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Did someone say, 'Natas Teews'?

Being raised in a Southern Baptist household taught me two things: one, that the devil will take any opportunity to enter and corrupt a young life, and two, that I should feel very, very bad. I’d like to take this time to address the former.

I was always skeptical about the relationship between my favorite classic rock artists and the Dark Lord. It just never made sense that beautifully gifted musicians would feel compelled to undo the work that the church had so eagerly offered me by backmasking messages of darkness onto their records. But those doubts were the folly of childhood, the innocence and naivety of a young, optimistic mind. As I grow wiser, it becomes increasingly clear that the warnings I heard as a child were all based in reality, and all came from a place of genuine, selfless care. 

How do I know? Because it worked. I, an eternally practicing member of the Reformed Church of Satan, can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that listening to rock music turned me away from the arms of God, straight into the arms, and fiery wings, of our Dark Master, Lucifer. 

It wasn’t a gradual change, like one might think. It took only one listen of Led Zeppelin’s vastly underrated track “Stairway to Heaven” in reverse to fundamentally alter the course of my spiritual life. Much like the process of backmasking—that is, the process of recording lyrics that carry messages when played backwards—the immediate changes in the chemical composition of my soul were extremely frightening, and more importantly, extremely real.

I remember it like it was two weeks ago. The third verse kicked in (or the second verse, if you’re listening in reverse, which I was) with Robert Plant serenading his “sweet Satan, the one whose little path would make [him] sad, whose power is Satan.” At this point, I knew there was no going back. Too much had changed within me, and I had asked too many of the right questions to ever be comfortable again. 

Plant went on to explain that the Dark Lord “will give those with him 666,” a direct reference to the King of Hell’s widely renowned mathematical prowess. As if numbers weren’t enough for me, Plant’s lyrics, as if some auditory paintbrush, described a hauntingly beautiful, pastoral scene, the final blow to my innocence and childhood wonder—“there was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan.”

At this point, the belt on my record player exploded. I’m still unsure whether it was overwhelmed by the sheer power of Hell, or by turning it the wrong way for an extended period of time. I’m also unsure of how the rest of Led Zeppelin IV is. I have been told I’m missing out by not hearing the rest, but my record player is still in the shop for repairs, so there’s really not much that can be done about that. It’s fine, it’s...whatever, I’ll get to it. What matters is the stuff about Satan. 

Like the skeleton that lives underneath my roommate’s flesh, the loss of security that comes with learning great truth for the first time is more than scary—it’s petrifying. To realize that everything you have ever known is a lie, and to venture forth into the void, now unsure as to whether Hell is a good place or a bad place because they never really talk about how the afterlife works when you worship the guy who is in charge of the place that is literally a big lake of fire for the sole purpose of eternal torture and that’s the one thing I’m still kind of iffy about in terms of pledging my entire being to the’s a spooky thought. 

But that’s life. A spooky haunt-fest of self-doubt. I can’t say that I don’t feel conflicted, because I absolutely do. I faced a crossroads at a difficult time in life, forced to choose between Southern Baptist Christianity and Reformed Satanism, two worlds that I feel connected to in different ways for different reasons. But I can’t lie to myself any longer. I have seen too much of the light of Satan’s darkness to turn back to Fundamentalist Christianity, and haven’t heard enough of Led Zeppelin IV in reverse to make an informed opinion about it. 

Many things are certain in this life—among them, the sincere efforts of rock legends to teach children about the love and kindness of the Minister of the Sub-Earthly Dominion (Satan), the intelligence of radical Christian leaders in their efforts to undermine the aforementioned efforts of rock legends in their efforts to corrupt youth by teaching them about the love and kindness of the Brother of Baphomet (Satan), and finally and most importantly, that it takes too damn long to repair an exploded belt on a record player. 

I have come a long way, and there is still so much left to be learned. Though I have no idea where my faith will take me, I can always take heart in the knowledge that, no matter how hard the road gets, Satan will always be standing behind me, whispering sweet nothings in reverse into my ear.  

Jaxson Floberg is a Trinity sophomore. His column, "filling the void" runs on alternate Mondays.

Jaxson Floberg

Jaxson Floberg is a Trinity sophomore. His column runs on alternate Mondays.


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