Lesson 45: Participating in the Cultural Arts

Young Women Manual 2, (1993), 172–74


Objective

Each young woman will seek to participate more fully in the cultural arts.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Optional: Obtain the chart of the thirteenth article of faith (65013) from your meetinghouse library.

  2. 2.

    Gather such things as paintings, books, pieces of sculpture, and musical instruments to display in the classroom. You could include artwork or writing done by the young women themselves.

  3. 3.

    Assign two young women to make the presentations described in the second section of the lesson. Assign each of the other class members to share a piece of art or an experience with the cultural arts.

  4. 4.

    If you desire, prepare to share experiences you have had with the cultural arts, or ask a ward member to do so.

  5. 5.

    Assign young women to present any scriptures, stories, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Cultural Arts Can Enrich Our Lives

Chalkboard discussion

Write on the chalkboard the words Cultural Arts. Explain that the cultural arts include such things as literature, drama, classical music, dance, sculpture, and painting. List these on the chalkboard. Ask the young women to tell of ways in which they have recently had contact with the cultural arts.

Chart and discussion

Ask the young women to recall and repeat the thirteenth article of faith. Display the chart.

Emphasize the second sentence: “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”

  • Do you feel the cultural arts could be considered “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy?” Why?

  • How can the cultural arts be an uplifting influence to us?

Teacher presentation

Explain that the cultural arts have a powerful effect on our minds and spirits. They can touch our spirits as words alone sometimes cannot do, and their effect is often long-lasting. Ask the young women to think of words that describe the positive experiences they have had with the cultural arts.

  • How do you feel after reading a beautiful poem or story, or hearing or performing a fine piece of music?

Write the young women’s responses on the chalkboard. They may include such words as happy, inspired, fulfilled, uplifted, or edified.

Explain that cultural arts of high quality can bring a refining influence into our lives. They fulfill a basic human need to enjoy and participate in the beauty around us and in our cultural heritage.

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “Each member [of the Church] should develop talents, read good literature, be engaged in quality cultural pursuits” (Ensign, May 1978, p. 101).

We Can Receive Blessings from Participating in the Cultural Arts

Shared experiences

Ask the two previously assigned young women to participate. One should begin by reading Doctrine and Covenants 88:118 and then share a personal experience with enjoying literature. She could read an excerpt from a literary work she has enjoyed and discuss its meaning, or she could share something she has written herself.

The other young woman should begin by reading Doctrine and Covenants 136:28. She could share a personal experience with enjoying classical music or dance, or she could perform a selection using one of these arts and tell how it has enriched her life.

After these presentations, ask each of the other young women to share an experience that has helped her appreciate the cultural arts or to share a piece of art that has enriched her life.

If you desire, you could share experiences you have had with the cultural arts or ask a ward member to do so.

At the end of these presentations, explain that our pursuit of the cultural arts will not only enrich our own lives, but will prepare us to enrich the lives of others. Share the following experience of a young woman:

Story

“[Mother] was prompted to instill a love of [William Shakespeare’s] work into each of us. So at the age of twelve, along with my younger brothers and sisters (the youngest was three), I began exploring the realms of this great writer.

“After her own study, and with a lot of faith, mother presented the idea to us that as a family we could perform a reader’s theater presentation of Othello. We all agreed, and for the next two months we worked to understand and to memorize the play. I recall staying up late into the night many times reading the lines of Desdemona aloud, trying to get the right pronunciation and emphasis.

“The learning didn’t stop with lines and phrases. We realized the destructive power of jealousy through the character of Othello; the damage of deceiving words through Iago, the villain; and the importance of respect and reputation through the goodly Cassio. The play even complemented the teachings of the Word of Wisdom as we learned that wine will ‘steal away men’s brains.’

“Although we performed the play only twice, once in our family home evening and once in a private school, we were blessed both spiritually and academically for our efforts. … Our mother and dad continue to help us practice the principle of seeking ‘out of the best books words of wisdom.’ (D&C 88:118)” (Eric G. Stephan and Judith Stephan Smith, What Happy Families Are Doing [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], p. 70).

Discussion

Discuss the enriching experience this young woman had through her study of Shakespeare.

  • How could her knowledge and love of good literature bless her future family and others?

Refer back to the thirteenth article of faith. Ask the young women to think of ways in which they can seek to enrich their lives with the cultural arts and prepare to enrich the lives of their children and others. Some ideas might include the following:

  • Go to the library and select a classic work of literature to read alone or with a friend.

  • Read aloud with your family.

  • Read a favorite poem or share a piece of music with your family and tell why you like it.

  • Write a poem yourself or lyrics for a piece of music.

  • Write a dramatization of a scriptural story for your class or family.

  • Look through your music and books and eliminate those that are not uplifting.

  • Begin or add to your collection of quality music or books.

  • Frame some beautiful artwork for your room.

  • Try sketching, lettering, drawing, or some other form of art.

  • Study a play, piece of music, or opera before attending a performance.

  • Be selective about television viewing and watch for educational and cultural programs.

Conclusion

President Spencer W. Kimball has given us an inspiring vision of our potential to develop our own cultural arts:

Quotation

“We are proud of the artistic heritage that the Church has brought to us from its earliest beginnings, but the full story of Mormonism has never yet been written nor painted nor sculpted nor spoken. It remains for inspired hearts and talented fingers yet to reveal themselves. They must be faithful, inspired, active Church members to give life and feeling and true perspective to a subject so worthy. Such masterpieces should run for months in every movie center, cover every part of the globe in the tongues of the people, written by the best artists, purified by the best critics” (“The Gospel Vision of the Arts,” Ensign, July 1977, p. 5).

Encourage the young women to participate in the cultural arts. Tell them that doing so will bless their own lives as well as the lives of others.

Lesson Application

Suggest that as a class or as individuals, the young women select a way to participate in and appreciate the cultural arts during the coming weeks. They may want to accept President Kimball’s challenge to help write, paint, or sculpt aspects of the story of the Church. They may want to participate in ward or branch fine arts festivals, roadshows, plays, or other cultural events; enter a Church magazine contest; or share some of their talents with family members or friends.