In this column, I discuss the relationship between Mormonism and Disney:
I’ve started a new podcast, Mosaic, and in a recent episode, I investigated the relationship between the Walt Disney Company and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mormon culture and Disney products have always seemed to be extraordinarily compatible to me, as a Mormon who has long loved Disney movies. And I find that interrogating the compatibility between Mormonism and Disney offers a window to understand the faith more deeply, including some of the potential problem areas in Mormon culture.
When I spoke with Disney producer Brigham Taylor in 2016 before the release of “The Jungle Book,” he told me that executives at Disney have come to rely on Utah audiences in a big way.
“I remember coming up in the film group at Disney Studios and learning from our head of distribution at the time how much he loved the filmgoers out here,” he said. “Our films always over-performed wildly in Utah.”
In 2017, Google released search data that showed that in the previous year, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming — the three states in the U.S. with the most Mormons — Googled “Beauty and the Beast” at a higher rate than any other states.
Even fictional Mormons love Disney. Where did Elder Price from “The Book of Mormon” pray to serve his mission? His “favorite place”: Orlando.