It is clear that the musical "The Book of Mormon" is a kind of
minstrel show, full of pretense that the audience is affectionately embracing
the mentally inferior but amusing members of a minor ethnicity that will be
happily accepted and appreciated for their cultural peculiarities, so long as
they know their place and do not affront the audience by pretending to be their
equals. The New York audience feels kindly to the Mormons for letting
sophisticated New Yorkers be amused by the ignorant religious antics of the
missionaries, "Elder Amos" and "Elder Andy". The next stage
in turning Mormons into the new "blackface" entertainers will be
having little hitching posts that are caricatures of Mormon missionaries in
white shirts and name tags.
Oops. That SHOULD read Mormon Ex-Tab singer from Utah
My favorite one is the episode of Frasier where Frasier gets an ex-Mormon Tab
singer from Utah who makes toys for kids in his spare time (complete with a
Scout Uniform) as his agent. His old (and evil) agent quips sarcastically,
"By all means when there's dirty work to be done, you can't go wrong with a
The problem is not with the intent, but with the fact that many who know little
about the LDS Church take the innuendo as fact.I have met many in my
professional career who, upon getting to know me have commented that the things
they "know" about Mormons don't seem to match my behavior.
Interestingly, what they know is rarely true, but clearly comes from
entertainment and media misrepresentations.Some is intended to be
cute and entertaining, some comes purely from bias and bigotry, and some from
lack of information, but it is true that if things were said about other groups
that are said about Mormons, there would be a major outcry.The fact
is, this should come as no surprise... in fact it has been prophesied, so let's
just deal with it and recognize it for what it is.
Interestingly, I believe CS Lewis looked unfavorably at the church (and other
"teetotalers")---and he is the most quoted non-prophet in General
Conference. Charles Dickens, on the other hand, was supposedly pro-mormon.
I'm always highly offended at these types of movies. Jokes hurt.
Don't forget "They Call Me Trinity", when 2 sisters from a colony of
ranchers tell Trinity that he can marry them both because their religion allows
it. The bad guys later call the colony Mormons and say their not allowed to
carry guns.Maybe a playhouse in Provo should put on a show that
mocks gays or any other group protected by our political correctness values. The
critics and media would not be calling it cute or clever like they are with
"The Book of Mormon" play.Brigham Young said that critics
"...can only kick Mormonism upstairs."
SouthPark episode about Joseph Smith was soooo funny.
I don't know how many references ended up in his writings but Mark Twain had all
sorts of things to say about Mormons, about all weren't complimentary...
Media trashing Mormons has been going on a long time...read "A Study in
Scarlet," the first Sherlock Holmes story from A. Conan Doyle, published in
1887. Many of the Mormon references in that story made me chuckle.
I didn't read through everything so this may have been posted. Two of my
favorite were the following:Star Trek IV (I believe this is the one). The
Star Trek crew had traveled back to 1984. Spock was just getting back from
being "reborn" and acting a little odd. Capt. Kirk dismissed the
craziness saying that Spock had been on LDS in the 60's.The other
one was from, surprise!, South Park. It was in Hell with many of our brothers
and sisters from other religions. They asked who was right then. It was
announced that the Mormons, it was the Mormons that were right
How about Wagon Master? That's a good one that shows Mormons in a good light.
Comments are more interesting than the article. It seems that only in the US
does the entertainment industry take mean-spirited jabs at all things sacred
wither it be jews, mormons or christians as a whole. To them, it's easy
humor...right up there with crass sexual inuendo. However, as I travel for
business in 2nd & 3rd world countries I discover that my faith (specifically
as Mormon)precedes me and I am treated with a revered respect for the taboos
that we embrace. I am amazed at how knowledgeable my arab and chinese friends
are of the LDS faith...perhaps due to all the pot shots from the US media.
Fun article.Fletch has a few other Mormon references too. The
redneck plane mechanic: "I don't think he's doing a whole lotta singin with
the Tabernacle Choir."Fletch showing pictures to Mrs. Stanwyk:
"Here's the dog that tried to bite me. He tried to bite my car. Here's the
Mormon Tabernacle..." Random but so funny.And if I remember
right, The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox actually has a scene where Brigham
Young is hiring a maid, and Goldie Hawn drastically tames down her baudy fruit
dance to showcase her singing and charm to Young.
I agree with Alison. That line from Star Trek IV was great. My wife and I and
another LDS couple were the only ones in the movie theater that laughed. I
guess the others just didn't get it.I am more than happy to laugh
(though I sometimes cringe) at the quirks of the Mormon culture. But as has
been said in previous posts, there is a huge difference between inocuous humor
and inflammatory hostility. The real question is, What was the person's
intent?By the way, I have seen the pictures of the "polyg
rig" and the "Brigham Brougham," and I think they are hilarious,
even if the "joke" is over 100 years old.
It's ok to be light-hearted, but the direct stab at the religion's tenants to
denote that Mormonism is not a worthy religion is ill-conceived. That would also
mean the rest of the religions in the world - Baptist, Catholic, Greek Orthodox,
HIndu, Protestant, Muslim, as well as many others - have no good meaning or good
intent as well. Does this also mean that we are in the wrong when
we laugh at those jokes where a Catholic Priest, a Baptist minister and a Mormon
bishop are out fishing together, and the punch line ends up on the bishop? No. I
had a catholic father-in-law who loved them just as much as the mormon neighbor.
