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David Archuleta & Brooke White: Idol Worship

I’m not a big fan of TV and even less of a fan of TV shows. And even though I’m a singer, I never saw so much as a minute of American Idol until one of my daughters (can you guess which one?) dragged me kicking and screaming to watch the finale of AI (not to be confused with artificial (or even natural) intelligence) season five.

For two hours I sat and watched a duel between a pudgy, grey-haired guy (making me think I was an obvious candidate for season six) and a girl (about whom I apparently have no recollection other than gender). I wasted two hours only to find that the results wouldn’t be until the next night. (Which, apparently, was the final finale.)

Having watched the first finale, I felt obligated to watch the second. If memory and phantom pain serve me, it was well over two hours of fluff followed by a 10-second announcement that the oldish guy won the night.

Now I was trapped. When season six started, we DVRed the shows to watch. For the first time in years, I’m sad to say, I watched most of the season of a TV series. After years of resisting the urge to plop my backside on the couch for endless hours after making it through life without ever watching Friends, Survivor, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Desperate Housewives, or anything else I got sucked in by the singers with hopes of stardom.

Soon it became clear that we favored Jordin Sparks. We cheered for her without ever going so far as placing a vote. But we missed the finale while we were on the beach in Hawaii and saw the results in a newspaper stand. So much for those hours of “family fun.”

When Alana informed me that season seven was about to start, I made it clear that I wasn’t going to watch. Period. I would not allow myself to get sucked into the months-long saga of Simon belittling everyone and the producers using footage of the most pathetic, would-be performers to rake in a little more cash.

I gave in just a little, when one of the first shows aired, showing the original auditions. Some are sad, some hilarious, and some very exciting. One clip showed a woman in her 20’s, who was actually dressed in a manner that covered her private parts and then some. Somehow the discussion revealed the facts that neither she nor her husband drink and they don’t even watch R-rated movies.

“Mormon!” we yelled!

Randy and Simon were made hay with that and went so far as to suggest that her poor, stifled husband was really down catching some action on the internet when she was asleep. Charming.

The last thing Simon said to her after they told her she’d be going on to Hollywood was that he would do his best to bring her “over to the dark side.”

Interesting how uncomfortable decent behavior makes some people.

After my initial breakdown, I was good to my word and occupied myself elsewhere while Alana and Monica fast-forwarded past the chat to watch the singing and critiques.

Then I found out that two Mormons were in the top five. I set aside my preferences for the sake of loyalty to religion.

If you’ve followed this at all, by now you now that Brooke White finished in fifth place and last night the other Mormon, sweet-faced 17-year-old David Archuleta took second.

We were sad and more than a little shocked. Archuleta out-sang the “other David” by a mile. And the judges actually agreed calling his performance a “knock-out.”

But all the tween voting aside, I’m so stinking impressed with these two “kids.” No, they aren’t war heroes or martyrs or worthy of “worship” at all. But they were both remarkable representatives for our church in a tough situation particularly with the current LDS vs. FLDS confusion and have given the world a really great idea of who we really are.

First, to Archuleta, I thank him for being gracious and humble and an all around nice guy. Yes, his voice is gorgeous, but he sincerely seems to back up the voice with a great spirit.

Archuleta got the big coverage and is much more likely get the big press and the big contracts. And I won’t mind downloading the first (or second) David Archuleta MP3 that comes out. But I could just squeeze Brooke White silly.

In an industry that is known for sexualizing women, she stuck to her guns. And every time she came out on stage and ever time they flashed video of her from past performances my daughters just whooped!

“Look at her dress!”

“Look at her outfit!”

“Mom, she’s the only one who’s modest!”

Every single time she stood out and she was almost always the only one who was dressed modestly. She was beautiful and stylish and fun and covered. Paul Abdul could learn a thing or two. She was so stuffed into her plunging dress that I was sure we’d see a “wardrobe malfunction” and she’d put out Randy’s eye.

I commend her because I know that Simon wasn’t the only one trying to persuade her otherwise. It’s a safe bet that the costumers didn’t know what to do with the “uptight prude” who demanded that her hems be longer, her neckline higher, and sleeves added. And I think it goes without saying that the producers did all they could to “put on a good show” by pressuring her to “lighten up” and “relax” and probably sprinkled in a lot of words like “beautiful,” “classy,” and “tasteful” when referring to the standard hooker gear.

So, from a mom with daughters, thanks to David and a great big hug to Brooke. Way to go! You are my idols!

{ 65 comments… add one }
  • Ray May 22, 2008, 6:12 pm

    Nothing made Brooke’s standards more apparent than the finale, where every one of the other women from the top 12 were dressed one way and Brooke – had sleeves. The woman has been through the temple, and it was obvious to all watching Mormons – and I don’t think I’ve been prouder of ANY member than when my daughters noticed her dress.

    Having said that, David Cook also has been a gracious, humble, nice, polite performer. I doubt the show will hit this kind of high for me again.

  • davidson May 22, 2008, 6:16 pm

    Brooke and David did my heart good, too. They represented us well.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 22, 2008, 7:42 pm

    Ray, I agree. He was a very nice, decent guy. I just recorded an interview done with both the Davids and they were both so stinking complimentary of the other that it was amazing.

    Back in the day I paid for a bunch of my college by competing in pageants. Lame as they are, and as unlikely as it might seem, I really made great friends there. Even some best friends. In general, I’ve actually found great camaraderie behind the scenes at competitions.

  • Michelle D May 22, 2008, 9:15 pm

    Alison, you summed this up really well. We have never been sucked into the AI hype until this year – and it was because of wanting to see and hear David and Brooke. The stark difference in the way Brooke dressed was noticeable. They both carried themselves in such an admirable way throughout the entire season. They didn’t lose sight of who they are and what their standards are. That, in and of itself, is impressive.

    My girls like to go to youtube so they can re-listen to the songs, and occasionally tell me about the comments being made on the youtube videos. David A was getting HUNDREDS more comments than any other contestant, hands down. Far more than even David C. Personally, I wish David A would have won. And even though I worked and missed Tues night’s AI, from all I’ve heard, I personally believe David A “should” have won. Of course, I have always been more of a soft pop rather than rock music listener. However, both Davids are phenomenal, and both will have amazing musical careers (if they choose to pursue them).

  • Naismith May 23, 2008, 6:38 am

    Itunes has “studio” versions of the songs, and Brooke’s in particular are so much better than her performances. Apparently she suffers from bigtime stage fright.

    Also, while her modest clothing stood out to us, I don’t think she ever failed to fit in. They were modest, but still trendy (omigosh, she looks great in boots!) and showed that one can fit in without giving in.

  • davidson May 23, 2008, 6:48 am

    “Fit in without giving in.” Liked that, Naismith.

  • Lewis_Family May 23, 2008, 9:45 am

    We don’t watch A.I., it isn’t our thing, we are more So you think you can dance people. But I did see the finale and thought the song she did was a beautiful duet, and it was an unbiased opinion because I didn’t know she was a fellow member, so finding that out later made me like her all the more πŸ™‚ I like it when you guess if they are from ways the act, and then find out, then they are being a true example.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 23, 2008, 10:25 am

    Posted By: NaismithApparently she suffers from bigtime stage fright.

    Yes, I read that somewhere, too.

    Funny. Recorded interviews with both Cook and Archuleta right after the final. Seriously they were both so cute–complimentary of each other, polite. It was quite endearing. Anyway, Cook said, “There is a reason I wear lots of white and lots of black.” Apparently he gets nervous on stage and sweats like a pig. So early on (before they figured the sweat-hiding strategy of black/white clothing), he would have to go backstage to have his armpits blow dried by the crew.

    Keeping it real, folks. πŸ™‚

    one can fit in without giving in.

    Amen. Amen. Amen.

