Monday, August 17, 2015

The Book of Mormon: the musical

Last year, I heard that The Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City was getting The Book of Mormon musical. I almost bought season tickets just so I could attend this one production.  Alas, our current young-married-have-children-financial-situation just didn't allow for me to do that.  I was really sad, until, in December, the opportunity for me to get tickets became available and I jumped at the chance. Not only was I going to be able to go, but I was going with a bunch of new friends that have experienced the same transition I have.  So stoked.

The past 6 months have been filled with the music in preparation for the show.  I have giggled and teared up as I listened through the story.  All the while, getting more excited to see it.  So, by the time I got to The Capitol Theatre, I was afraid that the show wasn't going to measure up to my expectations.

We walked in, down the aisle toward our seats, past the group surrounding John Dehlin, and sat down.  On stage was an archway topped with a golden angel Moroni depicting an LDS temple. 

From the moment that golden Moroni started to rotate to the final "I still have maggots in my scrotum," this show had the audience rolling in the aisles with laughter.  The Book of Mormon covered every basic doctrine and cultural oddity involved with the LDS religion.

In the beginning, there was role playing from the MTC, the desire missionaries have to pray for and receive (because of their righteousness) the call to exactly where they want to go, the charismatic missionary getting stuck with the awkward companion, and the more-righteous companion knowing that he would be the one to lead the companionship into changing the world and impress God.

When these missionaries finally get to Africa, they get a serious culture shock.  The political, social, and religious privilege addressed throughout this production is considerable.  However, it probably doesn't even begin to touch the misunderstanding of one's own privilege as a missionary from a first world country.

"Turn It Off" was one of my favorite songs in the first half.  It was the one song that I had pictured completely wrong.  The situation in my head was great, but the situation on stage was AMAZING.    Dismissal of one's own feelings, doubts, and misunderstandings is preached all day, every day in the LDS Church.   This song covers a wide range of situations where this practice is taught, differing views, and how they are all culturally accepted without question.  Oh, because we "turn it off."

The Book of Mormon was not all cultural teasing, it was filled with the Joseph Smith story too.  It expressed how Joseph saw God.  How he was told to get plates of gold from the ground.  How he met Moroni.  How the gold plates were kept from being seen.  How Joseph wrote down what he read from the plates, and then published the Book of Mormon as the "third book in the trilogy."  Joseph speaks to God often.  God needs the Mormons to head west to paradise.  How the Mormons kept making people angry, and then had to keep moving to a new paradise was also covered.  Joseph Smith was shot.  Brigham Young was the next prophet.  Joseph died for what he believed in.  Brigham Young got the Mormons to Salt Lake City, and they all have big mormon families.  All true and the basis for this beautifully complicated religion.

By the time intermission hit, my face ached from the grin that was plastered to my face. 
My heart was full and I couldn't believe we were half way already.  The 15 minute intermission was almost torture to wait through. But we survived.  A good thing, too; because the second half blew me away. 

The missionary stretching a principle so it can apply to an investigators life, the Spooky Mormon Hell Dream, and the investigator agreeing to be baptized so that she will be taken to a better life in "Sal Tlay Ka Siti" are perfect examples of what can and has happened to many people in the LDS church.

"Joseph Smith American Moses" was the most shocking song in the second half.  Many missionaries, despite their best efforts, don't have investigators understand their teachings in the way that they expect them to.  The misunderstanding of gospel teachings is summed up beautifully in this hilarious song.  However, the basic principles of each gospel story were somehow understood.  Crazy.

That was the most shocking song, but my favorite song was "Tomorrow Is A Latter Day."  It was my favorite because it brings everyone, no matter what their choices are concerning the religious cafeteria that Mormons have created, they are all still Latter-Day Saints.  In the latter day, they are there for each other, they are happy, they love everyone, and life is perfect. 

This show surpassed every expectation I thought I had.  I plan on seeing it every time I get the chance.  If you have left Mormonism, you will love this show.  If you are an active Mormon that can acknowledge all the craziness that fills the culture, then you will probably enjoy this show.  If you are a True Blue Mormon, pretty conservative, and didn't relate to the things I mentioned above, then you will NOT like this show.  Don't go see it.

If you are up for a night of side-splitting, OMG my face hurts laughter, then The Book of Mormon is the right choice for you.   Get ready for a crazy ride.  You're gonna love it.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Canada Day Parade: Raymond, Alberta, Canada

In the summer, we all have a little extra time to visit family, friends or explore new places.  Not to mention, it's warmer.  Warm weather  and summer both bring along with them parades; a fun part of the season, especially for the kids.

I used to love parades.  The floats, candy, friends and family, music, and costumes.  But as I've gotten older, I have fallen out of love.  I don't know any of the people sitting in the old and/or fancy cars (this is usually just political exposure), there are few or no floats, not a lot of costumes, and lots of places don't allow candy throwing anymore.  It's become so bland. 

There is one parade that I still love to attend.  And if you get the chance, you should go too.  It's a small town parade in Raymond, Alberta, Canada.  Their parade is in celebration of Canada Day.  I say this is a small town parade because it takes place in a small town; however, they have huge spirit when it comes to July 1st celebrations.  And the town more than quadruples in size for the event.  People come from all over to enjoy the parade with their families and friends.  It's a huge party.

Here is a taste of the parade:

Waiting for the parade with their treat buckets.

 Royal Canadian Mounted Police
A parade wouldn't be a parade in Canada without the RCMP.

picking up candy

Pirates Beware

The Raymond High School Band.
They actually play while marching.  I have been to too many parades where the band is just walking by silently.  And these guys are good.


A bagpipe band.  So fun.  

Wizard of Oz

Lego Movie
Everything is Awesome!

Raymond Baptist Church

 A line of kids pulled by a tractor.  There were two of these in the parade.

The Haunted Mansion

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Raymond Alberta Stake
I don't remember if this was Noah's boat or Nephi's boat.

And, of course, horses.  You cannot have a small town parade without horses.

LDS 3rd Ward
Building on the dreams of the pioneers

I love the smaller entries into the parade.  The creativity of people is so great.

Shane Rodeback Exc.

The LARGEST front loader I have ever seen in my life.

Huge Radio Flyer Wagon

A family celebrating a great-grandfather's 90th birthday.

Big Trucks.  Because country

Sunset Lake Properties
fun lake activities happening on their float

International Rotary Club

Inspection of the candy

This parade is a blast.  Almost every entry throws candy, and a ton of it.  So, no kids get left out.  Watch out for the occasional water gun shooting.  They will get you.  Don't forget to dress up and get your tattoo.

You will not be disappointed in this activity with the kids. If you get stuck in town because of all the traffic, take a breath, wave, and enjoy the moment to just be in a small town.


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