South Park Mormon: Family Introduction
1. Mormons are very friendly and outgoing - TRUE
When the Harrisons move into town and Gary shows up to school as the ‘new kid’, some of the other kids instantly decide that they need to beat him up because he seems a little too perfect. When Stan goes to do it, he finds that Gary is extremely friendly and disarming. In fact, Stan doesn’t end up beating Gary up because Gary has invited him over to dinner with his family that night.
2. Mormons love board games – TRUE
When Gary and Stan come over, the Mormon family is playing a board game. Mormons love board games. Probably because many see it as a family-friendly alternative to watching too much TV, playing too many video games, and it’s also a great way to facilitate family fun among all ages.
3. Mormons have big families – TRUE
You may have noticed that the Mormon family had 5 kids—big family! It is true that Mormons (at least in the United States) tend to have larger families than average. Mormon families typically have about one child more than the national average. This is because family is a central part of the Mormon faith. There are many scriptural references to the importance of having a family. For example, the Lord commanded in Genesis 1:28 to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Mormons are encouraged to pray together as husband and wife to seek the Lord’s direction in all matters, including how many children to have!
4. Mormons have a “Family Home Evening” – TRUE
Stan ends up staying for dinner and then ”Family Home Evening.” Family Home Evening is a very important part of Mormon family life. LDS.org explains:
“Family home evening is a special time set aside each week that brings family members together and strengthens their love for each other, helps them draw closer to Heavenly Father, and encourages them to live righteously.”
A typical Family Home Evening would start and end with prayer, have family fun or games, and also a spiritual aspect to it (such as learning about the Book of Mormon as they do in the South Park episode).
5. Mormons are tolerant of other religions – TRUE
When Stan’s dad, Randy, comes over to get angry with the Mormon parents about sharing religion with his son, he too is quickly won over by their kindness. After voicing his concerns, Mrs. Harrison responds,
“Randy, the last thing we want is for people to think we’re pushing our religion. We know there are a lot of beliefs out there and ours just works for us.”
Mormons are taught to share their beliefs with family and friends as Jesus taught, but also to always be tolerant of other religions and beliefs. This can be a tricky balance but it is certainly true that Mormons never want to seem pushy!
6. There is ‘something’ special about the Mormon religion – TRUE
Finally, when Randy goes home and relates his encouter with the Harrisons to his wife, he says, “You should see how loving and together their family is. I think there’s something to that religion.”
CONCLUSION: The representation of the Mormon family, the Harrisons, is overall very positive. Of course, the South Park episode portrays the Harrisons as being very over-the-top but that’s to be expected in order to generate laughs. All things considered, I doubt that many Mormons would take offense at the portrayal.