Tag Archives: Broadway

Mormon Observations on “The Book of Mormon” the Musical – Tomorrow is a Latter Day

All the posts in this series.

Go back to “Tomorrow is a Latter Day”.

Efficacious Ordinances
“We are still Latter-day Saints”

What does it take for an ordinance to be efficacious. In the post “Baptize Me” we discussed how it was vital for baptism to be performed in the proper way and by the proper authority. It is just as important for other ordinances to be performed in the proper way and by the proper authority. But is that all there is?

The Holy Spirit of Promise is also an essential element in order for ordinances to be efficacious. The Lord says,

“And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise… are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

“Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:7-8).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie has said,

“The operation and power of the Holy Spirit of Promise is best illustrated by the ordinance and contract of baptism. An unworthy candidate for baptism might deceive the elders and get the ordinance performed, but no one can lie to the Holy Ghost and get by undetected. Accordingly, the baptism of an unworthy and unrepentant person would not be sealed by the Spirit; it would not be ratified by the Holy Ghost; the unworthy person would not be justified by the Spirit in his actions. If thereafter he became worthy through repentance and obedience, the seal would then be put in force. Similarly, if a worthy person is baptized, with the ratifying approval of the Holy Ghost attending the performance, the seal may be broken by subsequent sin.”

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Mormon Observations on “The Book of Mormon” the Musical – Tomorrow is a Latter Day

All the posts in this series.

Go back to “Tomorrow is a Latter Day”.

Temporal and Spiritual Needs
“The only latter day that matters is tomorrow”

For more on the tug-of-war game played between temporal and spiritual needs, see my post here.

In brief, though, we must not overly focus on temporal needs to the exclusion of spiritual needs. They are both important, but it is not more important for religion to help people’s temporal needs.

Mormon Observations on “The Book of Mormon” the Musical – Tomorrow is a Latter Day

All the posts in this series.

Go back to “Tomorrow is a Latter Day”.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
“What happens when we’re dead?
We shouldn’t think that far ahead”

What of this carefree attitude that we should not think of tomorrow, or the afterlife? Nephi taught us that in the last days

“there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

“And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

“Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines” (2 Nephi 28:7-9).

Alma taught,

“And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

“Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world” (Alma 34:33-34).

Surely, what we do in this life will directly impacts what happens in the life to come. Is it wise to ignore that when there is a clear end to this probationary state?

Now, some will say, “I just don’t know. I won’t make any choice.” What of that?

William James, in his excellent essay “The Will to Believe”, ended with a quote by Fitz James Stephen. Stephen said,

“What do you think of yourself? What do you think of the world? Are you a mere machine, and is your consciousness, as has been said, a mere resultant? Is the world a mere fact suggesting nothing beyond itself worth thinking about? These are questions with which all must deal as it seems good to them. They are riddles of the Sphinx, and in some way or other we must deal with them. If we decide to leave them unanswered, that is a choice. If we waver in our answer, that too is a choice; but whatever choice we make, we make it at our peril.

“If a man chooses to turn his back altogether on God and the future, no one can prevent him. No one can show beyond all reasonable doubt that he is mistaken. If a man thinks otherwise, and acts as he thinks, I do not see how anyone can prove that he is mistaken. Each must act as he thinks best, and if he is wrong so much the worse for him. We stand on a mountain pass in the midst of whirling snow and blinding mist, through which we get glimpses now and then of paths which may be deceptive. If we stand still, we shall be frozen to death. If we take the wrong road, we shall be dashed to pieces. We do not certainly know whether there is any right one. What must we do? “Be strong and of a good courage.” Act for the best, hope for the best, and take what comes…. If death ends all, we cannot meet it better.”

We cannot avoid the choice by not making a choice, for not to make a choice is a choice in itself. It would be like freezing to death after refusing to choose whether to take the left fork or right fork.

Mormon Observations on “The Book of Mormon” the Musical – Tomorrow is a Latter Day

All the posts in this series.

Go back to “Tomorrow is a Latter Day”.

Apostasy
“We are still Latter Day Saints, all of us, even if we change some things or we break the rules or we have complete doubt that God exists.”

Why is it such a big deal when people “change some things”?

Nephi saw in vision our day, and the problems that were caused when changes were made to the plain gospel taught by Christ and his apostles. He was told,

“Wherefore, thou seest that after [the Bible] hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.

