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October 22, 2014

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Why this Mormon isn’t going to see ‘The Book of Mormon’

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Joan Marcus

David Larsen as Elder Price in the second national tour of the nine-time Tony Award-winning “The Book of Mormon” now at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts through July 6, 2014.

‘The Book of Mormon’

The second national tour of the nine-time Tony Award-winning “The Book of Mormon” now at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts through July 6, 2014.

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Two things to get straight right off the bat: First, I’m no prude.

Second, I hold no grudge against and won’t judge people who see "The Book of Mormon" — even though I choose not to.

The hit musical is playing at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts to sold-out crowds after wowing New York and winning a bunch of Tony Awards. From everything I’ve heard, the show is funny, entertaining, sacrilegious and maybe even vile. But the songs are catchy.

I’m an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the church lampooned in the show. I've read the Book of Mormon. I served a mission. And I’m curious about the show everyone is talking about.

But I hadn’t even thought about going until our arts and entertainment editor asked if I was interested. Turns out we were too late to get in for the media night (go read Robin Leach’s review or John Katsilometes’ report on the show).

But it made me think a little. Should I see the show? Should I avoid it?

I think that I am open-minded. I didn’t grow up surrounded by other Mormons in Utah; I’m used to ridicule and people questioning my beliefs.

I like laughing. I can certainly understand the desire for a night out at an entertaining show. I even like musicals.

But I decided not to see it, even though I absolutely understand why some Latter-day Saints want to go. Some of my reasons are more practical than moral, but mostly I just don’t see how going would be a benefit to me.

Here are my Top Four reasons not to go to "The Book of Mormon":

4. It's sold out. The only way to get tickets at this point is to go down to the Smith Center and hope to win the lottery — literally. I have a job and a family. Who has time to stand around and try to win a chance to buy tickets?

3. If I’m going to spend money on a dinner out, tickets for a show and pay a baby sitter, there are plenty of options in this town that I know I’ll enjoy instead of this show where I’m unsure how it would leave me feeling.

2. I don’t need to go to a show to hear "offensive adult language, double entendres and in-bad-taste names (even Robin Leach is) not allowed to write." I work in a newsroom; I hear that stuff all the time. Plus, this is Las Vegas, where there are plenty of billboards that I wish my kids didn’t have to see. I’m used to it and don’t need to seek more of it. Surely there are plenty of more positive ways to spend my time.

1. The book is always better. It’s always true for movies and shows. I find inspiration and encouragement from the Book of Mormon. Even if the show is entertaining or amusing, I’ll stick with the original.

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