US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

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Miroku
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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by Miroku » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:33 am

The Artis Magistra wrote:This thread bothered me and made me feel a bit ill. What bothered me is the kind of dislike I sense behind these terms, or even feel as well.

People are practicing techniques. These people claim to adhere to Mormonism, which has certain ideas about certain things. LGBT was brought up as if Buddhism around the world is greatly encouraging of homosexuality, it is not. I was really bothered by various comments made in this thread, it almost made me want to cry.

If people want to use technologies we know too, they should use such technologies. Mindfulness is a kind of "technology", it is free for all to use and benefit from. This is not dissimilar from people who slaughter homosexuals being able to use forks to eat food while they are busy doing something besides slaughtering homosexuals, unless they are particularly good at doing both at the same time.

I might also feel like forks should be taken away from people who slaughter homosexuals, especially if forks are being used to slaughter homosexuals, but according to this thread or the title, it seems there are just people using certain techniques, and may benefit from such, and maybe benefiting from such will make them feel a little better, and maybe their feeling a little better might make them not feel like slaughtering homosexuals or whatever the problem is.

I was annoyed from the get go though, with the whole "Mormons" thing and "Mindfulness" thing as if we alone own Mindfulness and "Mormons" should be held back from the Dharma, in fact that filled me with righteous wrath, no, do not impede the Dharma, if the Dharma will reach people through technologies, do not impede their use of such technologies, even if they are homosexual killers or whatever you fear. Do not keep water from a thirsty animal, even if that animal might kill you once it has recovered itself. Do not! Do not starve the people, for fear they will once fed build an army. No!
So, we should be happy that snipers are using mindfulness to become better killing machines because the sniper will feel better?

Not sure where you have gotten the whole slaughter thing from, but if someone wants to slaughter some people then should we support his endeavour by making him more mindful? I am not saying they slaughter anyone just wanna know what the whole slaughter thing is about.

Also I don't think that mormons give a damn about dharma anymore than I give a damn about mormonism (I do give a damn about South Park episode about mormonism, it is so good). They just do it cause it feels good or/and helps them connect with "god".

Why would you feel righteous wrath? Are you an old testament deity? Chillax, nobody here thinks we own mindfulness. We (I) just would like to see them deal with problems of their church first.

Also wtf? Forks?
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

The Artis Magistra
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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by The Artis Magistra » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:30 pm

Miroku wrote:
The Artis Magistra wrote:This thread bothered me and made me feel a bit ill. What bothered me is the kind of dislike I sense behind these terms, or even feel as well.

People are practicing techniques. These people claim to adhere to Mormonism, which has certain ideas about certain things. LGBT was brought up as if Buddhism around the world is greatly encouraging of homosexuality, it is not. I was really bothered by various comments made in this thread, it almost made me want to cry.

If people want to use technologies we know too, they should use such technologies. Mindfulness is a kind of "technology", it is free for all to use and benefit from. This is not dissimilar from people who slaughter homosexuals being able to use forks to eat food while they are busy doing something besides slaughtering homosexuals, unless they are particularly good at doing both at the same time.

I might also feel like forks should be taken away from people who slaughter homosexuals, especially if forks are being used to slaughter homosexuals, but according to this thread or the title, it seems there are just people using certain techniques, and may benefit from such, and maybe benefiting from such will make them feel a little better, and maybe their feeling a little better might make them not feel like slaughtering homosexuals or whatever the problem is.

I was annoyed from the get go though, with the whole "Mormons" thing and "Mindfulness" thing as if we alone own Mindfulness and "Mormons" should be held back from the Dharma, in fact that filled me with righteous wrath, no, do not impede the Dharma, if the Dharma will reach people through technologies, do not impede their use of such technologies, even if they are homosexual killers or whatever you fear. Do not keep water from a thirsty animal, even if that animal might kill you once it has recovered itself. Do not! Do not starve the people, for fear they will once fed build an army. No!
So, we should be happy that snipers are using mindfulness to become better killing machines because the sniper will feel better?

Not sure where you have gotten the whole slaughter thing from, but if someone wants to slaughter some people then should we support his endeavour by making him more mindful? I am not saying they slaughter anyone just wanna know what the whole slaughter thing is about.

