Archuleta as Missionary

Some will say I’m crazy for saying this, but I felt the Spirit tonight as David Archuleta sang.  I did.  It made me cry, which is seldom.  I felt it.  I can’t help but think that he was singing about the kingdom of God on earth as he so phenomenally vocalized:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

It’s ironic considering the lyrics of the first two verses of the song which David chose not to sing, which tend toward atheism.  I think he was sending a message, some good news to the world.  Consider the words of Mormon:

Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil . . .

But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. . . .

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. (Moroni 7:12-13, 16)

Little David was good tonight.

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About Bryce Haymond

Bryce grew up in Sandy, Utah, where he attended Jordan High School. He served a mission to the El Salvador San Salvador East mission, including eight months as mission financial secretary. Bryce graduated from Brigham Young University in 2007 in Industrial Design and a minor in Ballroom Dance. He loves all things Nibley and the temple, and is the founder of, and also blogs at Recently Bryce joined the Executive Board of The Interpreter Foundation, where he serves as a designer and technologist. Bryce has served in numerous Church callings including ward sunday school president, first counselor in the bishopric, and currently as temple and family history instructor. He is a Product Manager and Design Director at HandStands in Salt Lake City, and lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah, with his beautiful wife, three children, and another on the way!

29 thoughts on “Archuleta as Missionary

  1. I’m not much of an American Idol fan, but I have to say he was amazing, and his performances were moving.

    But I have to ask: If David A. were not a Mormon, do you think you would have felt the same way as he sang that song? If so, would you have said that you were feeling the Spirit or just that you felt moved?

    No condemnation here. I’m just curious.

    Also it is interesting that two blogger posted very different impressions of the final song. Did you guys coordinate?

  2. I thought David A. blew David C. away vocally.

    I can’t say that I felt the Spirit during his last song, but it was a great performance.

  3. To Mike L.
    I felt it too. The reason that it was so strong is because he is Mormon. No doubt.

  4. Funny that these two comments should come up. I thought about both of them as I watched him sing this the first time and then again as I watched the clips from last night. I am not sure how to check this but I think the first time he sang this song, Randy asked him why he chose that particular verse (why not the first?). He answered that it is his favorite verse, but what else would he say to the millions. When the music started, I was a little shocked that he should pick that song and then a little relieved that he didn’t sing the “atheist” verse. Anyway, I’d love to see other comments on this.

  5. If he were not Mormon, I probably would not have felt the same way. I don’t think the Spirit would have touched me the same, but I still would have thought that it was a very “good” song (at least the part he sung), which is of God, and the Spirit would still have witnessed of that fact, but not in the same way. I think that it is precisely because he is Mormon that I was touched so. And I do believe that it was the Spirit. Because he was Mormon, I viewed his lyric and message in terms of his beliefs, why he chose to sing it, why he chose to sing the verse he did, which was powerful to me and overwhelmed me with the Spirit.

    That is funny that Jeff Lindsay would have such a different perspective. He is free to have it. But I thought the lyric that David chose to sing was a far cry from atheism and Marxism. The two verses he chose not to sing may have had that slant, but the verse he did sing I thought could be viewed in a much different light than the one proposed by Lindsay. The verse he sung talks about equality, no greed, no hunger, a brotherhood, sharing, joining, living as one, the classic topics of a Zionistic/Millennial/Consecration discussion. “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). There are more ways to look at song lyrics than the one in which they were written. Think “liken the [song] unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning” (1 Nephi 19:23). When the Millennium comes, we will be living under a one-world mega-government ruled by God himself. There will be equality of property, unity, no poor, and a sharing of mind and spirit. The lyrics David chose to sing could just as easily apply to this state as the other.

  6. Sure, except that they were written by an anti-religious Marxist in the spirit of anti-religious Marxism.

    There’s a lot of Stalinist literature out there that might sound neat packaged up pretty and sung by a clean cut Mormon kid.

  7. Does it matter who wrote them if they are applied in a different spirit? The words can stand independent of the author. Oft times there is a fine line between Marxism/Socialism and Consecration/United Order. I choose to see consecration in the last verse. It’s about perspective. Joseph Smith could have written the third verse and chorus for that matter.

  8. I agree that David A. has a phenomenal talent and his future potential is bright.

    From one view, it would seem having David A. win could be a great thing for the boy and the church. However, for David A.s sake, our family is actually rooting he does NOT win this competition; thus becoming a tethered puppet to the American Idol machine for some of the most significant years in his young life.

