Mormon teen boys tell girls they're beautiful through One Direction music video covers

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

Young men from the Alta Mesa Stake in their video, "What Makes You Beautiful."

Mike Wallace

If you haven't seen the latest YouTube phenomenon, you're missing out. These videos include teenage boys and a One Direction song. It's a no-brainer why they’ve gone viral.

But the best part is, the young men didn't make the video to achieve YouTube fame. In fact, the only audience they had in mind was the young women from their church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their mission was to make sure every young woman knew that she was beautiful.

When Jayme Bawden was assigned to work with the young women in the Mesa Arizona Citrus Heights Stake, she knew she wanted to start a music-video tradition she had learned about years before in a previous LDS stake. Each year the young men would create a music video that would be played for the young women at the LDS stake girls camp.

"My old (LDS) stake used to do it and I just thought it was so clever," Bawden said. "I saw how much the girls loved it because the young men are a big influence on these girls."

Bawden has carried on the video tradition in the Mesa Arizona Citrus Heights Stake for the past two years because the young women have expressed that it's their favorite part of camp.

That's why this year Bawden knew she had to do it again and make a third video. After contacting the videographer used before, Ted Sowards, they decided the song that would impact the young women the most would be "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction.

Word was sent out to the young men and they all showed up for a Saturday recording. Because most of them had seen the stake's previous videos, they knew what to expect and were able to shoot the video in just a few hours.

"The boys were great to work with," Sowards said. "They learned it, ran with it and they were awesome."

Although the project was meant to benefit the girls, Bawden said it was an opportunity for the young men to get to know each other.

"It's as much for these boys as anything," Bawden said. "They would cheer each other on and get to know each other."

Once girls camp came, Bawden began the video with a quote by Sister Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president for the LDS Church:

“I wish every young woman assembled here tonight would know and understand that your beauty, your ‘shine’ does not lie in makeup, or gooey cream or even the latest clothing or hairstyles. It lies in your personal purity. When you live the standards and qualify for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost you can have a powerful impact in the world. Your example, even the light in your eyes, will influence others who see your ‘shine’ and they will want to be like you.”

Following the quote, the music video began. But what can't be seen on the YouTube video are the interviews that followed. Bawden asked several young men about what they thought it meant to be beautiful.

"When the interviews came on it was like you could hear a pin drop because these girls want to know what these boys think," Bawden said. "When the video first came on the screams were so loud you couldn't even hear the music. But once the boys started talking it just went silent. It's so fun!"

Even though their purpose for making the video wasn’t necessarily for YouTube, Sowards expressed their excitement that other LDS stakes have used the same idea.

"It's actually really neat to see all the other groups doing the same thing. The fact that they're using the same song is cool," Sowards said. "We didn't expect we would get so many views or that other stakes would use it — we love it."

And many other stakes are just as grateful for the idea. This was the case for the Mesa Arizona Alta Mesa Stake.

Brooke Eagleston is the girls camp assistant and adopted the idea after viewing her nephew in the Mesa Arizona Citrus Heights Stake video.

At their camp, the girls came to what they thought was a devotional. However, they soon heard voices of the young men come on a video, “Modesty makes a girl beautiful.”

The voices stopped, the music began and the girls erupted.

"They stood up, clapped, cheered, some of them were literally crying because they couldn't believe it — it was so adorable," Eagleston said. "Then all throughout camp they probably watched it 25-30 times."

Eagleston contacted the young men and although some of the boys were hesitant, they soon agreed. "After they realized what it would mean to the girls I think they realized that it was a sacrifice worth making," Eagleston said.

A sacrifice these young women will always remember.

"In the end, I think it was probably the very most memorable thing that came from camp," Eagleston said. "The girls just felt in complete awe that their leaders and the young men of the stake would do something like that for them."

Mike Wallace, videographer for the Mesa Arizona Alta Mesa Stake, said he was happy to be a part of something so special.

"This video is good because the youth of this stake made it that way. I was just lucky enough to be behind the camera," Wallace said. "The idea was not theirs but the message was: that the young women of this stake, and in reality all young women, are beautiful."

"I just loved that they could see such a positive message from these really good boys who honestly wanted them to think that they were beautiful," Eagleston said. "It was definitely extra work, but totally worth every hour of sleep lost."

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com

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