“I Believe”

Posted on September 1, 2012 by

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You may have heard about a popular Broadway musical currently showing called “The Book of Mormon”.  In this musical there is a catchy tune called “I Believe” sung in which “Elder Price” expresses his crisis of faith and finds reaffirmation of it.  The song contains many statements of belief which claim to be true expressions of Mormon faith.  How accurate are these statements?

(Okay, yeah, we know that The Book of Mormon musical is satire.  But inherent to satire are irony, sarcasm, and ridicule all of which require an attempt – feigned or sincere – at portraying truth… while casting that truth in a humorous or ridiculous light.  So as satire, I Believe must necessarily claim to make at least some statements of truth.)

  1. “I believe that the Lord, God, created the universe.”This is absolutely correct.  See Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-3, and Moses 1:31-37.
  2. “I believe that He sent His only Son to die for my sins.”This also is correct.  See John 3:14-17, Matthew 20:28, and 3 Nephi 11:10-14.
  3. “I believe that ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America.”I’ve already pointed out before that the family of Lehi were Israelites and not specifically Jews.  We don’t know exactly how the Mulekites – who were of the tribe of Judah (or Jews) –  made their journey to the Americas.  But yes, we do believe that the family of Lehi built boats and sailed to America.  See 1 Nephi 17 and 18.
  4. “A Mormon just believes.”It is an accurate statement that Mormons are taught to not doubt the Lord.  See Matthew 21:21, Alma 56:47, Mormon 9:27, and D&C 6:36.  However, Mormons are also taught to ponder the things of God.  See 3 Nephi 17:3 and various other scriptures.  So a Mormon does not “just” believe; a Mormon prayerfully ponders the things of God in order to believe.
  5. “I believe that God has a plan for all of us.”It is true that God has a plan of redemption for all of us (see Alma 12:32).  However, it is not true that we are bound to an immovable destiny since we are expected to live righteously of our own free will (see D&C 58:26-28).
  6. “I believe that plan involves me getting my own planet.”The scriptures are replete with references to man being the children of God, heirs of God, able to join God on his throne, and various other explanations about man’s potential for exaltation.  (See Romans 8:17, John 10:33-35, Revelation 3:21, D&C 88:107, and D&C 132:20.  A good explanation on the Mormon understanding of exaltation can be found in Gospel Principles Chapter 47.)  Some members of the Church extrapolate that inasmuch as God created the heavens and the earth, if we then become equal unto Him does that we, too, may create our own worlds.  However, this is by no means stated specifically in scripture or in official Church doctrine.
  7. “I believe that the current President of The Church, Thomas Monson, speaks directly to God.”We know that many men throughout history have seen and spoken directly to God.  For example, Abraham, Jacob (later Israel), Moses, seventy-four other Israelites with Moses, Solomon, the Brother of Jared, and Joseph Smith.  Thus we believe that the Lord is at liberty to show Himself to whomever He will for His purposes.  (See D&C 130:3 and John 14:22-23.)  Thus we believe that the Lord certainly may choose to appear to Thomas S. Monson in similar fashion, although President Monson has not publicly stated that such has happened.However, as we do sustain Thomas S. Monson along with fourteen other Church leaders (the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve) as prophets, seers, and revelators we do believe that they receive direction from God for the benefit of His Church and the world.  (See D&C 107:22-24.)
  8. “I believe that Satan has a hold of you”This statement is probably meant to mean “that Satan has hold upon your heart”.  (Alma 10:25)  Since Elder Price is singing this part to the Ugandan warlord the statement is probably not surprising.
  9. “I believe that the Lord, God, has sent me here”We do believe that the Lord has commanded His apostles to preach the gospel to the entire world.  (See Mark 16:15.)  In order to accomplish this the apostles will necessarily require assistance from other missionaries.  Divine inspiration is sought-out by the apostles in the assignment of those missionaries.
  10. “And I believe that in 1978 God changed his mind about black people!”This is incorrect.  God loves all of his children and He always has.  However, the writers here are alluding to a period of time when the priesthood was ordained only upon white men of the Church.  See an earlier response on this matter.
  11. “I believe that God lives on a planet called Kolob.”This is not quite correct.  Abraham 3:2-3 tells us that Kolob is the name of the star “nearest unto the throne of God.”  Whether or not the throne is a planet or whether or not God lives on the throne is not stated.
  12. “I believe that Jesus has his own planet as well.”Under the Father’s direction Jesus created our planet.  (See John 1:1-3.)  See also the response on number 6.  But this is not the only world as “worlds without number” have been created by Him (see Moses 1:32-33).
  13. “And I believe that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri.”This is correct.  See the 1994 Ensign “I Have a Question”

For a different perspective on the same song see an interview of Matthew Bowman, Ph.D. by Jay Kernis which was prompted by the August 23, 2012 “Rock Center”news article on Mormons shown on NBC.

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