    This is what I SO loved about her! It is hard for our girls when the ONLY models of beauty and success put up in front of them are inappropriate ones! “Pretty” comes to be synonymous with Britney Spears doing pelvic thrusts in a skanky outfit or Jennifer Lopez with a gown cut down to her groin. Yea, it’s superficial yada yada yada–but people DO want to be attractive. And the SPIRITUAL models the girls are given (like…I don’t know…Sister Parkin?) don’t come across as their ideal physical models.

    So to have a beautiful, talented woman–who DOES display fashion and style–who ALSO has dress and life standards, gives them a great model.

    Not knowing Brooke–and since we had all figured she was LDS–I was worried that at some point they would wear her down. Mormon Lacey Schwimmer was on Dancing with the Stars or something (never seen that one–read about it from Scott Card) and was, apparently the most scantily clad of all of them. And in ballroom standards, that’s pretty darn scanty. But they didn’t. She stuck to her guns. Bless her heart!

  • davidson May 23, 2008, 10:53 am

    Anybody see anything like this? My dad watches Mormons pretty closely, and he is quick to point out when they aren’t living the gospel they claim to have. Dad said David Cook and David Archuleta took out full-page ads in newspapers for the purpose of condemning each other. They seem so friendly to each other onstage, I found it hard to believe. Did anybody else see an ad like that? I wonder if Dad could have been mistaken?

    Wouldn’t it be great if Brooke could be persuaded to speak to youth at youth conferences at BYUI and other places? I wonder if she would be willing to do that. She could have such a great continued impact.

  • marathonermom May 23, 2008, 11:45 am

    I may have to turn in my MM membership card for this, but. . . (small voice) I found David Archuleta kind of boring. Cute as heck, and an amazing God-given voice, but for me, there was no there, there, you know? I want him to go on his mission, maybe get his heart broken a few times, get some life experience, and then I think he’s going to be phenomenal. I thought David Cook was better in the finale, and I was really happy that he ended up winning. I loved Brooke with her whole mellow Carole King/Carly Simon vibe, and I loved that she dressed cute and trendy without being skanky.

    Lewis, I am so with you on So You Think You Can Dance! I’ve been squealing like a little girl just from seeing the commercials, and trust me, I’m not a squealer. So happy my show is back!

  • marathonermom May 23, 2008, 2:26 pm

    Whew, I get to stick around!:bigsmile:

    It’s interesting how two people can hear the same performance and have such different reactions. I’m also a trained singer (music ed degree from BYU), vocal coach, and former choir teacher. In fact, the last school I taught at was Murray High, where David A. is a student. The local Fox station did a piece on David a few weeks ago, and when they interviewed his choir teacher, I said, “Hey, that’s Alan Scott–I got him his job!” When my husband and I found out we were moving out of the state, I knew Alan was looking to make a change, so I called him and told him he had to apply for the position at Murray. He’s fabulous, he got the job, and he’s still there 13 years later. Small world, huh? (And I think Merrilee Webb is terrific! I doubt she’d know who I was, but I’ve run into her at several conventions and workshops, and I’ve always been hugely impressed.)

    So I feel downright disloyal for not being a rabid fan, but many of David A.’s performances just left me cold. The voice, yes, is wonderful. The range, the tone, the control–wow. Like I said, once he’s a little more mature, I can’t wait to hear him. But right now, I often felt like I was watching the best kid at a high school talent show. Okay, so it’s a performing arts high school or something, and he’s the best one there by a mile, but still, that real core connection to the emotions just wasn’t there for me. I’m glad to hear that you (and many, many others!) did see it. I don’t think either opinion is right or wrong–we’re each bringing our own perceptions to the performance, and my black litle cynical heart saw a kid parroting things he’s seen others do–or things his dad or coach told him to do–to convey a certain emotion. But I want to say again that I think he’s adorable. I loved seeing a hometown kid make it big. I loved that he never took the Lord’s name in vain. I loved that he was so overwhelmed to see all the fan support when he came back to UT that he broke down in tears and couldn’t even speak. I loved that he and David C. were so supportive and had nothing but nice things to say to and about each other. I loved that a couple of cute, non-weird LDS kids were featured so prominently on such a ratings juggernaut. I wish him nothing but the best and hope that this is just the start of a long and successful career. I just couldn’t get as excited about him as a performer as I really wanted to!

  • Alison Moore Smith May 23, 2008, 3:47 pm

    I appreciate your sentiments (even though you’re utterly wrong :smile::wink::wink:).

    Now how can a vocal coach/choir director go for the gravel voice or the other??? :shocked: When I reread part of my post that says, “As a singer…” man that sounded snotty to me. It didn’t sound that way when I WROTE it! Wah!

    As for Brooke and my great admiration of her, I think she has a pretty voice, but was never impressed by it. Mercado and … what’s her name with the giant head tatoo on her arm?…were the best girls. OK, so I didn’t hear any of the other girls besides those three, but thought White was the weakest vocally.

    I think it’s rather a semantic argument, though, about whether he’s parroting emotion or really “connecting” to the emotion. I understand that you didn’t see it with him, but do actors (and this is acting) really FEEL everything they portray? Of course not. They can’t. So the question isn’t whether or not they are really emoting, but whether or not they portray the emotion through the music–which generally IS by parroting or pretending or relating to something someone (like a parent or coach) tells them digging up something remotely related that can get them in the ballpark.

    My first training was classical and I can promise you that in NONE of the arias I sung did I ever really feel the emotion and in none of the operas or performances I witnessed did the singers really feel the emotions **as written in the score.*** For heaven’s sake, most operas are pure soap opera. I remember a guy bursting into a room and filling the auditorium with his amazing tenor voice in a gut-wrenching cry with arms overhead and then clasped to his chest. I looked around wondering if the audience (moved to tears, apparently) knew that the translation from Italian was, “It’s snowing.” :cry::cry::cry:

    I’m not saying that you have to agree that DA sang with perfect projected emotion. I’m just saying that it’s almost ALWAYS **projected emotion** rather than real emotion on most levels. It’s practiced and scripted and generally also controlled. It’s too hard to sing if you’re REALLY emotional. And, frankly, real emotion usually is NOT what we want or expect in performance. It’s way too messy and unpredictable–and strangely doesn’t look as “authentic” to people.

    At my wedding breakfast I sang, “I Chose Right” from the musical Baby. I made the mistake of letting real emotion creep in too much–and it blew the line. πŸ™‚ When I sang it again later at BYU–along with The Story Goes On (which is the MOST amazing song about being pregnant on the planet IMO)–I did much better (even though I WAS pregnant at the time) because I distanced myself from the music and sang with practiced emotion. Funny, but that was when the AUDIENCE was in tears.

    I know I’m rambling, but that reminded me of something else. And I’m not lecturing you about this as if you don’t know. I’m just sharing a story.

    When I was at Theater Workshop at BYU when I was a wee one (14), I was given the first verse of the finale as a solo. That was a big honor because there are, like, a hundred kids at the thing. But it was a huge responsibility because it’s a horrifically sad song. The musical was called The Me Nobody Knows and is written around poetry written by ghetto kids. (If you want to know, I played a black girl. Try to figure that out…)

    Anyway, the finale is called “Let Me Come In.” It’s a plea from the child to the parent to love them. I was FOURTEEN! And I grew up with doting parents. What do I know about that? Explain it to me over and over, but I will still have no clue. Tell me to think about my dog that got run over. I still have no clue. But it wasn’t about ME getting a clue, it was about me projecting a feeling to the audience. Nobody CARES (or knows) what I’m feeling or connecting to. They care about what THEY feel

    The director gave me this direction. Be calm and still and thoughtful. Pick one person in the audience who looks sympathetic. Look him/her in the eyes (it was in an arena theater) and never look away. Keep singing to that person no matter what.

