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on July 10, 2014
The Book of Mormon made quite a splash when it first appeared on Broadway. On paper, there is no way that this musical should have worked, but through the genius of Matt Stone & Trey Parker, it does. They have the gift of being able to take a controversial subject and mock it almost to the point of being offensive without actually crossing the line. They do so here with abandon.

This version includes not only the original Broadway cast recording, but also a digital e-book. For fans of the show, it is a fun resource to have. it includes photos from the original Broadway production, a full synopsis of the show and songs, all the lyrics to all the songs, and an introduction by Frank Rich, notable former theater critic and columnist for the New York Times, currently with New York Magazine. Rich gives an even-handed, objective analysis of the show, comparing its themes to other, more familiar Broadway works of times gone by.

For those who are not familiar with this show, the plot involves a group of young Mormon men who are being sent out into the world for their two year "mission." The opening song, "Hello," shows them practicing their technique for going door-to-door with the intent of introducing people to their religion. In "Two By Two," the young men discover not only who their missionary partner will be for the next two years, but also their destinations. When the lead character, Elder Price, discovers he has been paired with Elder Cunningham, he assures Elder Cunningham that Price will carry most of the missionary burden in "You And Me (But Mostly Me)."

Things go awry when the pair arrives in the Ugandan village they are charged with converting. It is also at this point that the lyrics of the show take a distinctly adult turn, including explicit language and themes that are DEFINITELY considered offensive by some. The Ugandans have a saying that they use in times of trouble - "Hasa Diga Eebowai" - that is NOT in line with any Mormon teaching, but gives the young missionaries an idea of what they are up against in this village. Ironically, anyone who has made it this far into the show is hooked and will stay along for the rest of the ride.

This show is fun, irreverent, and side-splittingly funny. It does give a convoluted interpretation of the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but that is one of the things Matt Stone and Trey Parker do best - take something with well-established boundaries and beliefs and skew them beyond all recognition without crossing the satirical line into offense.

If you are a fan of this show, I would highly recommend picking up this version of the cast recording with the digital booklet.

A fuller account of the entire show, along with a detailed song synopsis can be found on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Mormon_(musical)).
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on July 17, 2016
I love this soundtrack to the Book of Mormon. It has all the songs, but it also has much more and I feel like I get almost the whole play in the CD. Of course, I am sure that isn't the case, but I feel like I am relieving the musical while listening to the songs and I can enjoy it as if I were there. The songs are funny, rude, hilarious, and downright crude in some cases and that is what makes them great. Be warned if you listen to this soundtrack. Its offensive at some points and its meant to be. It uses bad language. It also makes you laugh and think and feel and that is what good music should do, whether its a soundtrack or not. They did a great job with the musical and a great job with the soundtrack!
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on June 14, 2015
A terrific musical that satirizes, not by exaggeration, but by using the actual doctrines of the LDS church. However, as you might expect of the same authors behind "South Park" on TV, there is quite a bite of raunchy language-- almost all by the Africans, only some by the Mormons. And it's really a coming of age story of the young men involved, with an added twist at the end that really explains how all religions get to be spin offs of others. It's great that the album also includes all the lyrics to the songs.
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VINE VOICEon June 14, 2011
From the first song, the "Wow!" factor is amazing on this album. I mean, I was floored. Laughing out loud with joy and pleasure at the layers of happiness in the opening song "Hello", which I don't think anyone could really find offensive. I think the LDS church could even think about using it in a commercial. Well, most of it anyway. Even my two-month-old's little eyes perked up as he smiled at that song. I just wish they had sustained the rollicking, multi-layered frenzy at the end a little while longer.

I do think "Hello" is the high-water mark, and the show doesn't quite hit that level again, but the rest of the show is still, in general, very entertaining and impressive.

And yes, it will certainly be offensive to some. I did feel guilty at enjoying some of it, and there were a few moments I didn't enjoy. But a lot of the potentially most offensive parts have nothing to do with the LDS faith specifically. "Hasa Diga Eebowai" probably will offend the most people, but there is nothing specifically Mormon about the offensive bits -- the opportuntity is open to the devout of any denomination. Likewise, the sexual innuendo of "Baptize Me" could offend people across many Christian traditions.

Regarding specifically LDS-related offensiveness, I'm not at all sure the repress-your-feelings message of "Turn It Off" reflects mainstream LDS culture or not, but it seemed a bit unfair. And the reinactments -- both US and African -- of the story of Joseph Smith could also be offensive to many. As a person who considers himself sensitive to other beliefs and faiths, I did feel guilty laughing a few times when things went beyond the pale. The laughter was more of an "OMG I don't believe they actually said that" nature.

But I also tried to put this humor into context as someone with a Catholic upbringing. Is this really that much more insulting than Mel Brooks' musical number "The Inquisition", or Tom Lehrer's classic piano tune "The Vatican Rag"? Is it more offensive than the Monty Python send up of the Anglican church in the "Oh Lord, You Are So Big" sketch? And certainly, this is NOT more offensive than South Park's treatment of Scientology.

While this soundtrack scores high on the vulgarity index, I'm not at all sure that once you strip the vulgarity away, it is fundamentally any more offensive to the LDS faith than we have seen countless times before in the history of comedy with other religions. It's the extreme language that makes it seem so volatile, it seems to me.

