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My story with music begins when I was very young.  This was the age long before CDs or MP3 players.  This was the age of the radio and a few cassettes.  About age seven or eight,  I can remember feeling strongly that the spirit accompanying the popular music of the day (the late 70s, early 80s) was corrupt.  I am not referring to the words or lyrics, but the music itself.

As I grew older, the near universal sentiment was opposed to such notions.  Teachers and religious leaders often promoted the music and were strongly in favor of such entertainment.  To a young child, and later to a young adult, this was utterly confusing. I would like to reiterate that these impressions were NOT connected with the lyrics of these popular tunes.  This inspiration was warning me of a more subtle communicator: the beat, rhythm and other dynamics of the composition itself. This perplexity, almost smothered, continued in the back of my mind until I returned home from my mission in 1991.  Having a very inquiring mind, and some strong promptings, I took my questions back off the shelf and began searching for answers.  I wanted to know if the leadership of the Church had spoken on this subject and if they had, what had they said?  Thus began an extraordinary journey.


Sneak peak:

  • “Issues with Answers” – President David O. McKay’s advice to BYU students: no “electronic bands” and no “loud beat”.
  • President Benson – “Have you been listening to the music that many young folks are hearing today? Some of it is nerve-jamming in nature and much of it has been deliberately designed to promote revolution, dope, immorality, and a gap between parent and child. And some of this music has invaded our Church cultural halls.”
  • President Lee – “. . . there’s damnable rock music that appeals to the lower senses of man, where the offbeat [rock beat] is just as vile and abrasive to human thought as it can be.”
  • President Kimball – “Musical sounds can be put together in such a way that they can express feelings . . .”
  • President Packer – “Music can, by its tempo, by its beat, by its intensity, dull the spiritual sensitivity of men.”
  • D&C 8:2 The Mind and Heart – Is music the language of the heart?
  • and more!

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6 Comments on "Is music the cause of your teen’s rebellion?"

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Caleb Young
As a musician, I feel and understand this topic deeply. I agree wholeheartedly with Brother Stoddard’s thoughts on music. I have talked to teens who no longer care for good music. All they want is a ‘good beat’. Who cares if the lyrics are crude? I have often found that music I was listening to was dragging me down through the lyrics, beat, etc. Satan’s lies are much harder to dispel from your mind when they are hooked to music. And nowadays with the world’s morals rapidly deteriorating, dirty music is much more prevalent. Music artists sing crudely of immodesty,… Read more »
I love, love, love this article. I think it’s one of the very best articles for parents, students, families and all,on this topic. I have always known music plays an important role in our life and can influence us for good or evil. Growing up, I was surrounded with Michael Ballam stories. My mother would attend BYU Education Week and return with all of his products and teach us what he taught. We always learned about the healing aspect of music, and what it can do to the brain if a child is struggling. Music was just something we lived… Read more »
President J. Reuben Clark said: We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer. So what does it mean when we play/sing bad music? I’m a youth who has always loved music. When I was younger, my friends and I listened to all the new songs from the most popular artists, and to all the songs on the hit radio. I don’t think that I really comprehended the effect that the music was having on me, until I wasn’t around it for awhile. A couple of years ago, while on a trip, we… Read more »
I had learned for myself when I spent some time away from popular music and made a habit of listening only to music that was uplifting in beat and lyrics. The beat wasn’t what I was avoiding, but it was not a part of the music I chose during this time. It was more noticeable when I turned on the radio again after not listening to it, and how it made me feel. I love this article. It helped me so much as a mother to clarify the feelings I was having about music and that it actually isn’t just… Read more »

I like this a lot. Music is a beautiful thing, but the world will tell you otherwise.

Very important to read this entire article. Is this a subject that we have totally ignored/rejected what the Prophets have taught? I notice in several quotes from Prophets and apostles in the article, the phrase is used that certain music is “repellant to the spirit of God.” I’ll give one striking example of this. Missionaries are only allowed to listen to spiritually uplifting music, so that they can have the Holy Ghost in their daily lives as they bear witness of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. I have heard returned missionaries state that they had never felt the influence of… Read more »