Tyler Todd wasn’t looking for a new church when he clicked on a friend’s Facebook post and watched a performance of “Hello,” the opening number of the irreverent but critically acclaimed “The Book of Mormon” musical.
The 23-year-old Nashville-area native sought out the rest of the often hysterical and profane production about two mismatched missionaries sent to Uganda to convert residents to the Mormon faith. From the creators of “South Park,” the Tony-award winning musical returns to Nashville on Tuesday for a six-day run at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
“I just thought it was really funny and obviously I knew it was kind of making fun of the religion,” Todd said. “I was like, ‘Well, I’ve heard their side of things, I want to hear what people who actually believe think about it.”
That moment almost a year ago marked the beginning of Todd’s exploration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ultimately led to his conversion to the faith. He was baptized Sept. 17 and feelings of complete joy and happiness washed over him.
But the irony of it all isn’t lost on Todd.
“Whenever I tell people that, that’s really what sparked that interest, they’re always like, ‘But that’s weird.’ They don’t view it as something that’s a great thing like I do,” Todd said. “I think it’s hilarious and it’s a great production and if it brought me to the church then obviously it can’t be too bad.”
Todd, who grew up as a nondenominational Christian, isn’t the first person to encounter the play, explore the religion and eventually convert. In years past, missionaries used the musical’s stop in many U.S. cities, including Nashville, as proselytizing opportunities, handing out copies of the actual “Book of Mormon” outside theaters and talking to audience members.
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