Liza Morong, a 21-year-old theater major living in Boston, considers her 2011 conversion to the Mormon faith a blessing — and says she owes it all to satirical Broadway musical The Book of Mormon.
Penned by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q composer and lyricist Robert Lopez, the play follows the misadventures of two young Mormon missionaries as they attempt to spread their faith to the inhabitants of a remote village in northern Uganda.
The musical is meant to be taken as a reflection on the overly literal application of religious dogma, but Morong instead saw it as a perfect jumping off point to learning more about the Mormon faith.
Logging on to Mormon.org shortly after seeing the play in September 2011, Morong accepted a chat request from a missionary named Elder Trevor Boardman.
"I thought, ‘These clowns are in for a treat with me,'" she told the Deseret News, an LDS Church mouthpiece. "But (Elder Boardman) was so incredibly nice. I could not be mean to him."
The friendly chats took a serious turn a few weeks later when Morong, who was raised a Congregationalist, agreed to read and pray from the actual Book of Mormon.
The Suffolk University student soon began to attend meeting of the Church's local Young Single Adults ward, and was ultimately persuaded to undergo a baptism.
In December, just four months after seeing The Book of Mormon on Broadway, Morong found herself in Mapleton, Utah, waist-deep in baptismal water, being converted to Mormonism by Elder Boardman.
"My mom will sometimes say, ‘I can’t believe I brought you to that show. None of this would have happened,'" Morong said. "I tell her that it still would have, just in a different way."
But it did happen this way, and Morong acknowledges that.
She even finds herself singing the satirical songs from the play, which she says have lyrics of "special, sentimental value" to her.
"Because of this musical, a beautiful chapter in my life started and continues to grow," Morong recently wrote on her blog. "I am so grateful for my church, what a blessing it is in my life."