Hello! 'The Book of Mormon' — the crude musical — leads to a religious conversion

Just in case you don't memorize my every word, I thought I'd share again something I wrote last year about "The Book of Mormon" musical.

Trust me, there's a reason I bring up this topic now.

But first, here's what I said last time:

My wife and I saw "The Book of Mormon" musical when it came to Oklahoma City last year.
I had heard songs on the soundtrack and read news stories about the production, so I was curious.
I laughed a lot and squirmed a lot, too: Going in, I probably was naive. I'm one who tends to avoid even R-rated movies, so the extreme crudeness — language, sex objects, etc. — caught me off guard.

I was reminded of "The Book of Mormon" this week because of an excellent feature by Godbeat pro Holly Meyer with The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville:

(Insert previous GetReligion heaping of praise on Meyer and her newspaper for recognizing the importance of a religion writer.)

Meyer's story profiles a Nashville man who — "Hello!" — joined the Mormons as a result of going to see the musical that pokes pun at them. (Wait, what!?)

The lede from The Tennessean:

Tyler Todd wasn't looking for a new church when he clicked on a friend's Facebook post and watched a performance of "Hello," the opening number of the irreverent but critically acclaimed "The Book of Mormon" musical. 
The 23-year-old Nashville-area native sought out the rest of the often hysterical and profane production about two mismatched missionaries sent to Uganda to convert residents to the Mormon faith. From the creators of "South Park," the Tony-award winning musical returns to Nashville on Tuesday for a six-day run at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
"I just thought it was really funny and obviously I knew it was kind of making fun of the religion," Todd said. "I was like, 'Well, I've heard their side of things, I want to hear what people who actually believe think about it."
That moment almost a year ago marked the beginning of Todd's exploration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ultimately led to his conversion to the faith. He was baptized Sept. 17 and feelings of complete joy and happiness washed over him.
But the irony of it all isn't lost on Todd.
"Whenever I tell people that, that's really what sparked that interest, they're always like, 'But that's weird.' They don't view it as something that's a great thing like I do," Todd said. "I think it's hilarious and it's a great production and if it brought me to the church then obviously it can't be too bad."

Keep reading, and Meyer provides more context and background on Mormons — and Mormon missionaries — in the Nashville area.

The Tennessean already had previewed "The Book of Mormon" musical, but Meyer used readers' interest in the show to generate an enterprising piece on those who subscribe to the actual Book of Mormon. 

It's a timely, respectful piece — made even better by reader-friendly breakouts on "5 misconceptions about Mormonism," "Who is a missionary?" and "By the numbers," which details Mormon adherents in Middle Tennessee. Scroll to the bottom of the story to see that information.

Nice job, Holly Meyer and Tennessean colleagues!

Inset image via @HollyAMeyer

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