-by Brenda

Every year a scripture is chosen by the General Young Men and Women Presidencies as a theme for youth ages 12-18 to focus on. This year’s theme is taken from our Articles of Faith.

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”

I like to listen to the radio in my car. I enjoy not knowing what song will play next and I like the variety of genres I have access to at the press of a button. Despite the hundred or so options I have on AM, FM and even XM radio I still seem to have trouble finding popular music that is virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy. All too often I find the lyrics to songs vulgar, degrading or down right terrifying. I tried to pay attention to some of the lyrics of the songs I heard on a popular radio station yesterday as an experiment to see what their messages were to listeners. Here is a sampling of what I heard:

Song One: “Poppin bottles in the ice, like a blizzard. When we drink we do it right gettin slizzard.”

Song Two: “I’m gonna chain you to the bed and light this house on fire.”

Song Three: “Let you put your hands on me in my skin tight jeans. I’ll be your teenage dream tonight.”

So in this short mix of songs I was subjected to songs about inebriation, domestic violence and a teenage sexual fantasy. Similar songs were being played on many different radio stations. I find myself hitting the seek button on my radio often, continually looking for things that are virtuous, lovely or of good report (but still have a beat!) I was excited to read a Mormon Times article about Finnish pop star Jonna Christensen who is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (You can read more about Jonna’s life, faith, and music this Mormon Artist interview).

In the Mormon Times article, Jonna explains why she chose to write a song entitled “Puppets” about modesty.

“It’s saddened me to see how most of the media in the world wants to take away the most valuable treasure — the purity and virtue of women. I believe that our virtue is so important to our Heavenly Father that the adversary wants to attack it….I found that out for myself when I woke up and realized that immodesty made me a very sad girl. I wrote this song so that I could talk about this issue openly and hopefully help others avoid making the same mistakes I made.”

“I used to think I enjoyed the attention that you get when you’re dressed in revealing clothes, but, like I say in my song, it did not fill up the hole I had inside of me…. I wasn’t really looking for that kind of attention, I was looking for love. And I have experienced in my life that it is very rare to find love where lust is.”

Now here is something I can support! Virtuous? Check. Lovely? Check. Good Report? Check. Here is the “Puppets” video on YouTube:

Oh and if I can share one more lovely thing with you I’d like to share this collaboration between BYU professors Ryan Woodward and Kori Wakamatsu.

Finding uplifting art can be more work, but when I find it, my soul is filled with light. Enjoy.