Friday, August 21, 2009

Truly a Restoration of ALL Things

The following is going to play to stereotypes slightly, but . . .

I see many similarities between Buddhism and Mormonism - far more than between Mormonism and most of Protestantism.

For example, the concept of becoming like God, the Eternal Father:

1) The Mormon phrasing would be, "Becoming perfect like God (complete, whole, fully developed)," while the Buddhist version would be "joining the divine (and no longer being born)." Compare that to the Protestant "living separately and spending eternity telling God how great He is."

Now consider the concept of the status of other religions:

2) Mormon: "All religions have truth in them, and a level of salvation/exaltation is available to all - regardless of religion - through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." Buddhist: "All roads lead to Fuji." (the concept, not the quote) Protestant: Accept exactly this doctrine (with special qualifications if we don't like you), or burn in never-ending anguish forever."

I'm not saying Buddhist teachings can be overlaid perfectly onto Mormon teachings, but many of them are much closer to each other than either is to mainstream Protestantism.

Look at the description of "eternal existence" from this viewpoint:

We begin as intelligences, become spirits, are born into mortality, move back into a spiritual state, eventually experience a judgment, change into an immortal state of perfect, physical body and immortal soul, continue to progress until we reach a status that can be described as "divine" - and then participate in unity with our own divine ideal by directing that repeated process of others. I count multiple "lives" - each with a distinctly different "form" - as part of a life-cycle that repeats forever.

If I explained that to a Buddhist, she at least would grasp the basic concept; if I explained that to almost any non-Mormon Christian, I would be labeled a heretic and/or asked what hallucinagenic I had been smoking.

2 comments:

backandthen said...

This is what I have come to as well. Yet I also see similarities between Mormonism and Islam (the real one, not the one you here on TV).
What strikes me about it is that almost sometimes opposite teachings lead to (if understood and applied rightfully) the same behavior and way to live a relationship with the divine.
For example in both religion there is a strong emphasise on being educated and even more to seek for knowledge because knowledge and God in both religion are linked to each other.
In both religion there is a role for women that is not equal to men (which would imply being the same) but complementary and one cannot be without the other.
Have you noticed how very often we see pictures of men praying in the street and we don't see women as if they had been forbid to pray or as if they did not care about it?
Well it is often the case but in real Islam there are more expectations on men and real Islam is more tolerant with women. Like men HAVE to go to the mosque to pray when women are allowed to do it wherever they want.
In the real Islam there is a verse that says that Heaven is under the feet of women. Which is very different from the idea we usually get from Islam on TV.
One of the first reliable source of interpretation of Islam that people would turn to after the death of Mohamed was one of his wife. Kind of hard to picture in modern Islam as it is presented to us.
Anyway, I am striken by the similarities of behavior between us and them when I meet educated Muslims.

Tatiana said...

I see a lot of similarities too. I'm interested in Vaisnava Hinduism and I see many parallels with Mormon doctrines that are very different from Protestantism. One is the similarity of our view to a form of reincarnation that you mention for Buddhism.

Also, in the form of Hinduism I study, there is one God who is master of everything, plus many demigods and holy people. This parallels our view of eternal progression, that we can advance through various levels to become godlike ourselves.

Their main commandment is to love God and render him total devotion. This parallels the words of Jesus that the highest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, might, and strength.

There are plenty of differences as well, of course, but I see the commonalities as being like looking through different windows onto the same central essence. That's why I love studying other religions. It gives me fresh insight into my own.