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 http://www.lds.org.au/music/ 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- It IS a new list, and while they say that it’ll be updated monthly, it is short. So, there’s hope for expansion.
- 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.