Also I don't think that mormons give a damn about dharma anymore than I give a damn about mormonism (I do give a damn about South Park episode about mormonism, it is so good). They just do it cause it feels good or/and helps them connect with "god".

Why would you feel righteous wrath? Are you an old testament deity? Chillax, nobody here thinks we own mindfulness. We (I) just would like to see them deal with problems of their church first.

Also wtf? Forks?
Haha, sorry for any confusion my writing may have caused, I'm sorry. The idea I was trying to present here was that the Dharma should remain available and anyone is free to use any part of it that they wish. We should not restrict the Dharma for fear that someone way misuse elements of the truth or develop from some idea they had based on the Dharma some wrong thing.

My exaggerations were also to bring to mind that the people using Mindfulness are unlikely to be doing anything harmful with it and what anyone does do with something that is associate with the Dharma, whether good or bad, is their own own use or misuse of it, we are not to restrict the Dharma.

Furthermore, I am an Old Testament Deity known as I AM THAT I AM or just I AM for short, but the point of that "righteous wrath" thing was to bring to mind the hidden elements in ourselves, or yourselves, which make you view the Mormons or the Mormonism with spite and hubris.

Now, that is not an accusation against you, I myself suffer from the same mental diseases as you might. Mormonism is the one religion I count as least among the religions for what it says theologically, and I look upon it with perhaps more disdain and hatred than even you. Regardless of this hatred for Mormonism, I can not allow my hatred for a theology or its practices or blasphemies to keep me from making the Dharma available to all, to teach any who ask and even those who do not ask, to spread it even through Mormonism and to Mormons, even if they will use it to advance their religion or increase in whatever they are doing. That was the point.

I was trying to give good lessons Miroku. Maybe they were bad lessons done badly. Maybe you will gain nothing from what I've said there and here, but I have gained from it and I even enjoyed it.

If we can not see ourselves clearly, we can not see anything clearly. If we can not be honest, we will always lie.

Miroku
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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by Miroku » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:31 am

The Artis Magistra wrote: Haha, sorry for any confusion my writing may have caused, I'm sorry. The idea I was trying to present here was that the Dharma should remain available and anyone is free to use any part of it that they wish. We should not restrict the Dharma for fear that someone way misuse elements of the truth or develop from some idea they had based on the Dharma some wrong thing.

My exaggerations were also to bring to mind that the people using Mindfulness are unlikely to be doing anything harmful with it and what anyone does do with something that is associate with the Dharma, whether good or bad, is their own own use or misuse of it, we are not to restrict the Dharma.

Furthermore, I am an Old Testament Deity known as I AM THAT I AM or just I AM for short, but the point of that "righteous wrath" thing was to bring to mind the hidden elements in ourselves, or yourselves, which make you view the Mormons or the Mormonism with spite and hubris.

Now, that is not an accusation against you, I myself suffer from the same mental diseases as you might. Mormonism is the one religion I count as least among the religions for what it says theologically, and I look upon it with perhaps more disdain and hatred than even you. Regardless of this hatred for Mormonism, I can not allow my hatred for a theology or its practices or blasphemies to keep me from making the Dharma available to all, to teach any who ask and even those who do not ask, to spread it even through Mormonism and to Mormons, even if they will use it to advance their religion or increase in whatever they are doing. That was the point.

I was trying to give good lessons Miroku. Maybe they were bad lessons done badly. Maybe you will gain nothing from what I've said there and here, but I have gained from it and I even enjoyed it.

If we can not see ourselves clearly, we can not see anything clearly. If we can not be honest, we will always lie.
Okay thanks for making things bit clear.

But still can we call sth that makes people just feel good a dharma? I don't know what they are feeling but honestly I think there are so many dangers to spreading of this mindfulness movement. Like honestly people can share it as much as they like, but sth that might have come out of buddhism doesn't have to be dharma when used wrong or for wrong purpouse. I kinda am not sure that anything that makes them just feel good will really do them some good. But hey hopefully I am wrong. I just still believe that meditating on compassion would do them more good as this whole minfulness meditation movement is a double-edged sword. It can help people, however it can also cause whole lot of people be born in animal realms or in god realms which is in many ways waste of time.

