Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Joseph Townsend Wrote the Lyrics to “Choose the Right” -- The CTR Ring was Introduced Nearly 30 Years After his Death

Health issues brought Joseph L. Townsend to Salt Lake City in 1872 when he was 23 years-old. He was a hardworking man of many talents who not only ran a Payson drugstore for 15 years and taught at Brigham Young Academy, but also wrote the words to 10 hymns in the current hymnal. "The Day Dawn is Breaking", “Nearer, Dear Savior, to Thee”, “Reverently and Meekly Now”, “Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words To Each Other”, “Choose the Right”, “O Thou Rock Of Our Salvation”, “Hope of Israel”, “Oh, Holy Words of Truth and Love”, “The Iron Rod”, and “Oh, What Songs of the Heart” were all written by Townsend.

Townsend died in 1942. Nearly 30 years later the words Choose the Right would take on a whole new significance.

An excerpt from a Deseret News article adds insight to the introduction of CTR Rings among Primary children:

Helen Alldredge, a Primary general board member in the 1960s, designed a shield logo incorporating the letters CTR for "Choose the Right." In 1970, a committee chaired by Naomi W. Randall recommended inclusion of the shield and logo into official church material, along with a ring bearing the same symbol, which children preparing for baptism could wear to remind themselves to follow the example of the Savior and "Choose the Right."

Today, the shield and logo introduced by Randall, who also wrote the lyrics to “I am a Child of God”, can be seen on T-shirts, bracelets, necklaces, ties, bookmarks, journals, and more. The CTR ring is available in more than 40 languages to encourage choosing the right in all parts of the globe.

Follow us for more insights on songs and performances by the Choir:

Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Google+ | Pinterest

to view this video.