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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.  It 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.

Flying
A Night Devoid of Stars

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13 Comments

  1. I’m more on the “maybe” side, perhaps, than you. I’ve also had my religion skewered by Parker and Stone (a bit more maliciously, perhaps). If you look at the history of any new major religious movement, their early periods were fraught with opposition and persecution. Why? Because they represented a threat to vested interests. Hence, early Christians became lion food, and you guys used to get shot on sight and had to hightail it out to Utah. I think the only religion that avoided such persecution altogether was Islam (I guess ‘Join us or die’ is an effective proselytizing method).

    And I have to say, Mine is a catchy little tune!

      • More comfortable than I used to be. Despite the media perception, there is no violent hatred of Scientology. Most people simply don’t know what it is. Certainly, there are a few schmucks out there, but even then, they’re mostly operating off bad information and will back down once they’re set straight.

        Was this question out of general curiosity, or did you have some specific questions you wanted answered?

    • I think the only religion that avoided such persecution altogether was Islam (I guess ‘Join us or die’ is an effective proselytizing method).

      No, they experienced repression in Mecca. The more conciliating verses from the Koran come from that period. They then hightailed it out of Mecca when the persecution became to much and moved to Medina. The flight is called the “Hejira”, and, funny enough, it’s the beginning point of the Muslim calendar. From Medina, Mohammed consolidated his power and waged a war of conquest against Mecca–and it’s from this period on that we get the nastier verses in the Koran that supercede the earlier ones.

  2. Hey, you deleted my comment! I AM NO SPAMMER! I AM A PERSON, I TELL YOU, AN INDIVIDUAL?
    How must I prove my humanity?
    Jerk.

    For those of you who did not see my comment before STALLION REMOVED IT, I said I found the whole idea of the musical pretty offensive.

  3. I recall a thread on the old C A site where HubcapDave shared a bit about his beliefs.

    For what it is worth, that thread has helped and contiunes to help me from being bigoted toward Scientologists. It stands out in my memory and reminds me to separate the person from the religion. I may disagree with the tenants of a religion, but I should always be respectful of the practicioners. So I try to be mindful to treat people based on their behaviors.

    • I remember that Dev, and I appreciated what you had to say in that thread. I had a conversation with a young lady recently about Scientology, and she remarked to me that prior to meeting me she had the idea that Scientologists were a little nutty (mainly based on all the Tom Cruise stuff), but since she came to know me, and actually talk to me about it, that her perception of it has changed markedly. I have a philosophy similar to yours Dev, although in kind of a reverse vector. I always separate what a religion says it is, from what people have done in it’s name.

Webmentions

  • I Believe in Angels in the Age of Railways | Stallion Cornell's Moist Blog February 8, 2011

    […] said much about the Book of Mormon musical on this blog – see here and here – but I thought I’d take a moment to get more specific. See, there’s […]

  • Four Stories; One Salient Point | Stallion Cornell's Moist Blog February 8, 2011

    […] my previous post on this subject, I stated that it’s probably better to be mocked than hated. After listening to the specific […]