Persistent Repetition

Although I left mormonism more than 15 years ago, every now and then I find myself frustrated over lingering susceptibility to some of the control techniques used within the organization. In a recent instance, it was a repetitive request to install a security update on my phone—and which resulted in shutting down my hot spot.


I originally bought the phone to replace my internet service provider – a satellite service which was capped off at 20 GB per month. It was also sometimes quite slow, so my husband would have to move over to the hot spot on his business phone in order to get any work done. The ISP slow-ness became so obvious and frustrating that sometimes I’d just have to stand up and walk away or go mad. I began to also use my husband’s business hotspot after working hours. It happened so often that my husband suggested that we budget for a phone so that I could have a hot spot of my own. Then we could cancel our $60/month ISP and use the unlimited data on our hot-spot phones. My husband warned me though, that I shouldn’t install any software updates, or my third-party hot spot app might shit the bed.

I bought my phone in September and dutifully dismissed the requests for software updates that occurred every couple of weeks. But something unusual happened in February. I received a text and a “returned” call from two individuals whose phone numbers were similar to mine (the area code and prefix were exactly the same; only the last 4 were different), but were not in my contacts list. My number had been spoofed.

Luckily, the effects were short-lived, because one of the “fixes” I found for being spoofed was to change my number. I’ve had the same cell phone number for the last 13 years, so I didn’t really want to do that.

This experience left me feeling vulnerable, so the next time I received a prompt to install a “software” “security” update, I scheduled it to occur that night at 3 AM.

And it knocked out my hot spot.

I’m disappointed in myself for giving in to the redundant requests, but they had taken on an unrelenting quality and in the moment, I felt that if I went ahead with the update, I wouldn’t receive any more for a while.

Less than a week later, I received another software update request.

Sadly, when I look back to evaluate how my weak human brain allowed me to give in to a persistent, repetitive request – even though I knew it was dangerous – I find that the LDS organization isn’t the only entity that has taken advantage of this vulnerability. My first husband – a varsity level gaslighter – would do this all the time in order to convert me to his point of view. I won’t list all of the bullshit that he would tell me over-and-over-again (some of which regrettably slipped out of my mouth to others on subsequent occasions) suffice to say that repetition works as a planned, purposeful method of control. Television commercials use it (and any “brand” will put this to work, really). The trick is to harden this vulnerability into an impenetrable fortress – something I may be working on for the rest of my life.


ICYMI: The title of the article linked at the top of this post is “Repetition Important In Teaching and Learning, Elder Bednar Says.”

Related: Mormon repetition and Gilligan’s Island