The Book of Mormon Musical—How Much Is Correct?

The hit Broadway musical has some odd stuff. Some things they got right and others not so much. We’ll go through them one by one.

The Book of Mormon musical launched on Broadway in 2011 and garnered a lot of controversy and acclaim. It won nine Tony Awards for its unconventional story about missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Book of Mormon. But you might wonder, how much of the story is based on real beliefs of the Church?

We won’t deal with all the far-fetched examples. But here is a quick fact check of some of the underlying beliefs portrayed in the play.

1

God has a plan for all of us

True

Absolutely. We believe in God, and that because He created and loves us, He has a plan for the human family. We assert that He instituted that plan before the Creation and that life continues after we die. The plan makes it possible for us to live again with Him through Jesus Christ. All our beliefs center on Jesus.

2

Ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America

True

The Book of Mormon includes multiple accounts of people who built boats or ships and traveled to the Americas. This includes the account where the prophet Nephi is commanded to build a ship to carry his family across the ocean (1 Nephi 17:7–8).

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The Book of Mormon in 60 seconds
3

God will punish you for stealing a glazed donut at age five

False

Latter-day Saints believe children are innocent and not capable of sin. Even a child who steals a donut, and then lies about it, is still innocent.

In addition, the Book of Mormon teaches it is unnecessary to baptize little children because they are “alive in Christ” (Moroni 8:10-21). We consider eight years old the age of accountability, when a child becomes eligible for baptism.

4

All-American church with an all-American prophet

False

There are more Church members living outside of the United States than who live in the United States. Latter-days live in hundreds of countries and speak a wide array of languages.

It is true that the Book of Mormon contains stories of ancient prophets who lived in the Americas. It’s also true that early leaders like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are considered American prophets. But with members all over the globe, in over a hundred countries, it’s inaccurate to say the Church today is an American church.

5

You can one day have your own planet Orlando

Misleading

We believe in a Heavenly Father who desires that His children—that's everyone who ever lived—grow and reach a much greater potential. We strive for a divine destiny and believe that after this life we can continue becoming more like Him. Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in Godʼs presence and to live forever with our families.

Exaltation also means we will be more like God and continue to progress. Creating your own “Planet Orlando” is a misleading exaggeration. The belief that we can live with God, and grow to be more like Him can bring you a deeper sense meaning and give more perspective about the purpose of life. Unfortunately, the Book of Mormon musical makes this beautiful idea seem like childish science fiction.

6

The angel Moroni is from the Death Star

Not even close

Moroni is a real person, an ancient prophet, whose words are in the Book of Mormon. Our history recounts how Moroni appeared as an angel to young Joseph Smith. 

But, as you’ve already gathered, Moroni does not hail from the Death Star or the fictional Star Wars universe.

7

The book will change your life

Definitely

The Book of Mormon testifies that Jesus is the Savior of the world. The book will also build your faith in God. The Book of Mormon urges anyone who reads it to ask God if the book and the things it teaches are true (Moroni 10:3–5). It promises that by the power of the Holy Ghost you can know the truth of all things.

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Jared’s story about the Book of Mormon
A man reading the Book of Mormon, open on a table.

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