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Colin Holbrook Dance 459, Winter 2014 February 2014 A Discussion of the Words of Latter-day Prophets

The relationship art has with the gospel is a beautiful one. The desire to create and the ability to create is a divine heritage, which we each have because we are all literal spirit children of God the Father. As young LDS artists we have an incredible opportunity to develop that desire and ability to create, to create out in the world, and to influence others through that create work, as well the way we conduct our lives. The accruement and understanding of truth that we can achieve though revelation and from the Gospel of Jesus Christ will shape and enrich our careers, creation of dance, relationships, and all other parts of our lives. Truth is eternal. All truth testifies of God and originates from Him. The Holy Ghost testifies of truth, and with His help we can come to know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:5). As dancers and artists, we will be assailed constantly by what other people in the world believe is and is not true. People search for truth and happiness in so many ways, and in turn create in diverse ways. We will be confronted everyday with the opportunity to make decisions about the kind of art we decide to be part of. It can be hard to make the decisions that we know, but sometimes dont want to recognize, are right because we want to be successful in our careers. The world can offer appealing truths that we would like to go along with, but that can be in opposition to the truth that God has revealed. We need to be willing to let go of the appealing, and follow what we do know to be truth. Elder

Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said,

Part of the reason for poor judgment comes from the tendency of mankind to blur the line between belief and truth. We too often confuse belief with truth, thinking that because something makes sense or is convenient, it must be true. Conversely, we sometimes dont believe truth or reject itbecause it would require us to change or admit that we were wrong. Often, truth is rejected because it doesnt appear to be consistent with previous experiences. (Uchtdorf)

I am not saying that we need to be paranoid, or that we must seclude ourselves from others in our profession that we can work with. We represent much more than just ourselves as we pursue our careers. We have been blessed to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, to be His disciples, and to always remember Him. Elder David A. Bednar has counseled, precisely because the promised blessing is that we may always have His Spirit to be with us, we should attend to and learn from the choices and influences that separate us from the Holy Spirit. (Bednar, That we) Like I stated before, coming to an understanding of truth and God himself, we will be able to multiply our own talent to create and perform. In short, I am saying that we need to be honest with others and ourselves, and we should live our lives with integrity.

All truth comes from God, including knowledge and understanding of ones body and spirit. As dancers, this knowledge will empower us to move and create. Elder Neal L. Maxwell stated,

Since all truth comes from God, when we celebrate truth in creative breakthroughs, whether in new understanding of molecular structure or in the beauty of new sculpture or a new painting or new poetry, we are acknowledging the resplendent order in Gods universe. (Maxwell)

As we continue to discover truth about our own bodies, as well as other topics, we will come to know Heavenly Father more, and will acknowledge and understand more fully the perfection of His creations and creative abilities. I believe this understanding will augment our own creative talents. What an incredible thought. By understanding Gods creativity, we are in turn recognizing the divine ability we have to create. As dancers, we get to create using our bodies, Gods greatest creation. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we have been blessed to receive greater revealed truths about the divine creation of our bodies. We learn in the book of Moses from The Pearl of Great Price that we are created after Gods own image, in the similitude of Jesus Christ (Moses 1:4-6). Regarding the creation of our bodies, Elder Russell M. Nelson said, Your body, whatever its natural gifts, is a magnificent creation of God. It is a tabernacle of flesha temple for your spirit. A study of your body attests to its divine design (Nelson). Our body and spirit together bring us joy. Both are needed to create. In dance, we are encouraged to find our own personal movement style and preferences, and to creating in a way that only we can. We know that the spirit provides the body with animation and personality (Nelson), and that is what makes dance beautiful.

