Mormon Church Publishes First Review of South Park Creators’ Book of Mormon Broadway Musical

02/09/2011 9:45 AM |

Book of Mormon

Yesterday the Broadway news was all about major papers jumping the gun to publish reviews of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark more than a month before the show opened, which overshadowed the even stranger news that the first review of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s Book of Mormon has been published weeks before the first preview performance.

Though the Mormonism-lampooning musical that Parker and Stone developed with Avenue Q co-creator Robert Lopez doesn’t begin performances at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre until February 24 (for a March 24 opening), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints saw fit to publish their scathing and very succinct review on Monday:

The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.

Zing! The Spider-Man equivalent would be: “The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but The Amazing Spider-Man as several volumes of comic books will sustain teenage boys’ imaginations forever by bringing them an empowering model of geekiness.” (CultureMonster)

9 Comment

  • “scathing”? Nice try. That was a classy response on their part.

  • They seem to be able to roll with it better than those darn scientologists.

  • As a Mormon myself, I find most lampoons amusing. But I think it’s poor form to use the name of a religion’s holy scripture as a Broadway musical show title. (Imagine if they called it “The Quran” and made fun of Muslims.)
    I’m actually surprised the church doesn’t have some legal protection for the name.

  • The problem with the annoyed reaction from the Mormon commenter above is that charging the creators of this musical with blasphemy misses the point entirely, because the comedy gold that’s being mined has got almost nothing to do with God or the Book of Mormon per se, but rather with the zany contrast between Mormonism’s lurid origins and the contemporary stereotype of naive, well-meaning, invariably neatly-groomed, Mormon followers.

    Matt & Trey have explained why they’re so interested in Mormonism:

    “When you read the beginnings of Mormonism, when you read the Joseph Smith story, you’re just like ‘Wow … wow, really?’ The idea of anybody like Joseph Smith, who can get people to give him money and let him have sex with their wives, I know ‘respect’ is the wrong word, but there’s something incredible about that. I want to know more about those guys. That’s just fascinating.”

  • The problem with the annoyed reaction from the commenter above, who commented on the annoyed reaction from the Mormon commenter above, is that the Mormon commenter never used the word “blasphemy” to describe the play or “charged” the creators. He simply expressed his own feelings on the play. He didn’t lash out or say anything about blasphemy (even if he possibly felt that the play is blasphemous)- he simply explained that he felt the play was in “poor taste” (his actual words).

    I noticed, however, that you did take the time to actually quote Matt and Trey.

    If I were to sum up The Commenter Above, I’d describe him as a Mormon that felt the play was in poor taste and also a person who wondered about the legal implications of using the name “Book of Mormon”…pretty innocuous, actually.

  • To comment on the commenter directly above, blasphemy was charged by the commenter above yours, as it was explicitly implied. The commenter above the charger, (mover of the main motion) has not seen the musical, and I charge that he never will. I will stereo type him like I stereotype all people, and charge the mover of the main motion a non-Mormon. A real Mormon would not have said “I’m surprised the church doesn’t have some legal protection of the name.” No one can have a copy write on scripture unless they are ready to argue that it is fiction. Since it is the word of God, and his word is to be spread, then no one can claim ownership save for the Great Creator Himself. Shame on you original motion mover.

    Now, if they called the musical “The Church of Later Day Saints goes to Africa” then their would be a legal problem.

    Ironic that he would mention the Q’uaran as a musical. Pretty funny, Muslims aren’t supposed to like music.

  • hmmm…. So I can tell you why the Mormon Church doesn’t “prosecute” or quite frankly make a big deal of this at all… it is because that is what they know the Media wants, Ahh another Donald Trump vs. Rosey O’ Donnell. And if someone comments “but thats people it’s diffrent” Well no it isn’t. People like to watch fights, and South Park Loves to pick fights, but the Mormons don’t really care about it, the Mormon church is always getting slack and criticism I dare say most people still believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints still has polygamy. The Mormons are on a mission, and that is to Invite people to come to Christ in the way they believe, everything else comes second to them, or simply doesn’t matter.

  • “Now, if they called the musical “The Church of Later Day Saints goes to Africa” then their would be a legal problem.”

    Whether that’s true or not, I would be far less bothered by that title you just proposed, than the title “The Book of Mormon.” Even though you (no doubt accidentally) mangled the church name by taking Jesus out of it. :( Please don’t take that as an “I’m offended” response, but rather a wince.

    There are parts of Trey and Matt’s work that make me wince, that make me laugh so hard I fall out of my chair, and parts that offend me (My parents are missionaries in the Congo, and I know that the protrayal of the church as naive and not knowing what it’s doing in Africa is inaccurate). But if I had to give an overall impression, it’s gratitude. I don’t recall anyone ever giving Mormons so much attention without trying to turn us into some sort of dangerous monsters. It’s so much nicer to be laughed at than to be unreasonably feared.

  • “blasphemy was charged by the commenter above yours, as it was explicitly implied.”

    No, the commenter did not charge “blasphemy” in any sense of the word. That’s a very foolish construction of what the commentator said. Speaking of foolish, you should know that “Implicit” is the opposite of explicit, so “explicitly implied” is a contradiction in terms. Make friends with a dictionary, and stop reading things that aren’t there.

    I can’t even remember the last time that I heard a mormon accuse anyone of blasphemy. In mormon beliefs, you can’t sin without knowledge, so it’s impossible for agnostics like Stone and Parker to “blaspheme.”

    Some of Parker and Stone’s protrayal of the LDS people is innacurate and unfair, but I recognize that their protrayals of the LDS church are more fair and accurate than anything that I’m likely to ever see in the mass media during my lifetime.