Opera Star Sings the Praises of Mormonism after US Trip

Article excerpt

The Mormon church's adherence to chastity and clean-cut family values has been mocked in a hit musical. But the opera singer Bryn Terfel has called for greater tolerance towards the faith after revealing how a musical journey to Salt Lake City resulted in a spiritual awakening.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the second- fastest growing church in America, continues to attract hostility over its opposition to gay marriage and suspicion over some of the faith's beliefs. The musical The Book of Mormon mocked the do- gooding naivety of its young missionary protagonists.

But Terfel, the Welsh bass-baritone famed for his commanding performances at the world's leading opera houses, told The Independent he had been "embraced" by members of the faith after recording a new album with the 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The singer, raised a Methodist, said the experience led him to question the faith he was born into. The church then sent a pair of missionaries to visit Terfel, 47, at his home..

He said: "I was going through a divorce [after 30 years of marriage] and I was questioning my own spirituality before I went to Salt Lake City. …