Where did CTR (Choose the Right) come from and how did it end up on a ring?
The phrase, “Choose the Right,” isn’t found anywhere in the scriptures. If you grew up in the LDS Church, uh, erm, I mean the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (President Nelson is smiling right now), or have been a convert for a while, you doubtlessly have heard the phrases “CTR” and “Choose the Right.” Where did they come from and how did they end up in our LDS culture?
Introducing Joseph L. Townsend. As an LDS convert, Townsend, wrote the lyrics to “Choose the Right” sometime around the dawn of the twentieth century. Later the hymn was included in the 1909 edition of the LDS hymnal. The phrase, “Choose the Right” is sung eight times throughout the hymn, etching the phrase in every listener’s ear. With time, the hymn and the phrase, “Choose the Right,” have become commonplace in the mainstream LDS culture.
In the 1960s, Primary general board members, Helen Alldredge, Margery Cannon, and Lurene Wilkinson, took the acronym of Choose the Right, CTR, and emblazoned it across a green shield. That familiar design was originally created by artist, Joel H. Izatt. The shield symbolized protection that comes from choosing the right. The green color symbolized an evergreen that is constant and unchanging regardless of the season.
By 1970, the CTR emblem was incorporated into official LDS church material for the primary. As such, the Primary General Board wanted a physical token that would remind the children to choose the right. And thus the CTR ring was born. The in the fall of 1970, the green adjustable CTR ring was given to LDS primary children. This tradition continues today.
If you were raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chances are you’ve received at least one green adjustable CTR ring during your time in primary. If not, no worries! The CTR rings have grown up and there are now hundreds of designs made from multiple materials. Whatever your taste, chances are you’ll find a CTR ring that matches you!