Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Short List

A few years back, I saw a posting on one of the LDS lists I frequent asking if anyone knew where they could find a copy of the list of “songs approved for BYU dances”. The responses to the posting ranged from suggestions of where to search to flat-out denials of it’s existence, labeling it another Mormon myth.

Well, it’s real, now.

At the request of some area representatives (in Australia, apparently), a committee was formed to review song lyrics and compile a list of songs to be played at church dances. I’m not sure how wide the distribution of the list is, but it’s available at the Australian church website, at It’s available in pdf format, in a number of different configurations (sorted by song title, by artist, and by decade).

I gotta tell ya, I got some mixed feelings on this.

  1. In my day, I’ve been to church dances where some pretty lurid music has been played, and I’ve seen some people dancing in ways that shouldn’t happen in a church. Like it or not, that often means that sometimes lines have to be drawn, and standards spelled out.
  2. I have a big problem with the idea of “approved” and “disapproved” music, even for specific functions. People have a big tendency to cross those over into other areas. For example, some will think that means that you can’t listen to anything not on the approved list in your own home. Think that’s extreme? Think that’s crazy? I know people who think that if it’s not appropriate for sacrament meeting, it’s not appropriate for their home.
  3. I noticed that there were no LDS artists listed on that sheet. Does that mean that they’re shut out? Can we not play LDS music at LDS dances?
  4. It IS a new list, and while they say that it’ll be updated monthly, it is short. So, there’s hope for expansion.
  5. It also addresses only the song itself. It doesn’t take into account the life views or life choices of the artist. I think that’s a good thing. It does, however, make it interesting to note that while Madonna can be played at a church dance (presumably in Australia), Julie De Azevedo or Jericho Road can’t. I guess that, depending on how you feel about Julie, Madonna, or Jericho, that could be a good or a bad thing.

At any rate, love it or hate it, it is real, now, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Mark Hansen


  1. I think a better solution would be in having chaperones who actually can listen and understand the lyrics and then have the gumpshun to shut off any offensive music.

    I have been to dances here where the kids themselves leave the dance floor while chaperones are dancing away to songs with lyrics similar to "My lovely lady lumps..." and they have no clue why the kids are all beet red and laughing their heads of in the hallway.

    Get younger chaperones with good ears.

  2. I agree with S'mee.

    Thanks for this post Mark.

  3. Yo, Mark! I have nominated you for "Thinking Blogger" award.

    Everytime I come here you give me something to think about. So thanks! Now it's your turn to nominate five folks...

  4. Mark,

    The link to the list isn't working, but I wanted to share an experience that I had with music and how my son and I are trying to solve the problem of what is appropriate.

    As I was going over the For the Strength of Youth program with my son, Brayden (Age 13), we read the part about music and what should be appropriate for dances or just listening to. We talked about what type of music might be good and wondered if there was a list of songs that others might suggest would be in line with the same standards. After performing a number of searches on the Internet, we came to the conclusion that we were on our own.

    A few days later I woke with the idea of create a new website that would allow people to share songs that they thought would be appropriate and follow the standards of For the Strength of Youth program. After a few days of pulling our ideas together and some long hours of development we would like to introduce you to

    LDS Music Charts is an online resource to help identify popular music that is in line with the standards found in the For the Strength of Youth program. The ultimate goal for this is site to be a resource for youth committees to be able to suggest songs played at Stake Dances and for leaders to feel confident that the songs that are being played are appropriate. Used correctly and leaders can tell both youth and dance DJs that they can only play songs that are found on LDS Music Charts.

    The site is divided up into three main categories: Hot 200 (songs you might hear on the radio), Dance 500 (the perfect playlist for any stake dance) and LDS 100 (a list of LDS Artist that are in but not of). Every song is also added to its genre so that you can see all Country or All Pop songs on the list.

    Everyone can view the any of the list on the site, but if you sign into the site using your Facebook or Twitter account you can do the following:

    • Suggest Songs

    • Review Suggested Songs (the system doesn't let you review your own suggestion)

    • Listen to a full length stream of the song (you cannot download any music from the site)

    • Read the lyrics a song

    • Vote of if you like or don't like a song (the system ranks songs based on likes and don't likes)

    • Add songs to your own favorites list

    • View your LDS Music Profile

    • View recent logins and their LDS Music Profile

    • View are Blacklist (songs that have been suggested but might not be in line with the For the Strength of Youth program)

    • Flag a song that might not be appropriate or just needs its settings updated

    Although everyone can help to make sure the music on the site is appropriate, we do have a select group of individuals who regularly monitor the site and review songs that have been suggested or approved to make sure they are up to par.

    I also want to point out that we are not trying to make any money on this site. We are just trying to create a resource that will help identify good music that our youth can listen to. Music that is both popular and in line with the standards we are asking them to live. I really hope you will see the value in our site and would like to chat with you about it and see if you have any questions or suggestions.

    You can find the site located at:

    Thanks for your time,

    Ryan Riley



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