02) BEAT: Can the heavy beat of music be detrimental? What about the rock offbeat? Can the backbeat be dangerous? Can the beat of music be detrimental to both body and Spirit?

Prophetic Statements

David O. McKay

You inquired as to what is wrong with electronic bands. I am informed that moderate and modest music can be played by electronic bands, but I also understand that most electronic bands have a very loud beat which is inconsistent with the standards we desire to have observed; also, that in some places, two bands are employed because the traditional band or orchestra is not satisfactory for the wild and loud beat necessary for certain fad dances. That is why, in general, electronic bands are not approved.1

Harold B. Lee

Avoid evil. The truth that we have to know in order to guide us is that we’re children of God. We’re winged for heavenly flight. Have you ever gone out to a bonfire party late at night? As you build the bonfire you see moths come winging in around the fire, and if they get too close they fall singed to their death, or if they’re able to fly away they’re maimed forever after. That’s exactly what you have in life. The hellholes of Satan are always made very attractive. [They feature] enticing music of the kind that appeals to the lower senses. Now, there may be good rock music—I don’t know what it is—but there’s damnable rock music that appeals to the lower senses of man, where the offbeat is just as vile and abrasive to human thought as it can be. We say it to you, we plead with you to listen to the beautiful things, if you want to be on the right side. But be careful you don’t choose the wrong things; you shun those things just as the moths should have shunned the white fire.2

Ezra Taft Benson

Parents who are informed can warn their children of the demoralizing loud, raucous beat of rock music, which deadens the senses and dulls the sensibilities—the jungle rhythm which inflames the savagery within.

Said President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.:

I would have you reflect for a moment upon the fact that a tremendous amount of the modern art, of the modern literature and music, and the drama that we have today is utterly demoralizing—utterly. . . . Your music—well, I do not know how far above the tom-tom of the jungle it is, but it is not too far. . . . These things you must watch. They all have their effects on the children. Make your home life as near heaven-like as you can.34

Don’t listen to music that is degrading. “Music can . . . by its beat . . . dull the spiritual sensitivity of men (and women). Young people, you cannot afford to fill your minds with this unworthy, hard music of our day.”56

Satan uses many tools to weaken and destroy the home and family and especially our young people. Today, as never before, it seems the devil’s thrust is directed at our youth. A letter from a concerned father, a well-informed teacher of youth, about the evil effects of some popular music is one of many: Music creates atmosphere. Atmosphere creates environment. Environment influences behavior. What are the mechanics of this process? . . . Repetition to the extreme is another primitive rock device. . . .7

Rock Artists

Paul McCartney

It was Elvis who really got me hooked on beat music. When I heard “Heartbreak Hotel” I thought, this is it.8

Supporting Statements

Boyd K. Packer

Music can, by its tempo, by its beat, by its intensity dull the spiritual sensitivity of men. Young people, you cannot afford to fill your minds with this unworthy, hard music of our day.9

  1. David O. McKay, as printed in the Daily Universe, Dec. 3 1965, pp. 1-2; and Living Prophets for a Living Church, Church Educational System college student manual, 1974
  2. Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 104
  3. Relief Society Magazine, December 1952, p. 798
  4. Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 228
  5. “Inspiring Music-Worthy Thoughts,” Ensign 4 [January 1974]: 25
  6. Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 326.
  7. Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 244
  8. Paul McCartney
  9. Boyd K. Packer, “Inspiring Music–Worthy Thoughts,” Ensign, January 1974, p. 25
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