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Mormon PR leader: 'Why I won't be seeing the Book of Mormon musical'

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  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    April 15, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    I think that was a very good response by the Church. I think the listing of the wonderful humanitarian efforts done in Africa (and in reality all over the world) underscores what it seems the majority of my non-LDS friends and colleagues claim they feel about the Church. Almost to a person they positively acknowlede what we DO while finding very strange what we BELIEVE.

    This gap will always exist for some. LDS have long been regarded as solid families, neighbors and community members. But what we BELIEVE will always be mocked or at least not understood by the majority.

  • Quayle Dallas, TX
    April 15, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    If we have the truth, and we know that eventually we'll be a great benefit to the world and will eventually prevail in building a totally just and merciful city, then certainly we should have much thicker skin than we usually do.

    The Angel Moroni said Joseph's name would be had for good and evil among all men, but he didn't give any indication as to what that process would entail, which, to me, suggest it could entail parody and gentle (even painful, at times) ribbing.

    Just think, we've gone from being uttering ignored, to having the phrase "Book of Mormon" on a marquee on Broadway.

    I don't think Joseph is at all scandalized by this turn of events. In fact, I think he probably finds it all ironic and quite humorous.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2011 11:32 a.m.

    The assault against mormons and people of religious belief continues.

    As long as there is ignorance there will be intolerance towards religion.

    The people who manufacture these types of assault, are simply trying to line their pockets at the expense of others.

  • Timp South Jordan, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:04 p.m.

    LDS leaders need to stop trying to convince everyone of their good deeds and just help out to help out... How many times do we need to hear them claim the numbers behind their humanitarian efforts.

    Constantly stating how much they've given or done goes against the true principle of it all.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    April 15, 2011 12:12 p.m.

    In total, I have probably seen roughly 3 minutes of South Park in my life. It is not as if all of a sudden I am going to be induced to start watching. It does nothing for me. However, I do know that there are going to be those who actually take this seriously. In the interest of those who might misunderstand, I am glad that the church briefly and lightly commented on it. No further comment is necessary.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    April 15, 2011 12:17 p.m.

    I don't like it when people parody faith. Not mine, and not someone else's.

    I believe such things speak poorly of the person producing the parody. That they lack the ability to put understand someone else's views.

    This is not to say that within the community of faith there are not problems or things which could be improved. But minor foibles need to be looked over (in all settings) and major problems are not typically settled on the field of parody.

    And to the inevitable question, do I think this applies to other Christian denominations, or to Moslems, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. Yes.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    April 15, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    Timp - the reason I think is because of what I stated in my earlier post. The church struggles both internally and externally with some of our more unusual or hard to accept beliefs/history. It is actually quite smart to highlight the things that can be accepted. The church naturally wants to grow and just like any organization that wants to grow it highlights the things that will help it grow and minimizes the things that will not.

    As a member, I personally struggle with that at times but when looking at it objectively it really is the smart way for the church to communicate to the world at large. The church has a very good and sophisticated PR arm and you see it doing it's job well through this article.

  • readAbook Provo, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:41 p.m.

    As one who knew about this production years ago from an individual who worked with Lopez; it's all about the almighty $$$ (his wife writes for Disney FYI). LDS was an easy target in their minds. He wrote 'Avenue Q' which is hardly good theater and it won best musical. What, in my opinion, is more tragic is that this production will likely be nominated for a Tony Award. It's a high-priced road show at best, not a production worth the accolades of theater's highest honor.

    It goes to show how far American culture has fallen.

  • lib1 Provo, UT
    April 15, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    Timp: the Church does "help out just to help out." The huge majority of service and sacrifice in the Church are made without any kind of recognition or fanfare. But sometimes it helps to contrast the reality of what the church does with the caricatures that the critics portray.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    April 15, 2011 1:02 p.m.

    Who makes up the rules?
    They wouldn't dare do a Broadway play called "The Koran" and poke fun at Islam.
    But somehow Mormons are fair game.
    Who makes up the rules?

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    April 15, 2011 1:07 p.m.

    Timp - "How many times do we need to hear them claim the numbers behind their humanitarian efforts."

    Fact of the matter is the great majority of true charity done by the LDS church is not reported or talked about publicly. Smetimes however when there is ridicule we just need to be reminded of a little of the positive. The church could sue and stop the production as this does constitute copyright infringement but no, they choose to accentuate the positive.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    'I don't like it when people parody faith. Not mine, and not someone else's.' - Twin Lights | 12:17 p.m.

    I do!

    ESPECIALLY my own!

