Friday, July 23, 2010

Plugged In

One of the things that I am passionate about is music.  Those of you that read my previous blog  know that I have strong feelings about music, the radio, MP3 Players, etc.  My time at girls camp has reinforced in me the need for vigilance. 

When I was twelve or thirteen I was able to attend a Regional Fireside.  What I remember about that fireside was that they talked about the destructive influence of music in our lives.  They challenged us to go home and throw away our bad music.  I went home and I did that.  I only had three cassette tapes but they weren't good.  I had gotten them from my cousins who said they were soooo good.  My cousins were very "into" music and a large collection of music.  They were constantly listening to music.  They were from California so they were "cool."

I had listened to those tapes a lot since I had gotten them.  I had memorized the songs.  That was what I was suppose to do, that is what my cousins did.  So when I came home that night and threw them all in the trash can I said a young girl prayer, "Heavenly Father I want to obey in all things.  I really don't understand why this music is bad, but I'll throw it away anyway."

After that point I simply refused to buy tapes and listen to popular music.  Growing up I certainly missed out on a great many peer conversations about the latest bands and new releases.  I simply had know idea what they were talking about.  I was clueless and I have remained clueless about popular music.

I have noticed that I have had a great many blessings in my life because I have not listened to the radio or purchased numerous tapes/CD's.  I feel that I have the constant life line of the Spirit in my life and his words are the words that run through my mind.  I can concentrate and think about divine things.  I feel peace and calm in a hectic world.

I have a friend who told me that as soon as he gets in the car and heads to work/comes home which is up to an hour the first thing he does is turn on the radio and listen.  He says that it is his way of not having to deal with things and he can just tune out of his life for a while.  This man is a great father and husband, of strong moral character and a leader in the church.  I thought it was fascinating that he recognized what he was doing.

I am certainly aware there is good pop music out there. I am certainly aware that there may even be good stations. For me it simply comes down to several things. 
  • I want best not good in as much as I can in my life
  • I want to be able to have the Spirit always with me
  • I don't want to always be concentrating on whether this or that is an appropriate song
  • I have other things I want to spend my money on
  • I want to be able to ponder
  • I want to fill my mind and daily thoughts with things from the scriptures and things of God versus the popular lyrics of a song that stay in my head and for some reason do not leave
What is most disconcerting to me is that so many of the popular songs we listen to have inappropriate lyrics or at least lyrics that I believe we don't want our youth listening to.  I recently listened to stake leaders sing popular songs in the evening with the youth during "camp songs" time.  I lasted through 1/2 of a song and left.  Several of my youth followed me back to our camp fire.  We then talked about the power of music.  I discussed the song we were singing.  Apparently everyone, leaders and youth, in our stake know this popular song but me.  Every one was singing enthusiastically because they loved it. 

I testified to them of greater increase of the Spirit it they would take the time to read and ponder on the lyrics of the popular songs and decide if they were appropriate.  They sang some songs to me that they all liked.  I pointed things out to them in the songs that maybe they should think about.

Here is some of the lyrics to the popular song that I walked out on:

Our song is a slamming screen door
Sneakin out late, tapping on your window
When we're on the phone, and you talk real slow
Cause it's late and your mama don't know
Our song is the way he laughs, on the first date
Man, I didn't kiss him, and I should have
When I got home, before I said amen
Asking God if He can play it again
Play it again, oh yeah, oh, oh, yeah
(Taylor Swift, Our Song)
I can only ask why are these songs okay?  Some songs are much tamer than this and others are worse.  However as I looked through the lyrics online to many of these popular songs what I saw was that they were all about being in love.   We live in the last days.  We are in a war, a spiritual war.  Our youth do not need to be thinking about love, dating and kissing all the time.  They do not need lyrics like that going over and over in their minds.  They need to learn about what it means to nurture, preside, provide and protect.  They need to think about their role as part of the rising generation.  They need to be aware that Satan wants to destroy them.  However if they can simply be complacent, moon-eyed, and plugged in he has won.  They will be too busy thinking about their love-struck emotions to worry about waging war.

I have seen that a lot lately with boys leaving or not leaving on their missions.  They don't want to leave or their girlfriends don't support them leaving because, "don't you understand, we're in love."  Ecclesiastes teaches us their is a time for all things, including a time to love.  We need to help our youth have their emotions in control so that they can do the right things at the right time.  I present that being plugged in all the time is not the way this will be accomplished. I say again they will be to busy thinking about love and good things to be part of the war they were specifically called upon and held back for to fight in.

That is why I challenge popular music.  Because we don't have time for it.  We are at war.


buzy bee said...

Beutifully written!
We recently had a family council regarding our family music standard because of a Taylor Swift song. Our family--even dad--promptly decided it's instrumental or church music for us. He picked some of his favorite songs and found instrumental versions. Every time he listens to his music it makes me want to learn to play the guitar and the violin because of the beauty of the music....not so when the words are there, you just miss the sounds.
I have found that I even have a hard time going into a store or getting my hair cut because of the music they play.
Sounds like it was a meaningful discussion at camp for all involved.
I know a young man in our ward who came home from a national campout and put away all his "secular" music and only listens to primary songs and hymns on his i-pod. I love it when the youth make these decisions for themselves and CHOOSE to turn their hearts and minds...and even ears, over to the Lord

Celeste B. said...

