Book of Mormon

Religion in TV, Movies, Books, etc.

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Book of Mormon

Post #1

Post by Furrowed Brow »

Recently saw the Book of Mormon in London (expensive tickets....ouch!). It received a very warm standing ovation and I really enjoyed it. (Maybe not £160 enjoyed it but enjoy it I did).

But is the Book of Mormon picking on easy targets? Is there a more restrained and politely civil religion than Mormonism. But not all are so nice to their detractors.

Is the New Testament too hot to mock? I don't think the Life of Brian mocked the NT, or if it did, not in the full on way the BoT gets its teeth into the BoT. If the Book of Mormon had been the Book of the NT would it have even been allowed to open? Would there be a backlash if it had?

Clearly in present times the Qur'an is too hot unless the writers wanted to spend the rest of their life in hiding with a body guard. True the writers of South Park did put Mohammad in a bear suit, but that is about as far as they dare push it. (Drawing a bear and saying Mohammed was inside it). Can we dream of a day when irreverence breaks out in Islam and Mohammad can come out the bear suit?

Or for the time being are we - of an irreverent nature - going to restrict our mockery to the oh so polite religions and turn a little pale in the face of the more forceful religions.

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Re: Book of Mormon

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Re: Book of Mormon

Post #3

Post by Furrowed Brow »

oops. Dorry. Typo. Should be BoM (Book of Mormon).

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Re: Book of Mormon

Post #4

Post by help3434 »

[Replying to post 1 by Furrowed Brow]

I haven't seen the musical but from what I understand it also mocks the idea of religion in general, not just the LDS.
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Re: Book of Mormon

Post #5

Post by Furrowed Brow »

[Replying to post 4 by help3434]
The production in London was pretty much focused on Mormonism and that is how I think is was taken. If Mormonism is taken as a metaphor for other religions or for Christianity in general then maybe, but not so much I think. The targets of the show were the racial issues built into Mormon theology and its history, the don't think about it just believe mind set combined with the basic unbelievability of the Book of Mormon and its history. This is shown up most by the character Arnold - a fantasist who mangles his book of Mormon with Star Wars. Another missionary Elder Kevin Price is a means characterize Mormonism as a theological Disneyland. another theme is suppressed sexuality. Sure some this these themes can be generalised. But for me the major target and the theme that informs just about every scene is a general unworldliness and naivety that interprets the world through its own prism and leads to a strange mix of insane hopefulness and arrogance. Hence the scene with young white clean cut wholesome Mormons dressed in white and serenely dancing before destitute AIDs riddled villagers whilst self satisfiedly singing we are Africa.

All the targets and all the jokes appeared to be specifically geared at the Mormon religion. I'm not sure if the US production was staged differently.

cnorman18

Post #6

Post by cnorman18 »

I saw the production recently, and I thought its point was very humanistic indeed, and very hard to miss at the end.

The stories we tell each other about our mystical beliefs and things that supposedly happened thousands (or even hundreds) of years ago don't really matter. What matters is whether or not we actually help people.

I had a roommate in college who was as anti-religion as anybody who has ever posted here. The time was the early 70s, when "Jesus Freaks" and various cultists were thick on the ground -- many of them reformed junkies, who were also thick on the ground in those days. I asked Gordon what he thought about the Jesus freaks, expecting a furious rant -- I had heard them before, about any church or religion you care to name -- but his calm, quiet answer surprised me:

"Hey, anything that gets somebody off a needle is OK with me."

Believe what you want. Feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, comfort the afflicted. If you do that, any God that's worth being called God will be OK with you, WHATEVER stories you tell yourself.

That's my take.

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Re: Book of Mormon

Post #7

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Furrowed Brow wrote: Recently saw the Book of Mormon in London (expensive tickets....ouch!). It received a very warm standing ovation and I really enjoyed it. (Maybe not £160 enjoyed it but enjoy it I did).

But is the Book of Mormon picking on easy targets? Is there a more restrained and politely civil religion than Mormonism. But not all are so nice to their detractors.

Is the New Testament too hot to mock? I don't think the Life of Brian mocked the NT, or if it did, not in the full on way the BoT gets its teeth into the BoT. If the Book of Mormon had been the Book of the NT would it have even been allowed to open? Would there be a backlash if it had?

