Chris Hicks: Take high road with Parker and Stone's musical

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  • HerrimanUltimateFrisbee Herriman, UT
    Feb. 26, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    While I was on my mission (1992-93), a Lutheran pastor in Maple Grove, MN, dedicated an entire sermon one Sunday to bashing Mormons. It was very "anti". One little old lady in the congregation who had been a devout Lutheran all her life found the sermon so outrageous she just couldn't believe it was true. So she started investigating the church and even called up the missionaries. Within 6 weeks she was baptized. She was educated, smart, a little fiery, and very capable. She added a lot of strength to that little ward.

    Moral of story: Ridicule, anti, and over-the-top opposition to the church always brings new converts--even though it also brings unpleasantness to the members. I believe there will be new converts as a result of this offensive musical, even if it's in an indirect manner. Maybe just because it will bring more publicity to the church.

  • Rae M. Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2011 8:06 p.m.

    @jenna1218 | 11:34 a.m. Feb. 18, 2011, Provo, Utah:
    "The fact that it pompously believes itself to be the only true church makes outsiders want to dig deeper into the doctrines and history."
    Don't people of other religions have a similar reason for belonging to their churches? And just how are we pompous? I see pomposity in other churches, but I allow people of other religions to believe how, what and where they may. Ane more thing: I believe my religion to be the only true religion on this earth, but I am not pompous about it. We have been instructed to be humble about this, as many good religions espouse much that is good.
    I suspect the other contributors took exception as I did, to your blanket statement that we are pompous.

  • IKnowMoreAboutTheatreThanYouDo Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 21, 2011 1:49 p.m.

    At least CONSIDER this Trey Parker quote:

    We wanted to make this [show] not just cynical and Mormon bashing, but hopeful and happy....

  • Bells Fulton, MO
    Feb. 21, 2011 7:23 a.m.

    The sad thing is that there are people who will believe the most rediculous things about the LDS religion. No matter whether it is funny or entertaining, it is sad that there are people who will believe the negative and look for the negative. I get the strangest questions at times about my religion and I wonder where on earth they got their information.

    I remember as a child asking my mother that question. Why do people spread untrue information about the church. She said that when you live as close as we do to the teachings of our Heavenly Father, Satan has a temper tantrum and will do everything he can to throw out a hoax to confuse people.

  • nyca411 Menlo Park, CA
    Feb. 20, 2011 1:10 a.m.

    Why in the world would I pay big bucks -- or even $25 for the cheap seats -- to see a musical that mocks the beliefs that are sacred to me, and is littered with obscenities? Why would I pay anyone to belittle, mock, and ridicule my beliefs? I can think of better ways to spend my money that will actually uplift people and improve lives.

    I'm all for being lighthearted and not taking myself (or the "Mormon Culture") too seriously, but I think religious beliefs deserve a modicum of respect, even if you disagree with or don't believe the theology.

    I'll go see "Book of Mormon: The Musical" when Parker and Stone produce "The Koran Musical: Mohammed Does Manhattan."

    And I agree with another poster: I don't need to see this musical in order to say it's inappropriate, in the same way that I don't need to view pornography to say that it's inappropriate. Sometimes, all you need is a little common sense.

  • SpanishImmersed Mesa, AZ
    Feb. 19, 2011 11:07 a.m.

    I remember the joke my baptist friends used to tell growing up about the guy who gets to heaven and when being led to his eternal reward, is cautioned by Peter to be quiet passing the next room full of tranquil happy people. Later the guy asks who were they? and Peter answers, oh, they're the mormons, they think they are the only ones up here!

  • Glen Dickey New Boston, NH
    Feb. 19, 2011 10:21 a.m.

    I fully embrace non-theistic philosophy AND I have a number of LDS friends. It is my observation that other peoples metaphysics almost always look strange, if not humorous, to people outside of the tradition. That isnt likely to change anytime soon. If you stop at the rhetoric then we are all diametrically opposed but if you look past the rhetoric at the behaviors then maybe we are all a lot more alike than we suppose.
    LDS Person: I dont murder people.
    Non-theist: Yes, murder is wrong.

    Non-theist: I really hate Arsonists.
    LDS Member: Me too
    You get the picture.

    The LDS hierarchy is smart to give the advice they have.

