Mormon Observations on “The Book of Mormon” the Musical – Turn It Off

For a list of all the posts in this series, see here.

In the posts relating to this song, I’ll be referencing one source quite often. It’s an interview from 2006. Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman, both in Church leadership, answer a number of questions on the Church’s position regarding homosexuality and homosexual behavior. To those interested in the Church’s position, it’s worth reading in it’s entirety. All the quotes below from Elder Oaks or Elder Wickman come from that interview.

Background

Mafala’s daughter, Nabulungi, shows Elder Price and Elder Cunningham to their living quarters. Here they meet other missionaries serving in the area. The District Leader, Elder McKinley, proceeds to teach them how to deal with the negative and upsetting feelings caused by their surroundings and Mormon upbringing.

Full Lyrics – “Turn it Off”

Elder McKinley: I got a feeling that you could be feeling,
A whole lot better then you feel today
You say you got a problem; well, that’s no problem,
It’s super easy not to feel that way!

When you start to get confused because of thoughts in your head,
Don’t feel those feelings! Hold them in instead

Turn it off
Like a light switch
Just go click!
It’s a cool little Mormon trick!
We do it all the time
When your feeling certain feels that just don’t seem right
Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light

And turn ’em off,
Like a light switch
Just go bap!
Really whats so hard about that?
Turn it off!

When I was young my dad
Would treat my mom real bad

Every time the Utah Jazz would loose
He’d start a’ drinking
And I’d start a thinking
How I’m gonna keep my mom from getting abused.

I’d see her all scared and my soul was dying
My dad would say to me, “Now don’t you dare start crying.”

Turn it off,
Like a light switch
Just go click!
It’s our nifty little Mormon trick!
Turn it off!

My sister was a dancer
But she got cancer
The doctor said she still had two months more
I thought she had time
So I got in line
For the new iPhone at the Apple Store

She lay there dying with my father and mother
Her very last words were, “Where is my brother?”

Turn it off!
Yeah!
Bid those sad feelings adieu!
The fear I might get cancer, too

When I was in fifth grade
I had a friend, Steve Blade
He and I were close as two friend could be
One thing led to another
And soon I would discover
I was having really strange feelings for Steve

I thought about us, on a deserted island
We’d swim naked in the sea, and then he’d try and…

WOAH!

Turn if off
Like a light switch
There its gone! (Good for you!)
My hetero side just won!
I’m all better now
Boys should be with girls, that’s Heavenly Father’s plan
So if you ever feel you rather be with a man,
Turn it off.

Elder Price: Well Elder McKinley, I think its okay that your having gay thoughts, just so long as you never act upon them.

Elder McKinley: No, because then your just keeping it down,
Like a dimmer switch on low (On low!)
Thinking nobody needs to know! (Uh oh!)
But that’s not true!
Being gay is bad, but lying is worse,
So just realize you have a curable curse,
And turn it off! 

Now how do you feel!

Elder Price: The same

Elder McKinley: Then you only got yourself to blame,
You didn’t pretend hard enough,
Imagine that your brain is made of tiny boxes,
And find the box that’s gay and CRUSH IT!

Okay?

Elder Price: No, no, I’m not having gay thoughts.

Elder Cunningham: Alright!  It worked!

All: Turn it off, turn it off
Like a light switch
Just go click! (Click click!)
What a cool little Mormon trick! (Trick trick!)
We do it all the time!

Elder McKinley: When your feeling certain feelings that just don’t seem right!
Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light!
Turn it off!
Like a light switch
Shut it off!
Now he isn’t gay anymore!
Turn it off!

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