The world is constantly changing and with that so is Mormonism. This form of religion has made many changes to itself as the times change. One can see this in the play “Angels in America,” written by Tony Kushner. Through this play, one can begin to understand the religion and its beliefs fairly easily. Tony Kushner was born in 1956 in the city of Manhattan. Kushner achieved his Bachelor of Arts degree in medieval studies from Columbia University.

From this Kushner went on to study directing at New York University. At NYU he began to direct his early works and also A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare.Kushner’s most well known work is Angels in America. This play concentrates on three main households that appear to be falling apart. The households contain a gay couple, one of whom has AIDS; a Mormon man coming to terms with his sexuality and his crazy wife; and the infamous lawyer Roy Cohn who denies his sexuality during the entire play. As the viewer follows the play one can notice that another significant part of this play is the prominence of the Mormon community. Through the duration of the play one can see that the Mormon community influence weighs heavily on certain characters.Not many people know what Mormonism is let alone the many changes that it has had to go through to gain acceptance and grow in this society.

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The religion is made up of institutional, cultural, and religious aspects. It was founded by Joseph Smith in the 1830’s and is part of the Latter Day Saints. The Book of Mormon is accepted by the Mormon Church (LDS) as scripture along with the Bible. Mormonism also refers to the doctrine taught by Joseph Smith and the succeeding prophets and leaders of the Mormon Church.

It views human life as one of the stages in the eternal progression of intelligent beings that are God’s spirit children. Men and women are allowed to choose whether to accept or reject Christ’s gospel, teachings, and covenants. Mormons believe that Christ himself restored the Church’s teachings as truly Christian and they returned to earth in its original purity through Joseph Smith.

There are many myths surrounding Mormonism because it is not a very prominent religion. Some of the myths about the church include those of polygamy and the suppression of women.Polygamy is a form of marriage in which a person has more than one spouse at a time. Joseph Smith was said to receive a revelation that some men could practice plural marriages. Polygamy was accepted for a very short period of time in the history of Mormonism around the 1840’s.

During this time, polygamy was strictly regulated to the members within the church. This practice came to an end with President Wilford Woodruff ‘s manifesto in 1890, which discontinued it. The discontinuation of the practice was widely accepted and anyone from the church who entered into the practice was excommunicated.In Angels in America the character Harper is married to Joe, who is a gay Mormon. During the early parts of this play it is sometimes seen that Joe sometimes tries to suppress Harper because she is a woman. This is another part of the Mormon faith that is not always correctly displayed. Neither man nor woman can attain their full divine potential without the other.

In Mormon society, homosexuality is a sin that sits right next to murder in terms of seriousness. Homosexuality is not accepted in the Mormon Church. This belief is the driving force behind the character of Joe in the play.

Joe is confused because he knows that being a homosexual is not right and goes against his morals as a strong Mormon follower. The Mormon society believes that humans were created in order to procreate and it is clearly impossible for one to do so if they are gay. Mormons believe that the ultimate goal is to build families and return to God in heaven. Joe’s life seems to be surrounded by his struggle between what he wants and what he morally knows is correct. Joe finally gives to his temptations and finds love in Louis. Louis is not as accepting after he finds that Joe is Mormon.During the scene that Louis asks Joe about the trials that he helped Roy with Louis loses it on Joe because he acted against his “fellow gays” in many trials. Mormonism says that regardless of the reason, feelings of same-sex attraction are present in certain individuals, and an individual has the choice as to whether they act upon that inclination.

Joe decides to act on his feelings and also seems to be embarrassed with himself taking action on his thoughts. Although we can see the tension build earlier in the play when Harper attempts to confront him, but Joe can’t seem to admit it to his wife.They are together in the apartment when Harper tries to talk to Joe. Joe: If you have something you want to ask me ask me! Ask me, go! Harper: I can’t, I’m scared of you. Joe is a very troubled character who is struggling with his faith, sexuality, and marriage. Harper is scared of Joe because he is the man in the house and it is their “faith” to believe that what the man says is to be “obeyed. ” Joe continually struggles and is soon forgotten in the “happy ending” of the play. Kushner brought Mormonism into the play because of a childhood memory he has.

In an interview in 2008 with New York Magazine’s Boris Kachka, Kushner was asked why Mormonism was used. Kushner responded “There were these Mormon missionaries that I used to see at my subway stop, in Carroll Gardens, around 1983. One of them was, I thought, kind of hot. They were always there in the morning, in front of a bunch of people who could have cared less about the Book of Mormon. And I was kind of touched by that” (Kachka). The group he saw so often sparked kushner’s interest in the community. Quite siply the explanation for the use of Mormonism in the play is that he was very interested in the faith.

From that moment on he began to research and understand the faith more and worked it into Angels in America. One can find it easy to begin to understand Mormonism through Kushner’s work. The beliefs are clearly shown throughout the entire play.

The belief that homosexuality is clearly shown as morally wrong is easily portrayed through the character Joe. The strengths of the mormon community is also seen. The community is shown as a welcoming society that is accepting of all.

When Helen is lost, she asks the homeless woman to help her find the mormon community center.The Mormon community is accepting of anyone who wants to become closer to God and follow him in the morally correct way. Kushner’s Angels in America is a eye opener to the non-Mormon culture. Through this his play one can finally begin to grasp the hard comings that some Mormons face in their everyday life, but also shows how the strength of the Mormon community is there for its members.

The play is the most viewed Mormonism themed play that has ever been shown. Thanks to Kushner the play has correctly shown Mormon beliefs and how Mormonism affects peoples lives.