How Mormons Are Discovering the Musical as a Conversion Tool
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has discovered that the musical “The Book of Mormon” can be used as a conversion tool. Elders Skyler Fenn and Jacob Chapman, both mormon missionaries, stood outside one musical and handed out 40 Book of Mormons, all they had with them at the time. they were nervous to proselytize outside of the theatre, but realized the musical could be just the thing to get people curious about the church. Having them outside the theater seemed to humanize concepts like “missionary” and “Mormon” for the audience. It might even have helped dispel the reputation the religion has for being sober and straight-laced.
Initially, the Church’s only response to the musical was this: “The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.”
Two years later the Church changed their stance and instead promoted advertisements with photos of members who were not the stereotypical Mormon rather they had a goateed Caucasian, an Asian woman, an African-American man. The advertisements in no way endorsed the play, but rather showed where curious people could go to find real answers.
The church wants to show how diverse the members are and recently started a new publicity campaign called “I’m a Mormon” composed of personal vignettes that can be watched on the Church’s official website or on YouTube. Each video emphasizes diversity. Basically the Church wants to cultivate relationships with everyone, and all are welcome.
The LDS Church was smart to cultivate relationships with those who saw the musical. The musical is a means that God uses to speak into peoples lives. This is not so different as people finding faith after experiencing trauma in their lives or making bad decisions. None of these things are embraced by any religion, but they still help you learn something valuable that God wanted to teach you.
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