“Imagine”: A Mormon’s Favorite Song? (This Could Save Your Marriage)

For all you married men who are nervous and perhaps even bitter about your wife’s new infatuation with American Idol finalist David Archuleta, here’s some ammo to help you save your marriage. Start up the conversation by saying how much you admire David for his courage in standing up different points of view, like atheism and Marxism. She’ll say what??? And then you can casually point out that “Imagine,” the big finale song for David Archuleta tonight, is a hippie rant against God, religion, and freedom, blaming the problems of the world on religious belief and economic freedom (private property), claiming that peace will only come through a one-world socialist mega-government based on atheism with no morality other than living for today (and obeying your Marxist-Lennonist masters). She may disagree, until you read her the full lyrics – not just the relatively innocent little excerpt she heard tonight:

“Imagine” by John Lennon

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.

Say that you’re proud of David for being more nuanced and more radical than his innocent Mormon appearance would suggest. “Hey, I hear he’s joining a Miami death metal band with a crust punk twist. What kind of tattoo do you think he has?”

For those of you who aren’t bitter and nervous, you may wish to join me in congratulating David for really shining tonight (there, honey, is that better?). But I really would have preferred a different closing song. Maybe something with a touch of missionary spirit, something that reveals his religious roots without being too overtly religious. I know: “Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree.”

Full disclosure: I also like “Imagine” as long as I’m not paying attention to the lyrics. Most modern songs are better that way – but even better (i.e., with lyrics even easier to ignore) when sung in Urdu or, best of all, rapidly yodeled in the Waldis dialect of Swiss German.

Update: And yes, his performance was wonderful and his selection of the non-atheistic part of the song was positive and smart. Really, I’m proud of that great young man. If only he weren’t so appealing to women . . . . Good luck, David, and good luck, Mormon men everywhere!


Author: Jeff Lindsay

40 thoughts on ““Imagine”: A Mormon’s Favorite Song? (This Could Save Your Marriage)

  1. John Lennon was a musical genius.

    He was also a jerk and a hypocrite.

    He is currently ranked as the third-richest “dead celebrity” by Forbes, with an estate valued at $400 million, and annual earnings of $22 million.

    “No possessions”? “No greed”? John Lennon never lived a day in his life by those values.

    How about a world without pretentiousness, John?

  2. You had me laughing… “Pop Corn Poping…” That would have be hillarious. What about “Do as I’m doing?” Anyway. I had similar thoughts as I listened to the words. Great voice, but I hate the song.

  3. Interesting to see cold war paranoia alive and well in 2008…Lennon wasn’t necessarily advocating what you say he is – he is just asking the listener to engage in a speculative exercise.

    As history has proven, communism doesn’t stand up as a legitimate political philosophy. But your red-baiting is a relic of a past era…Ezra Taft Benson, Cleon Skousen, Bruce McConkie are all dead – may their fears and paranoia go with them to their graves.

  4. To me, I see a world in those lyrics where people are living the law of consecration… 😉 Talking about “no religion” isn’t the same as talking about no God, is it? In fact, when the second coming happens, will there be a need for religions…?

  5. Those comments would never work. She would simply point out David’s virtue in refusing to sing those particular verses and focusing instead on the ones that are most Christ-like.

    Next, she would run to the computer to print out the verses that he DID sing tonight:

    //Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one//

    …and then she would make him watch David’s STUNNING performance once again on youtube:


    …and then she would insist that he accompany her to the upcoming American Idol concert.

    See? Give it up. Best to just comment on how he really KO’d the competition tonight.

  6. I just can’t believe someone would get all commie-paranoid over something as stupid as American Idol. I guess it just goes to show what occupies our thoughts.

  7. Tax the rich to feed the poor until the the rich are no more. Except the goverment and their friends. They bring us socialism once again.
    We’ll be the same and have no pain. You like me will have no gain.

  8. I read where the final three songs for tonight were picked for them. If that were true then the finalists had no choice over what they sang.