I honestly dont hate mormonism nor people who believe in what that Joseph said. I am european I have never met them and I know only bare minimum about them.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

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justsit
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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by justsit » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:07 am

It seems that my comments were misconstrued. My original comment on the article was made in reference to the last sentence:

"The meditation gatherings particularly resonate among younger Mormons. As McConkie observes, “There’s a huge need, especially in the millennial generation, to start to explore what’s beyond partisan and religious divides.” "
[bold is mine]

The Mormon church makes clear it's rejection of homosexuality and homosexual persons, that's no secret. I simply wondered if this new interest in "mindfulness" by millennials will expand to explorations that include the LGBT community. At no point did I make any comment about worldwide Buddhist treatment of gays, etc., other than mentioning the sangha with which I am personally acquainted.

I agree with Miroku's comment: "I just still believe that meditating on compassion would do them more good."

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emceecombs
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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by emceecombs » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:26 am

I mention this way too much, but I'm a former Mormon. I've been debating whether I should comment on this thread or not because I've been trying to stop visiting ex-Mormon forums like the one on Reddit and talking about Mormonism altogether in order to completely put it all behind me.

Anyways, I'm somewhat conflicted about this topic. On one hand I think mindfulness could be a good thing for them. Mormonism is just really lacking in substance, and I think that is why McConkie said he thinks the millennial generation of Mormons is exploring religious and political divides. And it is true that this generation seems different. I don't think most of them feel like their spiritual life is fulfilling. Mormons get a bad rap for being homophobic and stuff, but younger Mormons tend to be unexpectedly open minded. They are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place, trying to be tolerant and open minded while holding religious beliefs that are extremely demeaning to LGBT people. I don't think most young Mormons want to be homophobic, or even think of themselves as homophobic. They're just playing mental gymnastics with the information they have.

Mormons also generally believe that spirituaI truth can be found in all religions and scriptures--they just believe that everyone has lost the truth. People say that Mormonism is a restorationist Christian religion, but it really purports to be a restoration of an original universal religion. I remember while I was still attending I had some interesting talks about Buddhism, the Dhammapada and the Tao Te Ching. So I think many Mormons, especially millennials are pretty accepting of Buddhism and Buddhist concepts.

The problem (for Mormonsim) is that many if not most of the millennials who will be open to mindfulness and Dharma and to creating a pro-LGBT culture are the same ones leaving Mormonism--and Mormonism is supposed to be hemorrhaging members. The religion is completely ran by the old men at the top (prophet, his councillors, apostles, and general authorities), and thus is not receptive to the more open minded ideas of the younger generation. I believe it will continue to dwindle until only a small group of extreme dogmatists are left.

On the other hand I also think there is a danger of Mormons misinterpreting dharma terms, sayings and teachings. There are a surprising amount of Mormon sayings and teachings that are like Buddhist concepts, except twisted. Mormons use frisson (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frisson) and cognitive bias to determine religious truth, so there is a danger of them using mindfulness and dharmic teachings to strengthen their own Mormon beliefs. Mindfulness is great, but Buddhism is about intention. Without the right intention, it could become something completely different.
Amituofo :anjali:

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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by The Cicada » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:51 am

Lots being covered here that I have no desire to touch with a 108 foot pole. However, I think DGA wrote some kind of dissertation on mindfulness that he claimed, at one point, would demonstrate that mindfulness was not a genuine Eastern meditative practice but in fact rooted in Western thought and psychology. It would be ironic if Buddhists dumped mindfulness only for it to become to Eastern meditation practices what pilates are to yoga, ie, okay for the chapel.

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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by The Artis Magistra » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:39 am

emceecombs, I hope you don't mind too terrible, and its ok if you don't want to, but I think I could benefit greatly from hearing more about your personal story and how you used to experience Mormonism, interpret it, how you became attracted to Buddhism, and the whole thing up until now. The reason I ask these sorts of things is for the purpose of learning how one might approach possible Buddhists or Christians of various kinds and bring them the Dharma, what hit the right spots for you, and all that, what was unsatisfying in detail about Mormonism or difficult to practice or believe or whatever, how your family is dealing with you, this might be an alright thread for that or you could make another one, or not one at all, but I thought we might all benefit from this information being expressed. Sorry though, I know it can be annoying to talk about these things when we want it left behind.

joy&peace
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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by joy&peace » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:25 pm

The primary issue is the obscuration and misunderstanding of what is important..

