The Book of Mormon

Written on December 2nd, 2014

I finally saw Book of Mormon in Toronto, just as the tour stop there was coming to a close.  I was a little concerned:  I didn’t know if I’d like it, based on some reports.  Some folks didn’t like it because it mocks religion; others are uncomfortable with the crude language.  But obviously many people loved it, judging by ticket sales, both in New York and Toronto, and the fact that it won 9 Tony awards.

Book of MormonYes, it’s a satire, poking fun at the Mormon (Latter Day Saints) faith, but the pokes are gentle.  I’m sure it’s nothing that every Mormon hasn’t heard to his face.  Joseph Smith really found gold plates in his back yard in New York State?  And Jesus came to visit?  And Smith wrote the Bible’s 3rd testament, also known as the Book of Mormon?  The information presented all seems a little far-fetched, but then they sing a beautiful song about how “a Mormon just believes”.

Yes, there is vulgar language.  The young Mormons are sent on a mission to Uganda to convert the locals.  But the Africans are living in horrible poverty – there is famine, hunger, disease, abuse and a nasty war lord who shoots them in the face for no reason.  If you were living in those horrific conditions, and a neatly dressed young man tells you that if you read this book all your problems will be solved – don’t you think you might do some swearing, too?

But the eager young Mormons on a mission tweak the stories in the book to suit the circumstances and show that their intensions are good.  It’s a silly story, somewhat heart-warming, and very entertaining.  The energetic singing and dancing complement the hilarious script.

So do Mormons take offence at being the subject of many jokes?  Apparently not.  In fact, they are taking advantage of it.  The program at the Princess of Wales Theatre had three full page ads in it, placed by the Mormon Church, encouraging theatre-goers to read their book.

While it’s too late for you to see it in Toronto, the tour is coming to Kitchener’s Centre in the Square, December 9 to 14, with 8 performances.

I don’t know if it’s the same cast as I saw in Toronto, but I’m sure you will be well-entertained and have lots of laughs. Go prepared for funny irreverence and some raunchy talk.

Photo: Gavin Creel as Elder Price and Derrick Williams as the General, part of the “Book of Mormon” North American tour cast. Photo by Joan Marcus. 

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