  9. So are you seriously a conservative or are you just posting this as a charicature of conservative thought? Because if that’s your intent, man, it’s hilarious! From the fear of hippies to the certainty that certain music has dark intentions and the belief that singing a song naturally aligns your beliefs with those expressed in the song. Then there’s the all-out paranoia about “Marxism” (code word for communism–read the Communist Manifesto and you’ll find it’s just another version of libertarianism) coupled with the idea that atheism equals amorality. Odd that this simple song never says God or religion or possesion of property is responsible for the ills of society, but only asks us to imagine a world without these things–it doesn’t even say that that world would be better. Then, of course, there’s the sexist fear that your weak-willed wives will be unable to control their lust for this AI finalist boy-man (the hippies are stealing our women!) and the sexist belief that your women won’t be able to see past their own infatuation with that same singer and see the dark intentions and deeper meaning behind his song.

    My own mother, a very conservative woman, taught me never to be afraid of words–and never to be afraid to really THINK. She was honest enough to know that finding out the truth about things (such as social movements and political philosophies) won’t stear you down the wrong path, but will only give you a clearer view of what you really want.

  10. Whoa, apparently angryyoungwoman is in a very bad mood. Instead of thinking you are a sexist hippie hater, I found your commentary humorous. Oh well, I guess you can’t please everyone. Oh, and without being infatuated I think little David has some incredible talent, along with a good dose of humility. Here’s to hoping that never changes.

  11. Hey, Carmen, I said I thought his post was hilarious. Seriously, I’ve been laughing about it all night.

  12. Amazing that just to mention Marxism – the mindset that informs the actions of much of the world today – raises anger from its dupes in the US! Have any of you paid any attention to what Marxism and Socialism is and how prevalent it has become???

  13. Seriously, I don’t want you to think that I didn’t think your post was funny, because I thought it was really funny. I just hope you intended it to be funny (or else, you know, believing that pointing out flawed thinking in a song that a little boy was singing on a particularly mindless tv show could save a marriage seems a wee bit nutty). So, really, I think it was funny, and please don’t be offended at what I said since it wasn’t said to offend. OK?

  14. “Hey, I hear he’s joining a Miami death metal band with a crust punk twist.”

    Now that would be awesome.

  15. Maybe I’m an idealist, maybe I’m naive, but I agree with theresa (without a wink). While uber-reactionaries will recoil at the lyrics, I think that Lennon may have been tapping into the the spirit of the United Order (see Doctrine and Covenants Section 104).

    I think that Lennon’s description of his world is a lot like I picture the millennial era when Christ reigns personally. But, then again, you may say I’m a dreamer …

  16. From the Wikipedia entry on the song “Imagine”:

    In the book Lennon in America, written by Geoffrey Giuliano, Lennon commented that the song was “an anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic song, but because it’s sugar-coated, it’s accepted.” Lennon also described it as “virtually the Communist Manifesto”.

  17. Have you ever read the Communist Manifesto?

    I have and it’s really not the evil plot to destroy all mankind that it’s cracked up to be. It basically says:
    Workers overthrow factory owners, everything belongs to everybody and humankind becomes self-governing (no need for government of any kind or only very minimal government). There’s the call for revolution, of course, but it’s really a very non-threatening, unrealistic idea.

    Americans confuse communism with socialism because the USSR (United Soviet SOCIALIST Republic) was formed under the guise of communism, but as it became apparent that theoretical communism doesn’t work, dictatorial men worked to gain power over the people (against the very idea of communism, wherein all are on an equal footing).

    And then, of course, there’s the confusion of Soviet-style socialism and modern-era socialism, but I really doubt anybody here cares at all about that.

  18. Interesting perspective. But I was actually quite moved by David’s last song, to the point of shedding tears. The Spirit touched me as I heard him sing those lyrics. I thought that the lyrics he chose to sing were in keeping with the spirit of Zion – equality, no greed, no hunger, a brotherhood, sharing, joining, living as one – the classic topics of a Zionistic/Millennial/Consecration discussion. “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18).