    Humor has been used through out the centuries. As a peaceful and yet pointed way to bring up the things that many of us would find offensive in common conversation.

    Just look at SNL. Much of the time we smile, laugh and then perhaps a 'Oh yyyeaaaahhh!'

    My example?

    I enjoyed 'Spamalot.'

    I'm not sure, but I doubt this makes fun of the humanitarian aid the LDS church gives, rather some of the quirks, or 'inside jokes' might be the only REAL milicious intent.

    Also, I would like to point out this is not the FIRST time these producers have made material about the LDS faith.

    'And especially learn to laugh at yourself. Because if you don't, everybody else will!'

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    April 15, 2011 1:38 p.m.

    Good comment Pagan. If we would stop being defensive and sensitive for a minute and step back and really look objectively at some of the unique and quirky things we LDS do (or don't do) and believe - we probably couldn't help but chuckle (or even groan) a bit ourselves.

    But I also get that it is much easier to laugh at ourselves than to be laughed at.

  • A Wise Guy Spokane, WA
    April 15, 2011 1:41 p.m.

    A few years ago the South Park people created an Oscar nominated song called "Blame Canada" that said "Everything's gone wrong since Canada came along." Of course nobody believed that Canada was the cause for all the worlds problems. People in Canada probably didn't like it much, but I think people who watch South Park don't take things very seriously. For that reason, I think the approach of the Church is right on. the Church would probably rather not have it done, just like Canada would rather have not have had the song sung on Oscar night, but the effects are pretty minimal.

  • Rando305 Miami, FL
    April 15, 2011 1:53 p.m.

    TIMP - I agree with your idea of 'not doing your alms before men.' But I would suggest that pertains to individuals. From the church's perspective and responsibility the requirements on the church are different.

    Say No to BO - Why are Mormon's an acceptably persecuted minority? It's because we don't play the 'victim card'. Choosing to be a victim incorrectly justifies anger retention and diverts from the path towards forgiveness. Anger is a sin. To withold forgiveness witholds forgiveness. You can't cling to mercy with one hand and demand the execution of justice with the other.

    Since we rightfully refuse to be victims - the self-proclaimed protectors of the defensless don't jump to our assistance. Our self-confidence defers the need.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    April 15, 2011 1:59 p.m.

    "Constantly stating how much they've given or done goes against the true principle of it all."

    First of all, it's not constant. Second, I think the way they do it is appropriate. If they didn't, you would have people accusing them of being secretive, which they already do.

    Given the misconceptions about the LDS church that they are a self-serving, money-grubbing, secretive institution, I think they are more than justified in pointing out the good they do. I don't really see it as tooting their own horn so much as disclosing their activities in order to give the public an accurate picture of what they are about.

    The LDS Church can't win. If they disclose how much they give, it's perceived as bragging. If they don't disclose how much they give, they're accussed of being secretive.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 15, 2011 2:11 p.m.

    I think this will probably be a similar situation to what happened when "The Godmakers" was distributed throughout the world. Many who saw it decided to look into the Church and many were converted. I believe many who see "The Book of Mormon" will also investigate the Church and decide to join. The guys who wrote this as a vehicle for ridicule will have to face the Saviour at the judgement seat. But, the play may well lead to a few good things. Let's see how it goes.

  • Rando305 Miami, FL
    April 15, 2011 2:20 p.m.

    PR for the Church has it's purpose. Seeking publicity for a 'Day of Service' project to give the Church visibility in an area where it isn't well understood or very visible is a good thing.

    I would feel quite uncomfortable wearing a yellow helping-hands shirt when I fulfilled a home-teaching assignment however.

    It seems contradictory to avoid recognition for personal efforts but support publicity for the Church in a group effort. It's really not.

  • Everest American Fork, UT
    April 15, 2011 2:34 p.m.

    Michael Otterson has threaded a very delicate needle here. He defends the Church's efforts in Africa without condemning the gentlemen who wrote and produced the musical. Impressive.

  • Moxley Sorrel Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2011 2:45 p.m.

    Believing in things that can't be proven is a considered a sign of foolishness; bad science; poor policy; etc. Unless you call the belief "faith" and put a spiritual twist on it. Then the belief in something that can be proven is considered a great virtue.

  • Ballplayer Spanish Fork, UT
    April 15, 2011 3:44 p.m.