    It was amazing. Every night from the opening number on, I would scan a bit looking for the right person. At the end I would sit to face the person. When the lights came on, I’d lift my head and stare at the person I’d picked. Same thing happened every time. They’d look back at me. They’d look to the side. They’d look back. They’d look down. They’d look back and keep looking. Then they’d start bawling. Then everyone would start bawling.

    On the second verse another girl came on and joined me. On the last verse the whole cast came on and the audience is sobbing.

    It was a strange thing because I doubt there were any kids in that room who really knew much abandonment or neglect, but the audience FELT it anyway. It was all fake (it was a play, after all) and they knew it, but they felt it anyway.

    Afterwards we have all these adults coming up to hug us and tell us how moved they are. It was one of those weird moments. As a performer you LOVE that they love it, but we didn’t really get what it was they loved.

    Anyway, too much rambling today. Count me as an Archuleta fan. And I’m not a fan of too many people these days.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 23, 2008, 3:50 pm

    OK, I’m also a fan of Sons of Provo (or…ahem…Everclean), but for entirely different reasons.

  • Lewis_Family May 23, 2008, 4:35 pm

    Ha, my bro of all people has everclean on his ipod. Kirby is my fav ( I worked with them on the R.M, so know them personally. )

  • Alison Moore Smith May 23, 2008, 5:12 pm

    The R.M.–my second favorite “Mormon movie.”

  • Alison Moore Smith May 23, 2008, 5:14 pm

    BTW, marathoner, who were some of your music profs at BYU? I have some funny music stories–as you probably do!

  • Lewis_Family May 23, 2008, 6:06 pm

    I think I mentioned it before, but yeah I am in the R.M. twice πŸ™‚ and my family is in it as well. I was an assistant to the casting director Michelle Wright. Second fav huh πŸ˜‰ want an autograph?

  • facethemusic May 24, 2008, 12:50 am

    Don’t feel left out Marathoner– I was going for David Cook, too!
    I never really felt like Archuletta was “boring”, he just wasn’t as exciting as David Cook. He didn’t have near the stage presence as Cook. Archuleta DOES have the better voice when it comes to clarity and such– he’d be better on stage in a musical or singing for Disney film, but David Cook was just a better overal performer. And honestly, I’m just not into the style that Archuleta sings– sounded too teeny bopper to me. (And it sounds like that’s sort of what you were saying too– too high school musical-ish). Even my kids said that they didn’t think that Archuleta would get any hits except on the Disney station. And I really think it’s just a voice maturity and style thing. I would buy a David Cook albumn — but I wouldn’t even be interested in an Archuleta one– it’s just not my taste in music or singing style. I’d get a Brooke Whyte album, though. I really liked her voice.
    I totally agree about both Archuleta and Brooke’s FANTASTIC examples! I was SO happy to see Brooke maintaining a classy and modest appearance. I hope every Young Woman on the planet took a good hard look and let it register in their brains.
    What was the deal with Archuleta’s father, though?? I missed a couple of the shows and heard that he’s quite a hot head and really made the producers angry– and Simon apparently really gave Mr. Archuleta a chewing out for telling David to add a part of that STUPID and obnoxious “Suicidal” song to the end of “Stand By Me?? My coworkers said that he was specifically told NOT to add that the way his father wanted him to, because of copyrights and royalties, so David wasn’t going to do it. But then his father apparently convinced him to do it anyway? Or something like that…. (and how in the world do the words to “Suicidal” go with the words to Stand By Me? They totally don’t go together. ) All I know is, I’m glad I didn’t see it. I think I might have thrown something at the TV.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 24, 2008, 2:54 am

    But Tracy, you’re a COUNTRY singer, so we have to give you some allowances… πŸ˜‰ And, yea, Cook was pretty impressive when he got his armpits blow dried between sets. (Yes, it’s true.) :rolling:

    But, as I said, I liked Cook. Not the gravel, but his general performances and demeanor. Nice guy. After the event, however, I saw some clips of him in the early shows and…scary. Boy, the dressers REALLY cleaned him up.

    DA’s dad did get him to add the line “And all you beautiful girls” to the song “Stand by Me.” From what I understand (not know Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls” song), that line isn’t even in his song, but it used a bit of the tune? The story that it cost the producers more money and ticked them off is being questioned by some.

    I don’t know what the deal is with the dad, but I’d be the last one to believe the gossip columns and “anonymous sources” are reliable. For all we know, they got ticked off because he REFUSED to let his kid do something he found objectionable. You know if Brooke White was a minor and her mom was insisting on modest clothes, they’d have banned her, too.

  • facethemusic May 24, 2008, 11:14 am

    But Tracy, you’re a COUNTRY singer, so we have to give you some allowances…

    HA! How philanthrophic of you. :tongue:

    Funny thing is, I was classically trained with opera, and my real love is musical theatre. Eliza Doolittle is my all-time favorite part!! I just don’t have the time for it.

    I’ll have to see what I can find online about the Beautiful Girls/Suicidal fiasco. What I was talking about wasn’t a rumor thing– my coworkers were all talking about what had happened on the show the night before, saying that Simon gave the Dad a chewing out on the show because during the rehearsals, David’s dad wanted him to add a part of Beautiful Girls to the end of Stand By Me, but Simon told them they couldn’t because the show would have to pay the royalties ( I guess they’ve only been using songs that were in the public domain all this time??? ) But then the Dad told him to do it anyway.

    Marathoner, I LOVED Melinda. I really thought she was going to win the whole thing and was SO disappointed when she got voted off. Now we’ve got Jordin singing “Tatoo” — UGH!!
    Can I tell you how much I hate that song???? Great…
    I really, really, really, really, REALLY hate that song. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. :tooth:

  • Alison Moore Smith May 25, 2008, 10:58 am

    No, haven’t added the youtube. I have to digitize the tape first.

    marathoner, with your profs, you’re younger than I am, but we still have some in common. Rebecca Wilberg–do you know her maiden name? If I’m not mistaken, we sang in A Cappella together. She was one of those A Cappella “lifers” and served as assistant director at the time. Again, unless I’m mistaken. I could swear she is the one who married Mack.

    I took voice at BYU from Margaret Woodward and Olga Gardner. And I have a great story about Clayne Robison. Someday I’ll bother to write that out.

    I’m not a HSM fan either, but I did like hairspray. Somehow I just wish they had a woman playing the mom–who could actually sing. The guy on the Broadway soundtrack sounds even worse than Travolta.

    I think Doolittle is probably the most talented singer to ever appear on AI. I loved her to death. She was on the only year I watched almost the whole season when Sparks won. But I knew she wouldn’t win. Killer vocals and incredible versatility, but just didn’t have the “whole package.” I didn’t think she could pull off the vote.

    However, I really hate the song Funny Valentine–even when Doolittle sings it. Not sure why. I played Suzy Ward in the musical Babes In Arms. (Suzy is the role that Judy Garland played in the original.( Funny Valentine is from Babes in Arms and Suzy sings it to her boyfriend (the Mickey Rooney character). His NAME is Valentine. I’ve just always thought it was a really boring song and just kooky that a guy was named “Valentine.”

    Posted By: marathonermomI usually root for the older singers. Not the ones who’ve already released albums that haven’t done well (like Kristy Lee Cook and Carly Smithson this year)

    Brooke White and David Cook have also released albums. There may have been others who did, too.

    Tracy,as far as I can tell, those reports are just rehashing, in there own words, “numerous media reports.” Then they say:

    Various reports say that Jeff Archuleta had been told David could not use the verse from Beautiful Girls, ? but he told his son to go ahead, anyway. None of those reports could be confirmed.

    I guess the real key would be for someone who KNOWS the lyrics to both songs, to watch the actual performance (I’m sure it’s on youtube) and see if he really did sing a verse of “Beautiful Girls” incorporated into “Stand by Me.” I don’t care enough today to do it myself, but I’m surprised that the reporters also seem too lazy to do it.