  19. I thought that he did great last night. I thought that David Cook sounded really well too.

    He could’ve sung Book of Mormon Stories, with all of the primary learned hand gestures and then we would have all of the Native Americans dissing us…

  20. Not to detract from a lovely performance, but there are some political realities worth noting, based on the comments above (not David’s performance).

    In my view, totalitarianism (please don’t tell me that is dead!) is Satan’s counterfeit priesthood and counterfeit Gospel. Marxism and its offshoots of any name seek to force mankind to be “saved” by those who know better, sacrificing individual agency and responsibility for collectivism (= subjection to the few on top who speak for “the people”). Ideology is needed to maintain order, and the ideologies of evil almost always sound good: security, liberation, equality, social justice, a brotherhood of man, free bread and circuses, free health care, even nationalized lawn care, etc. Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Castro, and Mugabe all had great slogans and lofty principles, and piles of dead bodies. The counterfeits succeed because they resemble the real thing, the true peace and equality that we yearn for (Zion), but the lovely mask on the counterfeits hides the teeth of coercion and brutality.

    Yes, David did a great job with a beautiful song. I don’t expect most people to worry about its origins and the negative side of the song, and David nicely excised the real trash and made it uplifting. But for me, I can’t easily forget that the author of that song wrote it as a paean for a godless philosophy that has resulted in blood and horror everywhere it has been implemented. Lennon didn’t just come up with the words because they rhymed well. It was a carefully crafted message, deliberately sugar coated so that even nice religious kids can go around singing about the dream of a godless one-world all-powerful state without individual property rights and without a moral compass to limit what such a government might do. It’s not a dream, it’s a nightmare.

    But hey, I enjoyed the song. Why worry? And so what if all our politicians are moving toward more socialism and lessened individual rights? Come on, totalitarianism is dead. It doesn’t happen in nice Western countries like the US or Germany, right?

  21. And yes, I’ve certainly read the Communist Manifesto. It was one of the first books I read as a teenager when I get interested in politics. And I must sharply disagree with the view you might have picked up from the very vocal Marxists entrenched in our universities, the view that Marxism is just about freedom and self-government. Absolutely not. Look at the 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto – the real heart of what is being proposed. It’s all about MASSIVE GOVERNMENT and TOTAL CONTROL by that massive government:

    10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
    5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
    6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c., &c.

    Most of these planks have been implemented in the US in the past century. Each can be given lofty reasons (stability, equality, security, compassion for the poor, social justice, the common good), but the real agenda is about putting power, control, and the ability to indoctrinate, regulate, and manipulate in the hands of the all-powerful state. It’s utopia in the minds of so many leftist professors today, but it’s often been a nightmare for the people who labor under the oppression of such government.

    But I digress. Loved the song. Hope David wins!

  22. I think the part of the song that David sang could just as easily have been written by Joseph Smith. Read the words of the third verse and chorus. That is Zion. David took something that was evil, and turned it completely around, something that is incredibly laudable. He turned Lennon’s words against him. I think it just goes to show how humble this young man is, and he does have the Spirit with him.

  23. Mormanity-
    (I love your name, btw). I wasn’t addressing my question about the communist manifesto to you, I was asking one of the “anonymous”es, the one who called the song “virtually the communist manifesto.” I really didn’t want this to devolve into a discussion on communism, but wth.

    Since you decided to answer the question anyway, a few points. In the communist manifesto, the state does not equal the government. The communist manifesto itself states that the governing body will whither away–that’s why it’s often seen as an unworkable philosophy. Here’s an excerpt from the cm itself (rather than wikipedia, as you chose) to back this up:

    “When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.”

    Of course communism was against private property, land ownership, etc–and it turns the stomachs of some to think that what they call “their” money should be redispersed by the state to fit the needs of all. (My advice–don’t become a communist or an ist of any society/religion that asks you to give up your posessions). While the ideas of communism may seem distateful to some, they are not, in and of themselves, evil. They were taken advantage of by evil men who wanted power and wrecked havoc on the world. In the communist manifesto, the state was necessary for regulation on physical needs–food, shelter, the like. Education was provided for because if all are educated none can become borgeousie through greater educational opportunities. Opportunistic and evil men took hold of the communist idea, mutilated it, changed it to fit their needs, and used it to oppress and murder many, many people.

