The Book of Mormon Musical — A Mormon’s Review

The Book of Mormon Musical. It’s true, I saw it. And I lived to tell about it.

I have to admit, I was curious to see what all the hype was about. A Broadway musical about the Book of Mormon was an opportunity too tempting to resist.

Book of Mormon Musical marquee

Show tagline: “God’s favorite musical!”

I had read a handful of reviews, but the phrase “surprisingly sweet” from the Salt Lake Tribune’s review was the only idea sticking. I had failed to read some of the more granular reviews like the one in the New Yorker that would have probably prevented me from seeing the show.

I was born and raised in Salt Lake and have been a member of the Church my entire life. I went to Brigham Young University, I worked at the Church’s Missionary Training Center, I attend church weekly, I go to the temple several times a month, I pray often, I read my scriptures, I wear my seatbelt. You get it. I’m pretty Mormon.

I have however lived for the past six years in arguably one of the most liberal cities in the country – Boston. I have a handful of gay friends whom I love, I’m not afraid to be at a bar, I drink Diet Mountain Dew everyday and don’t’ consider “hell” or “damn” swearwords. Again, I’m pretty Mormon.

That being said, as I sat down in my seat, I felt a tinge of anxiety. What had I just paid to see? Would the next three hours prove to be only a few short minutes of tolerance until I was too uncomfortable and had to leave? As the curtain rose, it would reveal some sweet surprises and some not so sweet ones.

It’s a very well-done production. The music, the scenery, the choreography, the writing and the casting do not disappoint. I found at the end of the show I could hum almost every melody—very catchy tunes.  Time flew by quite quickly (besides a few uncomfortable moments).  This is Broadway and you don’t make it here with a show that does anything subpar.

It’s pretty accurate. Besides very minor details – like how one is assigned his or her mission call – the creators got all the details right. They did a great job capturing the culture, terminology and idiosyncrasies. They tell some of the history of the Church with an obvious bias and outlandishness, but I applaud the creators for at least doing their homework.

It’s highly vulgar. I tell people that the F word was said about 200 times. That’s probably a slight exaggeration, but it’s in there. A lot. You also have a few scenes with sexual innuendos involving male anatomy. I certainly would not go see the show with my parents or grandparents, but I was sitting next to a 70-year-old-woman who seemed to be having a great time. Out of about a dozen scenes, I was definitely uncomfortable for two of them.

It’s sacrilegious. Jesus speaks like a dude – hardly a language of a divine being – and uses other phrases that you’d probably never associate with Him. The resolution at the end appears to be that religion is a nice story we tell each other to give ourselves hope—a pretty narrow and flawed conclusion of something that has SO much more potential.

All in all, it’s vulgar, but fairly harmless towards the Church directly. It has about as much impact as an episode of South Park. For any believers in God – not just members of the LDS Church—you’ll probably not be wishing to see it again. (And Mormons aren’t the only ones not wishing to see it again — this “Non-Converts View ” shares some of my same points.)

I have no doubt that the show will win a few Tony Awards, however I think the Mormon church’s official statement sums it up quite nicely, “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.”

I know how I feel about the show now that I’ve seen it, do you have interest in it? Or have you heard enough to dissuade you? Do you think the general public’s perceptions of Mormons will change based on the musical or its success?



Other posts you might like:

Mormon Women and Careers

Media Attention Misses the Heart of Mormonism

Why Should I Adopt My Baby to Someone Else?

About Emily L

Born and raised in the West, but grew up when she moved to Boston, Emily loves big cities, traveling, experiencing different cultures, trying new places to eat and meeting people. She’s the most happy when all these interests converge. She works as a program manager for one of the geekiest universities in the world and has learned that the characters from “Revenge of the Nerds” really do exist.
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

285 Responses to The Book of Mormon Musical — A Mormon’s Review

  1. Maryellen says:

    Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back at some point. I want to encourage you continue your great posts, have a nice weekend!

  2. LA says:

    I have seen many many Broadway musicals, this was the only one that was sickening to me! I realize that it is supposed to be ridiculous…but laughing and making a joke about Fu***ing a baby is beyond the low of disgust ..if you have to say any thing like this or laugh in the audience you are pretty sick will just make People with character want to become a Mormon!

