Don’t Forget That in the ‘South Park’ Universe, Mormonism Is the One True Religion

Don’t Forget That in the ‘South Park’ Universe, Mormonism Is the One True Religion

Twenty-four years ago, South Park fans learned that, in the show’s universe, Mormons, astoundingly, figured out the cosmos and are the only ones welcome into heaven. Well, them and Saddam, dum dum dum dum dum.

Unsurprisingly, Trey Parker and Matt Stone do not count themselves as followers of any faith, with the former once remarking, of their non-religious upbringing, “In a way, Star Wars was our religion.” Still, a lack of faith didn’t stop the South Park creators from taking an interest in the beliefs of different peoples around the world. And, out there in mountain country, one such sect captured the imaginations of the Colorado-born, iconoclastic comedy magnates more than any other: Mormonism. The suspiciously friendly, homogeneously white and hilariously credulous group of kinda-Christians are one of Parker and Stone’s most consistent targets, most notably in their smash hit musical The Book of Mormon.

However, Mormonism’s influence on the works of Parker and Stone doesn’t stop at Broadway. As some fans in the South Park subreddit recently pointed out, ever since the Season Four episode “Probably” premiered, Mormonism is, canonically, the correct religion in the South Park universe. Apologies to all the atheist otters.

“Probably” is the second half of a two-part episode, following, “Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?” which first started the South Park boys’ crisis of faith through the lens of Catholic damnation and repentance. Cartman, Kenny, Kyle and Stan had come face-to-face with the complications of organized religion in the past, but this double feature was the first time when the boys were really able to explore their options of afterlives.

While the core four characters were grappling with Catholic and Protestant hypocrisies, Satan faced a much more important choice — whether he should commit himself to his sensitive but unexciting lover Chris, or tough it out with his abusive but fiery boyfriend Saddam Hussein. Meanwhile, the Lord of Darkness largely ignores the doldrums of operating the land of the damned, but not before a hilariously corporate “hell director” tells a fresh crop of fallen souls that, despite their piety to other religions, they should have been sending their tithes to Salt Lake City. Mormons were right.

Three years later, the Church of Latter-day Saints was the focus of arguably the best religious-themed episode in South Park history, “All About Mormons,” which used a Mormon family’s move to South Park as an excuse to explain the peculiar origins of the faith. Despite the scathing depiction Parker and Stone made of the believability of Joseph Smith’s story, however, the Mormons didn’t protest, threaten or demand censorship over the portrayal, nor did the react with anger when The Book of Mormon blasted them even worse. 

In fact, the Mormon church took an ad out in the Playbill of the Broadway musical, telling curious theatergoers that, if they liked what they saw, “The book is always better.” Smart smart smart, smart smart smart smart smart.


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