The Pump – LDS film and the original source

Xennial is what marketing people call my generation now.  We saw the first Atari computer, and know why you shouldn’t get tangled in a phone cord while someone is trying to use a modem.

LDS members in our era likely saw this film, dubbed “The Pump” or sometimes “Consequences of our actions (Shoutout to NoCoolNameTom for his tireless work to preserve videos like this).

This Movie has a lot more history and context than you probably ever imagined

What you may not know, as I just learned is that this parable isn’t originally LDS.  It’s one more thing lifted from Protestant Christianity, typically used to get money by inspiring guilt, that came from another source originally and morphed into an LDS teaching.

Protestant Preachers began teaching the parable of the pump in the 1960’s after it was a hit single on the charts in 1963. Written by Billy Edd Wheeler, the song hit number 7 on the charts.

It’s not just the LDS who steal this lesson and claim it was their own after the song was a hit.  Zig Zigler, author, salesman and motivational speaker, in the 80’s claimed this idea happened to two of his friends:

All the way to pastors in 2017, using this parable in their lessons (starts 20:20) with his own embellishments (palm trees, and maybe pouring it away, and he uses the story to ask for money).

Now the LDS church isn’t necessarily wrong to use the parable in a movie, nor is it wrong for preachers to use it, or motivational speakers. But I leave this here as a point of interest that the source is a song listed as #7 on the top charts back in 1963.  Of course, there is no actual person who found such a pump.  It’s a story, a tale to teach a lesson.  And I kinda like the lesson.

I think it funny that the LDS version removes the “bitters jar” (bitters are used to mix with alcohol to cut the flavor of distilled liquors) and replaces it with a soda pop bottle.

However, I do find that each religious person implying that their religion is the one true pump that if you give enough to them, you’ll get that water you want a little dishonest and manipulative.  That the LDS version, the man drinks the water and walks away to die in the desert because he doesn’t trust the note is very manipulative too.

And as long as we’re discussing versions of the song, I think this recent animation  in which a humanized salamander gets a magical trident from following the story is no less or better than all the religious allegories.


This entry was posted in Nutty Mormon History, Other Religions. Bookmark the permalink.
Last edited by Mithryn on March 15, 2018 at 3:14 pm

1 Response to The Pump – LDS film and the original source

  1. Ammon says:

    Didn’t see it in your article (great article by the way) but the song in question is called “Desert Pete”. Interesting the LDS version takes that dark twist of showing him not priming the pump, vs the song which does have him prime the pump and survive.

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