    About the Tatoo song, I love it.

    Because it’s so utterly DUMB! Now, whenever any ballad is played or sung, I throw in the phrase “like a tatoo.” I’m pretty sure I’ve engrained in my children the idea that tats are utterly UNromantic and nasty.

    I particularly like it when any song refers to growing old together or being together for ever “just like a tattoo, saggy and blue…”

  • klgreen1 May 25, 2008, 2:59 pm

    I hope all Mormon Mommas in good standing are regular fans of Kirby’s column in the trib. Here’s his take on the LDS American Idol contestant’s near-miss.

    Kirby: Mormons are ready-made for reality TV
    By Robert Kirby
    Tribune Columnist
    Article Last Updated: 05/23/2008 08:38:40 PM MDT

    Another Mormon bites the dust. After a brief and heady run at fame, “American Idol” candidate David Archuleta got his walking papers from the voting public.
    Brother Archuleta joins the ranks of other LDS reality TV almost-weres, including “Dancing with the Stars'” Marie Osmond, MTV’s “That’s Amore’s” Kathleen Flager, and presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
    Still, Archuleta is proof that Mormon reality screen performance is improving. Ten years ago, our claim to reality TV fame was a Mormon couple performing a human bagpipe trick on “David Letterman.”
    I didn’t see this one myself, but apparently a woman from Murray put a balloon in her mouth and her husband inflated it by blowing through her nose.
    You don’t get public performing talent (or even a lack of shame) like this without years of training. From an early age, Mormon kids are encouraged to be something other than just another member of the congregation.
    For this reason, stage fright is not a common LDS ailment. By the time we hit puberty, Mormon kids are used to praying and testifying from the pulpit. Many, like Archuleta, perform music during church services.
    The rest will have appeared in a countless number of singing programs, skits and talent shows. Even untalented kids like me managed to entertain, typically by being dragged from these meetings by a leg.
    When I was a kid, there were ward road shows: amateur theatrical productions that involved the entire ward and provided an outlet for all that performance energy. Quality ranged from pretty good to lynch-mob awful.
    I was Farmer No. 3 in our ward’s production of “The Wizard of Odds,” a spoof on a young girl carried off by a whirlwind to Brigham Young University where she had all kinds of strange but faith-promoting experiences. My costume was a leaf rake I brought from home.
    We practiced the songs for weeks and almost made the bishop’s wife go inactive. She worked and prayed and once even broke down and cried, but we still sounded like a pack of loosely focused coyotes.
    The show ran for two nights. It would have gone three but the girl playing Dorothy got mono and the only other girl who could sing above a misdemeanor couldn’t fit into the costume.
    Road shows are mostly a thing of the past now. LDS ward houses built today don’t even have stages. They still get basketball courts, though.
    Maybe there’s a connection. Despite our commitment to basketball, you don’t see many Mormons in the NBA.
    And even though an increasing number of Mormons are showing up on reality TV these days, not all of them are to our credit. Church leaders might want to think about bringing back the ward road show as a safety valve.

  • facethemusic May 25, 2008, 3:09 pm

    And all you beautiful girls…”

    Neither of which are in the lyrics to the Kingston song. I don’t know the tune to BG,but there isn’t a single line from BG

    It’s not the line word for word– but to anyone who knows the song it’s CLEARLY from Beautiful Girls and is the exact same tune.

    And even though an increasing number of Mormons are showing up on reality TV these days, not all of them are to our credit.

    Yeah, I heard the LDS Schwimmer boy purposely dropped his pants during a dance on one of the dancing reality shows. I never watch the dancing ones- too much flesh and sensual dancing for my taste. But that really irked me– apparently they made quite a stink about him being LDS and a returned missionary… and he dropped his pants?? Isn’t that dandy.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 25, 2008, 7:07 pm

    Posted By: facethemusicIt’s not the line word for word– but to anyone who knows the song it’s CLEARLY from Beautiful Girls and is the exact same tune.

    Like I said, I never heard the song. But it’s FOUR WORDS. Four words that aren’t in the other song. I’m guessing the words “beautiful girls” shows up in about 400,000 songs. The reports of adding a verse from a Kingston song are bogus.

    Posted By: klgreen1I hope all Mormon Mommas in good standing are regular fans of Kirby’s column in the trib.

    Ahem! Kathy! GOOD Mormon Mommas only subscribe to Deseret News!!!

    …the girl playing Dorothy got mono and the only other girl who could sing above a misdemeanor couldn’t fit into the costume.


  • Alison Moore Smith May 26, 2008, 10:47 am

    My feelings are pretty much in line with Scott Pierce.

  • klgreen1 May 26, 2008, 11:16 am

    At the risk of sounding like a poster child for the “How close can you drive to the edge of the cliff” cautionary tale, I’ll argue that you can read Kirby online without subscribing to the Trib. πŸ™‚

    Also, now that I’ve outed myself as a candidate for a court of love, (courting excommunication from Mormonmomma) I shall now pipe up in favor of both the Schwimmers. Yes, folks, I loved both those kids. (and Cousin Heidi, too.) I think they are breathtaking, heart-stopping dancers and entertainers, and I was saddened by the outcry of members who were appalled at their antics and costumes. I respect and admire Dress Standards, and I have never worn anything skimpy in my life. Well. Not since I got vericose veins, at least. But to me dance is a divine, transcendent thing, and dancers are “a little lower than the angels.” I think it is a human tendency to be critical of things we don’t understand. I don’t pretend to understand dance, but I can’t fathom how anyone could think ill of Lacey or Benjie. I jumped up and whooped when he exposed his all American undies. To me it was his response to all the holier than thou folks who were having a fit over his sister’s costumes–all his “brothers and sisters” who were slamming her publicly. To me, if you think Lacey is too sensual or exposed, then turn off your TV. If you think dance is racy, then limit your exposure to the BYU team. We have options other than publicly condemning LDS dancers for standards violations.

  • nanacarol May 26, 2008, 11:24 am

    I am glad this discussion is going on. I have had such guilt about watching all these reality shows. Some I really like!!! I am the biggest fan of Project Runway. However, the language really turns me off. I have been disappointed by some of the LDS people who do step up to the plate and partciapate.
    Oh, the reason I feel guilty by watching is a remark that Sheri Dew made in one of her books. Do you know what I am refering too? If you don’t I will find the exaxt quote and will put it on here.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 26, 2008, 2:20 pm

    For the record, Kathy whispered this to me first, asking for approval. Of course I posted it. She has pretty much free range here if you ask me.

    As for the Schwimmers, I never saw the show, just heard about it. But I was a ballroom dancer and I, frankly, don’t think there’s anything wrong with condemning the continual push to expose more and more skin in the name of “costuming.” It simply isn’t necessary and does nothing more than sexualize the performance.

    There’s a difference, IMO, in wearing an outfit that lends itself to a great deal of movement and that is safe for an athletic event (I don’t advocate swimsuits that are “temple ready”) and just flashing skin.

    I don’t even know what Lacey looks like, but I’m guessing anyone can find pics in two seconds if you want to decide for yourself.

  • davidson May 27, 2008, 9:49 am

    Kathy, I’ve thought for awhile about what you said, and even though I wouldn’t approve of what those LDS performers did, I think you made an important comment: “We have options other than publicly condemning LDS dancers for standards violations.” There is a great difference between hating the sin and hating the sinner–or at least there should be. As we “stand as witnesses”, we have to be careful to not “stand as wetnesses”, putting out the sometimes feeble flame of someone else’s desire to stay strong and active in the Church and to live by its standards and precepts. I am learning that, slowly. It is changing the way I think about things. Sister Susan Tanner, when she spoke in the YW general meeting said, “Recently I learned of two valiant young women, who, as they lived the commandments and radiated the joy of the gospel, stood as witnesses of God.” I thought that sentence was so instructive and significant. How do we stand as witnesses? Not by condemning other people who are on different “gospel lines.” We stand as witnesses when we ourselves live what we know and radiate joy.

