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Mormon's Mel Brooks Moment
Mormon's Mel Brooks Moment

AIR DATE: June 23, 2011

The Parker and Stone musical 'The Book of Mormon' swept the Tony awards earlier this month - this combined with multiple TV shows with Mormon themes and the emergence of two LDS Presidential candidates has us asking - "Is this the Mormons' Moment?" We talk with the author of a Newsweek piece as well as an LDS comedian and a Mormon blogger.
Walter Kirn, Newsweek
Emily Lewis, blogger, Mormon Perspectives
Bengt Washburn, LDS comedian

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I love the Book of Mormon(the real one) with all my heart. Truly has changed my life.
seanApr 20, 2012 12:53:48 PM
I agree with Kirn that anti-Mormon bigotry ought to be beneath us as Americans. That said, there's a very American, early frontier strain of boosterism running through Mormonism that (among other traits) ought to be fair game. Also, echoing Kirn, a study of Mormon history and the institutional church leads the honest student to conclude that there is no generally accepted procedure for determining what is or isn't official LDS doctrine. As someone who grew up in the church, made my oaths in the temple, served a mission, and attended BYU, I finally concluded that the confusion was not my fault and parted ways. As far as I can tell, the institutional response to the doctrinal mess has been to amp up the calls for blind obedience. Examples of this can be found everywhere in church meetings, conferences and magazines, but here's one of the more recent ones for consideration:
Chino BlancoJun 23, 2011 20:37:11 PM
Kate, I appreciate your comment but must disagree with your statement that Mormonism demands adherence to a prophet. In fact, several of the prophets have repeatedly counseled their listeners to take what they have heard and ask God whether it is true. A prophet is a messenger and every listener has the right and responsibility to pray to God to verify that the message is correct. I think this is a powerful and liberating doctrine. I agree with Walter Kirn that the details of Mormon theology are complicated. However, instead of finding the faith to be full of deception, I have found it to be filled with love for God and all people. Studying the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible has brought me closer to God and made me a more loving person.
TeppoJun 22, 2011 14:35:00 PM
Sorry teppo - you're the one who is incorrect here and you are dangerously close to apostasy for questioning the leaders. What you are stating is what the church used to teach, but times have changed as they have had to clamp down due to the availability of uncomfortable information about the past. For current teachings about how the mormons view their prophet - google "the 14 fundamentals of following a prophet". You will find a talk given by the then prophet Ezra Taft Benson - a talk that was reaffirmed two more times in the most recent conference. The last fundamental is a doozy - "The prophet and the presidency--the living prophet and the First Presidency--follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer."
The DudeJun 23, 2011 05:00:45 AM
As the general society is exposed to Mormon CULTURE, one would hope that society will apply intellectual rigor to their examination of that faith. The source of the Mormon religion can be easily shown to be full of deception, to a degree that Mormons rarely even acknowledge. ANY religion that demands adherence to what one man (a prophet) says is a frightening concept.
kateJun 22, 2011 10:59:36 AM
As opposed to a religion demanding adherence to a book? A gospel? A pope? All religion demands adherence to something. At least when demanded upon from an individual, those demands can be clarified and often changed, as opposed to interpreted/deciphered as is the case with scripture.
RobertJun 22, 2011 11:06:16 AM
Dave, I'm disappointed. Here you are, purporting to have an intelligent, respectful conversation about Mormons in America and your go-to-break soundtrack is the music from that offensive, vulgar Broadway musical?! There are hundreds if not thousands of LDS songs, both contemporary songs and more traditional hymns, that accurately depict the restored gospel and would certainly show true respect for the Mormon faith. I feel like I've been slapped every time one of those songs comes on.
Carol LongJun 22, 2011 10:56:08 AM
Carol, I think the point of highlighting the music of the Broadway show is serving to demonstrate that the Mormon faith is now being discussed more openly in non-Mormon culture. The candidacy of Romney and Huntsman combined with the success of the musical have served as a catalyst that thrust Mormonism to the forefront of discussion where previously this topic would never have arisen.
RobertJun 22, 2011 11:02:32 AM
As a devout Mormon, I was really pleased to hear people who are former Mormons calling for the end of prejudice against the LDS. My experience has been that people are mostly fine about my being Mormon. I'm not sure that I have felt an all-out cultural embrace of Mormonism, but I have also found that as I talk about it openly people are accepting. I also think acceptance requires for Mormons to not have a chip on their shoulder.
AbalynJun 22, 2011 10:52:24 AM
I also appreciated Walter's call for an end to bigotry and prejudice toward a religion that he apparently no longer subscribes to. In my experience growing up in California, society tends to accept Mormons, but not the religious beliefs, and I think this NPR segmented reflected that. This piece inspired me to write a blog post on this at .
BrighamJun 22, 2011 12:23:06 PM
As an atheist who is currently dating an ex-Mormon, I've found that while generally very warm and inviting, her still practicing family clam up a bit regarding certain topics. General questions regarding faith are explored openly but the more eccentric bits (i.e. celestial marriage, undergarments, Danites, Jesus returning to Missouri)are often deflected.
RobertJun 22, 2011 10:44:51 AM
Was in NYC 2 weeks ago and saw both the Book of Mormon and Jerusalem. Terrific nights in the theater, but, the Eugene O'Neill theater is perhaps the most uncomfortable on the planet. The Music Box theater on the other hand was comfortable, and only enhanced a great night at the theater. Love Broadway, and live theater everywhere
FredJun 22, 2011 10:17:44 AM
There will certainly be a lively discussion about the interview at so come and join us! In addition, our friends at another blog are prepared to pitch in as well at
TeppoJun 22, 2011 09:39:31 AM
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