Dallyn Vail Bayles wrote this assessment of The Book of Mormon musical for the Deseret News. The offensive and vulgar Broadway hit that skewers Mormons opened July 27 in Salt Lake City for a two-week run. Some highlights from his article which can be read in full here:
Where the writers Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez crossed the line was not in their treatment of us as a people, or even in the way they presented our history or doctrines (they do slightly skew our teachings and beliefs about faith, obedience, prayer, self-control, salvation and the afterlife — but we’ll leave that for another time). No, where the writers went too far was in their blatant blasphemy and desecration of things that I hold sacred.
How could I laugh at a song that turns the action of the holy ordinance of baptism into a double entendre sexual encounter? How could I laugh at the crude portrayal of Jesus, or at a song that curses God in an exceptionally vulgar way?
But perhaps what I found most concerning was the musical’s core message and what it seemed to imply about religion in general.
This concern was shared by David Brooks, who wrote the New York Times op-ed piece titled “Creed or Chaos,” in which he describes the musical’s main message this way:
“The central theme of ‘The Book of Mormon’ is that many religious stories are silly — the idea that God would plant golden plates in upstate New York. Many religious doctrines are rigid and out of touch.”
Robert Lopez, in an interview with NY News, said, “There’s something supremely, ridiculously fake about (religion), but it helps people live their lives better, and there is something emotionally true about it. … But you don’t necessarily think that God talked to this guy and had him bury some plates in the ground … like, that’s ridiculous. But if believing in a goofy story helps a bunch of people live lives in a meaningful way, then it is true. That’s where we started from.”
It is a sad commentary on our world that so many have praised this musical which desecrates what Latter-day Saints hold as sacred.