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Where Did the CTR Ring Come From?

Kelsey Berteaux - July 11, 2013

Most members of Christianity often ask, What Would Jesus Do? More common among Latter-day Saints is the comparable assertion: Choose the Right. But despite the raging popularity of the “CTR” slogan among the LDS community, its origins are somewhat unclear.

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The phrase “Choose the Right” isn’t found anywhere in scripture. Instead, there are only similar phrases like “choose the good” (Isaiah 7:15-16) or “choose the things that please [God]” (Isaiah 56:4). Although Brigham Young once mentioned the phrase in a talk dated 1864, it wasn’t until the 1909 version of the hymnal included the beloved hymn Choose the Right that the phrase made its way into LDS culture. The idea for what we know as a CTR ring wouldn’t appear for almost 60 more years.

Most often, the woman credited with original idea for the shield logo is Helen Alldredge, member of the Primary general board in the 1960s. Toward the end of that decade, a Primary curriculum committee led by Naomi W. Randall made the “badge of belief” an official part of Church teachings. The idea for a ring came from the need to give children a small token to help them remember principles learned in Sunday school. The now-famous CTR design was finalized by Douglas Coy Miles, the jeweler who produced the first CTR rings, and Joel Izatt, an artist who helped create the curriculum manuals. The shield shape represents how choosing the right protects you, and the green background symbolizes the evergreen tree, which remains constant and unchanging despite the season.

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The new CTR curriculum was announced in the 1970 October General Conference by Gordon B. Hinckley, who promised a ring to all 6- and 7-year-olds. Today, more than 40 years later, the CTR ring is a worldwide phenomenon and is available in over 40 languages.

5 CTR Rings We Love

CTR rings aren't just for Primary children anymore! There are plenty of stylish options for adults, many of which go beyond the traditional shield design. Here are 5 of our favorites, available at deseretbook.com.

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Antiqued Bow CTR Ring

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Black Titanium Rubber Inlay CTR Ring

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Flower Petals CTR Ring

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Formula 1 CTR Ring

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Heavenly Flower CTR Ring

© LDS Living 2013
Comments 2 comments

mugglemom said...

12:08 PM
on Jul 11, 2013

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I was six in 1970. I wonder what happened to my ring? It would be so cool if my mom would have kept stuff like that.

joel said...

03:08 PM
on Jul 18, 2013

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Just to set the record straight. LaVern Watts Parmley was the Primary General Board President. Several wonderful ladies were on the board including Sister Alldredge. Another was Blanch Miles, the wife of Douglas Coy Miles. He was Vice President of Balfour Jewelry Co. He developed sales promotional items for General Motors. Silverware, trophies, rings, coins and many other items that if salesmen sold a certain amount of cars or trucks they would get an unique keepsake. He was very familiar with all the resources in Japan and neighboring countries. Each creation was one of a kind. When his wife told him they were looking for something to replace the band low, with plastic emblems that you would apply to it for every Article of Faith you could memorize. The classes had names like Blue Birds, Blazers, Pilots, Larks and many others. So they got rid of all the names and started the CTR’s, Mira Maids and you got a poster made of fake leather with printing on it for the boys. For the Girls they got a poster that they would embroidery. Both would earn like epoxy litho pins to attach to these poster as you learned the different Articles. I do not know how sister Alldredge fit in. I do know Mr. Miles had be prepare drawings and ideas that could make CTR for boys and girls that a Primary teacher could give away that would cost 9 cents or less. The shield was for protection. Green was for growth. The “T” was larger because it had to be choose THE right. The point of the shield would be point at you in the morning and as soon as you did something for someone you would have the point away from you. We felt that would keep your mind on the purpose of the ring. I had a teacher that would tie a piece of yarn on your finger before you left her class and you could not remove it till you did something for somebody. That could be in the teachers manual. I do not think the design is so great, but I feel everyone remembers the teacher that gave them a ring. I feel the teachers is what made it so special. You know how it is to be in the design process. It is hard to say who really did the design. Many contribute. I do know I had nothing to do with the manuals, you are aware of my writing ability. In fact I do not think the CTR was ever in print. I still have the final art. Brother has passed on, his wife is still living and has one or several of the very first rings. Kent Miles is their son who is a photographer and lives on the Avenues in SLC.
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