A New Tune, Book of Mormon Musicals, and Opposition

Before I get to my latest, here’s a song that didn’t exist when I woke up this morning. It’s called (Why Can’t She Be) Mine. I just set up a simple riff on GarageBand and had no idea what I would do with it. Then I started shouting “Mine! Mine! Mine!” and, within a few minutes, I had a song. It’s not world changing, but I think it’s got a decent enough hook that it’s listenable. I’m also getting better at mixing the tunes, and the “guitar solo” was actually played, not sung. (Played on a synth, yes, but still…)

So I read this review of the first 25 minutes of the new musical titled The Book of Mormon, written by the South Park fellas. (Caution: Link goes to an article with lots of naughty words.)

These guys have taken the mickey out of the Mormons for so long now that you wonder if maybe they might be suffering from LDS envy. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I enjoyed most of their stuff. The episode where they have Joseph Smith staring into a hat and making up the Book of Mormon while the chorus sings “dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb” in the background should be seen by all Mormons. It’s quite funny, and it actually acknowledges that Mormons are, by and large, decent people. ┬áIt also gives us Mormons who live inside the bubble a better picture of how we’re viewed by the rest of the world. (I haven’t seen their NC-17-rated Mormon-themed comedy Orgazmo, about a missionary-turned-porn-star, but I think the description is enough for me to get by.)

This latest piece, though, looks as if it takes the whole thing over the top. Based on the review, it’s filled with the foulest of foul language – extensive use of the “C” word abounds – and it paints missionaries as self-righteous, smug little weenies, which isn’t really accurate from my experience. As a former missionary myself, I can say that any self-righteous smugness usually gets beaten out of you after a few doors slam in your face, and that 19-year-old boys who decide to serve end up coming home two years later looking a whole lot more like men. So, even though this musical is probably pretty funny, I really don’t think if I have the stomach to sit through it.

From a broader perspective, I can sit back and appreciate the fact that Mormons have reached the point where the world notices them enough to mock them mercilessly. I think that’s probably a good thing, although that doesn’t make the mockery any more fun to sit through. I’m reminded of the fact that many view an increase in opposition from the world at large as a sign that what the Mormons are teaching has some real value to it. After all, the thinking goes, the legions of hell wouldn’t be making such a fuss if we weren’t making a difference.

Well, okay. Maybe. But maybe not. After all, if intense opposition from the world at large is a sign of truth, then Scientology is clearly the way to eternal bliss. What’s interesting to me is that the evangelicals who hate Mormons and fight the Church with a glum, angry sense of defiance are not getting any traction, but the buffoons who mock the Church like the South Park folks are being feted and adored.

Is it better to be mocked than hated?

I can’t decide. I tend to think the answer is yes, because you mock things for which you have a certain measure of affection. Trey Parker insists the point of the play is not to bash the Mormons, and he insists that he’s never met a Mormon he didn’t like, because “they’re all so damn nice!” I suppose there’s something to that.

In addition, there’s plenty of stuff out there that viciously parodies Catholics and Jews and such, so perhaps we should take public mockery as a sign, not of opposition, but of arrival. Mormons are finally worth mocking. Also, the fact that we don’t riot when we’re ridiculed – Muslims who hate cartoons, anyone? – shows that we can take it. That’s a good thing, too.

Even so, I’ll take a pass on The Book of Mormon musical. Although I’ll probably see the movie version where I can fast forward through the worst stuff.