05) SATAN INSPIRED: Is good music inspired of the Lord? Is bad music inspired by Satan? Does Satan really have influence? Are there individuals who deliberately use music to promote wicked agendas?

Prophetic Statements

First Presidency

Through music, man’s ability to express himself extends beyond the limits of the spoken language in both subtlety and power. Music can be used to exalt and inspire or to carry messages of degradation and destruction. It is therefore important that as Latter-day Saints we at all times apply the principles of the gospel and seek the guidance of the Spirit in selecting the music with which we surround ourselves.” [1]

Brigham Young

Those who cannot serve God with a pure heart in the dance should not dance. [2]

John Taylor

Some people object to music. Why, music prevails in the heavens, and among the birds! God has filled them with it. There is nothing more pleasing and delightful than it is to go into the woods or among the bushes early in the morning and listen to the warbling and rich melody of the birds, and it is strictly in accordance with the sympathies of our nature. We have no idea of the excellence of the music we shall have in heaven. It may be said of that, as the apostle Paul has said in relation to something else—”Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” [3] We have no idea of the excellency, beauty, harmony and symphony of the music in the heavens. Our object is to get and to cleave to everything that is good, and to reject everything that is bad. One reason why religious people in the world are opposed to music and theaters is because of the corruption that is mixed up with them. Wicked and corrupt men associate themselves with these things, and degrade them; but is this any reason that the saints should not enjoy the gifts of God? Is that a correct principle? Certainly not. It is for them to grasp at everything that is good, and calculated to promote the happiness of the human family. [4]

Harold B. Lee

At the same time music can be prostituted to Satan’s purposes. Napoleon is quoted as having said, “Music of all the liberal arts has the greatest influence over the passions and is that which the legislator ought to give the greatest encouragement.” May I paraphrase and say, “Music in the Church of Jesus Christ is that to which every leader of youth should give his greatest concern to see that the wrong kinds of passions are not aroused by our introduction of sensuous music into our youth programs.” [5]

The tactics of Satan include appeals to human appetites. You are living in a pleasure-mad world that seems to become more so as the final test of Satan’s earthly power over the souls of men draws near.

[He] has been “going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it” [6], “to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken” unto the voice of the Lord [7], nor to His servants, the prophets of the Lord. He is the master of deceit, adulteration, and counterfeit. There is hardly a human appetite that he has not prostituted to his own evil designs; virtue he betrays into vice; and things invented and designed as benefactors to mankind he diverts to his own ends. No palace of art or temple of music was ever more glamorously decorated than the hellholes of Satan that are labeled saloons, bars, roadhouses, and gambling clubs. With blazing neon signs and lighted “white ways,” the cheap and the tawdry are dressed in tinseled garb, and with sensuous music from the nether regions issuing forth from such places, the passersby are enticed to partake. [8]

Satan seeks to destroy our agency. Don’t have any mistaken ideas about the devil. We sometimes rule out the possibility of evil and the power of the devil taking possession of a man’s body or a woman’s body and turning one from saint to sinner or from a normal person into a demon. You cannot tell me that there isn’t such a thing as a devil possessing the body of a person who allows himself to take a course that makes that possible. If you forget everything else I have said today, please remember, young people, that the prince of this world, Satan, is going to try to trap every one of you. That is his program. He is trying to destroy our agency. If he can get you going along the path of taking a smoke, taking a drink, listening to sensuous music, or accepting in any degree an invitation that leads downward, he will take you to the bottom of the canyon on that road of sin to a place where no sunlight can be seen. But even in the deep canyon of sin there can come the refining process of repentance that can take you back to the sunlight of forgiveness. It may be a long, tortuous climb—slow and painful. [9]

Ezra Taft Benson

The Spirit of the Lord blesses that which edifies and leads men to Christ. Would His Spirit bless with its presence these festering rock festivals of human degradation? Its music, crushing the sensibilities in a din of primitive idolatry, is in glorification of the physical to the debasement of the spirit. In the long panorama of man’s history, these rock music festivals are among Satan’s greatest successes. The legendary orgies of Greece and Rome cannot compare to the monumental obscenities found in these cesspools of drugs, immorality, rebellion, and pornophonic sound. The famed Woodstock festival was a gigantic manifestation of a sick nation. Yet the lurid movie and rock recordings of its unprecedented filth were big business in our own mountain home.

The Lord said, “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me” [10]. It was pleasing unto the Lord where in the Book of Mormon we read that “they did break forth, all as one, in singing, and praising their God” [11]. It was pleasing unto Satan when Lehi’s children and the “sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry, insomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness” [12]. [13] (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 325

Now, what of the entertainment that is available to our young people today? Are you being undermined right in your homes through your . . . rock music records? Much of the rock music is purposely designed to push immorality, narcotics, revolution, atheism, and nihilism through language that often carries a double meaning and with which many parents are not familiar. [14]

The devil-inspired destructive forces are present . . . on the radio . . . in our dances . . . and even in our modern so-called popular music. Satan uses many tools to weaken and destroy the home and the family, and especially our young people. Today, as never before, the devil’s thrust is directed at you, our precious youth. [15] [16]

Promote only good . . . music in the home. Introduce your children to the best in . . . music . . . and entertainment. [17]

The Book of Mormon declares that “every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.” And “whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil.” [18] Let us use that standard to judge . . . the music we hear, the entertainment we watch, the thoughts we think. Let us be more Christlike. [19] [20]


Rock Artists


“Harmless and innocent you devil in white, you stole my will without a fight. You filled me with confidence but you blinded my eyes. You tricked me with visions of Paradise. Now I realize that I’m snowblind–can’t live without you. . . . Mirror, mirror, I confess I can’t escape this emptiness. No more reasons to pretend. Here comes that same old feeling again. I’m snowblind, can’t live without you cause you’re so fine, can’t get away.” [21]

Supporting Statements

  1. First Presidency, Priesthood Bulletin, August 1973
  2. Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 243; Journal of Discourses 6:148
  3. 1 Corinthians 2:9
  4. John Taylor, Gospel Kingdom, p. 62
  5. Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 203
  6. Job 1:7
  7. Moses 4:4
  8. Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 39
  9. Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 41
  10. D&C 25:12
  11. 3 Nephi 4:31
  12. 1 Nephi 18:9
  13. God, Family, Country, pp. 248-49
  14. “Strengthening the Family,” Philippine Islands Area Conference, 12 August 1975
  15. Scandinavia and Finland Area Conference, 16-18 August 1974
  16. Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 322
  17. CR October 1981, Ensign 11 [November 1981]: 107
  18. Moroni 7:13, 17
  19. CR April 1986, Ensign 16 [May 1986]: 78
  20. Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 323
  21. Styx, lyrics to Snowblind
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