An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Borderlands

Plan B Theatre in Salt Lake has extended the sold-out run of Eric Samuelson’s play, Borderlands until April 17. For those interested in exploring religion, honesty, and tolerance, this play is well worth your time and money.

The inhabitants of Borderlands are four Mormons of varying degrees of faith and activity expressing hidden doubts and fears within the security of an “honesty car” on a used car lot. In the powerful concluding scene, the gay teen gives a blessing to a distraught, dying woman who has grievously injured him.  Assisted by a woman and an excommunicated Mormon, the boy voices a heartfelt and painfully honest prayer. By this act of faith and love, the characters redeem themselves.

Maybe the reason I found this scene so moving is that I have a hard time believing anyone else can redeem us. I think everyone must atone for his or her own sins—most likely by learning not to be attached to the self that is so willing to sacrifice others in order to achieve its own ends.

Since I saw this play Sunday afternoon during the final General Conference session, the audience presumably was not made up of devout Mormons. At the QA session with director, playwright and cast, no anti-Mormon rhetoric was expressed. Several people thought the topics of doubt, hypocrisy, and intolerance applied to any religion.

This play offers a window through which audience members can examine the depths of their own religious and moral commitment. I hope Eric Samuelson takes care of his health and continues to write plays that look beneath the surface of Mormonism. I’m glad Plan B Theatre exists to produce these kinds of plays.

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