I thought that the LDS Church PR department was maturing. Unfortunately, I was wrong; a recent blog entry for the Washington Post is a case in point. In his article, Michael Otterson, Head of Public Relations for the LDS Church, gives his take (and the LDS Church’s take?) on the musical “The Book of Mormon:”
Of course, parody isn’t reality, and it’s the very distortion that makes it appealing and funny. The danger is not when people laugh but when they take it seriously–if they leave a theater believing that Mormons really do live in some kind of surreal world of self-deception and illusion.
He goes on to give three reasons why there hasn’t “been a huge outcry from Mormons?
- What Broadway does is irrelevant to most of us;
- Christians should seek out the positive and virtuous things in life; and
- We (Mormons) need to turn the other cheek.
Amplifying the third point, Otterson writes:
It takes strength of character to do this, but it’s the Christian mandate. Sure, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pushes back when the record needs correcting or when legal rights need defending, but the world of popular entertainment is more likely to be met with a collective shrug than by placard-waving Mormon protesters.
Otterson even quotes Christ: “Do good to them who despitefully use you and persecute you.”
We Mormons need to get over our persecution complex. Somehow we always seem to get some smug pleasure from being “despitefully used” . . . and then bragging that we can take a punch.
And enough with the self-righteousness. To openly advertise that we Mormons have “strength of character” and then whine about being persecuted is ridiculous.
Bragging about our efforts in Africa (which Otterson does in his blog entry) also shows a certain lack humbleness. Let’s help the Africans because they need help, not because it makes the LDS Church look good, and is good for PR. Enough with the bragging, in point of fact, we could do a lot more than we are currently doing.
Putting down Broadway, seems particularly silly and unnecessarily mean spirited. A lot of wonderful plays and musicals have been born or presented there. I suspect that many have subsequently been performed at BYU and other Mormon venues. And to assume that Broadway patrons are unable to tell the different between parody and reality is also unnecessarily insulting.
Please find another LDS Church job for Brother Otterson. He makes the Church look sillier that TBOM musical.