    From my perspective, his “mission” with A.I. is complete. The best thing that could happen now is allow him to move on. Archuleta will certainly have multiple recording contract offers to immediately choose from by this weekend, and most importantly he will then be free to serve a noble full-time mission for the church upon his 19th birthday.

    For all you die-hard Archuleta fans out there, I advise you keep perspective when the final tallies come in. Perhaps the Lord has much greater plans for this talented young man than to be crowned an AI prince.

  9. Bryce, thanks for the response. Your post made me think of how we distinguish between feeling moved by something and feeling the Spirit (or perhaps there isn’t a distinction?). Of course I wouldn’t question whether or not you felt it, I was just curious how you made that distinction. Perhaps an interesting discussion for another time.

    Mormon Soprano, David A. will be glad to know that you have his life planned out for him. 🙂 Really, it’s none of my business whether he goes on a mission or not. I’ll let him make his own decisions about what he thinks is best for his life. Sorry of that sounds harsh, my intent is not to start an argument, but I’m really tired of people holding the Mormon card over his head, for good or bad. Judge him based on his talent, and leave his religion out of it, in my opinion.

  10. Mormon Soprano, I apologize for my harsh response. Your position is valid, I just don’t agree, and I went over the line to claim you were trying to plan his life for him.

  11. Is there a difference between being moved by something and feeling the Spirit? I’m not so sure that there is. As Mormon said, “all things which are good cometh of God,” and that which comes from God is witnessed by the Holy Spirit. I don’t believe being moved by something good is an internal emotion. There is something that moves us, and that thing is the Spirit.

  12. Yes, David A. is truly an inspirational singer. I was quite disappointed that he didn’t win! But he is still a star to us.

  13. Mormon Soprano,

    I really could use more money for my family. Will you pray for me, please? You seem to have a direct line and solid influence. *grin*

  14. I was moved, as Bryce was. I didn’t think of it necessarily as the Spirit, but more that I was moved by the beauty of the melody, his amazing vocal talent, and the emotion he put into the song. Also, I was proud of him for being such an excellent role model for other young people. I feel he is humble and genuine, without any pretentions. I am also proud that he is not casting LDS values to the curb as so many other Mormons on TV lately. All those things combine to get to me when he sings.

    As Donny Osmond before him, I don’t think there is any way David A is going to be able to serve a mission, at least not a “normal” one. He is destined for superstardom and there is nowhere in this world he could go and not be recognized by someone within a day or a week. The tabloids would get it, and he wouldn’t be able to do any mission work.

    I think he would have more impact if he makes awesome records and keeps being an excellent example and role model.

  15. “He is destined for superstardom and there is nowhere in this world he could go and not be recognized by someone within a day or a week.”

    He could come to my house. I wouldn’t recognize the boy from Adam.

    Really though, is this claim not a little ridiculous? I highly doubt that most people not in the U.S. have any idea who he is. Give it a couple years and he’ll be largely forgotten. You ascribe too much influence to that TV show.

  16. Weren’t there something like 97 million votes on American Idol? That seems like a huge number. I bet a lot of people would recognize him (although I wouldn’t).

  17. This is the most popular TV show in the world. Check the news websites of other countries if you don’t think they follow American Idol outside our borders.

    Whether or not the pop culture of other countries would care as much as the US, the US media would travel to another country (assuming he got called to another country) to film, follow, chronicle, and do stories about him ad nauseum.

    Also, his fame has only just begun. I am sure he will have record deals galore. Probably endorsement ads, maybe a couple of starring roles in movies or Broadway. Potentially all before he is 19. And you don’t think people will know who he is?

  18. Mike L., apology accepted. I certainly could never plan or predict what is in store for David A.! However, I am extremely pleased with last nights outcome, as I feel Archuleta has been given a great gift. (Paula Abdul actually alluded to this in her final comments before the grand reveal) – Sometimes losing something you wanted the most allows you to find something better. David A. will now have increased freedom to choose a path aligned to his own value system (after putting in his requisite year of servitude to AI, of course, and paying long-term royalties from any future recording profits to said organization)

    I have to say, I do not think there is any way to “judge” a person separated from their religious beliefs IF those beliefs are at the core of who that person is. It appears that David one of those rare souls who “walk the walk” when it comes to his religion, and thus serves as a honorable example of what being a Latter-day Saint means. Thus, his Mormonism is included as a solid package deal, held up as the “city on a hill”, not minimized “under the bushel” so-to-speak. What a refreshing and novel concept, too! A person who actually LIVES their religion. “Imagine” that kind of world…**grin*

