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Comments about ‘'Mormon' musical: Pride in prejudice?’

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Published: Saturday, June 18 2011 2:24 p.m. MDT

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Reasonable Person
Layton, UT

Dr Harold Pease is quoted as saying "Imagine a script designed to 'gently mock' ..... Christianity and its sacred book the Bible,"

May I remind Dr Pease: "Monty Python's Life of Brian"

I think everyone needs to get over themselves, get back to work, quit worrying about what everyone else thinks and just be good people.

Frodo
Orem, UT

A work of art that provokes such powerful discussions about faith, race, and the boundaries of social satire, refuses to be dismissed.

I am intrigued by the way the 'Book of Mormon' musical simultaneously reinforces and undermines itself. Yes, it demeans religious faith as silly, but it also argues for its validity as a force for good in the world. Yes, it grossly portrays Africans as depraved and helpless, but at the same time it calls attention to the serious humanitarian issues in the region, and to the way those issues are being tackled by faith-based community organizations.

There are no simple answers to the many questions raised by the 'Book of Mormon' musical. In that way, it's an absolute artistic success. It's challenging, it's provocative, it's relevant. But it doesn't have a clear agenda. It's holding a distorted mirror up to certain parts of our world, and asking us to take a closer look at those parts. Love it or hate it, the discussions it has generated are well worth having.

So-CalAggie
Anaheim, CA

That's just it. If you are confident in your religious beliefs enough to send young men and women throughout the world to preach it, if you are willing to hold it up as a shinning beacon and say "this is the truth" then you are opening yourself, your beliefs, religious practice, culture, etc., up to scrutiny, ridicule and debate. And when you get ultra defensive about it, all it does is make others suspicious. And being critical of others making fun of things you call "sacred" or don't normally go around talking about in public, like God living on a Planet called Kolob, or all true-believers ascending to the highest kingdom of heaven and getting their own planet (examples) doesn't really help the cause either. Dismissing the "sacred" things as unnecessary about your Dogma for the public to understand is only going to heighten the scrutiny and debate. Of course faith is funny, and it's fair game in the US where we have freedom of speech. No one has the right not to be offended, regardless of how offensive something may be. Choice means you can choose not to view or hear the offending messages.

Jonathan Eddy
Payson, UT

Nobody with a sense of decency would attend a musical that makes light of the events of 9-11 or the Holocaust or the AIDS epidemic. Yet, people are paying $400 bucks to laugh at (not with) Mormons and Africans. In a society that claims to be politically correct, I have to wonder sometimes if prejudice will ever diminish or if it will stay about the same but merely change colors.

Free Agency
Salt Lake City, UT

I have my own differences with Mormonism, such as its stance on homosexuality and women's roles, as well as the knee-jerk thinking of many of its members ("when the Prophet speaks, the discussion's over").

But this Broadway show is one more example of the cancer that's eating away at America's spirit. Like so much else in our current culture, it jabs repeatedly at something that has *some* nutrients in it, yet can't offer us a single nutrient of its own. Everything is to be mocked, nothing is to be believed in, life is simply an absurd mess and the best way to view it is with laughs--laughs generated, more often than not, by let's-see-if-we-can-top-our-last-one profanity.

Humans need nutrients or we die spiritually. I'd sooner sit in on a Mormon event any day, than in the Broadway theater showing "The Book of Mormon" (or many other shows on Broadway these days). I know I'll get *something* from the former that will make me feel good in my spirit. But all I'll get in the latter is despair in the form of "entertainment."

Enola
BOUNTIFUL, UT

If you are upset about this play, I have the answer for you:

Turn it off...like a light switch...just go click...treat those pesky feelings like a reading light...turn it off...like a light switch...

Everybody now.

Linda A
Orem, UT

So, for those who are criticizing this play, have you actually SEEN it? Or are you just making assumptions? Or just going on hearsay?

Jonathan Eddy
Payson, UT

@ Linda A

We're going on hearsay.....

Just like what the writers of musicals, theater attendees and a good portion of the world at large will do when it comes to Mormon beliefs and values.

Incidentally, can you imagine how entertaining "The Book of Mormon" musical would be if it was based on the subject dealing with all of the Christian humanitarian aid the LDS church is extending to the millions of victims throughout the world suffering the effects of tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, drought, poverty and hunger? That would be lighthearted tale huh?

seer
kaysville, ut

I imagine the tall and spacious building in father Lehi's dream. At over $400 dollars a seat, some will ridicule the simple for not having the funds to properly appreciate the edifice from the inside, much less make an assumption about the motives of the occupants.

This building is rootless because it makes nothing of its own. All of the so called orignial ideas are mere perversions of truth. The finely dressed elite find great pleasure in mocking the "simple" people who are not enlightened. Awards are given, columns are written, and judgements are made. In the end, the building seems to float in the air, with the renters seemingly high above the fray laughing....always laughing.