“And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles… because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them” (1 Nephi 13:28-29).

The Savior has given us his gospel so that we can be happy in this life, and qualify for eternal life in the life to come. Any changes to that gospel will make us “stumble” on that path, and perhaps even lose our way and prevent us from receiving either of those two gifts.

Apostasy is a very serious thing. The Restoration of the gospel was the only way to overcome the “stumbling” that occurred as a result of the Great Apostasy (see here).

Mormon Observations on “The Book of Mormon” the Musical – Tomorrow is a Latter Day

All the posts in this series.

Go back to “Tomorrow is a Latter Day”.

What is a Latter-day Saint?
“We are still Latter Day Saints, all of us, even if we change some things or we break the rules or we have complete doubt that God exists.”

This claim is not necessarily true, and reminds me of something C. S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity:

“People ask: ‘Who are you, to lay down who is, and who is not a Christian?’: or ‘May not many a man who cannot believe these doctrines be far more truly a Christian, far closer to the spirit of Christ, than some who do?’ Now this objection is in one sense very right, very charitable, very spiritual, very sensitive. It has every available quality except that of being useful.”

We can degrade the meaning of “Latter-day Saint” as Elder Price suggests, but at this point the word will have lost all meaning and, consequently, all usefulness (for more on this discussion in relation to the term “Christian”, see this post on the preface of Mere Christianity).

So what is a Latter-day Saint? What does a Latter-day Saint believe? A good place to start might be with the baptismal questions (see this post on the song “Baptize Me”). A Latter-day Saint believes that:

  • God is the Eternal Father
  • Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and redeemer of the world
  • The Church and gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through Joseph Smith
  • The Church is led by a prophet, currently Thomas S. Monson

Those that change the teachings of the scriptures or living prophets, or suggest disobedience to those teachings, don’t qualify as a Latter-day Saint. This is why members of splinter groups like the Fundamentalist LDS Church or Reorganized LDS Church are not considered Latter-day Saints. The group of villagers in the song would similarly not be considered Latter-day Saints as long as they taught from the “Book of Arnold”.

The good news is, though, that if they desired to belong to the Church it would only take a few missionary lessons!

What of those who break the rules? Certainly simple mistakes are not disqualifying. The Atonement provides us the ability to repent and return to him when we commit sin. It is true that some serious sins lead to Church discipline, but disfellowship and excommunication are paths meant to lead through repentance and to full forgiveness and fellowship in the Church once again.

Mormon Observations on “The Book of Mormon” the Musical – Tomorrow is a Latter Day

All the posts in this series.

Go back to “Tomorrow is a Latter Day”.

A Latter-day
“Tomorrow is a Latter Day”

Like I said in the post “I Am Here for You”, I’m not sure what the term “Latter-day” means in the context of the show. To learn what Latter-day Saints believe about the term “Latter-day”, see that post.

Mormon Observations on “The Book of Mormon” the Musical – Tomorrow is a Latter Day

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

Background

After the pageant presentation, the Mission President is outraged and orders the missionaries home. He tells the villagers that they are not Mormons, and Elder Cunningham becomes discouraged because he ended up causing even more trouble for the villagers. Elder Price, on the other hand, has an epiphany and realizes that Elder Cunningham was right all along – even though scriptures are important, it’s more important for religion to help people. Elder Price and Elder Cunningham decide to stay and help the villagers together.

The warlord returns to the village, but is driven off by Elder Price and Elder Cunningham. They accept Elder Cunningham’s earlier stories as metaphors to help them in daily life, rather than literal truth, and Elder Price rallies everyone to work together to make their village and life a paradise.

Full Lyrics – “Tomorrow is a Latter-day”

Elder Price: We are still Latter-day Saints (and here), all of us, even if we change some things or we break the rules or we have complete doubt that God exists. We can still all work together and make this our paradise planet.

Elder Cunningham:You, you want to stay here with me?

Elder Price: I’d do anything for you. You’re my best friend.

