Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Mormons Are Coming!

You've probably heard of the play called 'The Book of Mormon - Musical'. It is a religious satire musical that pokes fun at the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The lyrics and music were written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park. It's been a big hit, winning 9 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Reviewers have praised it for its music and originality, but also point out the play’s blasphemous and offensive themes and language. I'm not going to see it and I don't recommend you do either.


An interesting thing is happening with this play. Many thought the Church would be upset about it, or that there might even be protests. But as people quickly found out, that's not the LDS Church's way at all. When the musical opened in the U.S., the Church released the following statement: “The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.”

Well, two weeks ago the play opened here in Melbourne. Advertisements with the message “The Mormons are Coming” have been running for months now. The message is on TV, in the paper, and even on the sides of the trains and buses. Hundreds of people in Melbourne have posted their excitement about the musical on their social media pages. Word is that The Book of Mormon play has been the best selling show in Melbourne's Princess Theatre’s 159-year history. Who would have thought the three words 'Book ... of ... Mormon' could ever be so widely heard and spoken in Melbourne, Australia?!

Of course, as Michael Otterson, the managing director of Public Affairs for the Church pointed out, "Parody isn’t reality ... The danger is not when people laugh, but when they take it seriously [and] leave a theater believing that Mormons really do live in some kind of a surreal world of self-deception and illusion."

Clearly there's a wonderful opportunity here to set the record straight, which comes in the form of increased genuine curiosity about the Church, the missionaries, and the real Book of Mormon. Since the show started its promotional efforts last January, searches on the Internet in the greater Melbourne area about “Mormons” are 10 times greater than before.

Starting about a week ago, and running through most of February, the Church has launched a media initiative in downtown Melbourne that is incredible! Southern Cross train station (which has daily traffic of over 155,000 and is the major railway station and transport hub for Melbourne) is plastered with Book of Mormon-related themes that "set the record straight" about who we are and what's really inside the Book of Mormon.

Here are a bunch of photos taken in Southern Cross Station, but I wish you all could see it in person. It's amazing! (Click on any image to see a larger, more detailed view.)

Needless to say, it's an exciting time to be a missionary in Victoria, Australia! You should go to the Australia site ( and take a look at some of the videos and how this campaign is being tied to social media. It's really well done.

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