This has been a real struggle around our home. I am very particular about looking up the lyrics before I allow my kids to buy any music. However, some MP3 players can "sync" music from other MP3 players wirelessly and my oldest was given a lot of music I don't approve of this way. I feel like I am the "music police", trying to keep our home and car filled only with good music. I often just turn it all off or will only allow certain CD's. It is hard to be "In the world, but not Of the world."

Ranee said...

Such a great post! I have been thinking A LOT lately, about how I "Crank up the volume" in my car, by myself, and why I do that! Sometimes it's because I want to sing at the top of my lungs (relieve some stress, maybe), other times it's because I want to forget about life for a while. In any case, it's not a gentle way to be in the world! I have started to pay more attention to the volume, lately! When I take one of my kids to the store with me, I turn the radio (or CD) off because I want them to know that they are the center of my attention! I always learn things I never knew about my children, when we have a silent car ride somewhere. It never stays silent for long, and we end up talking or learning new primary songs or sometimes we listen to an audio story and talk about it together! I absolutely agree that when you are in a war, petty things HAVE to fall by the wayside! Much of today's popular music would be considered petty (at best), if not downright inappropriate, in my book!

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

This is one I have struggled with personally. I grew up in a home where we played all types of music and sang harmony with all types of songs. My father's favorites were the Beatles and Peter, Paul, and Mary. Quite opposite in the music genre!

I was also trained as a classical pianist but enjoy playing ragtime, jazz, and anything else I can get my hands on. Because of my exposure to various music all my life I have come to appreciate each for it's own style - but have slowly moved away from most popular modern music. Thankfully, my children are taking my lead and we haven't had much trouble at all with it, even from the teenagers. I have a password on my itunes account so when they want to download music for their iPods they have to ask me first. Some has been instrumental, some not. We have found some beautiful arrangements of hymns most from non-LDS Christian composers.

We haven't gotten rid of all music with words. There are many that are good, and yes, even "popular" music! We are just more aware of the lyrics and don't listen to those whose message is not to our standards.

Karen said...

I recently read a book titled Unsteady: What Every Parent Absolutely Must Know About Teenage Romance - it's one of those books all parents should read. It really addresses the importance of what you describe in this post. I loved how you describe the seriousness of the situation of the focus of our youth- it's real. Thanks again!

Mrs.Smith said...


Googs said...

This is a wonderful post. I slowly implemented listening to a different type of music in our home and it has been wonderful. We have never been in on the "in" music and are fine with that. Thanks for your wisdom.

My Heart Squared said...

I loved your post! I am glad I found it!

Misty said...

I teach music in Primary, and recently did research on the Top 20 Popular songs on radio. Not surprisingly, all but two were sexually explicit. When I shot out titles of popular hits, most of the Senior Primary children were familiar with the songs, some started singing the lyrics.

I loved, loved your bullet list. It was awesome!

With regard to music being played at salons, stores or restaurants, we often ask to have it turned down, and if we are the only ones there, we request that it be turned off altogether.

When it is just my husband and me, we say, with a laugh "Excuse me, would you mind turning the music down just a little--we are old, boring, and not hip...."

When I am out with my kids (which is rare), they are the ones who request it. We have always been treated with respect when we ask this, and we have never had anyone say no to our request.

Thanks for sharing your insights with us. I wish I had been as wise with my music choices growing up as you were. There is a power to your words because of your wise choice. Thank you for inspiring me...again! :)

Rebekah said...

What a powerful post, especially with your statement about how we are at war (did you notice that was stated in Packers Finding Ourselves in Lehi's Dream in Aug. 2010 Ensign?)! I noticed there were no disclaimers too, I love that you are standing strong for what you believe and had the opportunity to bear testimony about it at camp, what a great blessing for those girls - I hope they recognized your wisdom and apply it to their lives. Thanks for this post, I often try to explain some of your points to my husband (who converted in his late 20's) but he still likes to listen to the radio, although he is trying to be more discerning now.

Shanny said...

About 3 or 4 years ago I stopped listening to commerical radio and all the music we really listened to was church music that helped us feel the spirit. What a hugely spiritual time it was for me. Like one big long extended spiritual high. There were other experiences in our lives at that time that were also contributing to that spiritual high.

To make a long story short, I bought an ipod so I could listen to music without having to wade through all the garbage on the radio. I feel good about this. I still don't listen to music on the radio but I do on youtube and itunes and I really enjoy listening to it in the car and singing my heart out to it LOL and yes...I am pretty out of touch with what is popular and current.

I feel like Heavenly Father has led me back to some forms of pop music for reasons I don't want to get into here but it's creating an interesting conundrum for me as I try to reconcile the two experiences in my mind.

I find that I tend to gravitate to songs that lift my spirit to God and to have love for my fellow man. I just discovered one like that recently by David Archuleta called Save The Day. It makes me think of how Heavenly Father is always there for us and how we should trust in Him through the hard times and that the future is always brighter than what we realise. I don't feel like all popular music is bad and I think it can have a healthy place in our lives. Of course discernment is needed though.