more of these type of episodes so I can expose myself to more literature and the way you – other people – think about it. I am a reader, but I need to go and reread most of the things I’ve read in the past without my “dogma” getting in the way. I cannot blame the church for all of this – probably because of the way my brain is wired – but I saw EVERYTHING in relation to the church and it’s teachings.
    Please continue on with the Mormon episodes as well. I really loved the backdating episode of some of the bible stories. I am really hoping you will do a concise backdating episode about the priesthood, etc. in the early Kirtland, Nauvoo days LDS church. If you have already done this, could you tell me which one it is?
    Love your podcast, your voice, humor and the way you can get to the bottom of it all.

  8. Loved the episode!
    “Variety is the spice of life.” And so is depth, which your sharing is full of.
    Thanks so much ☺️🙏🏽

  9. Hi, everybody!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! I have been working hard today (in and amongst other matters at the office including a telephonic appeal hearing) and just this afternoon got today’s podcast up!

    Which is a long way of saying I’m sorry but I don’t have time right now to reply to your comments individually, though they all deserve it!

    In short, I expect that sometime next week I will get around to doing a podcast about things I have learned from literature that have direct impact on my understanding of, and relationship to, Mormonism.

    I think it will be a blast!

    Thanks again everybody so much!


  10. I’ve always loved Ray Bradbury and Simon and Garfunkel. (In fact my 8th grade English Teacher introduced both of them to me.) As for departure from a Mormon theme: it’s inevitable. How many times can you dissect the blandness of GC talks for example? They’re all interchangeable from one year to the next. even in this pandemic. No special insight or help (even with $100 billion) in this crisis.
    You’re an insightful person who, so far, has interesting things to say. After 6 years I think I’ve deconstructed Mormonism and I’m ready to move on. Especially since I’m moving out of the Mormon corridor soon. I will continue to contribute as long as you have something interesting to say. Peace!

  11. I enjoyed your departure from the norm. If you are tiring of podcasting on the same Mormon issues, think about venturing into commentary on politics. I am a New Yorker who spend close to 50 years living in Utah. I am as anti Mormon as they come, but stayed in Utah because I loved the outdoors so much. Two years ago my Mormon wife and I returned to New York to care for my aging mother. Living outside of the Zion Curtain, I realized how much I enjoyed living in a liberal culture and that I could not live in the toxic Utah culture anymore. So now I am hunkered down here at corona central and reading a very disturbing column, in the New York Times by Paul Krugman, about how American Democracy is in danger because of the tactics of conservatives to hold on to power even though they are a minority in America. The Supreme Court’s ruling that Wisconsin must hold an in person primary and election of a State Supreme Court Justice during the pandemic is a prime example of voter suppression tactics that keep liberals from gaining power. Krugman lays out the case of how we may be following in the footsteps of Hungary on the path to rule by edict. I think you could do a wonderful job of analyzing politics. You could start with why do so many Mormons like the Dumpster? Think of how much material there is to dig into about the one buffoon who out does all 15 of them in Salt Lake.

  12. It looks like this episode hads generated more comments than any of your others.

    I for one would listen to you read the local phone book of your choice. Your voice has a soothing quality.

    As someone has already mentioned I would love to hear you read “the cremation of Sam Magee”.

    You could start a new podcast of reading poetry and short stories. Do a brief history of the story, read the story, and follow up with your own thoughts on what you just read. Just a thought.

    1. I’ve always liked Robert Service poems!

      To be honest, I thought I was pushing it by giving a straight-up reading of “There Will Come Soft Rains.” That’s why I kept assuring people it was a very short story, only a few pages long. I feel safer with shorter snippets, but maybe you are right and I need to broaden my view, as well as my repertoire. Thanks for listening!