  • davidson May 27, 2008, 12:03 pm

    Here I go, sticking my neck out again. I’m going to share a special experience to me. When I was a ballroom dancer, I wondered, “Is ballroom dancing good or bad? Should I be participating in it?” I was looking for the fruits, in a gospel sense. I was very involved with ballroom dance at BYU in Provo. Loved it. But I noticed that as sensuality crept in, even at BYU, it was more about carnality than it was about the beautiful art of dancing. I noticed that if one isn’t very careful, it is easy to lose the Spirit and be caught up in the darker side of it. There is a hardness that comes if you don’t keep it carefully in perspective. Ballroom dancing is like flying! It has attendant joy! Becoming good at it carries a satisfaction that is equivalent to painting a beautiful painting or writing an excellent novel. But all those things can be abused and cheapened. Satan seems to delight especially in messing with the arts, the things that touch our hearts the most.

    So one day, as I sat wondering if Heavenly Father really approved of ballroom dancing and what I should do, a sweet and special vision came to my mind. I saw two bodies dancing, both dressed in purest white. I never saw their faces, although I did have the impression that the man had dark hair. The man was wearing a white tuxedo, and the woman was dressed in a long, modest, flowing white gown that had a. . .hmmmm. . .what would you call it. . .kind of a white, delicate, sparkling fluffy feather boa at the hem as the gown’s only decoration. They were completely alone, and they were whirling around a ballroom dance floor. I couldn’t hear the music; I wish I could have. Their technique was perfect, the dance was full of energy and grace, and they really moved as one. I thought, what a beautiful dance, what a beautiful couple. I wonder who they are. I hope you will not laugh at this, because it was sacred to me. It was made known to me that it was our Heavenly Father and Mother, and they enjoy the arts as fervently as we do; they are as perfected in them as they are in every other attribute. Part of the beauty of the dance was their inner and outer modesty, reflected as a viewable, sacred respect for each other. That vision was very real to me. Each time I think of it, I can remember it in perfect detail. It wasn’t anything I invented.

    I read a book once called “Families are Forever if I Can Just Make it Through Today.” The author told about how she wanted to have new drapes, but she couldn’t afford to buy them, and she didn’t know how to sew. She bought the fabric and decided to pray. She would sew a seam, say a prayer, sew a seam, say a prayer. The drapes turned out beautifully, and she learned that our God is the MASTER DRAPEMAKER. He is the Master Everything. He has mastered every skill, and as we turn to Him in faith, he can direct us with His knowledge and wisdom. We have that available to us! I stand all amazed.

    It was made known to me that dance is a good thing if it is kept on a high spiritual plane. With that stipulation, He highly approves. This is the God who directed His saints concerning entertainment, “If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.” I guess the test for dancing might be whether or not you would feel comfortable praying before, after, or while you dance. Maybe that is the test for everything.

  • facethemusic May 27, 2008, 12:26 pm

    To me, if you think Lacey is too sensual or exposed, then turn off your TV. If you think dance is racy, then limit your exposure to the BYU team. We have options other than publicly condemning LDS dancers for standards violations.

    Personally, I never watched it. When the show first aired and my son was turning his head away from the screen saying “why do they have to dress that way”, we turned the channel and never watched it again. I assumed that it was always going to be that way and my son is particularly sensitive to it. So we never watched it and I only know what I heard from other people. The bad thing was that it was all my coworkers who are NON members who were talking about it. We’d had plenty of discussions about the church, our different standards, etc. They’d made comments about the little tank tops I wear under some of my shirts because I always worry that my cleavage will show when I bend over. Not bad comments– but comments like “why are you wearing two shirts? Aren’t you hot?” So then I’d say “I’m just so short that alot of my tops hang lower on me than they do on other people and I don’t want my cleavage hanging out” They knew all about our dress standards. One of my coworkers was a chaperone at the prom and was commenting on how horribly immodest most of the dresses were, and she asked how we (she knows I’m in the Stake YW and am in charge of dances) enforce dress standards for the dances. So they all knew the standards we set for youth. I even gave the one coworker one of those wallet sized For The Strenth of Youth pamphlets. Then they see a Mormon talking about having gone on a mission and he strips down to his underwear, and his sister is wearing clothes that they know we’d never allow at a youth dance and they want to know what I think about it. One of them said, “Well, if lowering your standards can make you famous I guess alot of people will do it. ” How was I supposed to respond to THAT? I hadn’t seen it, so I just had to go on what they were saying.

  • davidson May 27, 2008, 12:33 pm

    How are we supposed to respond to THAT? You could tell them what I tell my dad. We have a law of chastity and modesty. Individuals are free to obey it or not obey it. Because some people choose not to obey it does not mean we are free to change the law; it is the Lord’s law. The standard of the Church still stands. They will live to answer for what they choose. Our job is to love them, respect their agency, and choose for ourselves what we will do.

  • facethemusic May 27, 2008, 6:03 pm

    How are we supposed to respond to THAT? You could tell them what I tell my dad. We have a law of chastity and modesty. Individuals are free to obey it or not obey it.

    Yeah, that’s essentially what I DID say. I just told them I didn’t see the show, so I couldn’t really say one way or the other, but that personally, I just follow the simple rule that if it would show my garments, I don’t wear it.
    I just didn’t appreciate having to explain to non-members why a devout member of the church would announce his membership, and talk publicly about his mission on national television, then drop his pants on camera. Even non-members saw the dichotomy. I hadn’t seen the show and all the non-members who know our standards were talking about it at lunch, and they were all staring down at me waiting for my reaction. Sort of awkward, you know?

  • Lewis_Family May 27, 2008, 6:24 pm

    I think you must work with shallow people, to judge you for another’s actions, or question you because a complete stranger did something.

  • kiar May 27, 2008, 6:38 pm

    FWIW, he was wearing funny colored boxers and it was part of the goofy dance they were doing (him and another guy) I personally wasn’t offended by it, I thought it was funny and silly, the way it was supposed to be… When they asked him what the first thing he was going to do with the money, he said (without any rehearsal) “Paying my tithing!” the host looked at him kinda funny, but he was serious. Forgive me for not getting upset that he flashed his funky shorts, or was goofy. I think that what he did was show people that we don’t have to take ourselves SO flipping serious all the time. I sometimes find the reason people think members of our church to be weird, is because they are around the super stuffy ones, that look down their nose at having any fun who are scared that if anyuone sees them laughing or having fun it might make the church look bad. I think if we were supposed to be straight laced all the time, Heavenly Father wouldn’t have given us a sense of humor and the 11th commandment would be “thou shalt not get funky with thy bad self!”
    And before anyone gets on me for “lightmindedness” I am not talking about constant goofiness, just from time to time, when the opprotunity is appropriate.

  • nanacarol May 27, 2008, 6:38 pm

    When these type of situations come up I know this to be true–“People make the mistakes—not the Church. We respect free agency and we believe in repentance and forgiveness. When they(the people who are pointing out the wrongness of an LDS indiviual) are perfect and do everything right then they can judge. It usually is a conversation stopper!!! People do not know how to respond!

  • jennycherie May 27, 2008, 7:58 pm

    Posted By: Lewis_FamilyI think you must work with shallow people, to judge you for another’s actions, or question you because a complete stranger did something.

    to be honest – I think it’s just the opposite. I’ve only met a couple of the ladies that Face works with but they are wonderful ladies. I think it is reasonable for anyone to look at something that appears to be obvious hypocrisy and say, “what am I missing? Is there a television clause in the LDS modesty standards?” That was HUGE deal for me when I was investigating the church. I was introduced to the church by a guy I was dating in college. The missionaries would teach me one thing but he was doing something (many things!) else. Even though he professed to believe (and was a returned missionary), he would justify whatever he wanted to do with “sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.” I eventually broke up with him, largely because of his affinity for saying one thing and doing another. NO, we should not be quick to judge but YES, we are told to avoid even the APPEARANCE of evil.