    Bryce – I agree with you. There are hundreds of talented individuals of all religions who have moved me and brought the holy spirit into my heart and life through their examples and artistic performances. The LDS community certainly does not hold some sort of “copyright” on Inspiration and the Holy Spirit (sadly I think some of our members suffer from that delusion) – In fact, I personally think a majority of recorded LDS artists should save us all and take up a new career. Couldn’t someone at least explain to these poor souls that the amount of breathiness pumped into your vocal tone does not equate to a rise on the “spirituality meter”?! But, I digress…

    …back to Archuleta, I wish him all the best on his unique and difficult life journey ahead. I don’t think he even realizes the extent of his true loss (regarding his “pre-AI” life, schooling, dating, friends, going to the corner grocery…). Nothing will ever be the same. He officially resides in a fish-bowl now until his fame wears thin. (fame tends to be a fickle friend) As long as he stays true to who he is, and draws close to his family and His Savior, he may survive or even thrive. He needs to keep ever aware that close association with the power & greed-driven entertainment industry will forever pose a test.

    I have to disagree with Brad and others. If Archuleta desires to dedicate 2 years to full-time mission service, the Lord will find the perfect assignment for him. (there are some fabulous musical missions btw) I of all people know that there are myriad ways to be a missionary and serve the Lord. However I also remain a firm believer that fulfilling a full-time, ordained mission offers an endowment of personal spiritual growth that cannot be gained any other way. I hope for David’s sake he is not denied that important opportunity when the time arrives.

  19. I don’t doubt that it is possible to find someplace in the world where David could potentially serve a “normal” mission. I also agree that it would give him experiences he would not gain any other way. But, I think being in the public eye will also give him experiences he would not have any other way. Not everyone has opportunities to serve a mission, often because of their personal situation. Pres Monson wasn’t able to serve, and he turned out pretty good! 🙂

    Given his situation, I anticipate that the leaders of the church and David’s family will see his participation in the music industry and pop culture as a much more powerful influence in the lives of millions. Leaders and families have decided this before for people like Donny and Steve Young.

  20. “(Paula Abdul actually alluded to this in her final comments before the grand reveal)”

    Does this mean the decision or her dress?

  21. Someone else seems to have felt it too, namely, Maurine Jensen Proctor of Meridian Magazine. She said in a recent article on Meridian:

    David had been great in his earlier performances, but it was as if a magical power descended upon him at this last competition. He controlled the stage. He sang with passion and energy that delivered to the audience, not just a beautiful song, but an experience. It was hard to believe that a high school junior from Murray High School was delivering on such a professional, moving level, and though Cook, 25, was a tough competitor with an excellent voice, he was simply blown out of the water, and his ultimate win came as a big surprise to Archuleta fans. . . .

    Finally, in Round Three, Archuleta and Cook chose their own music. David A. sang a mesmerizing rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” a song he had sung earlier in the season. Jackson told David, “You are exactly what this show is about — finding the best singer we can find and the best singer of the season is right here.” Paula Abdul added, “You’ve left me speechless …You were stunning tonight.”

    Not Only His Voice Impresses

    What impressed was not only his voice, but the manner of this young Latter-day Saint, whose earnest humility, gentleness and decency were his hallmarks. Journalists called him the “beaming boy wonder.”

    I believe that “magical power” that overcame him and “moved” others was the Spirit. Read the rest of the article. It is good.

  22. I have to say, I do not think there is any way to “judge” a person separated from their religious beliefs IF those beliefs are at the core of who that person is.

    I have no desire to judge him, for better or worse, as a person. Nor do I have any desire to tell him what I think would be best for his life unless he asked my opinion. My only interest is to judge him as a singer/performer, which is why I don’t feel his religion has anything to do with it.

    If I were to continue, I’d just be repeating what I said here.

  23. I felt Archuleta was so far ahead of Cook in terms of pure vocal talent, but unfortunately he couldn’t compete with Cook’s sex appeal, stage presence, and “rough-around-the edges” image. I think this says something about our societal values.

  24. Actually Mike L. it was the Mothers of the the 16 year old girls aka “Cougars” who did the voting for DAvid Cook.

  25. I am real impressed by songs that talk about living all as one that manage to leave out Christ. Ummh hmmm

    Oops make that suspicious…

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