Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Be Honest With Yourself: Danger, Curves Ahead!

Be Honest With Yourself: Danger, Curves Ahead!

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 29, 2010

(See here for background)

From 1958 —

Danger – Curves Ahead!

A sleek, soft-purring convertible, a pretty girl, a handsome boy – or a carful of both – and an open road. What could be more thrilling, more desirable to the young and the young in heart!

This is a typical picture of young America today. And there’s nothing wrong with the picture, no cause for concern. Or is there?

Yes, there are hazards ahead – physical and moral hazards. First, let’s look at the newspapers. Here are typical headlines from just one issue: “Traffic claims three … all killed instantly in separate Sunday accidents.” “A predawn race between two cars ended in the death of a teen-ager here when one of the cars went out of control on a curve …”

These were not problem children: a high school senior about to graduate; a clean-cut companion, active in church, athletics. Promising futures for these youngsters – until they failed to take the curve!

Then there are the other kinds of curves too often associated with young people and automobiles: the curves of temptation, on or off the highways, which too often bring tragedy and spiritual and moral death to America’s youth, curves which may throw you head-long into a spiritual or moral collision.

So, young people of the Church, watch those road signs on life’s fast-moving highway: “Caution,” “Narrow Bridge,” “Crossing,” “Curve Ahead.”

So – slow down! Heed before you speed. It’s your highway, your car, your hazard. You hold the steering wheel. You control the throttle. It’s your life to live usefully or to spend recklessly; your life to save or lose.




  1. This is my favorite of these, so far.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — March 29, 2010 @ 8:00 am

  2. I remember these posters behind the glass in the foyer.

    Comment by Paul — March 29, 2010 @ 9:54 am

  3. Compelling stuff. (And I liked the sophisticated approach of addressing the “good kids” cruising down the road.) Thanks.

    Comment by Hunter — March 29, 2010 @ 10:25 am

  4. Fun.

    “Then there are the other kinds of curves too often associated with young people and automobiles”

    I thought for a second we might get direct warnings about non-gender-neutral curves.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — March 29, 2010 @ 11:15 am

  5. That’s an awfully delicate way of putting that, Edje!

    Some historical anomalies:

    – no seatbelts!
    – there’s more steel in the frame around that windshield than in your entire 2009 Kia

    But, it’s a good thing there’s a windshield. Otherwise, with those smiles, the couple would match the punchline in the joke about the happy motorcyclist–bugs in their teeth!

    Comment by Mark B. — March 29, 2010 @ 11:58 am

  6. Mark, that is the first thing I thought – “put your seatbelts on!” I also didn’t get what they meant by curves ahead until reading the text.

    Comment by J. Stapley — March 29, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  7. Everything about this picture seems unnatural, starting with the goofy facial expressions. If the artist wanted to give the impression of speed, the couple should have been pushed back in their seats. And why is her ponytail defying gravity while not another hair on either the driver or the passenger is affected by the wind? It’s possible the ponytail could have been thrown back by intertia caused by a sudden acceleration, but then the young couple would have been pushed back into their seats as well. But their bodies are leaning forward as if the car braking suddenly, yet the ponytail is thrown backwards as if the car is accelerating.

    Comment by Left Field — March 30, 2010 @ 6:37 am

  8. This message sounds like something that might be repeated this weekend at conference. (Some things never change…)

    This is my favorite of the series so far, I think because it emphasizes agency at the conclusion. No “thou shall nots,” just “be aware there are natural consequences.” I find the second method much more persuasive, but that’s probably just my personality.

    Comment by Clark — March 30, 2010 @ 10:29 am

  9. I just want to emphasize Clark’s last paragraph: This positive spin was a trait that was set in the planning stages of this campaign. Young people, they thought, would respond better to being treated as young adults, with the positive aspects of virtue emphasized, than they would to “thou shalt not.” That Clark responded to that element without realizing that it was a deliberate part of the campaign proves that they were right, I think.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 30, 2010 @ 10:40 am

  10. I really love this art style.

    Comment by BHodges — March 31, 2010 @ 9:23 am

  11. The positive tone of the text is really impressive. I wish I could write so well.

    And speaking of comment #5 – “there’s more steel in the frame around that windshield than in your entire 2009 Kia,” I once had a client who was rearended at an intersection while driving a 1970’s Cadillac. Although he was found unconscious in the driver’s seat from the impact, his car suffered no damage whatsoever – not even a scratch or dent on the rear bumper.

    Comment by Stephen Taylor — April 1, 2010 @ 5:56 am

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