I am a 40 year old man and life long musician and have a working rock band that sometimes plays shows at bars and casinos. I have been an active member of the church for the last 6 months and recently received the Aaronic Priesthood. I completely obey the Word of Wisdom and have no issues there, but am not sure how the church would feel about my hobby/side job.
This is a pretty common issue, though I doubt it’s discussed too much. There’s nothing wrong at all with being a musician. Indeed, the Church encourages all members to develop the talents they have, or want to have. At the same time, your dilemma is real in that bars and casinos are not usually places one would expect a member to be.
Here are my thoughts. As a musician in either establishment, there is nothing with your presence that breaks official church standards. After all, so long as you abstain from gambling and Word of Wisdom concerns, you can remain worthy of a temple recommend without a doubt. At the same time, there is a real matter to discuss, and I’d like to bring your attention to a scripture to help set it up.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, clearly I’m focusing on verse 22, but why is it said? If we explore this question a little, some light will be shed on your situation. Evil is a very real thing, with real power and real consequences. I don’t think we’d disagree on that at all. Where evil gets its power from is the issue here. Our agency is very much in play every concious moment of our lives. The level of temptation we face daily is impacted directly by where we are. The less temptation we face, the easier it is to withstand it.
I absolutely accept your confidence in the face of the temptation of the alcohol available at the bars you play at, but a serious question to ask is this; are you certain it will never be a temptation you will give in to? How tempting is it to you to gamble at the casinos you play at?
Once again, there is nothing sinful about entering such places on the surface, but it’s what could potentially happen when you do enter them that needs to be considered. Keep in mind, Satan doesn’t throw everything at you all at once.
21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
You are the best measure of how risky the situation is. Once again, there is nothing sinful about where your hobby takes you. However there might be a very real danger regarding the temptations that are present there. Because you know the facts best, I would suggest making this a matter of prayer until you are at peace with whatever decision the Lord reveals to you.