Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What A Mormon Thinks Of The Book Of Mormon Musical

On Saturday I went to see The Book of Mormon Musical, with a journalist from the National newspaper The Sun, you can read their article in the paper (or here) as I can't find it online. What is so special about me going to a musical you might ask, I mean if you read my blog then you know that I go roughly once a month to see a stage show or musical. What was different about this musical is that I'm a real life practising Mormon. I belong (proudly) to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and this musical, by the guys behind South Park, is lampooning my religion.

I have to explain, first of all, that Mormon's are normal. I feel I have to explain this because it's one of the first things people say to me when they discover my religion, something along the lines of;

"But you seem so normal!"

Well of course I am, just because I'm a person of faith doesn't make me stop being me! You may have met other members of the Church and not realised it, it's not like we have a sign above our head pointing out our religious beliefs, just like we don't have one pointing out our clothes size or what blood type we are. We are what we are.

So, what's important about this Musical? Nothing really, it's just a musical.

Actually, that's not true.

If this musical was named after another Holy Text and made fun of what was in that text and the peole that believed in that text then there might have been demonstrations outside the theatre. There might have been death threats made against the writers and the performers, but there isn't because Latter Day Saints can take a joke... even if it is on them.

The musical is funny, I laughed at the jokes. Yes, I did get offended at a few moments (but I shrugged it off, because it's not real it's just a couple of guys trying to get a laugh) as any Christian would have and I was moved at times too. I can't fault the script, it's well crafted the jokes are well written and the songs are catchy (I'm still humming a few of them now) and to be fair it could for the most part be about any Christian denomination.

It's obvious however, that they have taken real experiences with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and created stereotypical characters from it. You know, the same way that there are stereotypes of Mummy Bloggers or stereotypes of people who live in Essex or from the North or from an Upper Class background.

I'm not offended by this. I saw Church members that I knew and those that I have heard stories about. I saw my family, my family who aren't the same religion as me. I saw friends, friends who don't practice my particular branch of Christianity as their faith.

I saw people given a cultural shock, when faced with the hard realities of another persons life. I saw people want to make a difference to peoples suffering. I saw people want to encourage hope. I saw people doing the best that they can.

I saw me. I saw you.

I saw humanity.

I caution anyone who goes to this musical to remember that artistic license has been taken. The Mormons that you see are caricatures, they aren't real, this isn't what we are really quite like. If you want to know more about us as a people, or about the religion we practice then ask me questions. Ask for Missionaries to come to your home and explain. Ask your friends who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to come round for dinner to talk about questions that you have or better still get yourself invited round to their house as that way they cook and do the dishes!

There is an official statement from The Church about the musical that I'd like to share.
The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.

So there you go. I've read the book and seen the Musical and I know which one I prefer.

Please remember with comments left on this post (or any post of mine to be honest) that if I read them as offensive then they will be deleted.
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