As usual.

J. Smith taught that only during famine or excess hunger, should meat be consumed.


And that was roughly 200 years ago.

An updated version would probably be: be vegetarian.


Why do I say this? Because nowadays (in this and many countries), food is plentiful, and available -- there are healthy options which make all of the arguments against vegetarianism - illogical.

So - such a simple and plain teaching -- covered over completely.


Now - vegetarianism is not identical to Ahimsa.

Loving-kindness towards all, Bodhicitta, these type of things -- they are essential and integral parts of Ahimsa.


If one is vegetarian but causes great harm with words or speech -- this is not so good.


Indeed, loving-speech is a wonderful thing.


Thanks for sharing, MC -- yeah, that is my view of it too, more or less (just a knowledgeable guy).

It's just like any thing.. If people reject compassion (for animas, etc), they lose the most valuable thing in the world.


Oh - and, also, caffeine is not bad.

:anjali: :meditate:

Namaste,
Love and peace.


Oh - very last - there is a teaching from Vajrayana, which is -- I'm not in way or form to qualified to share these things, so I rarely do --

Yet its profound how many of the simple, short, and beautiful teachings can unlock worlds of understanding..


Anyway, one of those applies here: 'Don't meditate without good karma.'

So it's like that -- to teach Mormons mindfulness, one should first teach them

Ahimsa,

And etc.


But it's not so easy to teach nonviolence to those who are quite entrenched... (Most people... After all, it's good to be strong)


And this is why - arguing is not a good thing or helpful. If I get in an argument with someone about it ( and being a lifelong vegetarian, this is certainly from experience )

Doesn't effect change, -- so once again, the process would seem to be learn, grow, write and give where it does the most benefit, and so on.


And -- along with the Dhammapada's advice (love alone overcomes ill-being),

The best thing is often simply to show loving-kindness, without asking for anything in return, generosity -- dana -- and so on.


And of course, as Dogen and others emphasized, attain enlightenment - then teach...

Or in Zen, the saying is, 'Go up on the mountain, but then come back down.'

If we need peace and quiet -- usually there's a way to get these..

Namaste.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by Fortyeightvows » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:11 am

The Cicada wrote:...
:rolling:

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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by emceecombs » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:16 am

The Artis Magistra wrote:emceecombs, I hope you don't mind too terrible, and its ok if you don't want to, but I think I could benefit greatly from hearing more about your personal story and how you used to experience Mormonism, interpret it, how you became attracted to Buddhism, and the whole thing up until now. The reason I ask these sorts of things is for the purpose of learning how one might approach possible Buddhists or Christians of various kinds and bring them the Dharma, what hit the right spots for you, and all that, what was unsatisfying in detail about Mormonism or difficult to practice or believe or whatever, how your family is dealing with you, this might be an alright thread for that or you could make another one, or not one at all, but I thought we might all benefit from this information being expressed. Sorry though, I know it can be annoying to talk about these things when we want it left behind.
Mormonism and Mormons are pretty unique, so I'm not sure if learning to approach Mormons about Buddhism would help with approaching other Christians and Buddhists. Like I said, Mormonism isn't necessarily just a "Christian" religion or "Christian restoration movement." Mormonism claims to be an original religion that all of humanity has had, that God keeps reintroducing over and over again because people keep changing it over time. So Mormons could try to claim, for example, that Mormonism is the one true Buddhism and it would make just about as much sense as saying it is the one true Christianity. Pretty much anything you say or idea you introduce to a Mormon will likely be accepted into or rejected from the larger Mormon framework of ideas in a way that fits those previous ideas. So if you mention something about Buddhism that they can make fit their previous opinions, then they are liable to think something along the lines of "well Buddhism must have lost the truth a long time ago, but it clearly has some truth," and then they'll use that to reinforce their belief in Mormonsim. If what you say doesn't fit, then they will likely think it is either a deteriorated teaching or the teaching of the devil. Of course everyone falls into cognitive bias, but I believe Mormonism is especially bad with this. Mormonism is a weird religion, and it requires a lot of mental gymnastics to make everything fit. It doesn't make any kind of logical sense, and a lot of the ideas are actually contradictory. As a result, from my experience Mormons are really good at compartmentalizing things and twisting ideas and beliefs just enough to keep everything from crumbling. New Order Mormons and ex-Mormons frequently reference a mental "shelf" that they put concepts and ideas onto when they can't make everything fit.