This truth is different from belief. It is different from hope. Absolute truth is not dependent upon public opinion or popularity. Polls cannot sway it. Not even the inexhaustible authority of celebrity endorsement can change it. (Uchtdorf) I believe that our Father in Heaven is pleased with His children when they use their talents and mental faculties to earnestly discover truth. Over the centuries many wise men and womenthrough logic, reason, scientific inquiry, and, yes, through inspirationhave discovered truth. These discoveries have enriched mankind, improved our lives, and inspired joy, wonder, and awe. (Uchtdorf) The fundamental conditions of the covenant into which we entered in the waters of baptism are these: we witnessed that we were willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, that we would always remember Him, and that we would keep His commandments. The promised blessing for honoring this covenant is that we may always have His Spirit to be with us (see D&C 20:77). In other words, baptism by water leads to the authorized opportunity for the constant companionship of the third member of the Godhead. (Bednar, That we) And the Holy Ghost provides for us today the means whereby we can receive, by small and simple things (Alma 37:6), increased understanding about the ways of the Lord: But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26). (Bednar, That we) Righteous work is our love of God and of our neighbors being made manifest! Creative work is a special expression, a more excellent way (1 Cor. 12:31), of showing that love. Creative expression can also represent the celebration of our gratitude to God for our gifts and talents. (Maxwell) When by wise self-management we are creative, then we mortals taste what Pascal called the dignity of causality, the capacity to cause that which had not existed in quite that way before! Something pertaining to truth and beauty occurs that would not have happened quite that way without us! Thus as agents unto ourselves we use the power that is in us to do good, but also to do it well, whether our creativity involves the use of our voice, our hands, our muscles, or our conceptual powers.

(Maxwell) True creativity, as it reflects our capacity to see or to produce something in a new way, represents a restructuring that carries our individual imprint and uniqueness. Such can be equally true of the inventor and the painter, of the pianist as well as the poet. (Maxwell) Gospel gladness can give us a precious perspective about all these things and can spur us on to share that beauty which God helps us to create. It is a process that should not trouble itself over much, initially, with questions of originality and utility but, rather, with quality and excellence. (Maxwell) Artistic and creative expressions that occur in conformity with reality and with the sublime and eternal truths help to deliver on that marvelous promise that men are that they might have joy (2 Ne. 2:25) and help us to have [life] more abundantly (John 10:10) by showing us a more excellent way (1 Cor. 12:31). (Maxwell) Beauty and truth are all about us, beckoning us to respond. But perspiration usually precedes inspiration, and pondering, reverentially, almost always occurs before we make any breakthrough. Creative work is sweet, but it is work! (Maxwell) Creative experience is intrinsically satisfying. (Maxwell) The greater our sensitivity to the Spirit, the greater our response to beauty, grace, and truth in all their forms as these exist about us. Our righteousness opens us up like a blossoming flower to both detail and immensity. Sin, on the other hand, closes us down; it scalds the tastebuds of the soul. (Maxwell) President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, has taught: We all need to know what it means to be honest. Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving. (Bednar, Be Honest) People of integrity and honesty not only practice what they preach, they are what they preach. (Bednar, Be Honest) Integrity and honesty with ourselves result from knowing and understanding who we are as sons and daughters of God. And integrity and honesty with other people result from knowing and understanding they are sons and daughters of the Eternal Father and are our brothers and sisters. All unprincipled and dishonest thoughts and actions are a betrayal of God, a betrayal of self, and a betrayal of other people. (Bednar, Be Honest)

May we seek and qualify for the enabling and strengthening power of the Saviors Atonement. And may each of us become and contribute to the latter-day light that will literally chase darkness from among you (D&C 50:25). (Bednar, Be Honest) honesty, trust, righteousness, dependability, truthfulness, kindness, justice, mercy, love, fidelity, and many other principles of right living. When one has integrated all of these attributes within his being, when they become the moving force of all his thoughts, actions, and desires, then he may be said to possess integrity, which has been defined as a state or quality of being complete, undivided, or unbroken; moral soundness, honesty and uprightness. (Tanner) Let us pursue this thought of a man being whole within himself, or undivided. Such a one would never find himself at war within himself as to which course to pursue or which decision to make. Constantly there would be a unity of purpose. There would not be, as someone has said, one self for church, another self for business, another for recreation, home, travel, and so on. (Tanner) -Duke of Wellington story (Tanner) Now, what can we do to improve the conditions we have been discussing? Let each of us begin with himself to find out how he stands on the principle of integrity. Let us make an honest assessment of our hearts, our lives, our desires and goals, involving a recognition of all our faults. Then we should make a serious effort to set them right, to change directions toward the ideal of integrity and its associate virtues. (Tanner) Elder Tanner quotes the 13th Article of Faith, We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of PaulWe believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. [A of F 1:13] (Tanner)

Works Cited Tanner, N. Eldon. Integrity. April General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1977. Bednar, David A. Be Honest. Devotional address. Brigham Young UniversityIdaho. September 10, 2002.

Uchtdorf, Dieter F. What is Truth?.