The Good Book

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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12 Responses

  1. Johanna says:

    I am still jealous! I heard the music before ever watching video from the stage performances, the music alone is definitely fun to sing (although not in certain company) and my impression was that the humor that Parker, Stone and Lopez bring to uncomfortable subject matter has made this a show one I can’t wait to see. Of course I’ll have to wait until it goes on tour which given this show’s success will unfortunately for me a long wait. Sigh. Glad your experience is one that seems near universal with others I know who have seen it.Report

  2. trizzlor says:

    Wonderful post Tod, this part really stuck out for me:

    Cunningham’s stories did not speak to the villagers because they were divinely inspired (at least we assume); they spoke to them because they contained truths they already knew in their hearts.

    Granted, I haven’t seen the play, but your description of Cunningham’s stories sounds like he simply substituted one dogma for another dogma that was more compelling. Which is not all that dissimilar from the Missionary/Kipling’s Burden view that deceit (and even subjugation) are acceptable when civilizing a “backwards” people. There’s obviously a big difference between demonstrating a Western idea through narrative, on one hand, and discovering a more effective way of deceiving people with Western fear and propaganda, on the other. Of course, in instances where “backwards” doesn’t need scare quotes – where people are disfiguring women and molesting infants – the line between the two evils becomes blurred and the question truly becomes interesting.

    I’ll take your word that the play is able to thread this needle, and I’m excited to see it, but I guess I don’t yet see it in the examples you provide.Report

  3. Kazzy says:

    I only read the beginning because I am spoiler-phobic, but the sense of uplifting is not surprising. The SP episode on Mormonism had a similar ending, with the Mormon kid saying something along the lines of, “We know it seems weird, but it brings us together and inpsires us to do good. What’s the problem?” I believe the SPers still chased them out of town (it’s been years since I saw that episode).Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:

      The speech the kid gives is wonderful:

      Look, maybe us Mormons believe in crazy stories that makes absolutely no sense, and maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up. But I have a great life and a great family, and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don’t care if Joseph Smith made it all up because what the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice, and helping people. And even though people in this town might think THAT’S stupid, I still choose to believe in it. All I ever did was to try and be your friend, Stan, but you’re so high and mighty you couldn’t look past my religion and just be my friend back. You’ve got a lot of growing up to do, buddy. Suck my balls.Report

    • Miss Mary in reply to Kazzy says:

      Ever seen Orgazmo?Report

  4. Thanks for this, Tod. If anything, it’s reminded me not to be overly judgmental of things I haven’t seen or read or things I don’t know very well.

    I had heard of the play and simply assumed that it was one of those “aren’t religious people ignorant and stupid and this time we’ll look at the Mormons” stories. But apparently, it’s more than that.

    I’ll still probably not see the play, even if it comes to Chicago. (The main reason is I generally don’t like to go to plays.) But I know now to keep a more open mind.Report

  5. Rod says:

    I heard an interview with Matt and Trey when the play first came out. Their attitude was like, Hey, we really LIKE Mormons. Their religion is a little nutty, but all religions are a little nutty if you take them literally.

    But they genuinely like and respect Mormons as people. So there’s that.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Rod says:

      The Mormon family in that show are the best people who’ve ever lived in South Park. They’re open, genuine, friendly, outgoing, energetic, loving, empathetic, and they all support the heck out of each other. By comparison, even the characters that usually have some sense (Stan and his Mom) look bad.Report

  6. debbie says:

    I just saw this last week in NYC. We won’t talk about what I paid for tickets. I couldn’t agree more that overall the message was actually uplifting and showed the power of faith when it adapts and keeps its message relevant and life affirming (the clitoris is a holy and sacred thing!)

    It is coming to Seattle and Portland in January. Don’t miss it Northwesterners!Report