So I'm not sure approaching Mormons about Buddhism would be very effective generally. Also, to be frank, I'm pretty skeptical of proselytizing and missionary activities. I don't think most people are open to being preached to, and I think most people are turned off by directly talking about religion. From my experience, most people do not respond to the kinds of missionary activities that Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and SGI are known for. Ironically, I've seen Mormons become offended or shocked when other religions turn the tables and try to convert Mormons (Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are bitter rivals lol :rolling: ).

In my opinion, the most effective form of missionary work is generosity. It is a material age, and people in general are attracted to material things. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. And I'm not saying the kinds of things Mormons are known for, like baking cookies or something for your neighbor. I think the most effective form of missionary work is things like soup kitchens, homeless shelters, humanitarian services, social services, addiction recovery, and service projects, especially manual labor in general. Mormon missionaries do some service projects, but hardly any--in fact they are required to keep their weekly service projects within a certain time limit. In general, I think people will be more likely to be interested in a religion if they it and its members as generous, good people. You never even have to talk about your religion. Actions speak louder than words.

If you really just want to introduce the Dharma to a Mormon of any kind, then I think you'll only have luck with people who are already on the fence or on the way out. Fortunately, at this point in time there are more Mormons like that than ever! It is part of the general trend of millennials leaving religion, but Mormonism in particular seems to be struggling to retain both youth and converts. According to the stats, only about 1/3 of Mormons go to church. As I said, Mormonism in general just really lacks substance. It is a really unsatisfying religion, imo. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, Joseph Smith pretty blatantly just made it all up as he went along. Mormonism in 1830 and Mormonism in 1845 were two completely different religions, and it has changed several more times until we're left with the LDS church we have today. For example, Mormonism in 1830 was like a normal Trinitarian, Protestant church with a weird dose of American folk-magic. By 1845 it had become a weird, American folk-magic, Masonry-infused, Monolastric, polygamous, "Christian" cult. Because Joseph Smith made up everything on the go, the religion doesn't have a coherent theology or doctrine. There are a lot of contradictions, and the metaphysics of the entire thing just have not been thought through. No one has ever tried to go through all of the scriptures and sayings and talks of all the Mormon prophets to put together a cohesive exegesis of Mormon theology, doctrine and metaphysics.

Second of all, Many of the most important doctrines in the times of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young have been de-emphasized. They are still definitely there, but they are either ignored or justified. For example, the LDS church doesn't practice temporal polygamy anymore (meaning no LDS member has two living spouses), but they do practice eternal polygamy (meaning that men can get "sealed" to another woman after their wife dies. It is believed that the man would be eternally married to each of his wives in the after-life). In addition, they come up with really strange, provably wrong reasons to explain why God required them to practice polygamy in the first place (for example, believing that there were less Mormon men than women at the time, when the opposite was actually true). Mormons believe that their prophets literally speak the word of God, and that the current ones are always more relevant than the dead ones. Therefore, Mormons generally just accept whatever the new ones say, and old doctrines kind of just go down the memory hole without ever being disavowed. And it isn't like these are men who spend their entire lives studying the Mormon religion. There really are no scholastic or intellectual sides to Mormonism, and this is important for maintaining the religion without doing anything to bring contradictory teachings into alignment. Mormon prophets are simply assigned, like every other position in the church, and it doesn't matter whether the person was a car salesman, heart surgeon, judge, or lawyer before they were called to their position. If you look at the backgrounds of Mormon leaders, the only common thread is really that they are all well off, ultra-conservative, old men.

Third of all, Mormonism feels more like a business than a religion. It is a lay religion that strongly emphasizes participation. As a result, everyone is assigned jobs, many of which can be so extensive as to basically be a full or part time job. There are sooo many meetings to go to. Everything is quotas and assignments. I just do not see how this adds up to a fulfilling spiritual life. You end up just running around, going to work, going to church, going to whatever extra meetings and assignments you have, and just hoping that you still have time to exercise, spend time with your family and have some down time. For example, an average Sunday for me growing up was:

-Wake up at 5AM, deliver newspapers

-7AM go to missionary prep

-8AM go to quorum planning meeting

-8:45AM prepare the sacrament

-9AM-12PM Church

-12-1PM Bishop Youth Council

-1-2PM priesthood leadership meeting

3:00-indefinitely, home teaching, depending on the long-winded nature of my companion. I would regularly get back anywhere from 7-9PM. Then when I got back home we would have family scripture study, which lasted an hour.