  • Lewis_Family May 27, 2008, 8:06 pm

    Still it is one thing to judge a person who is not following code, but to judge someone completely unrelated? That is just sad to me. If someone if honestly interested in you and your beliefs they need to take them at face value, not by how others use them.

  • facethemusic May 27, 2008, 9:01 pm

    I think you must work with shallow people, to judge you for another’s actions, or question you because a complete stranger did something.

    No– I really don’t think that’s what it is. Other than some friends of my boss, I’m the only Mormon any of the 8 people I worked with have ever personally known. I think that their association with me for the past 3 years set a “standard” for them, for what they would expect from a member of the church and they were just surprised that another LDS member who seemed to be equally devout would do something that they know that I wouldn’t.
    We’vd had the conversations about how Mormons are people just like everyone else– how you’ve got really observant Catholics and the ones who just show up to Mass for Easter and Christmas– and that we’re the same way. I don’t think they expected that every single Mormon on the planet is like me. They knew about my Dad, his inactivity, that he drank, smoked, etc. I talked about the struggles we had with some of our youth. I think the *conflict” for them was that this was a guy who talked about his faith on the show, talked about his mission on national television, and THEN did something that they expected an “observant” Mormon would never do. But I never felt like they were judging me. They just wanted to know how I felt about it and what my reaction was– if I thought that stripping down to your underwear, even if just for fun during a dance, was an un-Mormon-like thing to do, so to speak. And frankly, I do.
    Kiar– I don’t think you were with us yet when we did our Uptight Mormon article. If you find it in the archives, you’ll note that I have the same views as you pertaining to having fun, laughing at ourselves, not taking ourselves so seriously, etc.
    I think stripping to underwear crosses a line though. I don’t think anyone would think it was just “having fun” if one our youth did that at a dance. Well– this was dancing. What’s the difference? Because it was a contest? Because they’re professional dancers and that makes it okay? I mean, honestly– I’m seriously asking– do you really think that stripping to your your underwear in public “from time to time, when the opprotunity is appropriate” is EVER appropriate?
    This thread started with applause and cheers for Brooke and David MAINTAINING their standards and NOT lowering them for the camera, for points, for cat calls, for “edginess” or fan or judge approval, etc.
    What if Brooke had been wearing a nice dress then ripped it off at the end of a song to reveal a hot pink leather bra with diamond studs and black hot pant drop waist shorts, with a fake diamond belly-button ring? Would it have been better if the bra was blue with white stars and the hot pants were red and white stripes? And would that have been okay as long as she said she was going to pay her tithing with the money she’s earned from the show? I just don’t see what the difference is.

  • davidson May 27, 2008, 9:36 pm

    I’m with you, Face. I think these LDS people were lacking in discernment. It is never right to do certain things, like dropping your pants in public. Ever. (And I will tell you in a minute why I feel particularly strong about that today.) I AM concerned about the LDS people Kathy was referring to who called to heap venom on the LDS dancers who didn’t act according to standard. It is also never right to drive another person into the dirt for doing something he shouldn’t do, for committing sin. We can protest the ACTION without condemning the PERSON. Think about what the Savior said to the woman taken in adultery: “Neither do I condemn thee. Go thy way and sin no more.” We’re not talking about a mere dress violation; we’re talking about very serious sexual sin. His response to her was so typical of Him. “Neither do I condemn thee; go thy way and sin no more.” I think it is the most important verse in scripture, since we all sin. He didn’t say, “And you, a covenanted member. Tsk, tsk.” He corrected her without wiping away all hope for her future. He let her know that she was acceptable, even if her actions weren’t. Real love.

    Okay, here’s why I feel strongly today about the dropping drawers issue. Today my fifteen year-old daughter was standing in the middle of The Commons, a huge carpeted area in the center of their high school where the kids socialize during breaks. A young man came up to where she was standing with friends, grabbed the bottom of her basketball shorts, and yanked them to her knees. He walked away laughing. Everyone in The Commons saw her standing there in her underwear. She was so humiliated, she cried. The kid was expelled on the spot, and the vice principal called me to apologize. A camera in The Commons caught the whole thing on video. THE SCHOOL is pressing harassment charges. My daughter told me for the first time today that this boy has occasionally walked up behind her and pinched her bottom. She doesn’t know this kid or have anything to do with him. It scares me. He’s had a lot of trouble like that. There are some things we just don’t do.

    Why would anyone do that to himself, in front of millions of watchers? And after declaring that he is LDS? I’ll tell you what, the first thing I thought when I heard about the ballroom dancer drawer-dropping incident was “There’s a person who doesn’t understand the nature of Deity or his own nature. He needs to be lovingly taught, not harshly corrected. He apparently needs approval more than he needs anything else; he just went after it in the wrong way.”

  • Ray May 27, 2008, 10:01 pm

    RM Calendar – ’nuff said.

  • facethemusic May 27, 2008, 10:39 pm

    I AM concerned about the LDS people Kathy was referring to who called to heap venom on the LDS dancers who didn’t act according to standard

    Absolutely. I completely agree. I don’t think that publicly berating anyone or calling for their recommed to be revoked is necessary. This guy could have an absolutely immovable testimony of the Savior, the Book of Mormon and the restoration. He might have 100% home teaching and be a phenomenal Sunday School teacher. We all have lapses of judgment.
    His just happened in front of millions of people. No one would have thought a THING of it if he hadn’t mentioned his religion and the fact that he served a mission. So the only reason it became an issue is because he MADE it an issue by bringing up his Mormonism and his mission, and then doing something that people (members AND non-members) wouldn’t expect from a Mormon missionary. I don’t think the people who were nasty about it were right in doing so at all, but in a way, didn’t he sort of bring it on himself? It doesn’t JUSTIFY anyone being nasty. But if he thought he could proclaim his faith on national television and then strip to his underwear without getting some backlash then I have to wonder what planet he’s been living on.
    If there’s one thing I learned very quickly as a teenager it’s that people expected me to live my religion, even though they weren’t living theirs. I was ALWAYS held to a higher standard by my non-LDS friends, then they held themselves to their own.

  • Ray May 27, 2008, 11:20 pm

    and the RM status signaled that he should have been wearing garments. David Archuletta’s commercial playing a guitar in his underwear, covered well by a long shirt, didn’t cause nearly the ripple – because it was more discreet AND because David A was not an RM. He wasn’t violating a temple covenant in the process.

  • nanacarol May 27, 2008, 11:28 pm

    There needs to be something said here. Benji did not have on his garments. If I remember right they were a printed pair of boxers. Please correct me if I am wrong. However, he did show bad judgement in doing it. But his rear end did not show!!!!!! Again some people are taking this way to far. How many times in TV shows and movies and even on the beach do we see people in less. We don’t make a big deal when a swimmer wears a speedo or tight spandex for the ice skating events. No, because for that sport they are clothed but some outfits leave little to the imagaination. Please tell me why some people get so upset if they are seen in their pj’s. they are fully dressed and if they are not revealing what is the big deal. Again we are taking ourselfves too serious. Again, when I am troubled by something, I turn off the tube to stop from viewing! End of trouble and the necessity to judge.
    In Sunday school class on Sunday we did have a discussion when do we stand up for what we believe. We were talking about the baptismal covenant in Mosiah 18. We promise to tesitify of him in all places. The question was asked do we testitfy when it is maybe not such a good place. We said yes!!! We let our testimonies shine!!! Apparently the one contestant on AI did just that by the clothing she wore and not letting others bend her morals. Her clothing was her Testimony on how much she loved the standards of the Church.

