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Who invented the CTR ring? A brief history

The CTR ring has its roots in the Primary program. Now the ring has become a symbol for Latter-day Saints everywhere

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The Provo City Center Temple is pictured on Jan. 11, 2016.

The Provo City Center Temple is pictured on Jan. 11, 2016.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

“Choose the right! Choose the right! Let wisdom mark the way before. In its light, choose the right! And God will bless you evermore.” So goes the chorus of the iconic Latter-day Saint hymn “Choose the Right.” Joseph L. Townsend penned the lyrics to this hymn well before CTR rings were invented. Where did CTR rings come from?

According to LDS Living, a woman named Helen Alldredge worked with Lurene Wilkinson and Margery Cannon Wiscomb as part of a committee to develop the CTR symbol in 1970. After coming up with an initial concept, the evergreen shield with CTR in the middle was finalized by Douglas Coy Miles and Joel Izatt. Miles became the first jeweler to produce CTR rings in 1971.

LDS Living also indicated that the green color of the ring was to reflect evergreen trees, which remain constant in every season.

When the committee thought of this idea, they never thought that it would become the iconic symbol it has become today. In an Associated Press article, the author described the original purpose of these rings and how that changed over time: “In the beginning, the adjustable rings, with silver lettering on a green shield, were handed out to Primary children at age 6 as part of a two-year CTR class curriculum. Today, the 55-cent rings are given to 4-year-olds and the CTR courses, taught each Sunday, run through age 7.”

Now CTR rings are introduced in the Primary 2 and 3 class, according to the church’s website. They still feature the green shield and retail at $1.25.

Now that almost 52 years has passed since its creation, would-be wearers of the ring can purchase unique designs that break away from the green shield, but retain the three letters: CTR.

For Latter-day Saints, these rings hold a lot of symbolism. The BYU-I Scroll interviewed Ulysses Velazquez, who was given a CTR ring when he was baptized. He said, “It actually meant a lot to me. It meant that I was going to physically be expressing my dedication to the Savior, to Jesus Christ, and so it did mean a lot to have that ring with me.”