All About Mormons
A new student named Gary Harrison joins the boys' class. In addition to being a good student and mind-numbingly nice, Gary and his family are Mormons. Sick of Gary's do-good attitude, the boys nominate Stan to kick his ass. But instead of fighting, Stan winds up accepting an invitation to dinner at Gary's house.
Stan is stunned by the Harrison's "Family Home Evening," in which they tell stories, play music, sing, and most tellingly, share scriptures from the Book of Mormon. There's even a lengthy, dramatic retelling of the story of Joseph Smith, the church's founder.
Stan goes home and shares what he's seen with his own family. His dad, believing that some sort of cult is trying to indoctrinate his son, storms off to the Harrison home to kick ass. Instead, he too is disarmed by their kindness and hospitality. After hearing the highly improbable story of how Joseph Smith came to write the Book of Mormon (accompanied by flashbacks and a musical score that consists mostly of "Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum."), Randy returns home to announce that he's invited the Harrisons over for dinner -- and that, more importantly, the Marsh family is converting to the Mormon religion.
The other boys soon make fun of Stan's new buddy-buddy relationship with Gary. The Marshes proceed to have the Harrisons over for their first "Family Home Evening." Stan's dad says he's having a crisis of faith, which prompts Mr. Harrison to tell him the "best" part of the Joseph Smith story, which allegedly "proves he wasn't making everything up" -- the tale of how publisher Martin Harris and his skeptical wife Lucy (accompanied on the soundtrack by "smart, smart, smart") conveniently "lost" the first translation of the golden plates, to see if Smith could provide a word-for-word duplicate which he could not. Stan loses his temper over the absurdity of it all, stating that it's ridiculous to believe in something without proof. The Harrisons, unbothered, assert that their views are a matter of faith, and agree to disagree with the Marshes about it.
The only one who seems truly irritated is Gary. Next day at the bus stop, he tells Stan and the other boys that while his religion may not be strictly "true," it helps him and his family live good lives. Finally, he tells Stan to "suck my balls."
What I Learned Today
The truth is, I don't care if Joseph Smith made it all up, because what the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice, and helping people. And even though people in this town might think that's stupid, I still choose to believe in it."
- "You were supposed to kick his ass, not lick his butthole!" Cartman
- "Well, it looks like I don't have a class full of retards anymore, doesn't it children?" Mr. Garrison
- "Hi! My name's Ura. Ura Fag." Cartman
- "He's a pecker-face, that's what he is!" Butters
- "This Mr. Harrison is a -- a white guy, right?" Randy
- "That does it! From now on, our family is Mormon!" Randy
- "My brother is a stupid turd." Shelly Marsh
- "All you've got are a bunch of stories about some asswipe who read plates nobody ever saw out of a hat and then couldn't do it again when the translations were hidden!" Stan
- "Damn, that kid is cool, huh?" Cartman
Gary Harrison and his family: Mr. and Mrs. Harrison, his brother Mark, sister Jenny, little brother Dave, and baby sister Amanda -- all perfect specimens of human kindness.
We also meet a number of people essential in the creation of the Book of Mormon and the Mormon church. Most importantly, Joseph Smith.
The Harrison kids all pick up instruments and jam out a brief bit of their original song "I Love My Family." Also, Joseph Smith's creationist tale of The Book of Mormon is told throughout the episode with the help of the song "Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum."
Behind The Scenes
Where Did The Idea Come From
Trey knows a lot about Mormonism, both through his work on the film Orgazmo (where he plays one) and the fact that his high school girlfriend was Mormon. "Every Mormon I know is a really good person," he says. However, just like any other religion, it gets harder to accept the closer you study it.
Pop Culture References
Gary's family plays a board game called Living, which is a parody of the classic board game Life. When Stan's family is sitting around watching TV, Shelly yells, "Shut up, Turd! We're watching Friends!" This is not the first time Shelly has displayed her affection for the sitcom; she forcefully puts it on in "Cat Orgy."
After returning from Gary's house, Sharon asks Randy, "So how'd it go, Clubber Lang?" Clubber Lang was the name of Rocky's rival (played by Mr. T) in the film Rocky III.
Many fans thought that the segments explaining the Mormon faith were outrageous fabrications cooked up by Matt and Trey, but every bit of it was an accurate representation of the Mormon paradigm even "Family Home Evening" or "FHE" (a fun-games-and-religion monday night evening for the whole family) is a real, weekly activity encouraged by the leaders of the LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) Church.
During the Harrison's family home evening, Gary's brother Mark performs a bit of Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Gary gives Stan a homemade leather wallet, with a picture of Denver Broncos' quarterback John Elway carved into the front. Elway has been mentioned repeatedly throughout the series, dating all the way back to "Cartman's Mom Is A Dirty Slut."