  • Ray May 27, 2008, 11:58 pm

    “Benji did not have on his garments.”

    nanacarol, that is my point. “Voluntarily chosen entertainment” is considered a reasonable exception in the temple covenant governing the wearing of garments. For someone who has gone through the temple, there is no time when it is appropriate to **choose** to be seen only in underwear (garments or not) when the activity does not require it.

    Competitive dancing of that kind cannot be done properly in a contest like that in garments, just like competitive diving. This scenario is totally different, as it was not required but was a conscious choice from multiple alternatives.

  • naomlette May 28, 2008, 3:24 am

    I’m not a HSM fan either, but I did like hairspray. Somehow I just wish they had a woman playing the mom–who could actually sing. The guy on the Broadway soundtrack sounds even worse than Travolta.

    From what I understand, the mom has always been played by a man in drag wearing a fat suit, though I’m not sure who the first one was that started the trend. Though I’m sure you already knew that. I just have this burning desire to make sure everyone out there knows I’m right. :wink::bigsmile:

    davidson, I love, love, love your willingness to share something like your experience (vision, dream?) with us. When you were talking about the carnality of some of the dances, the thought occured to me that those dances would be appropriate at times. Like with your husband/wife and in the privacy of your own home. That’s really about the only place. I love to watch those Latin dances, but man, I would not be able to perform them in front of a bunch of people! Or with anyone other than my hubby. Which is sad, because he’s totally unwilling to learn. πŸ˜‰

  • Alison Moore Smith May 28, 2008, 8:53 pm

    Ray, I seriously didn’t understand a word in you last comment. I can’t tell what side you’re on or what point you’re making. :confused:


    Here are my thoughts on the issue….kind of…

    Ballroom dancers–even at BYU–don’t wear garments in competition any more than the basketball team does.

    Wearing a pair of boxers does not break a temple covenant.

    Clowns drop their drawers all the time. Is this immoral behavior and covenant-breaking for LDS clowns? (Or is being a clown immoral in and of itself? :wink:)

    I thought the Risky Business copies were pretty funny and thought it was way cute that DA wore boxers instead of briefs like DC–although they looked more like shorts than boxers to me. And, FWIW, I don’t think it would have been the breaking of a covenant had DA done the commercial EVEN IF he’d been an RM.

    Let’s think about this guys. Does a guy who plays Christ during the crucifixion break his covenants because he removes his garments and wraps a cloth around his waist to play the part?

  • Ray May 28, 2008, 11:06 pm

    Alison, my main point:

    There is a difference between activities that require us to not wear garments and those that do not require we do so. There also is a difference between activities that require us to wear only underwear and those that do not require we do so. There also is a difference between activities that require us to wear underwear but not garments and those that do not require we do so.

    In each of the situations where there is no requirement, we should err on the side of modesty and garments. Wearing only underwear, which includes boxers, in the situation we are discussing, was not required; rather, it was chosen. To me, as a conscious choice when other options were available, it is against the covenants made in the temple. That’s just my take, and I can understand completely those who don’t see it that way.

    (and, fwiw, I have had other very intelligent people say the same thing about other things I’ve said. It drives some people nuts that I can seem so conservative on some things, moderate on many and liberal on others. It drives more people nuts that I can be incomprehensible at times.) :confused:

  • Ray May 28, 2008, 11:09 pm

    Oh, and the real puzzler for many is that I would prefer a skimpy, provocative dance outfit in that situation to underwear that, objectively, might be more “modest” in most people’s eyes.

  • Ray May 28, 2008, 11:12 pm

    Three in a row, and this one is embarrassing to admit. :shamed:

    I just re-read the comment Alison mentioned. Part of the problem might be that I missed a HUGE mistake in the wording. The correct version should have been:

    “Voluntarily chosen entertainment” is ***NOT*** considered a reasonable exception in the temple covenant governing the wearing of garments.

    Changes things just a bit, even if it still is incomprehensible.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 1, 2008, 8:20 pm

    If I understand your position correctly, Ray, then I’ll ask my question again. If someone plays Christ in a movie, then he will CHOOSE not to wear garments in certain scenes. (As is “chosen entertainment.”) Is that contrary to covenants in the temple?

    And, anytime we remove our garments, isn’t it a choice? Swimming is a choice, right? One that some would call at least mildly entertaining.

  • Ray June 1, 2008, 9:53 pm

    I have NO problem with removing my garments in situations that require it. Swimming, diving, most sports, other wholesome recreational activities, dancing that requires certain outfits, acting, etc. are perfectly fine with me. In fact, if I had a body worthy of posing nude for artists, I would have no problem doing so as a part of a job or my education. I even have no problem with LDS actors playing parts that require nudity, as long as that nudity is not gratuitous and unnecessarily graphic – and as long as it does not require actual sexual relations that would violate their temple covenants.

    My fundamental problem with this scenario is not primarily about the lack of garments, per se, but much more to do with “voluntarily” choosing to perform in underwear when such a decision was not required or necessary. Let me turn the situation around a bit and see if it makes more sense – whether you agree or not.

    Madonna did much to popularize what Brittany Spears and others now wear without thinking. She literally performed in underwear. Paula Abdul wore a dress on the final episode of American Idol that was . . . revealing, to say the least. Women on the beach, who could wear a reasonably modest swimsuit, instead wear sting bikinis that they might as well have left at home when viewed from behind (and sometimes from the front). If this had been a woman who had chosen to dance in just her [reasonably modest underwear], I would have said the same thing. Each of these decisions is NOT required, but rather they are voluntary.

    The decision to wear only boxers in a dance is a completely voluntary one. He chose to dance in only underwear, and I just don’t like that. Again, underwear as part of an outfit that is required is one thing; underwear just for the sake of underwear is another. (I know that’s probably nothing more than a personal hang-up for an otherwise very open guy, but it is what it is. I just don’t want to see men in public in just underwear, and I don’t want to see women in public in just underwear – and I want them treated equally in this regard.)

  • Alison Moore Smith June 2, 2008, 12:47 am

    OK. I can kind of sort of maybe see your point. I guess my point is that NONE of the things you mentioned are “required.” They are ALL voluntary. No one HAS to do any of the things you find acceptable, partially clothed or not.

    And, yes, I do think it’s really weird to say you’d have no problem with someone (apparently as long as they are ripped) posing nude for “educational purposes,” but boxers (which I swear looked like white tennis shorts to me–there was no fly…) is an unwholesome “choice.”

    But, whatever.

  • facethemusic June 2, 2008, 6:19 am

    Okay, I didn’t “get” any of that. But then, I’m not “getting” alot of things lately.
    Maybe I need some Gingko Biloba.

    You are a truly perplexing man, Ray. πŸ™‚

  • jennycherie June 2, 2008, 6:25 am

    Isn’t Ray just saying that Benji could have danced without dropping his drawers? I mean–it’s the same thing we complain about all the time with profanity and sex in movies. Did it add anything essential to his performance? Was it necessary to make it better or more believable? Was it easier to understand? No – well, that’s a third-hand no since I’ve never seen the show. . . but I’m just guessing. When I see a movie, for example, “The Notebook” that was widely loved by many and it has this absolutely horrendous sex scene (that should have been rated R)–it is obvious that that sex scene was mostly about seeing how far they could go and maintain their PG-13 rating. It did not enhance or contribute to the story in any way. Was Benji’s dance in anyway enhanced by dropping his pants and showing his underwear? Was he more comfortable? Able to move better? If not, then I tend to agree with Ray.

  • Ray June 2, 2008, 7:22 am

    face, I often tell others that sometimes we just think too hard. Maybe this is one of those issues where I just think too hard.

