Mormon church buys ad space in ‘Book of Mormon’ playbills
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has purchased advertising space in The Book of Mormon playbills as the Broadway show makes its Los Angeles debut. The satirical and Tony Award-winning musical from the creators of South Park tells the story of two missionaries who are sent to a small village in Uganda.
While tackling many sensitive subjects, such as AIDS and female circumcision, The Book of Mormon portrays the Mormon missionaries as loveable, but naive.
One of the ads shows a smiling man with the caption, “I’ve read the book.” It also invites viewers to find out more information about the religion and is part of an interesting public relations campaign by the LDS Church. In place of protests and condemnations of the musical, the church has chosen to use it as an impetus for even more publicity.
Michael Purdy, a spokesman for the Mormon church, issued the following statement: “Patrons of the musical aren’t likely to leave the theater with a better understanding of the Book of Mormon. Our message in the playbill invites the audience to seek a more complete perspective on the book, its Christ-centered message and its place in Mormon belief. Currently, these ads are running only in the playbill for the L.A. production, and plans for future use have not been determined.”
The Book of Mormon will run in Los Angeles from Sept. 12-Nov. 25. It is also playing in Denver.