Listening to Meridian
Coming Soon to an MP3 Player Near You

By Marvin Payne

It has been determined that Meridian articles should be read aloud into microphones and made available to people who are cool enough to carry MP3 players around, but are not cool enough to listen to most of what is listened to by people who carry MP3 players around.

It is not a light thing to paraphrase scripture. Difficulties may arise. A primary child, listening to a lesson on the rebelliousness of Laman, may burst into laughter and bewilder his teacher. Unnerved, she will ask, “Harrison!” (It has become popular, at least where I live, to name one’s offspring, of either gender, after the surnames of U. S. presidents–hence, “Madison,” “Jackson,” “Taylor,” “Tyler,” and Tippecanoe.” The fact that “Bush” hasn’t caught on yet does not bode well for Republicans, although some measure of comfort may be taken in the fact that the era in which most children were known on the records of the church as “Kerry” seems to have passed. Back to the primary teacher:) (Hey, that’s a friendly punctuation!)

“Harrison! Why have you burst into laughter at my mention of Laman’s rebellious behavior?” And Harrison, struggling to speak through his hysteria, chokes out, “Because right then is where Laman burps!” The teacher thuds deeper into bewilderment at this, not having seen the relevant chapter and verse of the Saturday Morning Cartoon version of The Book of Mormon. It is not a light thing to paraphrase scripture. It could lead to primary teachers asking to be released.

But then, we are exhorted to “liken the scriptures unto us,” and it’s tough to do this without a degree of paraphrasing. That degree may be unsettling to the Mutual teacher who uses that phrase (“like unto us”) and suddenly her Beehives are on their feet in a posture of disco. 

(To those web surfers who are not of our faith, I should hastily suggest here that in order to comprehend the paradoxical mysteries of “Mutual teacher,” which is actually only one teacher ((go figure)), and “Beehives,” which are actually humans, said surfer should contact the missionaries immediately, or simply resign themselves to a life ((or at least a minute or two)) of wandering in a dark mist of paradoxical mystery.)

But I will brave the perils of paraphrase and declare, “Let not the Macintosh i-Book T Pty. Lmtd. say to the ear, ‘I have no need of thee.'” Heretofore, doing Meridian Magazine has been a process of conveying truth, light, and occasional healing levity from my mac to your head. Very slick. No sensory obstacles to pure spiritual intimacy.  

It has been written that we are “carnal, sensual, and devilish” in our natural state. Yuck. “But,” in the words of the Austrian Emperor to Mozart, “there you are.”

Meridian will not stoop to address the carnality and devilishness of its listeners. But we will cave in on sensuality. It has been determined that Meridian articles should be read aloud into microphones and made available to people who are cool enough to carry MP3 players around, but are not cool enough to listen to most of what is listened to by people who carry MP3 players around.

Remember this: We had to wait until computers had clearly arrived (and clearly were not going away) before it was revealed to us what computers are really for, which is, of course, genealogy. Now we are on the brink of a new revelation: What Are MP3 Players For? Well, listening to Meridian, of course. (Oops, I let the revelation slip–well, that’s okay; often revelation is preceded by rumor.)

This means (truly) that those of you out there who don’t think you have time to read Meridian can listen to it every day.  

Have you heard of (Or, or ((it’s tough to get things straight when aLl thE conVentional capitaliZation rulEs gO oUt thE wiNdow (((Thanks very much, WordPerfect!))))).) “This is,” as some who are cool enough to carry MP3 players (and before them, boom boxes, and before them, Walkmans ((Walkmen? And hey, doesn’t boom boxes following Walkpersons seem sort of out of order? “But,” as the Austrian Emperor said…)), and before them, transistor radios, and before them, bongo drums) are wont to say, where it’s at.” 

So now you can go to the aforementioned .com and download the golden words of all us writers for a small subscription fee (I don’t know exactly what it is, but surely less than the Martin 000-17S I’ve been test driving this week during visits to Intermountain Guitar and Banjo (.com). Even with my professional discount. 

And I’m one of the microphone sitters. Maybe because I have this thousand-dollar microphone. Maybe because my wife Laurie is a much sought-after reader into microphones of Mormon Romances and Adventures and Tennis Shoes Among Various Scriptural Peoples texts, and Meridian Magazine couldn’t get her without getting me, because that’s the only way I’d let her use my thousand-dollar microphone. Maybe because my Meridian Editor, who is Maurine Proctor, wants me to have something to do when I am summarily released from my calling as Backstage Graffitor.

I love Maurine Proctor, so do you. I love her because she lets me write stuff here. (I saw her in Salt Lake City ((Utah)) a couple of weeks ago and I said “Y’know, every day I expect an e-mail saying ‘Marvin, thank you so much for your efforts, we know you’ll find an outlet for your creative urges, maybe on your refrigerator door, maybe even in the ward bulletin, but one thing’s for sure, not here anymore. You’re a good man, but hey.'” She smiled and calmed my fears with words something like “Dude, ((except she doesn’t say “dude”)), nobody else does for Meridian what you do!” She had me there, I guess. Except I’m still not sure what she meant by that.)

You love Maurine Proctor because she gives you Meridian Magazine, the only true and living Internet magazine on the face of this URL, and also she writes wonderful things herself. Now, here’s the deal. You love Maurine Proctor–it’s reasonable that you should desire keenly to know what she sounds like. Well, if her words are published on a Tuesday or a Thursday, and my gifted wife is tied up visiting teaching, Maurine Proctor will sound like me. This will be perfectly satisfying to you. Maurine speaks with more honesty, sincerity, and spirituality than I do, but I’m an actor and we learn to fake these things. 

Well, if I write any more here, I won’t meet my recording deadline. So, see ya next time (ooh, could sight be the next sensual frontier?)! All I ask is that you let virtue garnish your ears and maybe towel them out a little, too, because I’m gonna be in there.

P.S. Journal Keeping tie-in: Record it. Cheap mic. Doesn’t matter.



“…come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift…” (from the last page of the Book of Mormon)