Every Careless Note

Whenever I receive new music, I review the lyrics of the selected songs. Recently, I had to turn down a gig because it would have required me to perform pieces from The Book of Mormon. I am not Mormon and have strong disagreements with much of the Latter Day Saints doctrine; however, many of my favorite people are Mormon and, regardless of specific beliefs and differences, that musical is utterly crude and disrespectful.

So I turned down the gig. It cost me financially to do so, but I would rather pay a minor price now than when I stand before the throne of the Lord.

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 12:36-37, ESV

Although I do not adhere to the tenants of the Mormon faith, I do believe that I am responsible before God for the music I choose to play and the messages such music conveys. Scripture declares that we will be held accountable for every careless word we speak. As a musician, I will likely also have to account for every careless note I play. If I would not sing the words of certain songs, I also should not be accompanying them on the piano. I simply cannot bring myself to join in the proclamation of content that primarily seeks to mock, wound, and demean.

Before the divine judgment seat—although I am saved and secure in Christ—I would have to explain my actions and I can see no good explanation. There is no reason for me to accompany music that hurts my conscience and intentionally belittles others. As I observe the trajectory of the music industry, I fear that my path will more and more depart from contemporary theatre. My career will no doubt be limited by my conscience. This breaks my heart, for I am thrilled whenever I get to be backstage or to play in the pit. Musical theatre is magical and I love it dearly. However, I would rather it cost me now than later; I would rather surrender paychecks and passions now than stutter before the throne of God, desperately seeking some excuse for playing careless notes against my friends and against my conscience.

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