I went to see The Book of Mormon at the weekend. It’s offensive, blasphemous (if there is such a thing) and very funny. I recommend it. I’d say that, by and large, it represents the Mormon faith pretty accurately, mocking the Latter Day Saints’ belief that Jesus visited America about a year after his resurrection. Beaming into the proto-U.S.A, he converted the Nephite civilisation and turned them white, while the Lamanites, who were ‘so wicked’, God eventually curses ‘with (a) dark and benighted and loathsome condition’ (he made them black.) Sadly, all the archaeological evidence for these two civilisations has since been lost.
Three centuries later one of their number, a
fictional character guy called Mormon, wrote down their adventures with Jesus on some gold plates that happened to be lying round. After Mormon died, his son Moroni buried these plates for safe keeping, as you would. 1500 years later still, Jesus prompted a chancer called Joseph Smith to dig them up again and, with the help of the returning Moroni and some magic stones, Smith translated them from the original Gibberish into stilted English. The plates and stones were never seen again, but every true Mormon knows that he/she will be resurrected after they die, provided, of course, they are wearing their special underwear. According to some, they’ll then be given their very own planet to rule.
Ludicrous, right? How could anyone invent such twaddle, let alone believe it and allow it to determine their lives? Yet, they do. But is it any more far-fetched than the fantasy on which it’s based? A guy called Yeshua goes round spouting platitudes and proclaims himself king of the New Age that’s coming soon. He gets killed and after 36 hours comes back to life, walks through walls and takes off into the sky. Not long after, a crank who never met him, decides this Yeshua must really have had super powers, and that all anyone has to in order to live forever is believe in a magic spell he, Paul, just made up! More than this, he’s convinced Yeshua will visit the Earth soon, when he’ll condemn most of its inhabitants to an eternity of hellish torture. Unbelievable! Literally unbelievable, and yet millions do believe it.
Joseph Smith’s hokum deserves all the mockery The Book of Mormon and others heap on it, but the original story is every bit as preposterous. Why can’t mainstream Christians see it?
*The phrase ‘Hasa Diga Eebowai’ appears in The Book of Mormon. It definitely doesn’t mean ‘no worries’.
I saw the show on Broadway a few years ago, and I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe. It’s surprisingly sympathetic to the missionaries who are stuck trying to spread this nonsense (who are totally not gay, nope not a one of them) while still scathing toward religion. One of my favorite moments was when one of the villagers exasperatedly told another, “Oh, come on, you know Joseph Smith didn’t really have sex with a frog! It’s a metaphor!”
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It’s a brilliant show. There are two Mormon ‘elders’ (barely in their 20s) currently wandering round the town centre where I live. I’ve vowed that next time they approach me I’ll take them for a fruit juice and tell them how they should be enjoying life instead of wasting it peddling their nonsense. I said this (more politely) to the last one I encountered who was taken aback by the suggestion.
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