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Paige Hollingsworth Professor Edwin Austin Dance 459 18 February 2014

Words From Heaven The Webster dictionary defines believe as to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so. So what is it that the LDS Church believes? Not only that, but what does it mean to be an LDS artist? There are numerous accounts from LDS prophets today discussing concerns and specifics of being an artist today. Prophets recognize that there are challenges that many artist face in the creativity investigation; obstacles from confidence, courage and even testing our integrity. The dance world, or artistic world for that matter is very competitive world. Others are constantly telling you what you need to improve and it is easily to forget your true, eternal potential. The guidance from our LDS modern day prophets help in utilizing our talents to the fullest and in the most uplifting ways. They remind us of who we really are, where our talents came from, the help that the Lord gave us here on earth, and how to stay true to our integrity. Ultimately, they teach us how to center the arts in Christ. Truly centering the arts in Christ is much more than simply creating a dance revolving around Christs life or dancing to a hymn. Centering the arts in Christ is thinking of him every step of the creative process. Remembering where our talents come from is one of the most vital concepts that modern day prophets are emphasizing to everyone throughout the faith. As a surgeon, Elder Nelson has studied the human body lengthily and understands what an amazing gift

it is. In discussing the true miracle of the body he states, Your body, whatever its natural gifts, is a magnificent creation of God. It is a tabernacle of flesh a temple for your spirit. A study of your body attests to its divine design (Nelson). He goes on to explain how amazing it is how each organ works together and how our body can move in such unique ways. We must always be grateful for this brilliant blessing and thank God for it. Elder Maxwell emphasizes one way we can portray or gratitude is through our creative expression. He states that, creative expression can represent the celebration of our gratitude to God for our gifts and talents (Maxwell). That celebration of gratitude is demonstrated by using the talents. This is all he asks of us. We have the chance to either help further the work along or limit it from progressing. As in artist it is hard to help thing progress when we do not feel like we are progressing at all. It is easy as a creative artists to put yourselves down because our imperfections. Artist vulnerably put their emotions out in hopes that people will appreciate it. Often we don not reach our high expectations. President Utchdorf states that we are encouraged to think and discover truth for ourselves. We are expected to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to a personal knowledge of the truth.... Because we see through a glass darkly, we have to trust the Lord, who sees all things clearly (Uchtdorf). This gospel truth goes hand and hand with our artform. Instead of recognizing our imperfections in dance or the weaknesses in our choreography, we are urged to seek after improvement. No one is perfect. Through Gods help we will continue to improve and progress. It is easy to forget to recognize the one who gave us the ability and talent. It becomes a selfish career/selfish life, if we do not keep our priorities straight and remember to center our arts/life in Christ. Elder K. Newell Dayley reminds artists to

ask ourselves where are motives lie. When you are alone, what do you really want to do? Who is it that you want to become? Who is it that Christ wants you to become? (Dayley). When we answer these questions we discover what we must do to become who it is we are meant to be. Elder Dayley states that by centering arts in Christ we are choosing to follow His example in everything we do. Our arts will invite and entice to do good, persuade to believe in Christ, plant joy in the hearts of the audience, radiate light and hope, and invite the Holy Ghost (Dayley). On the contrary the deceiver inspires evil art. Arts that are centered in Christ can be very powerful to the audience, where as art that is inspired by the devil can leave an audience without the spirit. Our ballet company has the opportunity to perform across the United States. I believe there is something very unique about our performances and we are told often that there is something special about our company. I know that it is the light of Christ. The arts are a marvelous manifestation of the light of Christ... Those who remove themselves from the Light of Christ through pride or disobedience may use the form of art to express themselves, but they deny the power thereof (Dayley). We should never do anything that could potentially remove that light (or spirit) of Christ and the Holy Ghost from this beautiful language. We could be an instrument of light and glory in this tragically gloom world. In a dark and dreary world it is crucial for us to have the Holy Ghost as our companion. Elder Bednar talks about how we should strive to always have the Spirit to be with us. Thus, keeping anything that drives away the Holy Ghost completely out of our lives. He states that the baptismal covenant promises that we can always have the spirit to be with us if we are righteous. He urges us to make this our top priority and goal

(Bednar). If we can learn to be worthy of the Holy Ghost in our everyday life, it will be second nature for it to be present when in the creative process. Elder Bednar compares the Holy Ghost to the Liahona from the Book of Mormon, saying that when we are righteous and obedient it continues to provide direction and instruction. It works according to our faith and diligence (Bednar). Therefore, when we use our arts for good, the Holy Ghost will be our constant guide. However, as soon as we disregard the light of Christ, the Holy Ghost leaves us. Being pure, clean and having INTEGRITY can help us be constantly worthy of the spirit. As artists, we may be asked to portray different personalities on and off the stage. We may be asked to play different characters or roles. Nevertheless, our challenge as artists is to be true to ourselves. This means we do not change; holding true to our morals, values, and integrity. Elder Tanner defined integrity as, a state or quality of being complete, undivided, or unbroken; moral soundness, honesty and uprightness (Tanner). The art world is constantly getting racer and racer. People continue to lower their standard for the arts. However, when we set standards high people will respect you and it will be easier for us to make those righteous decisions again. In doing this we avoid having, one self for church, another self for business, another for recreation, home, travel, and so on (Tanner). Just like the Websters dictionary states we must continue to believe and have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so. When we remember to thank God for the miracle of our body we honor what the LDS modern prophets are teaching. Give thanks for the talents we have. LIve worthy of the Holy Ghost. Always keeping our integrity.

Combining all these principles puts our intentions in the correct place and as a result we gain a Christ centered life. The scriptures testify that a form of gratitude is through singing, dancing, and using our talents to the fullest. We as LDS artists can spread the light of Christ through our work and be successful artists by following the prophets counsels.

Works Cited
Bednar, David A. "That We May Always Have the Spirit To Be With Us." General Conference. Apr 2006. Address. Dayley, Newell. "Centering the Arts in Christ." BYU Devotional. 6 Mar 2001. Address. Maxwell, Neal A. "Creativity." New Era. Aug 1982: n. page. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. Nelson, Russell M. "We Are Children of God." General Conference. Oct 1998. Address Tanner, N. Eldon. "Integrity." General Conference. Apr 1977. Address. Uchtdorf, Dieter F. "What is Truth." Church Educational System Broadcast. 2013. Address.