  • jenna1218 Provo, UT
    Feb. 19, 2011 9:10 a.m.

    To Mayfair- You know, while it certainly can be difficult to stick around Utah County while living an honest life, it's my hope that by doing so, more people like me might realize it's worth the attempt. I am confident with where I stand and feel no desire to scamper off to a state just so I can blend in better. I may not believe the LDS Church is all it claims to be, but that doesn't stop me from loving its people. Deep down, you're all great. (Even if you would prefer that all the former-believers just leave town...I realize we make you uncomfortable, but that means there's a lot to learn from us!) Despite everything, I love Utah. And I'm glad you find that to be 'interesting'.

  • barbara Carlsbad, CA
    Feb. 19, 2011 9:04 a.m.

    maybe it's just a big, smutty road show.

  • LDSinSC Duncan, SC
    Feb. 19, 2011 7:27 a.m.

    I think the Church should use it as free advertising. Have the missionaries wait outside the doors when the shows over and hand out cards. Who knows how many people will leave being more curious about the Church. And I'll admit. I'm flattered that Joseph Smith is one of the "Super Friends" on South Park along with Jesus, Buddah, Shiva and others.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Feb. 19, 2011 4:28 a.m.


    I find it so interesting that you (and those who obviously feel as you do) continue to CHOOSE to remain living in a state (not to mention a town) that contains so many tainted, flawed and delusional people.

  • MovieMaker Columbus, GA
    Feb. 19, 2011 1:25 a.m.

    The Book of Mormon on Broadway? Been there, done that. In 1912!
    This is By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 08, 2007
    excerpted from a paper read at the 2007 Mormon History Association meeting,

    Early in 1912, Orestes Bean opened an office above the George M. Cohan theater on Broadway, and began assembling the cast and crew for Corianton, rechristened An Aztec Romance. He hired Harold Orlob, a Salt Laker who had built a successful Broadway career, to write new music, and he hired some of New Yorks best designers to translate his sketches into scenery and costumes.

    After toying with the idea of opening in Philadelphia and Washington, and then bringing An Aztec Romance in triumph to Broadway, Bean decided finally to open in New York City, in Oscar Hammersteins Manhattan Opera House a theater which, while not technically on Broadway, was considered by New York audiences and critics as part of the Broadway theater world. An Aztec Romance opened on September 16, 1912.
    (by the way it folded after six performances, but a movie version was later made)

  • MenaceToSociety Draper, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 5:03 p.m.

    How many members of the LDS Church who get angry at LDS themes in South Park episodes also think the South Park episodes about Scientology are hillarious? For those who fit this description, hypocrisy comes to mind. You really can't laugh at and criticize other religions, then get all offended when someone laughs at and criticizes your own religion.

  • JanSan Pocatello, ID
    Feb. 18, 2011 3:01 p.m.

    I am not going to see this because I am not one of those people that can afford to just get on a plane and go to NY to see a play. If I were in NY I could think of other places I would much rather see then this play.
    I have heard that it is suppose to be pretty bad.. that the songs are pretty crass that is another reason I wouldn't see it.
    It will be interesting to read the reviews of it, I remember the Mountain Meadows movie.. I don't think that I read one good review.. and I read many of them outside of LDS writing.
    It is what it is.... we will deal with as we always have... it will not make any difference to the LDS gospel and if people fall away because of it then their testimonies were not that strong to begin with. We have been warned that things are going to get tougher for the church.. we should be prepared for this. Take on the armour of God and deal with it in a way that would please Christ. He went through much worse then this.

  • Hanksboy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 2:47 p.m.

    I disagree with one thing Chris says. This WILL impact the a very positive way. There is nothing detractors can say or do that does not create curiosity. Where the Church is concerned, there is no such thing as bad publicity. This will be provide another peashooter for Salt Lake Tribune readers, apostates and others to take their worn and tired pot shots but in the end the Church will benefit.

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    Feb. 18, 2011 2:35 p.m.

    Oh who cares already! I bet more baptisms and referrals come from this play then anything else! I have met three people who joined the Church because they saw the South Park episode, and one was a missionary in my mission. Thanks Parker and Stone those three are amazing members!
    Lets fret about more important stuff like taking care of our families and supporting one another in the Gospel. I love being a missionary this only creates opportunities for us to tesify and teach about the restored gospel.

