More Bedlamites entries: two from TV Mc Arthur

Wm says: and now more entries from the Bedlamites contest — today, two from Terrance V. Mc Arthur.

Entry 1:


(tune: Men of Harlech)

Men of Bedlam[1] rise and holler[2]

Roll around in mud and waller[3]

Frighten off the unsought caller

Make them think you’re mad[4]

Men of Bedlam graze on grasses

Horrify the Gentile masses

Caw like crows and bray like asses

Make them go away.

If they think we’re crazy,

Making chains of daisy

They won’t attack,

They will stay back

Until their memories of us are hazy.

If they think that we are barmy,

They won’t attack us with their army

Act the fool, and they won’t harm ye![5]

Bedlamites, be daft![6]


[1] The Bedlamites, more formally known as the Men of Bedlam, was a group formed in 1838 in Missouri to protect the Saints (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as Mormons) from mob violence. They were founded by Demetrius Jones, a Welsh convert, who adapted an old Welsh tune as their anthem. Unlike the Danites, who sought to fight their enemies with violence, the Bedlamites feigned insanity to protect their settlements.

[2] One of the techniques of the Bedlamites was to enter the camps of the opposing militias, screaming and shouting nonsensical gibberish, to frighten the mobocrats into confusion, a variation of the methods used by Gideon in chapter 7 of the book of Judges.

[3] Some Bedlamites coated their bodies in mud and refuse, hoping that the repulsive sight would drive off their attackers.

[4] The Bedlamite tactics were rooted in the legend of England’s Wise Fools of Gotham, who, to dissuade King John from seizing their lands for a castle site, pretended madness when royal surveyors arrived. Convinced that something in the air or water caused insanity, the party returned to the King and convinced him to build elsewhere.

[5] Unfortunately, the Bedlamites were all killed by Missourians who used the unarmed Saints for target practice. They were wiped out. All that remained was their song.

[6] They were.

Entry 2:

BEDLAMITES: a proto-punk heavy-metal group formed in Missouri in 1837. The founding members were Joseph Smith Jr. on lead guitar, Hyrum Smith on rhythm guitar, Brigham Young on stand-up bass, and Orrin Porter Rockwell on percussion. Joseph played a cast-iron guitar, as steel was not readily available. Hyrum played rhythm, as he was used to supporting and backing his younger brother. Brigham, known for his carpentry and woodworking skills, built his own instrument, the only known bass equipped with three drawers. Rockwell was always armed with multiple firearms and could shoot off up to 71 rounds without reloading, enough shots to keep the beat for most songs.

The group was named during a practice session in Joseph’s carriage house, so they were the equivalent of a modern garage band. Hearing the loud music, Emma Smith confronted Joseph, telling him, “It sounds like Bedlam out here,” to which her husband replied, “Then we must be The Bedlamites.” The name stuck.

One lyric fragment of a Bedlamites song has been found in the History of Joseph Smith, the source material for the Documentary History of the Church, which was drawn upon by B. H. Roberts for his seven-volume history:

“Taking back Zion,

Throw the rascals out.

Taking back Zion

Even if they shout.

Taking back Zion,

Get rid of the pukes” (a name used in other states for Missourians)….

The lyric was unfinished, possibly because a suitable rhyme for “pukes” could not be found.

A playlist has been found with the titles of songs in the group’s repertoire, including “Come Latter-Day Morning,” “Mommas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Prophets,” “Joseph B. Goode,” “Rockwell Around the Clock,” and “The Igham Brigham Song.”

When Joseph and Hyrum were arrested with other leaders in 1838, the group broke up, although reports still exist of a second version of the Bedlamites and the legendary Liberty Jail sessions, with percussion provided by a small shovel Rockwell had smuggled in to Joseph. The shovel broke before the prisoners could dig through the last layer of the stone walls, but it may have been weakened by the energetic drumwork of Sidney Rigdon.

from Musical Mormons: a History by Alexander Q. Baird

3 thoughts on “More Bedlamites entries: two from TV Mc Arthur”

  1. .

    The latter of these two was in serious contention for my choice of best. I even wrote a citation:

    Incredibly, even though I’ve read a number of TV’s stories (including one earlier in the day that I read the Bedlamites entries), I did not recognize him here. I don’t want to tell you what it’s about because you’ll find it hard to believe that I laughed as much as I did. It’s a silly idea, I grant you, but executed with such aplomb that I had to forgive the silliness and just roll with it. I haven’t laughed this consistently with something in a long time — and I’m in the middle of a Wodehouse novel!

  2. Ooh, Terrance, I like it! I’m envious of the song in the first one and the “garage band” concept in the second is hysterical!

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