Free Agency
Salt Lake City, UT

Linda, you make a very fair comment regarding we critics of the show. I admit I haven't seen it--I can't afford the trip to NYC, much less the tickets.

But I *have* read every article and review (nearly all of them extremely favorable)on "Book of Mormon" I could find. And I found dozens and dozens of them! I got my impression of the show from all these very descriptive pieces.

I admit my second-hand impression may be wrong. Should I one day get to see the show (and I'd be open to that, if economically possible), I might find myself surprised to feel, "Wow, I was wrong. This *does* have real nourishment in it!"

Somehow, though, I don't think that's likely. I can't recall one article or review on "Book of Mormon" which said, "An astonishing turnaround from the creators of 'South Park.'"

KJB1
Eugene, OR

I've listened to the soundtrack and while it's certainly irreverent (to say the least), I have to admit that it captures parts of the Mormon mentality *very* well. It's looking like that this play is becoming just like gay marriage: yet another excuse for the DN to complain and play the poor-persecuted-us card.

katiefrankie
Provo, UT

Heck, I wouldn't even pay $400.00 to see "Les Miserables," and that is some incredibly uplifting, challenging, and beautiful material. Oh, well. Either way, the books both of these musicals are based on are so much better than the plays...

Cali Girl
Temecula, CA

"Aren't I entitled to judge someone because he believes something I personally find asinine?"

So - believing in Jesus Christ as our cornerstone is asinine?

Wow.

Jeff
Temple City, CA

The point is, we have a right to take the critical view of a work of art. We may rightly ask such questions as, "Is the satire useful?" "Is the play worth seeing?" "What are the artists intentions?" "Is this worth the money?" "Is it too raunchy?" "Is raunch worthy art?" "What does it say about Ugandans as well as Mormons?" "What does it say about all minorities--religious and ethnic?" "Is the message worthwhile?" "Does the amount of money it makes negate its satirical claims?"

A person, not a critic, who plans to see or not see the show might seriously ask some of those questions as well.

I think it's perfectly reasonable for people to discourage others from seeing such a show on artistic, philosophical, religious, and personal grounds.

Would I be inclined to see the show? Yes, maybe, if it weren't so R-rated. I have seen "Paint Your Wagon" several times, and I think it's worse than this show seems to be. I like Arthur Conan Doyle, but his take on Mormons might as well be science fiction. Neither one of those, however, could be called "crass," as this musical has been. I wouldn't see it.

morpunkt
Glendora, CA

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 1 Corinthians 1:27

Cedarite
Cedar City, UT

They should present an "Official Utah Version" of the musical which replaces the profanity with "oh my heck" and the other things many Utahns use instead.

DeskTree
LEHI, UT

Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the creators of The Book of Mormon and South Park) are absolutely brilliant. Say what you want about their material (obscene, distasteful, etc.) but these guys are positively magnificent at what they do.

They have created a Broadway musical that has people talking about the Tony's. The Tony's, people!!! When was the last you even heard these silly awards even mentioned, let alone heard what production had won? For cryin' out loud, it's been more than a week since the awards and we're still talking and reading about it. Unbelievable.

These guys are amazing. The have a serious knack for touching nerves and attracting eyeballs (and all the money that comes with it). I sure wish I had the same gift!

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

[This *does* have real nourishment in it!"

Somehow, though, I don't think that's likely. I can't recall one article or review on "Book of Mormon" which said, "An astonishing turnaround from the creators of 'South Park.'" ]

There are actually plenty of South Park episodes that end in some sort of monologue where something profound is stated and there's an actual lesson there. In fact the Mormon one might be a good example of that because at the end the Mormon kid tells Stan that even if it was all made up he's got a good life and a great family, and he has the book of mormon to thank for it.

Of course throughout the episode there's the whole "dum dum dum dum dumb" tune going while the Joseph Smith story is told so... there's the matter of whether or not the delivery of the rest of the story spoils what would otherwise be considered a good lesson at the end. I haven't seen the musical but based on reviews I've read it seems to be similar. Lots of making fun of things but ending with something profound. In that case it'd be no turnaround but the norm

LKA
Tremonton, UT

This may more separate the good from the bad. Those who only think of money and having more of it will stand in line with the scamers and crooks to take the good from anybody and walk all over whoever and not care a lick. Those who are honest and true of heart might look more for the strait and narrow path.

Ridgely
Magna, UT

Ever heard of a New York Minute?

It's only been a week since the Tony Awards (about the biggest broadcast exposure the Musical will probably ever receive) and already the media chatter about the show is dying down (outside of the Deseret News it seems). Two weeks from now it will have largely disappeared from the media radar, and the vast majority of the general public just don't care.

So relax, take a deep breath, and just wait for a few weeks before you circle the wagons and start claiming persecution.

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