Clearly in present times the Qur'an is too hot unless the writers wanted to spend the rest of their life in hiding with a body guard. True the writers of South Park did put Mohammad in a bear suit, but that is about as far as they dare push it. (Drawing a bear and saying Mohammed was inside it). Can we dream of a day when irreverence breaks out in Islam and Mohammad can come out the bear suit?

Or for the time being are we - of an irreverent nature - going to restrict our mockery to the oh so polite religions and turn a little pale in the face of the more forceful religions.
I don't have a clue what you just said.

And I would not have paid 160 pounds to see anything (not even 3 hours of Jessica Simpson dancing on my table!)

I've read the BoM and I'm not impressed. The racism is just a bit too early 19th century for me to believe it came from any angel or plates.

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Re: Book of Mormon

Post #8

Post by Furrowed Brow »

The Me's wrote:I don't have a clue what you just said.
The show Book of Mormon rips into Mormonism. But Mormons because of their inherent self restraint are a soft target. Do satirists avoid harder targets like Islam. Are we who like this kind of humour just a little cowardly for sticking to the soft targets?
And I would not have paid 160 pounds to see anything (not even 3 hours of Jessica Simpson dancing on my table!)
I better not tell you what I had to pay for two Barbara Streisand tickets so my mother got to see he life long favourite singer for the first time. :(

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Post #9

Post by Furrowed Brow »

cnorman18 wrote: I saw the production recently, and I thought its point was very humanistic indeed, and very hard to miss at the end.

The stories we tell each other about our mystical beliefs and things that supposedly happened thousands (or even hundreds) of years ago don't really matter. What matters is whether or not we actually help people.

I had a roommate in college who was as anti-religion as anybody who has ever posted here. The time was the early 70s, when "Jesus Freaks" and various cultists were thick on the ground -- many of them reformed junkies, who were also thick on the ground in those days. I asked Gordon what he thought about the Jesus freaks, expecting a furious rant -- I had heard them before, about any church or religion you care to name -- but his calm, quiet answer surprised me:

"Hey, anything that gets somebody off a needle is OK with me."

Believe what you want. Feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, comfort the afflicted. If you do that, any God that's worth being called God will be OK with you, WHATEVER stories you tell yourself.

That's my take.
Yeah not really my take. Maybe it was the London staging or maybe it is just me. My take: unworldliness, naïvety, self aggrandising conceit and muddled thinking when combined with bundles of energy is a potent formula for gliding through life oblivious to its realities; and that to cocoon oneself this way actually takes a lot of effort that only a few are capable of, but if you manage it then it provides an impenetrable force field. I also learned that Star Wars makes just as much sense as the Book of Mormon.

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Re: Book of Mormon

Post #10

Post by smalltownatheist »

Furrowed Brow wrote: The show Book of Mormon rips into Mormonism. But Mormons because of their inherent self restraint are a soft target. Do satirists avoid harder targets like Islam. Are we who like this kind of humour just a little cowardly for sticking to the soft targets?
The show is the latest baby of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, they guys that bring you South Park...and if you watch South Park, they rip into Mormonism pretty hard (I think the episode I'm talking about was the seed that grew into BoM; it was pretty popular...I almost expect them to do one on Scientology next).

Also, if you're aware of South Park, they rip on all religious (and on atheism too) -- nothing is sacred. Matt has since come to the realization he's an atheist, and Trey is more or less one, but doesn't like the word. They go to James Randi's Amazing Meeting every now and then.

But back to my point: they attempted to rip into Islam pretty famously several years ago, back when the Danish cartoon thing was going on. Comedy Central (the network that airs South Park) decided to cower in fear of Islamic terrorists and censor the shows depiction of Muhammad (even though he's been on the show before in the past). The network also censored a monologue in one of the following episodes (201) that mentioned, " If there's anything we've all learned, it's that terrorizing people works...All you need to do is instill fear and be willing to hurt people and you can get whatever you want. The only true power is violence".

The Simpsons even did an episode that had Bart writing on the chalkboard in the opening sequence: "SP-we'd stand beside you if we weren't so scared".

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