Don’t worry little buddy
Know this much is true
Tomorrow is a latter day
And I am here for you

Tomorrow is a latter day

I am a Latter-day Saint
I help all those I can

Elder Cunningham: I see my friends through times of joy and sorrow

Elder Price: What happens when we’re dead?
We shouldn’t think that far ahead

Both: The only latter day that matters is tomorrow

The skies are clear and now the suns coming out
It’s a latter day tomorrow
Put your worries and your sorrows and your cares away
And focus on a latter day
Tomorrow is a latter day

Nabulungi: I am a Latter-day Saint
Along with all my town
We always stick together come what may

Elder Cunningham: We love to dance and shout
And let all the feelings out
And work to make a better latter day

Villagers: Hum na-haya, hum, hum na-haya
We’ll be here for each other every step of the way
And make a latter day tomorrow

Americans already found a cure for AIDS
But they’re saving it for a latter day
Tomorrow is a latter day

Elder Price: I believe
(Tomorrow is a latter day)
I believe
(Love and joy and all the things that matter day)
I believe
(Tomorrow is a bigger, badder latter day)

I believe
(Tomorrow, tomorrow is a latter day)
I believe
(A happy ending on a platter day)
I believe
(Tomorrow is a doper, phatter latter day)

Villagers: Why are Mormons happy?
It’s because we know
It’s a latter day tomorrow
So if you’re sad put you’re hands together and pray
That tomorrow’s gonna be a latter day
And then it probably will be a latter day
Tomorrow is a latter day

Elder Price: So what will tomorrow bring?
What does the future hold?
I can almost see it now

Villagers: Hello.
My name is Elder Matumbo.
And I would like to share with you the most amazing book

Hello
My name is Sister Kimbe
It’s a book about a people who were poor and sad like you

A sacred text
Of pioneers and frogs
And how you can find salvation if you if you just believe

Hi ho (Ding dong)
Hello (Boba Fett)
You have a lovely mud hut
And if you just put down the gun I’ll show you, oh, okay, I’ll leave

Hello
My name is Elder Galli
You will love all of the happiness this book can bring

Hello
My name is Elder Butt-*******-Naked
Did you know that the ******** is a holy sacred thing?

Find paradise
(With Jesus Christ)
And no more war
(Hello, nice door)
You read that Book of Mormon – did you know there’s more?

We swear
(We really care)
This is not a scam
(No ma’am)

Have you heard the story of our
Prophet Arnold Cunningham?

Hello
Our church is going strong
And if you let us in we’ll show you how you can belong

Join our family
And set your spirit free
We can fully guarantee you that this book will change your life
The Book of Arnold

Hello!

We are Latter-day Saints
We take, like, one day at a time
When the chips are down we know just what to say

The past may be in tatters
But today is all that matters
Because today is yesterday’s latter day

Thank you God
Ma ha nei bu, Eebowai
Tomorrow is a latter day

Gotswana: I still have maggots in my scrotum

Mormon Observations on “The Book of Mormon” the Musical – Joseph Smith American Moses

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

In the interest of giving you a fair warning, there is a lot of offensive language in this song. I’m going to censor some of the language, but it’s not difficult to get it from the context.

Background

Elder Price’s attempt to convert the warlord is unsuccessful. Very discouraged, he goes to a cafe and drowns his sorrows with cups of coffee. Elder Cunningham comes to find him, and tells Elder Price that they at least need to act like missionary companions since the Mission President is coming for a visit soon. The president and other leaders are coming to congratulate the missionaries on their incredible success.

When the leaders come, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham are singled out as the most successful missionaries in Africa. Then, Nabulungi and the other villagers come to perform a pageant for the leaders. This pageant reflects the distorted version of Mormonism that Elder Cunningham had taught them.

Full Lyrics – “Joseph Smith American Moses”

Nabulungi: And now we wish to honor you with the story of Joseph Smith, the American Moses

Mission President: Well, this is very good, praise Christ

Nabulungi and Villagers: Mormon

I’m going to take you back in time
(Mormon)
To the United States, 1823
(Mormon)
A small and odd village called Oopstate New York
(Oopstate)
There was disease and famine
(So sick)

But also in this village lived a simple farmer who would change everything. His name was Joseph Smith.

Hiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiya

Joseph Smith, American Moses
Praise be to Joseph, American prophet man

Village Joseph Smith: Aye, my name is Joseph Smith and I’m going to **** this baby

Mission President: What?

Nabulungi and Villagers: No no Joseph, don’t **** the baby
Joseph Smith, don’t **** the baby

Suddenly the clouds parted and Joseph Smith was visited by God.

