Man Up: The Meaning

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I'll only do this once, I promise – – but for those Slopers who are deeply committed, understanding the lyrics to our new theme song seems like important information. So here's my guide for you:

The song begins with Elder Cunningham in a state of distress. His mission companion, Elder Price – the golden boy of the Mormons – has ditched him in Uganda, and Cunningham is left to fend for himself. This is bad, because not only is he really insecure, but he hasn't even bothered reading The Book of Mormon (he finds it too boring).

Elder Cunningham's world resolves around such things as Star Trek, Star Wars, and The Hobbit, so as he starts to try to teach the Ugandans, he relies on making things up (instead of citing actual scripture) based largely on his favorite stories.

So as the song begins, Elder Cunningham realizes that, all alone, it's up to him to have the strength to carry the mission forward, even though his idol Elder Price left him high and dry.

What did Jesus do when they sentenced him to die? Did he try to run away? Did he just break down and cry? No, Jesus dug down deep, knowing what he had to do. When faced with his own death, Jesus knew that he had to….Man up, he had to man up….So he crawled up on that cross, and he stuck it out. And he manned up, Christ, he manned up…..And taught us all what real manning up is about….

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As you listen to the song, this is when the beat kicks in, representing his firming confidence. Elder Cunningham's ignorance of all things Biblical is even revealed when he states he is "crossing the bear" (as opposed to bearing the cross, the more common expression):

And now it's up to me, and it's time to man up. Jesus had his time to, now it's mine to man up. I'm taking the reins, I'm crossing the bear. And just like Jesus, I'm growing a pair. I've gotta stand up, can't just clam up, it's time to man up. 'Cause there's a time in your life when you know you've got to man up. Don't let it pass you by there's just one time to man up. Watch me man up like nobody else! I'm gonna man up all over myself! I've got to get ready, it's time to, time taaaaaa

And now he's rockin':

What did Jesus do when they put nails through his hands? Did he scream like a girl, or did he take it like a man? When someone had to die to save us from our sins, Jesus said, "I'll do it" and he took it on the chin. He manned up, and manned u-u-up. He took a bullet for me and you That's man up, real man up And now it's my time to do it too!

You can't tell from the song, but in the next verse, the conductor hands him a sword, and he slays a monster on the left side of the stage ("slay the monster"), then the conductor hands him a light sabre, and he strikes down Darth Vader who emerges from stage right ("you're not my Father!"):

Time to be a hero and slay the monster. Time to battle darkness, you're not my Father! I wanna time ta, just watch me go. Time ta stand up and steal the show Time ta, mine ta, time ta, time ta, time ta!

Now we get a brief reprise of the ballad sung earlier in the Act: "Sal Tlay Ka Siti" – this is a beautiful song sung by the female lead of the show. The Ugandans have been told of a paradise called "Salt Lake City" (which they Africanize as "Sal Tlay Ka Siti").

Sal Tlay Ka Siti……A place of hope and joy (Man up!) And if we want to go there, we just have to follow that white boy (Time ta!)

And to finish out the trio (this is, after all, the medley ending the first act) is Elder Price, who is begging God yet again to be sent to his dream town, Orlando, the home of Sea World, Disney, and golfing. The "text" the Ugandans are referring to are simply messages being banged out on an old typewriter, since that's their understanding of what "texting" must be:

Heavenly Father, why do you let bad things happen? (Ka-lay-ka Siti –  Did you get my text?) More to the point, why do you let bad things happen to me? (Ka-lay-ka Siti, we got your text) I'm sure you don't think I'm a flake (Man up!) Because you've clearly made a mistake (Turn it off!) I'm going where you need me most, Orlando (Orlando!)

And now it's all woven together:

We will listen to the fat white guy (My time to, time to Now it's my time to, time ta) But Hasa Diga Eebowai (No time to, not time to Now it's time to, time to) Huh! I'm in the lead for the very first time (Time ta) I'm going where the sun always shines (Shines ta) I've got to stand up, get my flippin' can up it's time to, time to man up

Absolutely magical! Play the song in the background and follow along with the lyrics…..

Sal Tlay Ka Siti (Hay ya ya) Sal Tlay Ka Siti (Hay ya ya) Sal Tlay Ka Siti Orlando, Orlando I'm coming Sal Tlay Ka Siti (Hay ya ya) Sal Tlay Ka SitiIt is time taaaaaa

Ending, of course, with……

I have maggots in my scrotum!

Bam! The lesson ends here.