Doing for Jews what has already been done to/for Latter-day Saints?

Doing for Jews what has already been done to/for Latter-day Saints? January 10, 2023


The Biltmore House, NC
Interpreter’s main headquarters building, known locally as the “Biltmore House,” is nestled at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains in the southeastern sector of Orem, Utah.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


To the considerable irritation of at least a few extremely irritable critics, the Interpreter Foundation continues to produce.  Here are three items that went up just today:


Come, Follow Me — New Testament Study and Teaching Helps: Lesson 4, January 16 — January 22: John 1 — “We Have Found the Messiah”

As he’s been doing very consistently for a long time, Jonn Claybaugh yet again provides a concise set of notes for students and teachers of the Church’s “Come, Follow Me” curriculum.


The New Testament in Context Lesson 4: We Have Found the Messiah

In the 11 December 2022 Come, Follow Me segment of the Interpreter Radio Show, Terry Hutchinson and John Gee and Kevin Christensen joined together to discuss New Testament lesson 4, on John 1.  That discussion is now available for listening at your convenience . . .  but at no charge.  The other segments of the 11 December 2022 radio show can be accessed at  Moreover, the Interpreter Radio Show can be heard live on Sunday evenings, every single week of the year, from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640.  Or you can listen to the show as it happens — no net! no rough drafts! no do-overs! — on the Internet at


Nibley Lectures: Time Vindicates the Prophets — Prophets and Glad Tidings

Between 7 March 1954 and 17 October 1954, Hugh Nibley delivered a series of thirty (30) weekly lectures on KSL Radio that were also published as pamphlets. The series, which was called “Time Vindicates the Prophets,” was given in answer to those who were challenging the right of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to call themselves Christians.

This lecture suggests that joy is the main message prophets bring to mankind.


At the Prince of Wales
One of the several bright large signs that I saw a while back at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


Back in March and April of 2016, various media outlets cited Mr. John Dehlin, who was at the time still a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as expressing his giddy excitement about the new Broadway musical comedy The Book of Mormon.  It had been written, of course, by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who were already well known at the time for their earlier creation of the South Park television series.  Mr. Dehlin was featured in the New York Times — see “Trying to Relish the Big Time, Even When It Brings a Cringe” (including a photograph of him in which he is seen beaming with delight in the audience)  — but the remark that I most clearly recall from Mr. Dehlin seems to have appeared in an article from Fox News:  “‘South Park’ Creators’ Mormon Musical Has Some Mormons Excited, Others Suspicious”:

John Dehlin, 41, of Logan, Utah has already purchased his tickets to the Broadway musical and will be flying to New York with a group of 10 people (only one of whom isn’t Mormon) on March 25th.

He says he can’t wait.

“I’m super excited,” Dehlin, the founder of Mormon Stories podcasts, told FOX411. “I think this is our Mormon moment. The Jews had ‘Fiddler [on the Roof] ‘and the Catholics had ‘Sound of Music’ and now we have this.”

Dehlin calls himself a liberal member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are collectively referred to as Mormons. . . .

“When a lot of my orthodox LDS friends hear that ‘South Park’ is doing a musical about Mormonism they put their hands to their head and give a deep sigh and express sadness or frustration,” Dehlin said. “But my liberal friends are stoked!”

When I tracked down the piece from Fox News just now, I was quite surprised to find that I was quoted in the article, as well.  I had completely forgotten it:

Brigham Young professor Daniel Peterson began his thoughts on the play with an audible sigh.

“The general reaction is ‘sigh’, ‘more of this’,” Peterson, who teaches Islamic Studies and Arabic at the Mormon University in Utah told FOX411. “We’re sort of accustomed  to being made to look like idiots or villains so it is nothing new. You wouldn’t do this to Jews, you wouldn’t do this to blacks, but we’re still legit to kick around.”

Peterson isn’t a champion of the Parker and Stone project and won’t be flying to New York to see a performance, but he agrees with Dehlin that this could be a “Mormon moment.”

“The fact is we are a blip on the national radar screen, and there is something to be said for that,” Peterson said. “My feeling is it is better from our standpoint to be talked about than utterly ignored. I would rather be mocked because it gives me a chance to explain myself.”

Happily, that still expresses my view of the matter.  In fact, all the way back in January 2011, I had already heard that Trey Parker and Matt Stone were working on a musical about the Latter-day Saints, and I wrote a column about it:  “Anti-Mormon mockery can actually lead to teaching moments.”  I was pleased, subsequently, to see that the Church itself seemed to see things pretty much the way I did (and do).  What happened to the other play that I mentioned, the one that supposedly chronicled the adventures of Joseph Smith up to Christmas 1825, I cannot say.  Which doesn’t displease me even slightly.

But why was I reminded of Mr. Dehlin’s comments to Fox News?  Please recall that he said

“I think this is our Mormon moment. The Jews had ‘Fiddler [on the Roof] ‘and the Catholics had ‘Sound of Music’ and now we have this.”

With that in mind, have a look at this:

“The Israeli Musical Aiming to Be a Jewish ‘Book of Mormon’: ‘The Chabadniks’ takes a couple of lovable young Orthodox Jews and dumps them in a hardscrabble part of Tel Aviv. Their story is told with affection, says creator Udi Gottshalk, who admits to ‘counting yarmulkes’ in the audience at the Cameri Theater”

I thought Mr. Dehlin’s remark extremely silly.  But I’m amused to see that, while one purported Latter-day Saint once tried to portray The Book of Mormon as a Latter-day Saint Fiddler on the Roof, some Jews are now supposedly hoping for a Jewish Book of Mormon.



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