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Jensen 1 Sydney Jensen Ed Austin Dance 459 February 25, 2013 Spiritual Values among LDS Artists There are

many wonderful words shared by prophets and other leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that help in explaining how LDS values pertain to dance artists and the art of dance. The arts in general and the gospel relate in many ways and are thus clarified by various prophets and leaders of the Church. The prophets have taught that artistic creativity is a gift from God, that the arts should be uplifting and centered on Christ, and those that participate in the arts should strive to follow the promptings of the Spirit to maintain high standards. Elder Neal A. Maxwell gave a wonderful address in August 1982 called, “Creativity”, in which he explains how creativity is of God and encourages us to use our creative powers to make this world even more beautiful. Elder Maxwell states that “creative expression can…represent the celebration of our gratitude to God for our gifts and talents” (Maxwell). He continues to explain that through our talents and gifts we are able to bring to pass the great promise stated in 2 Nephi 2:25 that “men are that they might have joy” (Maxwell). With our creativity, we may celebrate righteously the world and all that is in it. Elder Maxwell said that “when we celebrate truth in creative breakthroughs...we are acknowledging the resplendent order in God’s universe” (Maxwell). Our creativity is only given this power if it is done with the guidance of our Father in Heaven and is centered upon Jesus Christ.

Jensen 2 K. Newell Dayley, the dean of the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications in 2001 when this speech was given, gives a powerful message reminding us of the importance of centering the arts in Christ, our Savior Jesus Christ. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are so blessed to have the beautiful gift of the gospel and the understanding of the importance of serving Heavenly Father with the talents and wonderful gifts He has given us. We can use our talents for good or bad. We can serve Heavenly Father or we can serve Satan. It is ultimately our choice, but we cannot serve both. We can use our talent to better this world. Brother Dayley explains this simply by referring to the 13th Article of Faith, which reads, “…If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (Dayley). Brother Dayley continues in describing how the arts in general have a great purpose here in this life and it is to bring greater “meaning and richness to life” (Dayley). In order to do this, artists must align their values and goals with that of Christ’s. There are two ways in which one can go about creating a piece of art. He can follow Christ or he can create something by the “Great Deceiver.” Brother Dayley quotes Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The powerful idea….is that whatever builds people up serves the cause of the Master, and whatever tears people down serves the cause of the adversary” (Dayley). This is one way in which one is able to distinguish between art centered on Christ and art influenced by Satan. To prevent one from being deceived by Satan, one must be strong in his standards and not let the pressures of the world influence them to do otherwise. Elder David A. Bednar gave a fabulous address called “I Will Not Remove Mine Integrity from Me.” Elder Bednar proceeds to teach about integrity and defines it as “the quality or condition of being whole, complete, unbroken, and undivided” (Bednar, “I”). He then quotes Elder Wirthlin, who explains that it is “doing what is right…not only in our actions but…in our thoughts and in our hearts” (Bednar,

Jensen 3 “I”). Like Brother Dayley, Elder Bednar uses the 13th Article of Faith to help illustrate what we believe, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and doing good to all men” (Bednar, “I”). We are to apply this to every aspect of our lives. As this world grows darker, it is very important to hold fast to honesty and integrity in all you do. In another talk given by Elder Bednar called “That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with You,” he helps us understand where to draw the line when we are trying to figure out what is appropriate or not. He explains that “if something we think, see, hear, or do distances us from the Holy Ghost, then we should stop thinking, seeing, hearing, or doing that thing” (Bednar, “That”). In relation to the arts, specifically dance, if there is choreography, music, costuming, etc. that distances us from the Holy Ghost, we should avoid those things. We are blessed to have prophets and other leaders of the Church to support and guide us in pursuing the arts, specifically dance, in these latter-days. There are many gospel principles that are essential for LDS artists to understand and apply in their work. We learn that creating new things is of God as long as it is centered in Christ and we keep our standards. Though we live in an ever-darkening world, we must remain faithful to God, so that we may be able to accomplish what He would have us do with the beautiful gift of dance with which we have been so kindly blessed.

Jensen 4 Works Cited Bednar, David A.. I Will Not Remove Mine Integrity from Me. Devotional address at BYUIdaho, 10 September 2002. Bednar, David A.. That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be With Us. General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April 2006. Dayley, K Newell. Centering the Arts in Christ. Devotional address at BYU, 6 March 2001. Maxwell, Neal A.. Creativity. New Era, August 1982.