  • jenna1218 Provo, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 2:19 p.m.

    Dreylon- I was referring to Hicks's statement that the creators have a 'strange fixation' with the Church that they can't get over, and another comment by Windsor that this fixation is 'enlightening'. Enlightening as to what? Since when is being interested in something a strange fixation? I love learning about Ancient Rome but does this mean I'm strangely fixated by it? (Granted, I'm not satirizing it in musical form.) What if I'm fascinated by North Korea's Kim Jong-il or WWIIs Nazi regime? To you, the LDS church is your faith, your life, your eternity- it's everything really. But to others (such as Parker & Stone), it's a complex religious institution that's interesting to study and fun to satire. End of story.
    (Also, I don't believe God is a 'god of chaos' but a god of simplicity, goodness, and all-encompassing love. Religion is the means by which humans sort out life and explain death. I don't believe God is Mormon, or any particular religion. I believe He wants us to find peace, in whichever form it comes)

  • Dreylon Yuba City, CA
    Feb. 18, 2011 12:22 p.m.


    Yes it is just so pompous to believe in the idea of being the one true church instead of just wholeheartedly embracing the idea that God is a god of chaos. I really don't see how your loss of faith in something factors into the discussion of a play written by a bunch of guys whose shows easily shave off IQ points based on the pure stupidity of the material covered regardsless of who they are poking fun at.

  • Bill McGee Alpine, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    OK, so Parker and Stone have NOT always been very accurate in their portrayal of Mormons. Their movie Orgazmo portrayed an LDS missionary looking for a job so he could earn enough money to pay the fees for marrying his girlfriend in the temple. Not even close. He goes on to naively become an adult film star, with "stunt doubles" performing the actual sex.

    As for The Book of Mormon musical, my guess is that they will get portions of LDS doctrine wildly wrong, either because they don't know/don't care, or they just take license with the facts to accommodate the story requirements. But I'm not going to guess. I actually have tickets to the show, and I am flying out to see it. I figure that of all my friends and acquaintances that will be discussing this and plan to have opinions about this, one of us ought to at least know what we're talking about.

    This should go double for anyone writing for a public newspaper, in my opinion.

  • sisucas San Bernardino, CA
    Feb. 18, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    Let's face it, we're an easy target.

  • jenna1218 Provo, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 11:34 a.m.

    I find it a bit hilarious how faithful LDS members like to pretend people are "obsessed" with the Church, or "can't leave it alone" if this just has to prove it's true...because otherwise why would they take the time or care about it so much? Well, I'll tell you someone else wrote, the Church is fascinating. The fact that it pompously believes itself to be the only true church makes outsiders want to dig deeper into the doctrines and history. (Usually they realize it's not what it claims to be.) For people who grew up in the Church and later left, it's still in their blood; they have family and friends who are still part of it. They may not believe it anymore, but they still find it interesting, like to discuss it, & keep up with the news stories. (And not because they subconsciously feel it's true, I can tell you that much.)

  • cactusflats American Fork, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 11:27 a.m.

    Hey folks, welcome to the big time. Jews and Catholics have been skewered for centuries. Mormons apparently are in the mix now too. Congratulations.

    And, hey, any making light of the Mormon origin stories would have to do the same to anybody's faith story, including the largest and oldest religions on earth. An ark carrying two of every animal?

    Bottom line is that these guys are amused and confused by faith, and they are paid handsomely for pointing out their biases to others.

  • hatuletoh Sugarhood, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    I have a passing acquaintence with Mr.'s Parker and Stone, and I can tell you that the reason they keep returning to Mormonism is because they find it fascinating. Specifically, they find its origin story, history, and social morays to be very strange, and yet this strange (to their minds) belief structure produces people who are often more kind, ethical, and happy than others.

    If you're at all familiar with their works, you'll notice that while Mormon beliefs are often laughed at, Mormon characters themselves are frequently selfless protagonists who save the day or rise above the other characters because of their guilelessness. They're almost always shown as better than the rest of the world, if a bit naive.

    They really do admire Mormons, unlike many of the myriad groups they skewer (i.e., Scientologists). "Orgazmo" is probably too extreme for most D-News readers, but I do recommend "Cannibal! The Musical!", made for $20K in Central UT when Parker and Stone were on college spring break. It's rough around the edges and not well-paced, but it's not too gory (except for a single scene) and has many hilarious Utah-centric jokes.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 10:32 a.m.

