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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended August 27, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 22Aug00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

A Short History of the CTR Ring

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The CTR Ring, the cultural phenomenon meant to help LDS children remember to "Choose The Right" is 30 years old this year, and LDS Church-owned Deseret Book is commemorating the anniversary with a new children's book "My CTR Ring." But the book is only the latest evidence of the popularity of these rings.

CTR Rings were concieved of in 1970 when then-LDS Church General Primary President LaVern Parmley asked her board to come up with a symbol to help seven-year-olds learn Jesus' teachings. They first came up with the theme "Do What Is Right," but it had too may letters, says artist Joel Izatt, who designed the original ring, who talked with the Salt Lake Tribune.

After settling on Choose The Right, the Primary Board also worried about issues like the size and design of the ring. According to board member Ruth Clinger, the board conciously chose to make the 'T' in the symbol as large as the other letters, shifting the symbol's emphasis. "It was not 'Choose Right,' but 'Choose The Right.' "

Coy Miles, president of a Salt Lake City jewelry company, suggested putting the letters on a shield, symbolizing God's protection, and then worked to find a combination of metals that would be inexpensive, look good, and not blacken the children's fingers. He set on a combination of nickel and platinum, giving the ring a finish that looked similar to fine silver jewelry.

The ring has taken off since then in a big way. Designer Izatt says that the popularity of the ring has more to do with the care of Primary teachers than design. "If it had been a red apple on a leaf, that would have been equally popular."

While the Church has given out the most rings, 5 million to date, other manufacturers soon got into the act, licensing the design from the Church and paying a royalty on each ring sold. This week's LDS Booksellers Association conference has booths from five ring manufacturers, and the symbol now also appears on a variety of LDS merchandise, including ties, socks and t-shirts.

Manufacturers have added rings in more than 20 languages, the Church itself giving away 72,000 rings with the letters "HLJ" on them, for "Haz tu Lo Justo," the Spanish version of the ring. The various companies have also produced higher-end versions of the CTR ring, meant for adults, that retail for as much as $400 or more.


A FAMILIAR RING: 'CTR' Shield Cultural Icon 30 Years Later
Salt Lake Tribune 21Aug00 N1
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune


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