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Commentary

Prophetic Statements

Spencer W. Kimball

In circulation now are upward of a score of recordings in songs and recitations containing the vilest material. One such record was discovered in her home by a zealous mother. The waxing had been hidden in the room of her daughter, age 15. It was placed in the hands of members of the Youth Protection Committee in consideration of its fight against pornography. It was so obscene that some of the listeners could bear to hear no more than one or two of the ten selections of the two sides of the record. Yet this filthy thing had been purchased by two 15-year-old girls at a supposed reputable music store.

Parents should be warned of these evils, and do all they can to protect their sons and daughters from a corruption which is designed to stimulate sex passions and open the doors to more serious offenses. By a cooperative effort, they can eradicate these things from the newsstands and from the mails, and bring to justice those who would sell the morals of a generation for personal gain. [1]

Ezra Taft Benson

Yes, we live in the best of times when the restored gospel of Jesus Christ brings hope to all the world. And the worst of times, for Satan is raging. With relentless vigor he plunges in the harvest.

How can we thwart his designs? The thirteenth Article of Faith of the Church contains an important key: “. . . If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”

But will we really seek? To seek requires effort.

The record bins that beckon our young people with their colorful and often off-color jackets bury many master-works that are virtuous or lovely under a vast bulk of crass commercialism.

The magnetism of TV and radio is in the accessibility of their mediocrity. Lovely is not an adjective to describe most of their products. The inventors of these wonders were inspired by the Lord. But once their good works were introduced to the world, the power of darkness began to employ them for our destruction. In each medium—the phonograph, motion pictures, radio, and television—the evolution of decline from the inventor’s intentions can be easily traced.

May I quote from Richard Nibley, a musician who for many years has observed the influence of music on behavior:

Satan knows that music hath charms to sooth or stir the savage beast. That music has power to create atmosphere has been known before the beginning of Hollywood. Atmosphere creates environment, and environment influences behavior-the behavior of or of Enoch.

Rock music, with its instant physical appeal, is an ideal door-crasher, for the devil knows that music has the power to ennoble or corrupt, to purify or pollute. He will not forget to use its subtle power against you. His sounds come from the dark world of drugs, immorality, obscenity, and anarchy. His sounds are flooding the earth. It is his day-a day that is to become as the days of Noah before the Second Coming, for the prophets have so predicted. The signs are clear. The signs are here in this blessed land. You cannot escape this mass media environment which is controlled by financial censorship. Records, radio, television, movies, magazines-all are monopolized by the money managers who are guided by one ethic, the words wealth and power. [2] [3]

Scriptures

Rock Artists

Supporting Statements

Allan Bloom

“. . . the record-company executives, the new robber barons, who mine gold out of rock. They discovered a few years back that children are one of the few groups in the country with considerable disposable income, in the form of allowances. Their parents spend all they have providing for the kids. Appealing to them over the parents’ heads, creating a world of delight for them, constitutes one of the richest markets in the postwar world. The rock business is perfect capitalism, supplying to demand and helping to create it. It has all the moral dignity of drug trafficking, but it was so totally new and unexpected that nobody thought to control it, and now it is too late. . . . The market determines the value. Rock is very big business, bigger than the movies, bigger than professional sports, bigger than television, and this accounts for much of the respectability of the music business. . . . As Western nations became more prosperous, leisure, which had been put off for several centuries in favor of the pursuit of property, the means to leisure, finally began to be of primary concern. . . . Leisure became entertainment. The end for which they had labored for so long has turned out to be amusement. . . . The music business is peculiar only in that it caters almost exclusively to children, treating legally and naturally imperfect human beings as though they were ready to enjoy the final or complete satisfaction. It perhaps thus reveals the nature of all our entertainment and our loss of a clear view of what adulthood or maturity is, and our incapacity to conceive ends. [4]


  1. Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969]
  2. BYU Ten-Stake Fireside, Provo, Utah, 7 May 1972
  3. Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 326
  4. Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, p. 76-77

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