There's a new show on Broadway called "The Book of Mormon - the Musical." It was written by a group of men who triumphantly proclaim their distaste for religion through endless sarcasm and obscenity, and its scenes are touted as ridiculing not only Latter-day Saint theology, but the beliefs and faith of religion as a whole.

The musical, which loosely follows the story of two missionaries serving in Uganda, has been heralded by the media as pushing Broadway to new heights of obscenity, profanity, and vulgarity. I'm not sure how that is supposed to be positive. I don't think the message of the musical is positive at all.

I'm not even sure if the writers of the musical ever read the Book of Mormon.

If they did, they didn't get it.

In a world that seems constantly headed for disaster - whether international financial crisis, nuclear catastrophe, international power struggles, or all-out war - people need the hope and peace the gospel brings. They need to know that the Book of Mormon, like the Bible, contains principles of truth that can improve our lives, help us find perspective, and bring us closer to God.

The Book of Mormon has changed my life. It has answered my prayers, taught me truth, opened my heart to others, inspired me to greater heights, dried my tears, and pushed me to serve my fellow men.

That's the secret of the Book of Mormon. It's not that the stories are cool about Ammon chopping off arms or Nephi and Lehi surrounded by divine flames... it's because, with each story, there is a parallel to my life - a principle that I can apply to become a better man. 

Nephi teaches me obedience - I will go and do what the Lord has commanded me, for I know He has prepared a way. Being attracted to guys/having ssa/sga/gay in a family-oriented Church means that sometimes I'm the exception to the rule. But just because marriage is a lot less simple doesn't mean that the commandments change. They don't - and as I forge ahead in my life, sometimes I feel like Nephi - not knowing beforehand whither I should go... but knowing that God loves His children and will be involved in my life.

Alma teaches faith. When I was younger, I knew that God loved me. But I didn't know how I could believe it when looking at my life. I have a desire to believe... and from that desire grew my faith. Today I have faith that, no matter what happens in my life, if I am doing what is right, all things will work together for my good.

King Benjamin teaches service. I find that service - especially unannounced, unspoken, anonymous service - warms my soul and gives me incredible peace. There's nothing better than doing things for others without getting any physical blessings in return. And I find that it helps me organize my life and resist temptation better. Cool.

Ammon and his brothers teach diligence. They went among the Lamanites to preach the gospel, were cast into prison, and continued with faith. When I'm having a rough day, and I wonder if I'm doing anything worthwhile, I think back to my own conversion to the gospel... and feel the joy it has brought to me. And that gives me the strength to keep moving forward.

Moroni teaches passion. His fiery letter to Pahoran, his march to oust the king-men and his making of the title of liberty are solid proofs of his zeal in the gospel. If all men were like unto Moroni, the powers of Hell would be shaken... as Satan would not have power to tempt any man. I sometimes think I take after Moroni. Usually I'm pretty cool-headed. But inside I'm hot with passion for the gospel and its principles. And nothing pushes me to action faster than when they are under attack.

Mormon teaches the importance of keeping a record. It's nice to have spiritual experiences, or to learn from the hand of the Lord. But with those experiences comes the responsibility to share what I've learned with others. The Lord commands all men to write and keep a record of His hand in their lives... and that applies to me... and with that record I can share my testimony that God lives and is actively a part of my life.

And Moroni teaches of the importance of having my own personal experiences. The Prophet Joseph taught that a man could learn more from gazing 5 minutes into Heaven than by reading every book ever written on the subject. Reading the scriptures isn't enough for me. I need to have personal experiences - to ask God sincerely if they are true, as Moroni encourages, and to seek the Lord in all things. And it's been true in my life. The Book of Mormon is just a starting point, from which the Lord teaches me more about who I am and my eternal destiny.

Reading the Book of Mormon, and abiding by its precepts, will bring a man nearer to God than will any other book. I've seen that. It has changed me, and continues to change me each day. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and a doorway to receiving revelations from Him. And that's why I believe.
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