Villager God: Joseph Smith, do not **** a baby
I will get rid of your AIDS, if you **** this frog

Nabulungi and Villagers: Hiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiya

Joseph Smith ****** the frog God gave him and his AIDS went away. Then a great wizard named Moroni came down from the Starship Enterprise.

Villager Moroni: Joseph Smith, your village is ****
You shall lead the villagers to a new village
Take these ******* golden plates

Nabulungi and Villagers: (Away)

And on the plates were written the directions to a new land – Sal Tlay Ka Siti
(Sal Tlay Ka Siti)
Joseph tried to convince all the villagers to follow him and his golden plates

Villager Joseph Smith: Liberation, equality, no more slavery for Oopstate Mormon people

I got the golden plates
(Gold plates)
I’m gonna lead the people
(We head West)

We gotta stick together
(Mormons)
We gotta help each other
(We’re Mormons)

And so we climb the mountain
(We head West)
And we cross the river
(We head West)

And we fight the oppression
(Mormons)
By being nice to everyone
(We are Mormons)

Villager Brigham Young: Not so fast Mormons, you shall not pass my mountain

Nabulungi and Villagers: Down from the mountain look who comes
The American warlord Brigham Young

Villager Brigham Young: Yes, I am Brigham Young
I cut off my daughter’s ********
That made God angry so he turned my nose
Into a **** for punishment

Nabulungi and Villagers: Brigham Young, his nose was a ********
What will you do Joseph, will you fight the ******** man

Villager Joseph Smith: Not fight him, help him

Nabulungi and Villagers: Joseph Smith took his magical **** frog
And rubbed it upon Brigham Young’s **** face
And behold Brigham was cured

Joseph Smith, magical AIDS frog
Brigham Young, frog on his **** face

Brigham Young was so grateful
He decided to join the Mormons on their journey

Villager Brigham Young: Compassion, courtesy, let’s be really ******* polite to everyone

I got the golden plates
(Gold plates)
I’m gonna lead the people
(We head West)
We gotta stick together
(Mormons)

Nabulungi and Villagers: Now comes the part of our story that gets a little bit sad. After traveling for so long, the Mormons ran out of fresh water and become sick with dysentery.

Water go to the water, water go to the cup
Cup go to the stomach, **** come out the butt
**** go in the water, water go in the cup
**** go down the stomach, **** come out the butt

Oh no, the prophet Joseph Smith is now getting sick

**** go in the water, water go in the cup
Cup go to the thirsty, **** go to the stomach
Blood come out the butt, blood go in the water
Water go in the cup, cup go to the tongue
**** blood in the stomach, **** blood in the mouth
**** blood on the insides, water come out the butt

Villager Joseph Smith: Brigham Young, you must take the golden plates and lead the Mormons to the Promised Land. Blarg.

Villager Brigham Young: Desperation, mortality, loss of faith

I got the golden plates
(Gold plates)
I’m got to lead the people
(We head West)

Nabulungi and Villagers: Even though their prophet had died, the Mormons stuck together and helped each other and were really nice to everyone they came across. And then one day the Mormons finally found Sal Tlay Ka Siti
(Sal Tlay Ka Siti)
And there, the Mormons danced with Ewoks and were greeted by Jesus

Villager Jesus: Welcome Mormons. Now, let’s all have as many babies as we can and make big Mormon families.

**** your woman, **** your man
It is all part of God’s plan
Mormons **** all that they can
He’re in Salt Lake City land

Thank you, thank you, but now we are *******
Thank you, thank you, but God wants us *******
Thank you, thank you, but get back to *******
Thank you, thank you, God

Nabulungi and Villagers: Joseph Smith **** frog
Brigham Young **** face
**** come out the butt
Jesus says ****, ****
Mormons

Mormon Observations on “The Book of Mormon” the Musical – I Am Africa

All the posts in this series.

Go back to “I Am Africa”.

Loving those You Serve
“I am Africa” 

Much like the songs “You and Me (But Mostly Me)”,  “Sal Tlay Ka Siti”, and “Man Up”, there is not much in this song that merits a response.

I would still like to talk, though, about the feelings of missionaries towards the people and countries they serve. This song may be poking fun at the naivete of the young men – they think something as outlandish as “I am Africa” when they almost just pass through before returning to a life of ease back in the states – but this is a very real feeling that is almost universal among returned LDS missionaries. After dedicating so much of your life to a group of people, a bond just forms naturally. After my mission, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for those in the islands.