    Communism isn’t responsible for the acts of Stalin and Mao any more than a gun is responsible for the lives its owner may have taken. Ideas don’t kill people. People kill people.

  24. Jeff – very funny post and I get what you’re saying.

    You are spot on about Marxist/Socialism being Satan’s counterfeit. And that is where this country is headed, and soon.

    The upcoming election will pretty much seal that fate.

  25. Mr. Lindsay, I lurk your blog quite a bit and thoroughly enjoy it. I never felt the need to comment until today.

    The fact that the words “death metal band with a crust punk twist.”appeared on your blog made my day for some reason.

    Recently my wife and I have had a real interest in the LDS church and often stop here to read your posts. Thanks!

  26. but the real agenda is about putting power, control, and the ability to indoctrinate, regulate, and manipulate in the hands of the all-powerful state

    …or religion.

  27. Angryyoungwoman – I love your comment – was about to write something of the kind, and you did it so much better.

    Taking away the wink from my previous post, I seriously don’t see a difference between communism (the *theoretical* version!) and the law of consecration. In my eyes, the only difference is that communism is a utopia impossible to happen, because there’s something missing: the genuine and selfless christlike love between people – something that seems to only be possible in a theocracy.

  28. “You are spot on about Marxist/Socialism being Satan’s counterfeit.”

    Totally true–in fact, Satan himself possessed the bodies of both Marx and Enghels as they were writing it. Later on, Satan possessed the body of John Lennon, and Satan wrote the song “Imagine” so we would all be indoctrinated into this philosophy–because, you know, when Satan wants someone and that person isn’t willing to go to the intellectual bother of reading Satan’s Greatest Work Ever (the Communist Manifesto), Satan will use a velvet voice and soft piano to lure him into his communist trap.

    BTW, “Imagine” is Satan’s greatest musical triumph. Songs written in praise of Satan may be well and good for Satan, but trust me that when Satan marches his triumphal march through hell, it is to the tune of “Imagine.”

  29. Also, Mormanity (I don’t know your name, sorry):

    “I must sharply disagree with the view you might have picked up from the very vocal Marxists entrenched in our universities . . .”

    I went to BYUI/Ricks. There weren’t any vocal Marxists entrenched there (at least that I encountered). If any had managed to dig themselves into the trenches of Brigham’s fine university in Idaho, I’m sure the people at the top would’ve done their job and weeded them out. I had exactly two professors who would label themselves as “democrats” in class. In private conversation with former professors (years after I’d taken classes from them), I learned that a few of them had liberal leanings. None of my liberal professors (except the two self-identified democrats) discussed their own political philosophies in class. My conservative professors felt very free to discuss their political ideologies and make fun of other viewpoints, including questions on tests that a liberal would get wrong if s/he answered them in good conscience. I answered them in good conscience and got them wrong. I still managed to be a blasted good student.

    So your idea that I’ve somehow been brainwashed into my political beliefs (I haven’t even shared them here, btw, only pointed out the flaws in others’ logic) by the marxist professors entrenched in my university is not really applicable to me at all.

  30. Omigod! I had passed on all the AI hysteria and I’ll sidestep the discourse on “The Communist Manifesto” if it’s OK with everyone but I did use a link posted above to see the YouTube.

    Achuletta (or whatever his name is) sure did take all the soul out of that song and turn it into the equivalent of one of those people who think their moment has come at a baseball game and turn the national anthem into an unrecognizable paean to their own egos. I’m still trying to get the saccharine out of my ears! I guess he can sing well enough but he has no taste or discernable artistry.

  31. You all seem to totally skirt around the issue of identifying which central power really pulls the strings on the back of the very last great empire that this earth has known. One with iron teeth and 10 horns.

