Are Mormons Offended by Book of Mormon Musical?
Deseret News published this excellent article, last night, in response to The Book of Mormon Musical's Tony Award for the Best Musical of the Year...
"Earlier this year, Scott Rudin, a producer for "The Book of Mormon Musical," told NPR about a conversation he had with a man who attended a preview showing of the production, which on Sunday night won nine Tony awards, including best musical. "I left the Mormon Church after my mission (in Africa)," said the man, who had brought his children to the show. "(I) married a Jewish woman and now I live in Montclair, New Jersey. My kids know nothing about my upbringing. They have learned more from this (musical) than they have from all their lives with me."
Rudin's anecdote echoes a common refrain that the show's producers have repeated since before it opened, that "The Book of Mormon," while obviously satirical, offers an accurate depiction of Latter-day Saint doctrines and culture. Indeed, the musical's high-profile creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have claimed in multiple media interviews to have "done their homework" when it comes to LDS teachings.
While theater experts and media pundits have praised the musical, others have pointed out the play is not only profane and inaccurate, but actually an attack on faith more broadly.GetReligion.org's Mollie Ziegler wrote that the play "is an entirely New York phenomenon. It mocks general religious belief using Mormon characters. It's made by media elites (media elites whom I generally like, admittedly) and enjoyed by a class of people who go to Broadway musicals."
Likewise, New York Times columnist David Brooks observedthat "The central theme of 'The Book of Mormon' is that many religious stories are silly."
He said the play's message boils down to this: "Religion itself can do enormous good as long as people take religious teaching metaphorically and not literally."
"The only problem with 'The Book of Mormon' (musical)," Brooks continued, "is that its theme is not quite true. Vague, uplifting, nondoctrinal religiosity doesn't actually last. The religions that grow, succor and motivate people to perform heroic acts of service are usually theologically rigorous, arduous in practice and definite in their convictions about what is True and False."
A Deseret News analysis of the show's content, based on its official script and lyrics, reveals several errors and misrepresentations that go beyond the bounds of generalization for comedy's sake — and Mormonism isn't the only subject with which the Tony award-winning musical takes liberties. And those liberties can create important misperceptions.You can read the entire article HERE.
Looking on the positive side... I believe that the best all of us can do, is to take whatever opportunities that we personally are given to make sure that correct information about our Mormon beliefs, is made available to those within our sphere of influence. And lets make sure our voices are kind and corrective and not loud and disciplinary when we do let our feelings be known.
Book of Mormon: An Introduction
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The Book of Mormon Musical: Practical Religion for Modern Times?