Sunday, September 1, 2013

No such thing as bad publicity...

So, a couple of days ago, I blogged about a TBM "friend" who chastised me for expressing interest in seeing the Book of Mormon Musical.  I've been thinking a lot about that incident.  After I posted a rebuttal to my "friend", telling him I knew of a person who had joined the church after seeing that show, he wrote this:

You are right you can never assume that everyone will view anything the same....However I find it a strech to say that most Mormons are happy for the added attention to the Church. There have been many more positive situations that have brought attention to the Church...

To which I responded:

I didn't say most; I said "a lot". And it seems to me that the church is encouraging people who have seen the show to investigate further. This statement pretty much says, "You've seen the show. Now come read the book that inspired it." I have seen evidence that some people have done that.

A friend wrote: For the love of J.H.C. himself, what is wrong with poking fun at religion, your own or others?! There is humor in EVERYTHING! As a Baptist, there's a lot of quirkiness to draw on. The Baptist humor well's not a deep as Catholics & Jews have to draw on. I kind of feel bad for Episcopalians & Presbyterians. Those faiths are so dull, there's not much TO make fun of.

To which my TBM "friend" said: calling this play...poking fun...was a understatement.....there is humor in many things...does not make it right though....I would never support something that goes out of its way to attack another religion..... however respect is a missing value in our current culture.. just my opinion though

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued an official statement on the Book of Mormon Musical.  Click the above link to read it.  What I took from the official statement is that they encourage people to read the book.  It turns out that some people have.  Indeed, Deseret News ran an article about a woman named Liza Morong, who saw the show and then decided to engage the missionaries on  They impressed her so much that she joined the church.

Deseret News also ran an article about missionaries based in New York City who handed out BOMs after the show was over.  They actually gave away 40 BOMs, which they probably would have had trouble unloading if they had just gone door to door.  I don't know if that meant anyone else joined the church after seeing the show, but it did give them more publicity.  People are talking about the church and that's probably not a bad thing.

My feeling is that my "friend" has never seen the show and has only heard about it from his leaders.  Having not seen the show, he's not in the best position to determine whether or not it's worth seeing.  His statement is made out of fear that I'll somehow get the "wrong idea" about his church... or that I'll somehow end up confused because, as a non-member, I can't possibly understand something so "holy".  He probably doesn't know my husband is an exMormon and that I actually have a very informed opinion about the church.  My information comes from members, non-members, and ex-members.  I've done a lot of reading, but I've also talked to people.  I am not confused.

Moreover, I don't think adults should be telling other adults what forms of media are "appropriate".  Certainly not if they have any respect for them.  I am a competent grown up.  I can determine what's trash and what's not.  I can and do form my own opinions.  Something that offends you may not be offensive to me... which brings to mind a favorite song of days past...

This song may be very offensive to Mormons... or anyone else who doesn't like profanity.  I whole-heartedly agree with the anti-censorship message, though.

This is America.  People have the right to express themselves.  We can't engage in censorship just because some people get offended.  Publicly scolding someone for wanting to see a musical you think is "offensive" is a form of attempted censorship.  You are using peer pressure to influence me and others who might care about your feelings.  Luckily for me, I have a mind of my own and tend to take a dim view of people who think I lack the ability to choose my own entertainment.

And again, there is no such thing as "bad publicity".  I'm guessing that a lot of people who choose to see the Book of Mormon Musical may already have an idea of how they feel about the church.  Some peoples' minds will change, either for or against the LDS church.  But it's best to let competent adults decide for themselves how they feel.  Oh, and by the way, The Book of Mormon Musical is a musical, not a play.



  1. My dad was telling me about how his faher was almost sued because he caved in to pressure from his stake president in his early years of local leadership in the church (70's) to sign some document saying that he had seen a particular movie and that it was smut and shouldn't be shown in the local theatre, The stake president coerced several others to sign the same statement. Being good Mormons, of course they hadn't seen the movie, but they signed because a bishop, counselor in the bishopric, or stake high council member is supposed to do what the stake president said. They settled out of court for a fairly small amount just so the theatre owner culd make a point. The church didn't pay the amount. The individual signers did, and the stake pres someohow weaseled his way out of paying any of the settleent.

  2. Sheesh. I hate it when groups try to impose their standards on everybody else.


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