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Faith Powers Texas Quintet Flyleaf

Some people attend rock concerts to escape everyday reality. Lacey Mosley grabs her audiences by the face and forces them to see reality in all its darkness and light.

At a recent Flyleaf show in Minneapolis, Mosley prefaced one song by telling people about a girl who tried to kill herself by pouring gasoline over her body and setting herself on fire, burning her entire body. Before another song, she told the story of a fan who fights for life despite a disease that has withered his muscles to the point where he can't move. Substance abuse, which Mosley can talk about firsthand, is a launching pad to another song.

Then, about three-quarters into the show, Mosley reaches high with both hands and mentions her higher power without crossing the line into evangelism. Her audience, which to this point had mouthed most of her lyrics along with Mosley, took to the message with the first smiles of the night. For Mosley, it was her first smile, too.

"The stories inspire some extreme emotion in me," Mosley says by phone a few days later. "What I want people to have and what I want to have myself is compassion. Passion means suffering and compassion means suffering together. Suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character and character produces hope. And that lifts people up, knowing they're not alone."

Flyleaf, a Texas quintet fronted by the pint-sized, ocean-throated Mosley, has already captured nationwide attention as a grunge-rock revivalist. As the band tours with the likes of Korn and the Deftones along the "Family Values" tour, people are beginning to see the spirituality between the layers not only of Flyleaf's self-titled debut disc, but also at the foundation of the band's existence.

"I hate the word `religious.' Bono says religious is a word that happens when God leaves the room," Mosley says. "I was an atheist before I became a Christian, because all I saw of religion was a world led by men, and I'd never read the Bible or understood the difference between other religions. The Jesus I believe in came to save the world, not to condemn it. The message that won my heart, besides the fact I saw a miracle with my own eyes, was that we have messed-up lives, but we're good people and we have grace. And even though we don't have to do good for God to love us, I want to do good for Him."

Mosley's path to her own spirituality is fraught with dips, turns, rockslides and freefalls. She grew up in poverty in Arlington, Texas, and started doing drugs when she was only 10. Even after finding the Bible and tearing into it "like I was starving," her newfound faith also complicated matters.

A brief marriage brought her from Arlington to Temple, Texas. There, through the man who became her ex-husband, she met James Culpepper, a drummer, who started putting rhythms down to the songs Mosley had been writing since childhood. The other musicians who stepped into Mosley's life - guitarists Sameer Bhattacharya and Jared Hartmann and bassist Pat Seals - came from Temple-area bands that had fallen apart. It was sheer coincidence that all had some attachment to Christianity, but from the first time they played together, Mosley says, "there was something amazing."

"I wrote songs to get my mind clear. I was still married at the time and in the middle of the band taking shape; I ended up getting divorced and our band almost broke up because of it, because we're all Christian and this is a small town, and everything came out and we tried not to talk about it," Mosley says. "But as a person who's sober, you need to be around people who are sober, so it was good to me to be around people with the same values."

The band nearly broke up recently during a show, Mosley says, because one member had questioned the band's commitment to faith.

"We had a meeting afterward and it unified us, that we were on the same page, and realizing that if even just one of us had a different reason for doing this, it would be over," she says. "It made everything so much more amazing and stronger."

At 24, Mosley understands Flyleaf's fans attach themselves to the band for different reasons and that her stories, and the faith behind them, may never penetrate to the masses. But for now, Mosley says, Flyleaf has a role to play not only in the lives of people who do connect to the underlying messages, but to the people delivering them.

"We have to reconcile, how can we be servants and a rock star? And that's just it, we're not rock stars," she says. "We have to trust that if we plant seeds, we have to have faith those seeds will grow."


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