Mormons Do Dance
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“Mormons Do Dance,” New Era, Oct. 2006, 44–45

Mormons Do Dance

I wandered through the crowd at my California high school. I’d just finished taking my geometry final, and I was trying to clear my head of angles and parallelograms to get ready for the Spanish final that was coming up next. My overtaxed brain was just starting to conjugate a particularly tough verb when three students I didn’t recognize walked up beside me.

“If you’re going to be a Mormon, why not be a good one?” one girl spat out.

“What?” I answered timidly.

“We saw you at the dance on Friday!” the girl retorted.

I quickly scanned my memory trying to figure out what I had done to convince them I wasn’t a good Mormon. I had been at the school dance last Friday. I had worn a dress that was stylish but modest. I was with a group of friends, and we had danced and had a nice time and gone home.

“So?” I asked in bewilderment.

“Mormons don’t dance!” another student accused.

I had to chuckle as my mind’s eye surveyed my bedroom at home. At that very moment my bed was piled high with yards and yards of pink taffeta fabric. I was in the midst of sewing my ball gown for a dance festival in Salt Lake City. Ten thousand youth from all over the country would be gathering for the event. Of course Mormons dance!

I happily told them of the event and also told them about the great stake dances that were held every month at the church with up-to-date music, and no smoking, alcohol, or drugs to interfere with the fun. I even told them how Brigham Young instructed the pioneers to pull out their fiddles and organize dances from time to time when the wagons were pulled into a circle at night while crossing the plains. I told them that members of the Church like to enjoy life and that dancing can be a natural part of that.

Three stunned accusers now stood with their mouths open. I invited them to the next stake dance and told them how to get there. One pulled out his notebook and took down directions.

The anger on their faces had been replaced by understanding smiles. As they walked away, my mind went back to my seminary lesson from that morning. It was from Matthew 5:16—“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Wow, it was true! I realized that for good or bad, I am an example to the world around me of what members of the Church say and do. My experience proved that people were watching me and judging the Church by my actions. Before I headed to my Spanish final, I said a silent prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for His help in that discussion and asked for the strength and conviction to always be a good representative of His Church.

Illustration by Sam Lawlor