    • Ritz says:

      I totally agree that raping a baby is one of the most abhorrent crimes known to man, and I’m ALMOST positive that Matt Stone & Trey Parker do not condone it at all. Unfortunately, raping babies is an ugly truth; the virgin cleansing myth prevails in many African countries, if not in many other parts of the world as well.
      I don’t think the purpose of that scene was to make a joke about child rape, but instead to bring this topic to light in order to demonstrate just how destitute their conditions are. Stone and Parker were most likely trying to shock the audience and push boundaries with the scene, but since the musical is considered a comedy, it may have produced laughs from the audience as a side effect. On another note, many difficult topics cannot be introduced into conversation without breaking the ice, and many times comedy has been used to do that (“The Big C”, “In Bruges”, or even “M*A*S*H”).

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dad was doing something he had done all his life, giving. As sick as he was, he was still pleasing others. Dad sure could play that Mandolin!

  4. Ndawg says:

    Two words for you all to consider: “Scientific”, “Evidence”… Stop lying to yourselves, use the brain you were born with by thinking critically, stop being afraid of the unknown and death, and above all else, don’t let anyone tell you that you are not in control of yourself nor what your worth. We are evolved, self aware, inteligent and adaptable human beings, and each of us contribute to our species in our own significant ways! That can’t be wasted arguing over ficticious storytelling! Trust Science! Not fairytale Gods!

  5. Matthew says:

    Hey guys, Im Matthew Miami from Budapest, Hungary
    and i just want to show myself to the World.
    I hope you all like my webpage and my mixes/songs.

    Peace / Have a good day.

  6. Nellie says:

    I am LDS and really have no desire to watch this play. I have heard mixed reviews of it both from non-members and members alike. If it’s vulgar like you say, I have no interest in seeing it. Pretty sad that it has won some awards too. The Book of Mormon has changed lives as it has mine! Thank you for your write up on the play.

  7. Art says:

    From an atheists’ perspective, I found the musical mildly funny at best. I summarize it as unintelligent attempts that come across as sophomoric. When writers must resort to vulgarities, use of foul language as their primary tool to extract laughter, then they’re not trying very hard or being very creative as writers. It bothered me as much as people who are only insightful enough to state the obvious.

  8. David says:

    Thanks for your review. After watching the show, I was curious about what someone Mormon would think of the production, and I think your article was very balanced and fair. Thanks for sharing.

  9. viagra says:

    I just couldn’t leave your site prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed
    the usual information a person provide on your visitors?

    Is gonna be again steadily to check up on new posts

  10. Ashley says:

    I’m also glad to read your review. I’m also a mormon and I’ve had an open-minded view of the musical, but have heard a lot of push-back by members and have wondered if I need to be more concerned about what it teaches about our church. I hope it peaks a few people’s curiosity about our religion and that they can find the hope available in religion is much deeper than what is casually taught. Thanks for offering our perspective in a positive, kind way!

  11. Kevin says:

    I attended the Boston show also. I knew it from the writers of South Park and it showed in the play. I thought it was a cute show but not worth the money at all. Definitely not worthy of the reviews it has received. . The actors did a nice job for what they had to work with. At the end of it all I would have to chalk this up as a hokie money maker. Sorry “Book of Mormon” thumbs down.

  12. Hello! I’ve been following your website for a
    wwhile now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Texas!
    Just wanted to say keep up the excellent job!

  13. Lynne says:

    It’s amazing designed for me to have a website, which
    is useful in favor of my know-how. thanks admin

    Look into my page :: original garcinia cambogia (Lynne)

  14. I got this web page from my friend who shared with me concerning
    this website and now this time I am browsing this site and reading very
    informative articles at this place.

    Feel free to surf to my website ::

  15. GTR clothing says:

    For all you muscle fan boys people should visit at what we have for some of the best hoodies online for jdm.

  16. Many thanks, I’ve just been seeking information about this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve found until

    my page Best Acne Products (

  17. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am
    impressed! Very helpful info specifically the last part :
    ) I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  18. ?o, you asked yourself over and over again: “How do I get my ex girlfriend to return my phone calls, text messages or chat messages. Download FREE video + report that will show you what deadly mistakes you could be making right now that’s pushing your ex away. Ask yourself whether you really want to get back with your ex or you should get over with her.

  19. surrounded by Baroque and Renaissance architecture, workers marched. They included my parents, in their white doctor coats, and my big sister, teased hair in tiny nfl jerseys sale celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding by Micah Ansley in 1987. At an intimate ceremony at the AAMP of America headquarters in Florida, company President and nfl jerseys sale Indonesia, while establishing those same brands in up and coming markets like India, China and Vietnam.According to Mr. Gardner,” AAMP of America brands are in a

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.