    @Moxley. Believing in only things that you can prove is what I consider foolish. 1,000 years ago, there was no way to prove the earth was round, no one beleived it was round. Anyone that said it was anything other than flat was flying in the face of conventional wisdom and considered foolish. Yet we know better now. They didn't have the ability to prove what was actually true, regardless of their opinion or ability to prove it. Of course, as we progress we gain the ability to prove things that we couldn't before. For the sake of arguement, lets assume the human soul may live beyond mortality. If you find yourself "on the other side" one day, facing God and he says (to quote a South Park episode), "the Mormons were right," you will discover that your ability to prove something has just increased. I cannot prove to you that this will happen. You cannot prove to me that it won't. Neither of thoses facts make it true or false. It will be what it will be. I've had enough experiences in my life to at least be willing to give it consideration.

  • Rando305 Miami, FL
    April 15, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    Moxley - did you leave out a negative? Not sure I follow.
    Faith is not a belief, a creed, a bias or a grouping. It commonly get's treated as such.
    A belief without proof is unfounded - not foolish, just unfounded. It isn't bad science, it is the essence of the hypothesis in the scientific method.

    Faith is exactly the scientific method of going about and testing your hypothesis. Faith is to act on the belief. People without faith, therefore choose to remain ignorant as they are satisfied with their original belief / prejudice but are too lazy to test it.

    Maybe you don't see the results / proof of the hypothesis. But millions have. 50,000 missionaries in essence are teaching a hypothesis and challenging people to experiment on the hypothesis by exerting their faith.

  • ourtime99 Clearfield, UT
    April 15, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    ReadAbook, I dare say this production will garner more than a mere Tony nomination. I think the critical consensus in the theatre community is that it's a front-runner in more than half a dozen categories (best musical, score, book, direction, choreography, leading actor, featured actor and featured actress), and unless Tony voters veer wildly from what reviewers thought, it's easily the best bet at this point to win best musical. That's not to say it's appropriate material for everyone -I myself won't be seeing it - but despite it's controversial, blatant and purposively offensive material, its craftsmanship is top notch.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    April 15, 2011 3:54 p.m.

    Moxley - please tell us all what you believe in that can be proven? The bible sure can't, so it shouldn't surprise us that the Book of Mormon can't be proven either.

  • Raymond fan Olympia, WA
    April 15, 2011 4:03 p.m.

    I thought the prophet Joseph had gone to great lengths to copyright the name, "The Book of Mormon?" How could these producers get away with using that title? It hurts my sensitivities when I see their frivolous marquee using those words which are so dear to us. Did the Church go passive on that issue just so it wouldn't stir up publicity for the show?

  • In My Humble Opinion South Jordan, UT
    April 15, 2011 4:25 p.m.

    As far as parody's go, I liked "Provo Utah Girls." That was funny!

  • buckdazey Heber City, ut
    April 15, 2011 5:05 p.m.

    When the "kids" who write and produce South Park get nerve enough to take on the Muslims, I will respect them, not before.

  • AlaskanLDS Juneau, AK
    April 15, 2011 5:23 p.m.

    I for one, am so glad he mentioned the good done in Africa. I recently stopped donating LDS Philanthropies because there is little data on where the money goes and how it is spent. I switched to organizations that openly account for their spending.

    I understand the concept of alms and not knowing what the other hand is doing. But I also feel like it's important that I be a wise steward of the gifts God has given me.

  • Zoniezoobie Mesa, AZ
    April 15, 2011 5:43 p.m.

    Good question Raymond fan,

    Why isn't the use of the name "The Book of Mormon" copyright infringement?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 15, 2011 5:55 p.m.

    I won't be seeing it, either. Because it's on Broadway, and I'm not. If I make it to NYC before it closes...maybe.

  • jimmy-5 west jordan, utah
    April 15, 2011 7:13 p.m.

    i'm not active L.D.S., but the church is handling this admirably. The church, as with most denominations do alot of good around the world, so if i were you, active L.D.S. members, i would take this with a grain of salt. Trey Parker and Matt Stone make fun of alot of subjects, and for the most part, it is harmless. i don't know if i am going to see the play, but if i do, i will take it for what it is, parody.

  • Patrick Henry West Jordan, UT
    April 15, 2011 11:26 p.m.

    Ballplayer you said " 1,000 years ago, there was no way to prove the earth was round, no one beleived it was round."

    The Greeks during the time of Alexander provided proof that the earth was round due to the differences in shadows of identical pillars observed in Greece and Egypt at the same time of day.

    It is actually a myth that in Columbus' day that everyone thought the earth was flat. Many people were coming around to the idea, even sailors as they noted the ocean appearing to disappear in the view was a sign of the actual curvature of the earth.

