Monday, April 29, 2013

The Mormons Are Coming!

Already here, folks!
Last year in Manhattan we lived a couple blocks up from the theatre where The Book of Mormon musical was playing.  Although I did not see it (based on the recommendation of those who had), I was familiar with its plot and even songs just by being in the New York City milieu.

So when ads such as that above on London buses, bus stops, and inside Tube stations cropped up, I cringed.  Many Americans have some experience or contact with my faith and its membership to contextualize this kind of parody.  But Brits do not.

Here, people often confuse us with the much-publicized excommunicated FLDS bunch.  At Oxford people expected me to have long, braided hair and to be only one of my husband's wives (a practice abandoned over 100 years ago). Sigh.

So yesterday I took the opportunity to use the ads and the church's response - an expansion of the brilliant "I'm a Mormon" campaign to the British Isles, with their own bus ads and complete buy-ups of all advertising in three Tube stops (pictured below)- to teach my Primary lesson (spoiler: yes, I again have a calling/responsibility in Primary and already loving it).

What's the big deal?  Where did we get the Book of Mormon? Who wrote it? I queried the children. This to elicit a discussion about the restoration, its compilation by Mormon ("the father of the angel Moroni who sits atop our temples" I told them), and its miraculous translation by an nearly illiterate backwoods man with only seven years of education.  I even threw in that the miracle of translation included both the use of the urim and thummim (see also this cool Wikipedia article about their Hebraic roots)--the official version--and seer stones looked at inside a hat--according to historians such as Richard Bushman--so that they would not feel the frustration I felt in not being told this little bit of history growing up.

The big deal, as I shared with the children, is that The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ - a compliment, not a replacement to the Old and New Testaments - the word of God, a testament that God speaks and calls prophets today, and that Christ loves everyone no matter where they live or the color of their skin (enough to visit them in person after his ministry in Jerusalem).

 Charing Cross Tube Stop

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