4/12/2011 | Share this article:By dealdoctor ~
The Book of Mormon : A Broadway Musical
Ok, I am not and never was a Mormon but I find the storyline of this new Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon, very interesting. It comes from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the developers of South Park who are the ultimate kings of satire. Two young eighteen year old Mormon missionaries are not sent to Orlando where they hope to be sent but instead they go to Uganda. Hunger, war, real world hell are there right in their fresh young faces and their middle class Salt Lake City Mormonism seems to have no tools in its toolbox to deal with the real life issues these suffering people in Uganda face on a daily basis.
One of these Mormon kids is more of an expert on Star Trek than on the Book of Mormon and everything gets all confused together which makes for an absurdER new religion. The combination of Mormonism and Star Trek forms a totally new religion that inspires the devotion of the new Ugandan Mormon faithful. People begin to become passionate converts. Of course all this is a hoot. The reviews I read say that at the end of the day the newly made Mormo-Trekanity is presented as a good thing because it gives the people FAITH in something. Which again shows that religion for so very many people is more about faith in faith rather than faith in any specific God.
People it seems have a hardwired need to believe in something greater than the crap they face on a daily basis in the real world. I would not suggest Mormo-Trekism, Mormonism, Islam or Christianity but it is stuff like this that is often what is offered to those hungry for something to believe in to give meaning to their painful lives. All these insane religions are all based on the same amount of reality (zero) and yep even a new religion like Mormo-Trekism will get its converts who will settle for almost anything which requires only faith. People simply crave FAITH and the object of that faith is totally optional as the 10,000 gods and goddesses of history will testify. I mean Tom Cruise and Scientology is a poster boy for all this stuff. CLUE: Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer before he went all religious. Note the word FICTION above. OMG a fucking FICTION novelist starts a religion! It must be the truth!
Back to the new Book of Mormon play on Broadway, of course Mormo-Trekism is irrational and has no more merit that faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster and its tongue in cheek Pastafarians. But it certainly has as much basis in reality as the rest of the world religions. OMG the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt never happened according to trained archeologist but WTF does that matter at a good Sabbath family meal? The food tastes just as good and the tradition binds a community of believers around something.
Faith in weird stupid shit has been the most common “technology” for community bonding in the world’s history. It has worked to form groups who bond for common defense, have shared rituals and even a hope for life beyond death. Irrational stuff for sure but with a very practical benefit especially for the powerful kings and priests who require a mythology to give them legitimacy for controlling of THEIR population. Hey, it works. Of course in the information age these various groups are now very much aware of their competing religions and the best thing for any company is to have their competitor eliminated so they can capture the whole market. Crusades, religious terrorism and burning of witches are just a few examples of how the religious multi-national corporations want to deal with their competitors. Missionaries, Mormon or otherwise, are just salespeople trying to increase markets share.
I can tell you, as a professional salesperson, that some markets are much harder places than others to sell any product. Think luxury cars being marketed to those living in poverty. Mormons or mega church prosperity gospel Evangelicals will find it a little harder to push their storyline in places like Uganda than they would in the rich suburbs of America.
It is the Faith in Faith thing that is the real issue. Politicians know that the common people want their leaders to be people of faith so they use faith as a part of their public persona. Both Bush and Obama will be sure to make the National Prayer breakfast because to dodge that one would be political suicide.
Agnostics, free thinkers and we atheists are political outcasts because we simply do not have faith in faith. Mostly Protestant America elected a Roman Catholic in John F. Kennedy at a time when most Southern Baptist churches would have preached that Catholicism was all but demonic. The Mormon Mitt Romney certainly has serious political support in our nation from some Evangelicals who would also see Mormonism as a horrible religious choice that will send Romney to hell in the next world. BUT hey, the guy has FAITH. He is NOT an atheist. So like JFK he will get votes from WASPs.
I have not seen The Book of Mormon The Broadway Musical so I cannot give you a review. There are plenty of reviews online from better critics that I will ever be of anything on Broadway. I just wonder when its message that faith in something even as weird as Mormo-Trekism is better than critical thinking will be removed from our political culture along with cruel and unusual punishments. Faith in Faith is a hangover from a primitive era and age. It still gets plenty of applause in our day. I am sure I would have lots of laughs if I went to the play but I would not applaud its bottom line “positive message” that the critics see as its end game takeaway.
What do you guys think? Has anyone seen the play?
Mormo-Trekism. Damn! Snake oil on steroids with two young religious company sales guys with a storyline sure to wow their new harsher market! Great job of adapting to a hard situation by creative sales people. Just like mega church pastor Rob Bell taking the doctrine of hell out of Christian doctrine pitched to young progressive Americans. If it is faith in faith that is the real sale then toss the negatives and multiply the positives. It is just basis sales 101. God I love sales! Just know from a pro. “Gullible will get you in TrouBIBLE” Faith in faith is for the gullible to the max but it will sell like hotcakes even in the worst marketplace during a recession.
Television coverage of the play:
Late Night with David Letterman