Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Book of Mormon": A Delightfully Irreverent Religious Experience

I tore my meniscus running up several flights of stairs to make curtain for "Book of Mormon".

Totally worth it.

The Book of Mormon might be crude and raw, but it is never snarky. I went in knowing very little about the production except that I should not take my children (a concerned neighbor offered that advice) and that it was created by the "South Park" people. I have never seen "South Park". Animation freaks me out.

There are various layers of offense that one could take from "Book of Mormon". A sexualized baptism comes to mind. Jesus with a penis. A song that takes anger at God to a whole new level. I found myself repeatedly cringing and worrying about any Mormons who might be in the audience.

If you walk, or hobble as the case may be, away from "Book of Mormon" only having taken such offense, you have missed the point.

Truly the story and the profound observations it makes could have starred any religion. Imagine the hilarious tableaus they might have created with the story of Christianity. Have you ever read the Bible? There are some wild stories in there. In my opinion, Mormonism is merely the vehicle used to relay the important messages.

With that, here is what I took from the brilliantly irreverent "Book of Mormon":

1. The basis and rituals of a religion do not matter. What matters is whether the religion moves you to do good or bad (Cue admonishments from people who would rather see a person like me "saved" than see a world free from hunger and war).

2. Starving people at war will not be healed by a cute, native phrase, nor are they "such a colorful, happy people". These are the lies that we tell ourselves to feel better about the fact that we, people of faith, are doing very little to really cure these ails.

3. Getting people to convert to ANY religion will not stop poverty, hunger, AIDS, misogyny, racism, war and the like. It might make you, the evangelist, feel better about yourself and your place in heaven, but it does nothing to make the world a better place.

4. People of any faith do well to laugh a little, especially at ourselves.

5. Scrotums are even more funny when set to music.

I hope to see the musical again when I do not have to sit through it in agony (of knee, not spirit). I need constant reminders of its messages. And I need to see the magnificent Elder Cunningham perform his magic again. I might have a serious crush on him.

View on YouTube


*This post was written under the influence of pain-killers.




1 comment:

Donna Techau said...

I absolutely loved that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have very clever advertising in the play bill. Instead of reacting negatively to the musical, they embraced it, able to laugh at themselves and all their foibles. Many churches have much to learn from that!

The ads included clever lines like "Now you've seen the play, read the book." and "The book is even better."

A great civilized way to take critique! Loved it!

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