"Papa Married a Mormon": Play Explores Religious Intolerance in Utah

May 23, 2004

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune


On May 23, 2004 The Salt Lake Tribune reported, "A play opening at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University this week takes on Utah's 'elephant in the room' -- friction between members of Utah's dominant faith and their neighbors. 'Papa Married a Mormon' confirms what we already knew: religious tolerance -- and the lack of it -- have been issues in Utah for a long time. The play is based on a book of the same title by John D. Fitzgerald, who was born in Price in 1906 to an Irish-Catholic father and a Scandinavian Mormon mother. The loosely autobiographical novel recounts challenges of growing up in a community divided along religious lines, and how they were met by the Fitzgerald family during the years 1877 to 1910. Fitzgerald's father, Tom -- who maintains an attitude of tolerance under duress -- is the book's hero, said Rodger Sorensen, director of the play. 'All the themes are still relevant,' said Sorensen, who recently became chair of BYU's Department of Theatre and Media Arts. 'It asks the question 'Can people of different religious persuasions -- or people from the same religion, but who see life differently -- can we live together with love and caring?' The answer Fitzgerald gives is 'Yes, we can' -- as long as we are honest, and nonjudgmental of others.'"