I actually learned a lot about the Mormon faith here, even though I've been to LDS services in the past at the invitation of friends and co-workers. I'm taking the story it presents with a grain of salt, but I feel I was both educated and entertained.

Now if I could just put my guilt at enjoying this album into a little box in my head and CRUSH IT, that would perfect. (That was a reference to the song "Turn It Off" -- darn it, I'm already starting to incorporate this soundtrack into my repertoire of offhand pop cultural references.)

Finally, if you get the MP3, be sure to get the version with the digital booklet. It is REALLY worthwhile for both the photos and the lyrics.
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VINE VOICEon July 10, 2013
Find out how a new religion is created!

Although there are songs with disturbing lyrics, when taken in context, they make sense. Considering the gravity of the villagers' situation - murderous warlords, famine, bugs biting their eyeballs, and 80% of the villagers having AIDS - no wonder they lash out. In this case, at God.

The lyrics are spot-on. The writers took a few liberties, but it is certainly effective. The opening song is modeled loosely after the telephone gossip-spreading number in "Bye Bye Birdie". The whole sound track shows that the lyricists and composers paid careful attention to the classic broadway musical format.

The "Book of Mormon" could have featured most any religion or denomination; but, hey, why not go for the low-hanging fruit. The scientific disciplines that have studied the religion - archeology, linguistics, geography, and especially DNA studies; show multiple factual errors in the real "The Book of Mormon". Additionally, their odd beliefs and practices make Mormons an easy hit. Odd, that is, compared to what most Christians are used to. Yet, while Mormons are parodied, they are presented in a sympathetic tone. If anyone is offended, it should be the Ugandans!

The recording is done in a studio - lyrics and soundtrack separately. That is both good and bad. The good - the punch lines in the lyrics are emphasized with no echo and laughter doesn't drown them out. The bad - the missing laughter fails to demonstrate how funny this broadway play is to a live audience - a negative feature for those cursed with a diminished sense of humor.

Overall, a superb value. One can get the jist of this wonderful original production without the high ticket cost, although there's nothing like being there. I recommend both.
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on August 27, 2013
Tickets to Book of Mormon are expensive and difficult to come by. So here's good news. A LOT of the show's humor is right here on this disc/download. Sure, there are additional laughs when you see it in person, but if that's not an option for you, get the album. The plot is surprisingly easy to follow on the disk, too, you won't be wondering just what's actually happening (well, for the most part).

The songs are very traditional Tin Pan Alley in style, don't go looking for groundbreaking music (or for a "rock opera")--this is Old School Broadway. The lyrics are risque but not in particularly awful taste. Yes, the language is crude, and seeks shock value, but there really aren't a lot of major shocks. And the show isn't the hatchet job on Mormonism that I was expecting. Hell, it seems to go way too easy on them--I didn't catch a single reference to polygamy, and even the church's ugly history of racism is addressed with a few brief laugh lines. Every Mormon character is basically likeable, if not lovable. The show seems to say "yeah, they're kooky, but isn't everyone? And who cares if they're kooky, if they're kind of helping people?" Not sure I agree with the show's answers, but given that the show presents those as the questions, even some Mormons may find they like it. Well, I said SOME!
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on December 5, 2011
If you are easily offended, DON'T GET THIS! If you are a devout Mormon, or Original Saint, DON'T GET THIS! But for the rest of us, the best $5.00 one has ever spent! The music is delightful, the lyrics....well...somewhat honest as what the Mormons believe, of what certain folks in Africa believe(d) about 'curing AIDS'. The cast are a treat to listen to and, I understand, they aren't veterans of the Broadway stage, but i suspect they will be soon. This musical would be fun to see, but in the meantime, this will have to do. Niki M. James as first convert is terrific, as are Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad as the Elders. Hasa Diga Ebowai is my immediate favorite, Though each song will take it's place in time. I got the download, so don't know if Michael Potts Plays the part of the War Lord, but it sounds like everybody is having fun, and that's what makes a musical successful. Kudos to the guys behind So Park!
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on September 10, 2014
I'm a man's man. I'm not really into musical but with my fiance being a music teacher I thought I would at least try. She recommended I listen to this and I was laughing the entire time. If you are easily offended then don't bother but this is just my kind of humor. I even volunteered to go to the show when it came to town and it's even better live. Now I have to try Avenue Q.
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on May 14, 2017
One of the funniest soundtracks I've ever heard! It really captures the essence of the Book of Mormon play.

If you haven't seen the play. Go see it immediately. Just spend the money it's worth it. Then purchase this soundtrack. There are spoilers in the soundtrack if you haven't seen the play.

Some of it can be considered offensive. So if you're devoutly religious, easily offended or just have no sense of humor at all...then this may not be for you. Otherwise buy this soundtrack.
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on May 23, 2015
Absolutely FILTHY! But also an incredibly warm, affectionate look at how faith changes lives, even when it might be faith in something absurd and made up. "Hasa Diga Eebowai" is one of the most authentic, uplifting expressions of the "Problem of Evil" I've ever encountered. It's also filthy. Just filthy. But how can you not love a show with lines like "For a clitoris is holy among all things, said he!" and "I can't believe Jesus called me a dick!" Bless.
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