“The Book Of Mormon Musical” : Doctrine On Broadway …a prophecy fulfilled?

NPR recently posted the soundtrack to “The Book of Mormon”, the Broadway musical from the creators of “South Park” and “Avenue Q” that has turned into a smash hit.


I haven’t seen the show, but after listening to the soundtrack a few times, I have to admit that the music is really good. I suspect from the quality of the music alone, these songs may be with us for a long time. I have dozens of CD’s of Broadway and film musical recordings, and this would definitely be in the top 5 or 10.

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30 years ago, President Kimball expressed his vision for the arts, and the ways in which music, film and art could help tell the story of the Saints. In some way, as I see the success and reaction to “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway, I see a skewed fulfillment of that vision.


In the field of both composition and performance, why cannot someone write a greater oratorio than Handel’s Messiah? The best has not yet been composed nor produced. They can use the coming of Christ to the Nephites as the material for a greater masterpiece. Our artists tomorrow may write and sing of Christ’s spectacular return to the American earth in power and great glory, and his establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth in our own dispensation. No Handel nor other composer of the past or present or future could ever do justice to this great event. How could one ever portray in words and music the glories of the coming of the Father and the Son and the restoration of the doctrines and the priesthood and the keys unless he were an inspired Latter-day Saint, schooled in the history and doctrines and revelations and with rich musical ability and background and training?

Faithful LDS have given it their best shot over the years, to mixed (and usually underwhelming) success.

As far as the songs go when it comes to “religion”, it’s a mixed bag. Several are harmless, several are “interesting”, and some are so patently offensive that they would be extremely objectionable to anyone who is sensitive to profanity and “lightmindedness” towards the Church and its leaders.

One song stands out as particularly interesting, and I’ve listened to it more than the rest. It’s surreal to imagine this song being sung to packed houses in New York, and soon it will be heard all around the world (and, with the inevitable film version, it could help shape future perceptions of the Church in ways we can’t yet foresee).

The song is called “I Believe”. It is sung by Elder Price, as he deals with a crisis of faith on his mission in Uganda. You can hear it here:


(The song has one aside line from an African that contains some profanity. If you want an edited MP3 of the song, PM me).

Here are the lyrics:

I Believe!

Ever since I was a child, I tried to be the best
so what happened?

My family and friends all said I was blessed,
so what happened?

It was supposed to be all so exciting, to be teaching of Christ across the sea.
But I allowed my faith to be shaken, oh what’s the matter with me?

I’ve always longed to help the needy, to do the things I never dared.
This was the time for me to step up, so then why was I so scared?

A warlord who shoots people in the face,what’s so scary about that?
I must trust that my Lord is mightier…and always has my back!

Now I must be completely devout…I can’t have even one shred of doubt!

I Believe!

…that the Lord God created the universe

I Believe!

…that He sent His only son to die for my sins

And I believe!

…that ancient jews built boats and sailed to America.

I am a Mormon, and a Mormon just believes.

You cannot just believe partway, you have to beleive in it all.
My problem was doubting the Lord’s will instead of standing tall.

I can’t allow my self to have any doubt, it’s time to set my worries free.
It’s time to show the world what Elder Price is about, and share the power inside of me!

I Believe!

…that God has a plan of us!
I Believe!

…that that plan involves me getting my own planet.

And I believe!

…that the current President of the Church – Thomas Monson – speaks directly to God.

I am a Mormon!

And dang it, a Mormon just believes.

I know that I must go and do the things my God commands.
I realize now why he sent me here.

If you ask the Lord in faith, He will always answer you.

Just believe in him and have no fear!

I Believe!

…that Satan has a hold of you

I Believe!

…that the Lord God has sent me here.

And I believe!

…that in 1978 God changed his mind about black people.

You can be a Mormon! A Mormon who just believes.

And now I can feel the excitement, this is the moment I was born to do.
And I feel so incredible, to be sharing my faith with you.
The scriptures say that if you ask in faith, if you ask God himself you will know.
But you must ask Him without any doubt, and let your spirit grow…

I Believe!

…that God lives on a planet named Kolob.

I Believe!

…that Jesus has his own planet as well.

And I believe!

…that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri.

I believe the Lord will reveal it. And you’ll know it’s all true, you’ll just feel it.
You’ll be a Mormon, and by gosh, a Mormon just believes!

I Believe!

The song touches on a few points that have been discussed among LDS for years (Eden in Missouri?), but presents them as most traditional Mormons see them (and Church publications present them). In other words, I find this song to be a plainer expression of what Mormons (and certainly energetic Missionaries) believe than one would get from some online quarters.

Certainly, there could be quibbles with the wording (God lives near Kolob, not on it!) but I suspect such quibbles would make the wrong point about our belief in such things.

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