    Every personality test I’ve ever taken has put me right smack dab in the middle of the extremes for which they were testing – balanced in the middle of all the options. I have been told that I defy stereotypes – and that drives some people nuts. They think they have me figured out, and then I hit them with an opinion that they don’t expect and have a hard time reconciling with the other opinions I’ve shared with them. I live a VERY “conservative” life – the classic, stereotypical Mormon in every way – including my current stint on the High Council; many of my political beliefs, however, are quite moderate – and some of them are extremely liberal. (You should hear some of the discussions I have about gay rights and abortion. They’re downright funny if you look at them as an exercise in understanding and shattering expectations.)

    It can be a bit frustrating to fight others’ efforts to find a label that fits me, but I kind of like “perplexing”. πŸ™‚

  • Alison Moore Smith June 2, 2008, 10:11 am

    Holy cow, Ray. If you’re “liberal” about abortion I’m going to have to smack you around more than I thought.

  • Ray June 2, 2008, 3:51 pm

    Alison, I didn’t mean to say I was liberal about abortion. I said the conversations are downright funny, since people often have no idea what I’m talking about by the time I get done. If I have time to share my full view of the issue (religious, spiritual, political AND legal), the glazed-over looks can be quite amusing – even though the topic is anything but amusing.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 16, 2008, 1:33 am

    Just to help Ray, I just heard a clip of an interview where someone asked him about doing guitar hero “in his underware” and he said, “No, it was more like white shorts. I don’t think I’d go that far with the whole underware, whitey tightey thing…”

    I just want you to note that I have a very sharp eye for this kind of thing.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 23, 2008, 1:20 pm

    davidson, I think you’re dad is off his rocker. Ask for some proof. That’s easy enough. With all the restrictions on contestants, I’m sure they’d be booted for doing so. But fans can do whatever they want.

    After some consideration, marathoner, I’ve decided to let you stay. πŸ˜‰

    IMO, Achuleta was completely “there.” As a singer and a vocal coach and a choir director, I think his voice just soars. It’s smooth and clear and spot on. Man, to have students like that. (Besides my own kids, of course. :bigsmile:) The other thing he (and Jordin Sparks) could do was to project emotion. The thing that’s so remarkable about that is that they are so young. They are younger, really, than the lyrics in their songs. They haven’t experienced enough to really know most of those emotions, yet they are amazingly able to project them.

    When I was a kid and played in violin competition, my mom would say, “Alison, make it SING.”

    I had no clue what she was talking about. I played all the notes correctly, with the correct pitch, style, dynamics, vibrato. What more did she want? It wasn’t until I was much older that I “got” it. And it really came with singing and realizing that it wasn’t just a technical exercise, but it was telling a story full of emotion.

    That is something that is SO hard to get kids to understand–because they are KIDS. When Sparks sang “I Who Have Nothing”–which is a really OLD song, emotionally, she blew me away. How does a 17 year old figure that out?

    Truth be told one of my kids is good at that (so far) at a young age. Somehow Alana understands that emotional element of music. When she sang the solo in Defying Gravity at the state honor choir, everyone was raving about it at rehearsal. The director (Marilee Webb, who has been called by the church to direct lots of the special General Conference choirs) asked Alana to explain how she sang the way she did. She described how she got the emotion of the song to everyone. When she did that it was 3:42 pm. Sister Webb defined 3:42 to be THE MOMENT for the choir (“3:42” became their key phrase) when they they understood how emotion and music are inseparable.

    It was pretty cool and the leaders kept telling me how Alana defined the feeling of the whole concert for everyone. Honestly, though, I have no idea how she figured that out. Sure, I tried to explain it, but so did my own mom. I think it’s just something that a few kids can understand.

    I think Archuleta (and Sparks) are a few of the others who seem to be able to understand that.

    As for DA’s songs, I don’t like a single Beatles song on the planet (because I find the Beatles mostly just disgusting), so “Imagine” is not my favorite, ever. But he sang it BECAUSE the judges LOVED it and the judges raved mostly over his ballads. (I hated that the (idiot!) producers picked “Longer” in the semis. LONGER???? Ack!) They pegged him there. I thoroughly loved his second song, from the contest, In This Moment. That top note of the refrain just kills me. Gorgeous.

    As for Cook, I think he was a nice guy, but he reminds me of Bruce Springsteen with his kind of gravelly voice. I’ve never liked that “style”–as a vocalist that’s something you’re “supposed” to try to avoid. So to me it’s a big negative. I absolutely hated the last song he sang. I was stunned at what was supposed to be his climax and thought it was incredibly boring. However, contrary to the judges, I LOVED his second song (the original), Dream Big. I’d buy that in a heartbeat. Great beat, great message. (At least the parts I could distinguish.)

    FWIW, I think the “apology” from Simon was utterly bogus. I think once he knew that Cook won by a landslide he retracted so his didn’t look like an idiot.

    Speaking of voices, I’ve been sick as a dog. I have serious laryngitis and I”m supposed to speak at a convention tomorrow. I’ve been whispering for two days to get my voice back. Wish my luck or pray. :bigsmile:

  • Alison Moore Smith May 24, 2008, 3:09 am

    OK, I looked this up a bit. Kept finding that Naomi Judd (who judged Star Search, that David won years ago) was the one who started the rumors about Jeff Archuleta. It was recently addressed by Dean Kaelin (DA’s vocal coach). I’m vaguely acquainted with Kaelin. He’s an active LDS man of good reputation and I have no reason to believe he’d be untruthful about the situation.

    There’s a big long letter from him here.

  • marathonermom May 24, 2008, 9:50 am

    Alison, did you ever post video of Alana’s solo? I’d love to see it!

    Hmm, music professors. Mack Wilberg, Rebecca Wilberg, Susan Conkling, Bryce Rytting, Gordon Jessop, Don Ripplinger, Doug Bush, Clayne Robison, Newell Dayley. I know there are more, but I can’t think of any other names at the moment.

    Yeah, Face, I’m just not a big fan of the teeny-bopper sound. I finally rented “High School Musical” after hearing the kids in my ward rave about it for months, and my reaction was, “Huh. Well, I’m obviously not in their target demographic!” I appreciated that the producers had made a wholesome movie that families could watch together, I just didn’t think the quality of the music or the singing was that great. But I LOVED “Hairspray” and play the soundtrack all the time on my I-pod, so I do like some stuff that’s marketed to a younger audience.

    On AI–which I’ve watched at least casually since the end of Season 1–I usually root for the older singers. Not the ones who’ve already released albums that haven’t done well (like Kristy Lee Cook and Carly Smithson this year), but the ones who have been paying their dues in the music industry for years and have never gotten their big break. My all-time favorite competitor EVER was Melinda Doolittle from Season 6. She’d been working as a background singer for many years, and I think she originally just wanted to audition to be a background singer on Idol, but then she decided she needed to get over her fear of being the one in front and auditioned for the show. She was phenomenal. Check out her performances of My Funny Valentine and I’m a Woman. An absolute pro, she had not only an amazing instrument, but knew how to take control of the stage. When she wasn’t performing, she seemed almost painfully shy and was shocked when people complimented her, but as soon as the music started, she was on fire. Plus, she seemed genuinely humble and kind, and she’s a very spiritual person who constantly thanks God for her blessings. I LOVED her, I actually picked up the phone and voted for her more than once, and I was a bitter, bitter woman when she was voted off.

  • facethemusic May 24, 2008, 11:20 am

    Okay– here’s the report from Fox News about the song controversy. And this is the AP release.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 25, 2008, 11:37 am

    OK, I spent three minutes listening to the performance.

    Archuleta added two lines that aren’t in the original stand by me:

    “Whenever you need a friend, whenever you’re feelin’ lonely…” (which resembles the originals “whenever you’re in trouble…”)


    “And all you beautiful girls…”

    Neither of which are in the lyrics to the Kingston song. I don’t know the tune to BG,but there isn’t a single line from BG, let alone a “verse” as was reported.

    I’m sure they have restrictive performance times and have to cut the songs to fit, which can be tough if you’re trying to give a cohesive story line.

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