SYNOPSIS
Original Broadway Production (2011)
The Book of Mormon: the Musical

SYNOPSIS


Act 1

Mormon missionaries of the LDS Church go door-to-door to attempt to convert people to Mormonism ("Hello"). One of them, Elder Cunningham, is an insecure, overweight, irritating liar. Another, Elder Price, is a devout, enthusiastic, handsome, pompous, over-confident fellow. Price believes that if he prays enough, he will be sent to Orlando, Florida ("Two By Two"); instead, both are sent together to Uganda, Africa ("You And Me (But Mostly Me)").

There, they see people living in appalling conditions of famine, poverty and AIDS, who are ruled by a despotic, murderous chieftain. The native Ugandans curse their existence (saying, "Fuck you, God!") ("Hasa Diga Eebowai"). Several other missionaries already in the country have been unable to convert the locals to Mormonism. The Ugandans cope with their miserable lives by feigning happiness.

Elder McKinley is one of the other missionaries who is sent to Africa along with Price and Cunningham. He laments his homosexual feelings, but reminds himself to "Turn It Off" like a light switch. The others agree that their feelings must be hidden, at all costs.

Price is certain that he can succeed where the other Mormon Elders have failed, teaching the Ugandans about Joseph Smith ("All-American Prophet"). The Ugandans find him arrogant and are not impressed. Cunningham, unhappy with Price, finally takes the initiative ("I Am Here For You"). The local leader's daughter, Nabulungi, wants Cunningham to take the whole village to "Sal Tlay Ka Siti", where they can find fortune and avoid the horrors of rape, genital mutilation and murder. The villagers' needs are too much for Price, who decides to abandon his mission brother and request to be transferred to Orlando. Finding himself alone, Cunningham decides to "Man Up" and take control.

Act 2

Cunningham lacks much knowledge of the Book of Mormon, but he makes up stories that combine what he knows of Mormon doctrine with bits and pieces of science fiction and other cultural ideas ("Making Things Up Again"), many of them unsavory. While Cunningham preaches, Price reflects on the misdemeanors he committed in his childhood, including blaming things on his brother Jack. He is reminded of the nightmares he had, calling them "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream[s]". Because of this, Price decides to be optimistic about his stay in Uganda ("I Believe").

Cunningham concludes his preaching; the villagers are enchanted; they are baptized and accept Mormonism ("Baptize Me"). They gain the confidence to resist the despot, who also finally converts. The villagers "honor [them] with the story of Joseph Smith, the American Moses" ("Joseph Smith American Moses"). Seeing the Ugandans celebrate their faith, Price is astonished to learn that the importance of religion is not truth, but whether it helps people. Ironically, his faith, and that of the other missionaries, is revitalized, and they stay to help the village ("Tomorrow Is a Latter Day").

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