I watched a YouTube video I just loved. Marissa is a singer from Hawaii. She sparkly and pretty and talented, but more than all of that, to me, she is a spiritual young woman. She’s seventeen and she wants to influence other people with music in the way it has influenced her. To do this, she started a music club at school, where students who care about having music that is wholesome in their lives can share that music by singing.
Marissa buys albums, but then she goes through them and listens to every word in every song. She deletes any song that chases away the Holy Spirit. She says no single song is worth losing the companionship of the Holy Ghost. For her, music is a strong spiritual influence and she says the words of a song will influence her actions, beliefs, and spirituality.
Watch the video and listen to Marissa talk about how music influences her. Then go listen to your own music library. What do you need to remove from your library?
It’s really a matter of priorities. I can’t think of any song that is more important to me than God is. My life won’t be ruined by getting rid of a song, even if I paid for it, but it will be ruined if I get rid of God or put other things first.
A really good article to read on this subject is A Closer Look at Popular Music by Lex de Azevedo. He’s a musician and although the article is pretty long, it has some really great information about the power of music. A lot of young people (I said it myself as a teenager before I became a Mormon and was shown the other side of the story) say the words don’t affect them because they don’t really listen to them. And yet, most of them are singing along to the words. We just can’t prevent that from entering into our minds and influencing who we become. Anything that stays in our head becomes a part of us, and the more we hear and sing that immoral things are okay, the more likely we are to believe it.
The author of this article says there is good and bad in every type of music, so it makes no sense to attack a particular type of music. Listen to what Brother Azevedo says about this:
In recent years, studies have substantiated these ancient ideas, demonstrating music’s effect on a myriad of bodily functions: pulse rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, galvanic skin responses, brain-wave impulses, muscle responses, finger coordination, and reading speed and comprehension.1 One study suggests that certain rhythms actually have a weakening effect on the muscles of the body.2
A force so powerful that it can influence our hearts, our glands, and our muscles is a force to be reckoned with. The influence is significant enough that we should take care what kind of music we allow into our homes.
Music also has great power on our emotions. Music has been called the universal language because it speaks directly to our emotions. And our emotions and feelings influence our actions.”
He suggests we start paying more attention to the words in our music and also in how the music itself makes us feel. Even when you take the words away, some types of music can cause us to have inappropriate feelings. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable listening to the music if Jesus showed up and wanted to join you, you shouldn’t listen to it at all. Imagine yourself explaining to Him why this music will bring you closer to Him. Can you do it? If not, and if you can’t feel the Holy Ghost while you’re listening, consider getting rid of it.
There are billions of songs in the world. No one song matters so much that it’s worth giving up everything for. One thing the author suggests is that you become familiar with lots of different kinds of music. You may need some time to get used to styles of music you never listened to before, but in time, you’ll find some of them grow on you. The more types of music you like, the easier it is to find something spiritually safe.
So, watch the video, read the article…and go check out your music collection.