It's really sadistic that people poke fun at the doctrine of those
trying to do the right thing.
OK, I get it, Mormons show up at your door in pairs, they don't drink and don't
smoke, they are relatively clean cut and sometimes prudish. All things that you
can poke fun at, get a laugh, and probably won't offend people.Unless your polygamy joke is about Brigham Young, it probably isn't funny and
should just be kept to yourself.
@J-TXMormons aren't polygamists, Get it!
@mkSdd3No, YOU "Gert over it already".Somebody
needs a sense of humor transplant. "Any joke that is a hundred years old
just isn't funny"?? Have you seen the Geico commercial with "Honest
Abe" Lincoln, when he struggled to answer Mary Todd when she asked if her
dress made her behind look big? Hilarious!! 'Cause he was Honest, get it?That's 145+ year-old-humor....
Perpetuating a stereotype is most often a bad thing. All the jokes about
polygamy aren't funny and just fostering a stereotype that isn't true. I don't
find any humor in them, and it is offensive. Jokes about Jews being cheap,
Polish people being simple minded, the list goes on. These things are not funny
and should not be tolerated, nor encouraged. Some of the things listed are
funny, but some of the things listed above are not and should be called out as
offensive.Mormons are not polygamists, they haven't been for over a
hundred years. Any joke that is a hundred years old just isn't funny. Gert over
What about the LDS movies thast were made that made fun of the LDS church like
"Singles Ward' and the "R.M." They were as stereotypical as you
could get. Anyone offended by them?
Short quips from a movie generally are not the offensive. If some one, other
than a member, or the church itself, makes a movie about the LDS, you can bet
it's motivated by hatred. With that said...when you consider the type of person
who would author such entertainment, or the kind of person who would be
entertained by it, it's really hard to take offense.
Rick Reilly was NOT poking fun at Jimmer. He made a vicious, unfair attack on
Jimmer and BYU. There's a difference!Quite honestly, this musical
might have a positive effect on the Church. The Church has found that whenever
something like this ("The Godmakers" comes to mind) comes out, the
Church sees a spike in conversions. Why? Because some people get interested
and decide to look into it to find out what the real truth is. When they find
out that Truth is quite different from what they have been told, many end up
joining the Church. I believe the same thing will happen with "The Book of
Mormon." This too will pass!
@Lia;There is a big difference between poking fun at a religion
generally, and directing a vitriolic personal attack on an admirable young man
who earned Player-of-the-year honors. Reilly's article was offensive in any
light, not fun-poking. And I'm not even a Jimmer or BYU fan.I love Mormon jokes, and I love that there are Mormons out there who
poke fun at themselves, the culture, the religion (without being sacreligious),
and especially the Utah way of life be it through articles, cartoons, movies or
TV....Just don't cross the line into criticizing, or evil-speaking of the Lord's
Skipped, The Duchess and the Dirtwater FoxGladstone (Conrad Janis),
"Mormons never kill."Duchess (Goldie Hawn), "That's why
there are so many of those little buggers."
Second part to the Cheers scene; Rebecca, "I said "more men" not
"Mormons", you moron!", Sam replies to his buddies, "There's
just no talking religion with her."
So lighten up about Rick Reilly's fun-poking at Jimmer!
There's the wonderful scene in Cheers when Rebecca moans "Why can't more
men send flowers?" Sam, in the background, "I didn't know Mormons
can't send flowers... I know they can't dance."There's more - it's
brilliant. Check it out on youtube.
I love-love the reference made in the dialog in Star Trek IV...Captain Kirk
tells a 20th century zoologist that Spock "did a little too much LDS"
when he was at Berkeley in the 1960s.That's some fine script
writing, eh? Still makes me giggle!
It's important that we are able to take a good-natured ribbing in good humor.But I don't think the new Broadway show is exactly that. Its message
seems to be, "Obviously Mormonism is full of absurd fairy tales, but it
seems to make Mormons happy, and they're nice people in a naively sweet
way."I don't think that's a compliment. It's patronizing. I'd
rather see a full-frontal assault on my religion's history and teachings than
see them simply brushed aside as obviously false. At least that would
acknowledge that there ARE serious and compelling arguments in support.
Good article Chris. There is no sense in taking offense when jokes are
Plus the 1960s / !970s(?) Western musical "Paint Your Wagon" with Lee
Marvin & Clint Eastwood........
I remember an episode of the Simpsons where Homer answers the door to find two
aliens standing side by side, to which he replies. "Oh no,
Mormons!"Laughed so hard I peed.
Fun to read this list! Here's another one; it's from "Peggy Sue Got
Married," the 1986 film which takes place in 1960. Kathleen Turner's
character Peggy Sue is talking to Michael Fitzsimmons (played by Kevin J.
O'Connor). He is trying to convince her to marry him.Michael: Now, this is
the plan. As soon as school is finished, we move to Utah.Peggy Sue: Utah?
I thought you'd be going to Paris or New York. What's in Utah?Michael:
Rita. I met her last summer. She's cool. You'll really dig her. She's got this
little cabin outside the hills of Provo where she raises chickens. I'll write,
and you two can take care of the chickens to support us.Peggy Sue: I can't
do that.Michael: Why not? Polygamy's legal in Utah.Peggy Sue: I'm
allergic to chickens.