During our time before we came to BYU, my husband and I attended a variety of nightclubs in the United States and Europe as singles. We both loved to dance and lived in areas where church sponsored dances were very limited. During that time, we felt disappointed, almost ashamed at the suggestive dancing, poor lighting, loud music and questionable lyrics. We decided that they were not within the standard the Lord wanted us to live. We came to BYU with high hopes of good uplifting dances.
In the last six years, we have appreciated the smoke- and alcohol-free environment provided at ward, stake, and other BYU-endorsed dances. However, we have still seen and felt too many of the other disappointments we experienced at nightclubs. In the 2001 edition For the Strength of Youth, the First Presidency states, “Because the Lord loves you, He has given you commandments and the words of prophets to guide you on your journey. Some of the most important guidelines for your life are found in this pamphlet (p.2).” We searched the pamphlet for guidance on this subject.
Our main concerns are the suggestive movements, loudness, and music selection we have found at BYU. At a recent dance, we could hardly hear each other over the extreme loudness of the music. After dancing for half an hour, the monotonous beat and questionable lyrics reminded us of the counsel, “Plan to attend dances where dress, grooming, lighting, lyrics, and music contribute to a wholesome atmosphere where the Spirit of the Lord may be present (p.21).” While taking a break, we noticed that many of the girls were moving their bodies in suggestive ways allowing their shirts to expose their stomachs. Does this reflect the standard in the following statement? “Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Christ (p.14).”
Our studying showed us that BYU needs a higher standard. President Gordon B. Hinckley stated in February 1999, “We are more different from the world than we are prone to think we are.” We would like to encourage those who organize dances to show better judgment in their music, integrating good dancing music written by LDS and other wholesome artists. The pamphlet asks us to avoid anything that “in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable (p.17).” The prophets and apostles have consistently encouraged us to live a higher standard. The First Presidency requires us to “keep [our] minds and bodies clean from the sins of the world so [we] can do the great work that lies before [us] (p.3).” We know that as BYU students, we all have a great work to do and that we are “accountable to Him for what [we] do with [our] abilities and how [we] spend [our] time (p.5).”
Joe and Amber Seidel