    Just leave it alone, it'll amount to nothing and it'll have zero effect on the Church, unless we help it have effect.

    Joseph Smith:
    The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.

  • Sarah B Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 10:16 a.m.

    I watched the Big Love episode while living in Cali b/c I had a lot of non-member friends and neighbors, some of whom had asked me about the Temple. I wanted to see exactly what was portrayed so I could refute anything that was erroneously depicted. I've had friends tell me of outrageous lies they've heard about what goes on in the Temple. While I don't think it was appropriate to air, I will say it was handled beautifully and accurately. It made me cry b/c I'd never seen it from an outsider's perspective. My response to my friends questions "Yes, and isn't it beautiful, I feel so blessed." Negative publicity doesn't hurt the church, in fact quite the opposite.

  • gnrl39 South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 10:11 a.m.

    I'm always happy when a portrayal of Mormonism hits the national stage. Many times someone who might not know much about the church then has questions and are interested enough to want to find out more.
    I don't think you'll hear many missionaries grousing about the publicity.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 10:03 a.m.

    I don't think the Church is all that worried about this production. We've had these things happen since day one.

    The fact is, we usually get a lot of converts from these sorts of things. People get interested and look into to it. They find out the things they have seen and heard are either gross distortions or out and out lies and they end up joining the Church. This has happened time and time again.

    When the Mountain Meadows Massacre movie came out a few years ago, some members were worried. In fact, the movie was a terrible disaster, got terrible review and was a big flop. This musical might do the same thing.

    Whatever it is, we should just all ignore it and go on. Christ will not allow his work to be destroyed. The Church will continue to thrive.

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 9:05 a.m.

    I think for all the statements about how the LDS Church's response was "dignified" and "taking the high road", something needs to be realized: Just like mentioned in this article, the church rarely makes an official statement on negative media portrayals, this musical and Big Love being some of the few exceptions. The Church issued no statement on "8: The Mormon Proposition", probably cause it was poorly made and few people saw it.

    Which is my point, the fact that the Church made a statement, no matter how terse and dismissive it tried to be, shows that they are genuinely worried about it, just like they were with the Temple Ceremony episode of Big Love.

    The LDS Church was afraid of the Big Love episode because it showed an aspect of LDS belief and practice that is generally unknown, especially to new and potential converts, and is seen as potentially dissuasive to converting and retaining new members.

    What exactly it is about this musical that has the LDS Church worried is anyone's guess, as few know the exact details yet. But these guys are film makers and the musical could get made into one, with mass release.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 7:29 a.m.

    If its true why is everyone so embarassed about it? They never make anything up, they've always followed right along with the history, good or bad.

  • bgl Santa Monica, CA
    Feb. 18, 2011 7:27 a.m.

    I know that, at the Tony Awards--the musical numbers of the shows nominated are the highlight of the evening and one of the most widely talked about moments of the awards season. If this musical is nominated--that alone could bring a huge amount of attention to this production. This show is already receiving Tony buzz. Would watching the Tony's be taking the high road?

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 7:21 a.m.

    Stone/Parker have always treated the church with what I like to call affectionate disrespect. And South Park episodes in general usually end with some type of moral/lesson learned.

    I think if anything, it's going to bring in at least a few members driven by curiousity if nothing else

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 6:26 a.m.

    I agree that "He didn't need to see it to discuss that topic".

    I haven't seen it and neither have any of you.. but we are discussing it. If we shouldn't discuss it until after we've seen it then done of us should be commenting about it here.

    You're all ridiculously spouting off your "feelings" of love or hatred for the Church.

    Move on children.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 18, 2011 6:06 a.m.

    The more folks are defensive and scream about the play, the more attention it will get. Plays come and go all the time in NY, and the vast majority of them never get that much attention. Shut up about it and it will likely fade away unless it is really good, which I doubt. There's just too much competition and out of towners are looking for something more spectacular. So, if you object to this play, just shut up and let it ride out.

  • windsor City, Ut
    Feb. 18, 2011 5:45 a.m.

    " seem to have a strange fixation with the LDS Church that they just can't get over."

    They and so many others.

