The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released an official statement regarding The Book of Mormon, the new musical from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q's Robert Lopez.
"The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ," the statement reads.
"Mormons have always been a fascination for us," Stone recently told Broadway.com about the team's reasoning for writing a musical about the religion. "We’re from Colorado and grew up with a lot of Mormons. It’s a young religion and an American religion so it's such a perfect laboratory specimen to use to talk about religion in a show." Lopez added, "Most Mormons I know are very well adjusted, clean cut, happy people which in itself is funny. All that happiness and optimism is ripe for song."
This is hardly the first time Parker and Stone have tackled Mormons during their career. Their 1997 film Orgazamo followed a young Mormon missionary who ventures into the pornographic film industry, while the religion itself has frequently been spoofed on South Park.
Like Orgazmo, The Book of Mormon musical will also follow young Mormon missionaries, but ones who are sent to Africa to spread their beliefs. Performances begin February 24 ahead of a March 24 opening at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. Until then take a look below at this clip from a 2003 South Park episode which musically recounts the story of Mormon religion founder, Joseph Smith.