    These are some excellent points to show that man has speculated/known and even proved ( the shadows example above) that the earth was round many years ago.

  • jpckoala cossayuna, ny
    April 16, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    The article is inspiring. I agree with Everest.

  • conspiracygirl Bremerton, WA
    April 16, 2011 3:42 p.m.

    Trey and Matt poke fun at every religion -- atheism got particularly rough treatment, it was brutal, lol -- but I have long been curious as to why Mormons seem to always come out on top in the end, after all the lampooning is done. So I looked up as many interviews as I could find where they discussed it -- and basically, they think Mormons are the nicest people in the world, and if one religion is going to take over the world it ought to be one that teaches people to be kind to each other, even if it is based on nonsense. Thus the worst thing Mormons could do is to get all defensive and hostile when these guys make another show that pokes fun at Mormons. We can be grateful for the Mormons who responded to their teasing with kindness, since reacting with venom could have changed all that. Matt and Trey promote the church in the weirdest backdoor way....

  • conspiracygirl Bremerton, WA
    April 16, 2011 3:57 p.m.

    Buckdazey:

    The guys who write South Park have already taken on Islam. They even made a Muhammad character -- that they put in a bear suit. As you would expect, they received death threats. The Network was too scared to air it again and removed the episode.

  • JRJ Pocatello, ID
    April 16, 2011 7:41 p.m.

    I wouldn't see it for the same reason that as a Latter-day Saint I would be offended if someone did the same thing to the Catholics or Protestants or Jews. My pitiful little dollar will be spent doing something of worth or being donated to a cause that rescues people not put them down. Half truths are dangerous.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    April 17, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    I saw it. It was great. Clever, witty, irreverent, hilarious, touching, and well-played. I highly recommend it, especially for Mormons who take themselves way too seriously.

  • Janet Ontario, OR
    April 18, 2011 11:50 a.m.

    We LDS are taught from infancy to "be reverent" and not to mock or profane that which is holy. Reverence is taught in other religions, as well, but it is currently out of fashion in many countries and cultures, including the U.S. Crude and bigoted humor has certainly existed over the centuries, but it was far more accepted in private venues than in public ones. These days, calling a performance "irreverent" is paying it a compliment. We LDS can laugh at ourselves, but "insider" attempts at "Mormon comedy" have largely proven just not that funny. We don't laugh at what is sacred. Often, non-LDS don't see the difference. I recently read the comments of a thirty-something woman who said, "I don't see why any religion should be exempt from ridicule...I am tired or pretending that religion is sacred." I sat with mouth agape, as I imagined generations turning in their graves. Mockery is one of Satan's sharpest tools. The Savior reacted to it with silence and meekness. We need to do the same -- especially with a production that is seen by non-LDS as gentle parody.

  • L Central, Utah
    April 19, 2011 12:44 a.m.

    Timp - I take a different view . I personally like to hear the good things that the LDS Church has done, That Catholic Charities have done, that a Baptist Disaster Crew does, and yes even the good things that my city or country does.

    I doubt if I will ever see the musical & I didn't like "The Flying Nun" either just because of its title, but I guess it was "successful" for many years. I think there are TV shows that I won't waste my time on, but there are others that I enjoy viewing. I hope that for me, I am making good choices.

    Maybe I am different.

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    April 19, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    If its ok for these people to lampoon The relgion and beliefs of the LDS Church. I would love to see them Lampoon the Quran and Islam and see the recation they get. I say If one relgion is hands off. Then all are hands off!

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    April 19, 2011 9:41 p.m.

    To AlaskanLDS: One thing to remember is that once the money leaves your hand and is given to a member of the Bishopric, it is no longer your money. It becomes the Lord's money for him to do as he sees fit. You want to know where your money goes then here is an accounting:

    All tithing funds go to Salt Lake City and is used to build chaples, temples, print lesson manuals, church publications and ward/branch, stake/district budgets.

    Fast offerings stay in the ward to assist those who are in need of assistance locally. At then end of the year if any are left over, the Stake takes the funds to assist other units. If the Stake has funds left over it goes to Salt Lake for Church use.

    Humanitarian Funds are those mentioned in the article. Perpetual Educational Funds goes to assisting those who need it with loans for an education. Hopefully they can pay it back. Temple, Book of Mormon, Missionary Funds are specialized and go where needed. Ward Missionary funds stay in the ward to assist the missionary efforts in the ward.

    That is how those funds are used.

  • CloudyKatz SAINT GEORGE, UT
    May 25, 2011 3:44 p.m.

    Yes. I too am concerned that this musical would potentially cause free-thought.