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.
- “Issues with Answers” – President David O. McKay’s advice to BYU students: no “electronic bands” and no “loud beat”.
- President Ezra Taft 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 Harold B. 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.”https://josephsmithfoundation.org/music-the-forgotten-language-of-the-heart-3/#boydkpacker
- President Spencer W. 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!