  13. Ray Bradbury– I took Dandelion Wine” to the mountains to read in the summer of my 19th year back in 1970 to contemplate whether I should go on a mission. That book, and an amazing sunrise over the mountains shining off a river, led me to believe deeply in a God. That’s it. I didn’t have a testimony of the Book of Mormon (because I had not really read it up to that point) or of Joseph Smith as a prophet. But my feeling of love for creation led me to decide to go on a mission. I never received a direct witness for the Book of Mormon or the Church while on my mission or after. After striving to gain that witness for another 40 years, I finally left, after an intensive 5-year quest to research all things Mormon. Literature has been and will remain a source of truth and comfort. Your approach to your podcast rings true and gives feeds my spirit. Thanks, RFM

    1. Dear Johannes,

      Thank you so much for sharing that experience. I absolutely love Dandelion Wine, as well.

      I can’t get the image of the boy’s dad standing on the porch during the summer evenings with others smoking cigars and the glowing ends floating in the darkness.

      I am remembering the right Bradbury book, aren’t I?

      Thanks for listening!

  14. I absolutely love this podcast! However I think this one should stick to Mormonism as the name implies. If further episodes drift off from the initial subject, there lies a danger of it becoming the RFM (won’t use your name) show. Although you are an interesting character, it would feel a bit narcissistic for it to delve completely into your interests and not Mormonism.
    Maybe you could start a separate podcast on poetry, theatre and dance for people interested in the subject?
    Anyway keep up the dissecting of the lies

    1. You say “narcissistic” like it’s a bad thing.

      But seriously, thanks for your comments, Steve.

      I agree with you that the podcast needs to stay focused primarily on things Mormon. That is what people come to hear, and certainly what the name advertises.

      Any such shows as this most recent one will be the rare exception.

      Thanks for listening!


  15. Yes, more of these…but please don’t let up on mormonism. Many of us are out but with family and extended family still in the motrix, we can’t help but follow carefully every move they make. Your podcasts are wonderful, so the more the better and THANKS

    1. Thank you, Dan!

      This type of podcast will definitely be the exception and not the rule.

      So no worries on that score!


  16. Loved this episode. Far and away, RFM is my favorite exmo podcast. However, this was an excellent venture beyond Mormonism. I loved your articulate exploration, acknowledgment, and dissection of complex human experiences and emotions (like mortality) through literature. Continued episodes (or an entire podcast) looking at spirituality, death, nature, existentialism, humanity, and any issues through the lens of literature would be phenomenal. I relish literature, but am nowhere near as well read as you are, so in addition to being highly interesting, this was a great exposure to more artists and works. Major thumbs up for this experimental tangent! Thank you for all your thought-provoking, uplifting, balanced, entertaining, sardonic intel on the goings-on in Mormonism. Keep up the good work, RFM.

    1. Thanks so much, M.F.!

      In the coming days and weeks, I hope to do a podcast on several passages from literature that I feel have special application to Mormonism and perhaps religion in general.

      I have enough collected I could probably do more than one episode on that subject alone!

      So glad you liked it!

      Thanks for listening!


  17. Whoa! This episode brought back a childhood memory. A young man from our small town neighborhood was a member of an LDS music group called the 3D’s. They did an album of Church songs and an album of folk songs/poetry. We played the folk song album until it was worn out. Some of my favorite poetry. Here is the YouTube link for Soft Rain. Maybe others will like their other folk songs too.

    1. I heard about that group on my mission from another missionary!

      He probably brought it up because I had a penchant for memorizing and reciting bits and pieces of poetry from a small book my Mom got me for Easter in 1981.

      I managed to get a record album by them after getting back to the states.

      Where that record has gotten to now God only knows.

  18. I’m a little over halfway through marching through your podcasts, which I started earlier this year. I love your messages. I love your analysis. I love your musical selections! They have helped more than I can say. Must say, though, this is by far my favorite episode. Thank you for your thoughtfulness in putting this together. Thank you for doing your bit to help us through this pandemic. Bless you for everything you’re doing.

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