The official reaction of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to The Book of Mormon, the musical from Matt Stone and Trey Parker of South Park and Robert Lopez of Avenue Q, consists of a single sentence: “The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the The Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.”
But the musical has done much more than merely attempt to entertain people for an evening: it regularly brings audiences to their feet in a wild ovation at its end, and it earned a whopping 14 Tony nominations, winning in nine of the categories it was nominated in, including “Best Musical.”
What is going on in this show? In Varieties of Religious Experience, William James states, “a book may well be a revelation in spite of errors and passions and deliberate human composition, if only it be a true record of the inner experiences of great-souled persons wrestling with the crises of their fate.” Certainly the individuals in the BOM musical struggle with the crises of their fate; are any of the characters “great-souled”? What “revelations” are contained within the musical itself?
We seek essays of 4,000 to 6,000 words from a variety of disciplines for a critical anthology exploring this new musical phenomenon. Please send a 500-word abstract to BOM.email@example.com by November 1.