    This same power was behind communism. It is behind marxism. It was behind fascism in the 2nd world war and it will be behind totalitarianism in the sooncoming near future. Does satan have anything to do with it – hasn’t he been trying to reunify the world under his control since Babel?

    Coming to a country near you soon ? – you betya!

    “Be seeing you”

  32. Here’s a concept that is perhaps lost in all the communist discussion about Lennon’s song. Which, by the way, no one compares to Lennon singing it. Everyone else is an imitator. But back to my comment. Christ preached a true and pure form of communism whereby we all live in peace and harmony and support each other. Marxism, on the other hand, is a distortion of communism in which all power is placed in the hands of the government and in theory everyone is created equal, but in reality power is placed in the hands of a small few, and everyone suffers as a result. The Soviet Union is an example of a falled Marxist Idea.

  33. Maurine Jensen Proctor of Meridian Magazine was as moved by Archuleta’s performance as I was:

    “David had been great in his earlier performances, but it was as if a magical power descended upon him at this last competition. He controlled the stage. He sang with passion and energy that delivered to the audience, not just a beautiful song, but an experience. It was hard to believe that a high school junior from Murray High School was delivering on such a professional, moving level, and though Cook, 25, was a tough competitor with an excellent voice, he was simply blown out of the water, and his ultimate win came as a big surprise to Archuleta fans. . . .

    “Finally, in Round Three, Archuleta and Cook chose their own music. David A. sang a mesmerizing rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine,’ a song he had sung earlier in the season. Jackson told David, ‘You are exactly what this show is about — finding the best singer we can find and the best singer of the season is right here.’ Paula Abdul added, ‘You’ve left me speechless …You were stunning tonight.’

    “Not Only His Voice Impresses

    “What impressed was not only his voice, but the manner of this young Latter-day Saint, whose earnest humility, gentleness and decency were his hallmarks. Journalists called him the ‘beaming boy wonder.'”

    Sometimes it’s ok to look past the words of a song to the one that is singing it. I think Archuleta put the Spirit in that song in a way no other has, and turned it around from whatever Marxist/Communist slant Lennon originally gave it.

  34. From David’s voice coachm Dean Kaelin:

    … The first verse of “Imagine” talks about “no heaven” and “no hell” and the second verse says “no religion” and David didn’t feel comfortable singing those words. He decided he wanted to sing the third verse instead since it talked about “the brotherhood of man”…

    (original source) :

  35. You're looking at this from the wrong perspective, as if John Lennon was speaking out against the true religion of Christ. He wasn't, because he didn't even know it existed. Like Martin Luther, Lennon concluded that preachers with no authority from God were preaching polluted doctrine and engaging in unholy acts. He saw the folly and hypocrisy of churches where priests accepted money for indulgences, and charged admission to view supposed relics (there are enough of Mary Magdalene's bones throughout the Catholic church to make twelve full skeletons. Obviously somebody ain't telling the truth).

    He also saw all of the instances throughout history where people did all kinds of horrible things to each other all in the name of religion and Christianity (i.e. the crusades, the inquisition, the destruction of native American civilizations under the direction of Spanish priests, etc. Lennon could see that these churches all seemed to be manipulating doctrine to suit their own needs.

    Lennon asked himself the very same question that Joseph Smith asked before the first vision, that surely God could not be divided against himself. Without the benefit of hearing the true Gospel, he felt despair. When he says "Imagine there's no heaven . . . no hell below us, above us only sky . . . Imagine no religion", he isn't talking about the true gospel of Jesus Christ, he's talking about the polluted doctrine taught by those preaching the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. He believes, rightly so, that mankind will never find peace in a world where religion is used as a tool of oppression.

    He's criticizing the religious extremist who send young men out to act as human bombs in the name of Allah. He's criticizing the priests who for centuries denied the common man access to scriptures. He's criticizing the despots like Jim Jones, David Koresh and others. And he is criticizing the televangelists who take the widow's mite, and spend it on harlots.

    Lennon truly wanted peace for mankind. Had he been fortunate enough to hear the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, he may have sung a different tune, and he might have found the everlasting peace of Christ.

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