Oh and it is essentially required for all young men to go on a mission (and as a new development, ever since they lowered the missionary ages, young women are increasingly pressured to go as well). But to go on a mission, you have to pay your own way! So be prepared to fork over more than $10,000. Plus, the missionary schedule makes my Sunday schedule look relaxing, but it is for 7 days a week! For all of your work, you don't get paid, you have to pay your own way, and you are only allowed to talk to your family a couple times a year. Then there are things like tithing, fast offerings, and all kinds of other donations that are required (yes required. If you don't pay tithing, you can't go to the temple. If you can't go to the temple then you might as well not be Mormon in the first place because all of the real action goes on in there).

Add all of this together--the made up on the go beginnings, the de-emphasizing of important doctrines, emphasis on current prophets whose word must be accepted without questioning, and the business-like, busy-work approach, and you end up with a highly dis-satisfying religion, with an incoherent basis and theory, that can really only maybe provide satisfaction through its social aspects. As a result, Mormonism is basically just a culture, and I think it creates more questions, spiritually, than it answers.

If you want to approach Mormons, approach ones that are already fed up with all of this and on the way out.

Otherwise, I think humanitarian and service missionary work are far more effective than trying to convert someone directly.
Amituofo :anjali:

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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:11 pm

I understand where you are coming from (gotta love that "Reformed Egyptian" :toilet: ),
but if there is one thing I can take a bit of disagreement with, it is that IMO this is a little too extreme to be highly accurate
emceecombs wrote:Because Joseph Smith made up everything on the go, the religion doesn't have a coherent theology or doctrine. There are a lot of contradictions, and the metaphysics of the entire thing just have not been thought through. No one has ever tried to go through all of the scriptures and sayings and talks of all the Mormon prophets to put together a cohesive exegesis of Mormon theology, doctrine and metaphysics.
The Mormons think they have this and will argue (like members of any religion) that they have this. We can object, but to say that there is objectively no systematization or coherency is a little bit of an exaggeration, isn't it? It strikes me that this is the same thing many anti-Buddhists says about the variation and variety in Buddhism.

That being said now, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism states outright that Mormonism rejects and does not have theology. Very interesting.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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Re: US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Post by emceecombs » Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:25 am

Coëmgenu wrote:I understand where you are coming from (gotta love that "Reformed Egyptian" :toilet: ),
but if there is one thing I can take a bit of disagreement with, it is that IMO this is a little too extreme to be highly accurate
emceecombs wrote:Because Joseph Smith made up everything on the go, the religion doesn't have a coherent theology or doctrine. There are a lot of contradictions, and the metaphysics of the entire thing just have not been thought through. No one has ever tried to go through all of the scriptures and sayings and talks of all the Mormon prophets to put together a cohesive exegesis of Mormon theology, doctrine and metaphysics.
The Mormons think they have this and will argue (like members of any religion) that they have this. We can object, but to say that there is objectively no systematization or coherency is a little bit of an exaggeration, isn't it? It strikes me that this is the same thing many anti-Buddhists says about the variation and variety in Buddhism.

That being said now, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism states outright that Mormonism rejects and does not have theology. Very interesting.

I see what you're saying, and I definitely agree that it would be unfair to say the LDS church is not systemized in any way. The LDS church is systemized, but the key is, as reflected in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism saying Mormonism does not have any theology, the systemization is not built around theology or doctrines. The system is built around authority. It is built in such a way that whatever the people at the top say goes, and there isn't really any grappling with old doctrines or how anything works together. The lessons you get at LDS church every week stay more or less the same from childhood to adulthood. It progresses a little bit with age of course, but really not that much, and you never really get beyond the basics. In my experience, most Mormons aren't even aware of vast sections of Mormon doctrine that could actually be very important if everything was tied together. At the same time, none of these doctrines are ever denounced and still play a role subconsciously, especially in their impact on Mormon culture. Most of the information that Mormon members base their beliefs on is just whatever they hear in General Conference and church on Sundays, and by that point everything has been dumbed down quite a bit, so when Mormons talk about church, it basically consists of soundbites and clichés. This is weird because Mormons, especially in the context of missionary work, will employ the phrase "milk before meat," which is supposed to mean that you teach simple, understandable doctrines before moving to more complex ones or "deep doctrine". But because lessons at church and seminary never go beyond the basics, no one actually knows what "deep doctrine" is. "Milk before meat" ends up just becoming an excuse not to talk about unfavorable things like polygamy, tithing, and the fact that non-members can't watch their Mormon loved ones get married.

