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Why The Book of Mormon Musical Was Made Now

(NOTE: the song above doesn’t have any bad language, but it is irreverent and makes fun of Mormon beliefs.  It has a couple of cringe-worthy moments for me, but I don’t find it too egregious — even found myself laughing in a place or two.  However, I don’t want to offend anyone, so if you’re worried about it, I recommend that you skip it.)  🙂

There’s been a ton of buzz about The Book of Mormon Musical lately, due to the fact that it took home about a bajillion Tony Awards this past Sunday.   I haven’t seen the production, of course, because I live very far away from Broadway — and because I’m not sure my little heart could take it* — but I think there are some very specific reasons why something like this could be made about Mormons at this particular moment.  I’d like to explore them here…

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And We Wonder Why They're Scared of Us…

So…the following showed up on Utah State Representative Craig Frank’s blog regarding Utah Governor Huntsman’s appointment as US Ambassador to China (and was subsequently picked up by Politico):

This is a big deal for the Governor, Utah, the United States, and…the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

Although the LDS church’s missionary program has an ecclesiastical presence throughout many parts of the world, the countries with the largest population bases (China and India) are not currently open to the church’s missionary efforts. Huntsman served his LDS mission as a 19 year old young man in the Taiwan Taipei Mission in the early 1980’s. He has since been back to the Far East on a number of occasions. Huntsman not only takes to China his political acumen but also a lifetime of membership in the LDS church. This should bode well for the LDS church’s mission to spread the gospel throughout the world, since all members of the LDS faith are under divine mandate to…”Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” (Matt 28:19)

Huntsman’s ambassadorship not only puts him in an excellent position to address US-China relations, it puts him in an even better position to teach the gospel…in Mandarin.

Good grief.  Just because Utah’s political structure is as good as a theocracy does NOT mean people think mixing religion with politics is a great idea in the rest of the world.

No wonder people worry about a Mormon in the White House.

But don’t worry; in a subsequent post titled “I Guess I Was Wrong…Huntsman Won’t Help Spread the Gospel,” Representative Frank makes this ambiguous comment:

Unless, in fact, the Prophet of God has granted a special dispensation to Brother Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., he is under the same obligation as any member of the Church to share the gospel “throughout the world.”

Oh, well, in that case.  Glad we cleared that up.

And You Thought BYU Was Bad…

It sounds like a story straight from Footloose.

Or maybe BYU.

Because 17-year-old high school senior Tyler Frost is about to be kicked out of his own graduation…for dancing.
no_dan14

Frost, a student at a fundamentalist Baptist high school in northwest Ohio, plans to take his girlfriend to her public school prom–but if he does, he’ll receive an “incomplete” on remaining assignments and be forbidden from attending graduation.

What’s more, “if he’s involved with sex or alcohol at the prom, he’ll be expelled.” (Full story here.)

Riiiiiiiiiight.

Because slow dancing to Bryan Adams is just a heartbeat away from fornication.  Obviously.

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Confessions of a Licked Cupcake: Episode #1 – The Twinkie Smear

nocupcake

I am pleased to present the first in what I hope is a semi-regular series of short audio interviews about LDS chastity metaphors for Young Women…

CONFESSIONS OF A LICKED CUPCAKE

(IMPORTANT NOTE: a podcast follows this brief introduction; scroll down to find it.)

After years of feeling traumatized by an entire adolescence filled with sometimes ludicrous and always uncomfortable sex lessons in Sunday School, seminary, and Young Women, I realized something extremely important recently:

Those lessons were damn funny.

And thus, this series was born.

Here’s the audio.  In Episode 1: The Twinkie Smear, my sister Jenny shares one of the most visual represenations of what-not-to-do-while-kissing I’ve ever heard of.  The whole thing is about 4 and a half minutes.  Click play and enjoy!

Why the Licked Cupcake?

The licked cupcake is a somewhat widely-used chastity metaphor in Mormondom…wherein the girls are compared to cupcakes, frosting is compared to virtue…and the moral of the story is that if someone’s licked your frosting, no one will want you.

Hogwash.

This is dedicated to all the licked cupcakes out there who feel helpless and alone.  Remember, you’re never so far gone that Jesus can’t re-frost you–and this time, you’ll even have sprinkles and a cherry on top. 😉

This post is one in a series.  Get the rest of the series here.

Are You a Good Person? Win a Dollar

I went to the Cache County Fair three weeks ago and saw an intriguing booth:

Are You a Good Person? a large banner asked. Win a dollar.

And never one to turn down a dollar–nor back away from a challenge–I marched straight over.

Come to find out, it was a proselytizing booth for Evangelical Christians. And they had a questionnaire for me to find out just how “good” I really am. Eagerly, I asked if I could take the questionnaire for my chance at glory.

A nervous, pimply teenager grabbed a clipboard and cleared his throat. “Have you ever loved anything more than God?” he asked.

I thought about it for a moment. “Ummm…probably,” I admitted.

“Have you ever worshipped an idol?”

“I–uh, I don’t think so.”

“Well, you probably have,” he said.

“Very possible,” I agreed.

“Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain?”

“Yes.”

“Have you ever broken the Sabbath Day?”

“Yes.”

“Have you ever dishonored your father or mother?”

“Well…yes.”

“Have you ever murdered?”

I felt much better here. “No, I have never murdered,” I said proudly.

“But have you ever hated someone?”

“Well, actually,” I replied, “I really try not to hate–”

“Even for a second?” he grilled me.

“Well…yes,” I admitted.

“Then you’ve murdered them in your heart.”

“Oh,” I said. “Okay.”

“Have you ever committed adultery?”

“No.”

“But have you ever lusted?”

I kind of smiled. “Absolutely,” I said.

“Then you’ve committed adultery in your heart,” he reminded me.

“Oh, yes, of course,” I replied.

“Have you ever stolen?”

“Yes.”

“Have you ever lied?”

“Yes.”

“Have you ever coveted?”

“All the time.”

He turned his questionnaire around to reveal the ten commandments–and by my own admission, I was guilty of ten out of ten of ’em.

“Does this look like a good person to you?” he asked.

I looked it over for a second.  “Not really,” I said.

“Then how do you think God will judge you?”

“Well,” I began slowly, “I think if I were to stand on my own merits, I would be damned.  But if I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, and rely on His grace and His merits instead of my own works–well, then, I believe I’m saved.”

He stared at me, dumbfounded.  “And–and HAVE you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?”

“I have,” I replied confidently.

“And–are you MORMON?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper.

“I am,” I replied confidently.

There was a pause while we just stared at each other.

“Betcha you never heard that one before, eh?” I asked.

“Not really,” he replied.

“So what do you think?” I asked.  “Can I be saved, even though I’m Mormon?”

Then he said something I never thought I’d hear an Evangelical say: “I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe.”

I smiled at him.  “You’re doing a wonderful thing,” I told him.  “Thank you.  And God bless.”

But my question remains: Is there hope for us Mormons yet?