    If the LDS and their church are just a bunch of nut cases, who have always invented, made up, and believed such ridiculous drivel--you have to ask yourself then WHY IS IT that everyone from atheists, satirists, and public figures all the way down to those who claim they couldn't care less about the church as well as ex members who have chosen to leave the church CAN'T seem to just LEAVE IT ALONE??

    That STRANGE FIXATION that they JUST CAN'T GET OVER in and of its self ought to be enlightening.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Feb. 18, 2011 4:23 a.m.

    Must agree with myslc.

    I saw the southpark episode.

    Was there any areas that you (LDS) felt were outright false about your beliefs?

    There is plenty of fodder in the LDS faith. The episode could have been much more demeaning.

    The episode quote from the earlier post is really not that denigrating, is it?

  • my slc Newport Beach, CA
    Feb. 17, 2011 11:09 p.m.

    Seek to understand:

    "An no, he doesn't need to see what he is writing about. His point of view (I know they don't teach this in the schools anymore so I don't expect you to know it) was related to how we should respond to this musical in the most productive way. He didn't need to see it to discuss that topic."

    That is one of the most frightening things I have read in a long time.

    You don't need to see it, read it, etc to respond? Just respond in the way "we should"?


  • my slc Newport Beach, CA
    Feb. 17, 2011 9:59 p.m.

    Perhaps "South Park" and "Book of Mormon" writers are not as anti LDS as you believe? A quote from South Park, "All about Mormons"

    "Look, maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense, and maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up, but I have a great life. And a great family, and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don't care if Joseph Smith made it all up, because what the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice and helping people. And even though people in this town might think that's stupid, I still choose to believe in it.

    The reviews from the January preview are indicating that The Book of Mormon promises to be a funny and great show.

  • NorthboundZax Makanda, IL
    Feb. 17, 2011 9:03 p.m.

    Well, I seem to have read the same article as bgl. I think that Hick's reviews are usually insightful and give a good feel for the value of a production - not the case here. To grouse at Parker and Stone's 'obsession' of LDS, despite acknowledging that they have satirized many different groups over the years, some at much higher intensities, just comes off as lame and the antithesis of thought he typically puts into his reviews. Maybe the production will be turn out to be "boring and puerile", but at least that would have been a more worthwhile review than the complaining that we LDS are being persecuted via musical.

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 17, 2011 8:51 p.m.

    Of course they have been there and done that! But as long as people are willing to pay to see the humor, they are going to keep on keeping on here! I think we should all just lighten up and not make any big deal out of it.

  • BYR Woods Cross, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 8:34 p.m.

    From what few articles I have read about the play, by I assume non-LDS columnists who have seen a few scenes, preview (whatever), the play sounds boring and puerile.

  • Seek to understand Sandy, UT
    Feb. 17, 2011 8:34 p.m.

    bgl - I cannot fathom that we both read the same article. Mr. Hicks' piece had no angry undertone whatsoever. Do you know about "projection"? This is where you take your own emotions and attribute them to someone else. This must be a classic case because no where in the article does anger appear, even in tone or implication.

    An no, he doesn't need to see what he is writing about. His point of view (I know they don't teach this in the schools anymore so I don't expect you to know it) was related to how we should respond to this musical in the most productive way. He didn't need to see it to discuss that topic.

    bgl you appear to be someone who has some anger of your own to deal with.

  • bgl Santa Monica, CA
    Feb. 17, 2011 7:58 p.m.

    Mr. Hicks--your high road taking seems to be seething with fetid anger just beneath the surface. It's like you are typing the words--it's just a Broadway musical-with your teeth tightly clenched and beads of sweat dripping down your brow. If you REALLY want to take the high road, why don't you wait for it to come out, go see it and THEN comment on it. Hopefully, with a good sense of humor. But with good humor or not--we really should SEE the things we are writing about, shouldn't we?

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    Feb. 17, 2011 7:25 p.m.

    Stone and Parker's portrayals of Mormonism usually depict it as a ludicrous religion based on obvious fairy tales--but Mormons as nice people. But in pointing out how such a patronizing message is definitely negative towards Mormonism and only slightly less so towards Mormons, I hope not to stir controversy. I wholeheartedly agree that the correct approach to this is to ignore this and not encourage the South Park boys with any more attention than they deserve.