The LDS church is systemized authoritarianly, but doctrine and metaphysics are pretty much ignored. So yes, Mormons will discuss and argue about doctrine and things, but it is like watching sixth graders debate philosophy or science. Everything is dumbed down. One of the most interesting potential sources of doctrine is the LDS temple and how all these masonic rituals fit in, but Mormons are not allowed to talk about the temple! People who attempt to go beyond the pre-approved soundbites tend to get shut down pretty fast. I'll give an example that happened on my mission.

Mormons believe everyone begins not as souls, but as "intelligences." These intelligences are made into soul-bodies by a god, and the souls are given physical bodies by that god and sent to earth, where they try to become gods. Each of these bodies is called an "estate." So everyone that exists, has existed or will exist on earth "kept their first estate" meaning they were faithful as souls and chose God's plan instead of Satan's. Our physical bodies are our "second estate," and by keeping them, or following God's plan of salvation, we can become gods. So it follows that the body of a god is the third estate.

At the same time Mormons believe in eternal progress. In other words Godhood isn't a static thing, and just like the soul and physical, mortal bodies before it, it can be improved. I brought this up in a meeting with some other missionaries one time, saying something along the lines of "so what if there are more estates? Like beyond Godhood." My branch president immediately said "we don't talk about that," and that was it. No more discussion.

But this is a real problem for Mormon metaphysics and doctrine. How much can you be improved? What is beyond God? Obviously SOMETHING has to be behind God in Mormon doctrine, otherwise how did God become God in the first place? If it requires a god to make a soul, then how was the first soul made? How was the first mortal made? All of these things require a god to make them according to Mormonism, but without an original god to start it all, then how does it begin? In order for Mormon doctrine to make sense there has to be something both before intelligence, and something beyond godhood. And this something has to be the cause of the universe, something like a universal soul like in Hinduism.

In addition to this, Mormons believe that both the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ were gods before getting physical bodies at all (Mormons believe that Jehovah was Jesus as a spirit)! This completely contradicts the Mormon idea that you have to get a physical body before becoming a god. But not only do Mormons believe they didn't have physical bodies, Jehovah and Michael (even more complicated, because Michael is believed to be the spirit body of Adam, who was another body of God the Father as the physical father of all mankind!), as spirits, were the ones who actually built the physical world! Because apparently God the Father can't do that as the supreme god for some reason?

This is what I mean when I say Mormonism is unsatisfying, un-systematized and incomplete. Not that it is dry, boring and incoherent to talk about. It is certainly incoherent, but that is part of what makes it so interesting. It is incomplete! Someone needs to finish drawing it all out! The fact that Mormonism has so many possibilities, both historically and doctrinally, is what makes it so interesting. What frustrates me is that it will always be kept in a strangle hold from developing as long as the church is built around dumbed down doctrine and authoritarianism. In addition, I don't think the situation is comparable to Buddhism, because Buddhism has had thousands of years to develop and has many disparate schools, but Mormonism really only has one sect. Yes, there are a lot of small fundamentalist sects and the Community of Christ (which is actually great by the way. If I were a Christian I would join the Community of Christ and embrace my Mormon background!), but they are absolutely tiny. Plus, while the Community of Christ is like a modern version of Joseph Smith's 1830's Protestant style Mormonism, stripped of pretty much everything that Mormonism became, the fundamentalist sects essentially have the same beliefs as the LDS church with different emphasis. Buddhism's individual schools are coherent when taken by themselves, but may not be when compared to each other. Comparatively, Mormonism is like a monolithic entity that is at the same time incoherent and incomplete.
Amituofo :anjali:

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