The Book of Mormon Missionary Positions gets rave reviews

The Book of Mormon Missionary Positions gets rave reviews

CultureJanuary 18, 2018 By Lindsey Kline

The Mormons say sex is sinful. They say homosexuality is the devil’s work.

But Neil DaCosta, a photographer based out of Portland, doesn’t agree. So he and his wife, Sara Phillips, created a photo series entitled The Book of Mormon Missionary Positions, featuring two God-fearing, Bible-thumping, bicycle-riding missionaries in tons of different filthy sex positions.

The intent of the photo series was never to offend the Mormon church, Phillips explains to photography magazine Musee. That’s part of the reason why they decided to keep the models entirely clothed.  

“Showing them in any state of undress would have charged it sexually and been offensive,” she says. Instead, the Mormon missionaries look immaculate — shirts perfectly crisp and shoes perfectly shined — while they get down and dirty.

Phillips and DaCosta fully anticipated some backlash. They knew that some people would see the photo series as an attack on their belief system. They were right — they got hate mail and death threats.

However, the overwhelming response was positive. People wrote great reviews about the project and several social media sites went wild with it, including Reddit, which brought so much attention to the site that it shut down the artists' server.

The Mormon Book of Missionary Positions raises endless questions. What were the models thinking during this photoshoot?  Were any Mormons inspired to re-enact these positions? What does the head of the Mormon church think of these photos? Is it actually possible to have sex on top of a bicycle?

But Phillips and DaCosta were most concerned about another question: will this spark conversation about sex and sexuality in the Mormon religion?

After all, Mormonism has a reputation for being far from gay-friendly and being extremely narrow-minded about sex. In their outlandish, light-hearted way, Phillips and DaCosta wanted to share their progressive values with the Mormons — except they're not going to knock on their doors and preach about it.