20140802

My Life as a Jack Mormon (satire)

“Baptism is a sign to God, to angels, and to heaven that we do the will of God, and there is no other way beneath the heavens whereby God hath ordained for man to come to Him to be saved, and enter into the kingdom of God, except faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, and any other course is in vain; then you have the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost.” — Joseph Smith, Jr - History of the Church, 4:553–557

From this quote, baptism shows God, angels and heaven that the baptized does the will of God. Along with faith in the Christ and repentance, it is the only way God has ordained me to come to him to be saved and enter the kingdom of God.

Repentance means that I am committed to not sinning by following Mormon precepts and values. However, there is some leeway here since I am currently an unbaptized prospect.

It is only during times when I am tired or stressed that I might be tempted to sin, but have overcome alcoholic use because I have barely used alcohol for about seven weeks. I stopped smoking completely, and resisted all relapses. Hot drinks require only time for them to cool down; therefore I have kept that Mormon precept. As for dangerous drugs, I currently do not use any of them. Thus I keep the precepts about alcohol, tobacco, hot drinks, and dangerous drugs.

As well, I have even decided to keep chaste, mainly because I am sure that prayer and meditation will help me resist temptation.

Mainly because of prayer and meditation is all of this possible. However, faith in the Christ helps me to maintain repentance, preparing me for baptism in a few years.

Even so, a Buddhist who adheres to Mormon precepts is but a Jack Mormon. For I am not a baptized member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Having attended Sunday meetings at the local meetinghouse, I have become friendly towards Church members and Mormonism, having sympathized with them, and have taken an active interest in their belief system, even though much of how I view Mormonism is seen through Buddha eyes.

Of course, "Buddha eyes" is metaphor for "seeing and understanding life with a caring and compassionate heart".

This comes through regular meditation to develop the calm mind necessary for seeing with the heart until I understand that life is meaningful due to suffering when it inspires us to see the truth about suffering. and reject the vain grasping of desire that is "evil passion", which is merely the act of mental calculation to commit error and thus "sin".

Therefore meditation is heavy duty prayer, and merely giving thanks to God is enough to begin my meditations, which help keep me focused on living like a Mormon. Although it would be impossible for me to completely think like a Mormon, I know that it is not in my nature to be radically conservative.

Indeed, I would rather balance the conservatism of Mormon thought with the liberalness of Buddhist humanism, for the ecumenism of Mormonism does counterbalance its conservative elements.

My path into Mormonism however is not a course in vain. Rather, it is a cautious journey into a religion that not only has conservative elements in it, but also liberal elements. In my heart, I know that Mormonism isn't just a fad for me. It has drawn from my own Buddhist faith to help enlighten my understanding of the Mormon way, which ranges from conservative to liberal.

Returning to baptism, "unbaptized" reminds me of the phrase "the unwashed masses" — I used to be one of them. Even though I remain "unwashed", in my heart all those sins are being washed away by keeping the Mormon precepts.

Perhaps one day when I am baptized the gift of the Holy Ghost that is promised will help prepare me for becoming a full member of the Mormon faith.

Indeed, today I feel like I truly belong, because Mormons have come to know and love me. They even pray for me, and I am thankful for that.

Just as in Mormonism, thanksgiving is a vital part of my Buddhist faith. I know that much of that faith will help "fill in the blanks" where Mormon literature preaches the Christology, though I will tactfully refrain from filling in the blanks for Mormons.

Yes, I admit to adhering to religious pluralism. However, the light that shines before the world is the spiritual light of what Mormons call the Christ. I would call it Buddha Nature, which also may be described in terms of water as the drops of each person's faith that mingle together into an ocean of pure compassion.

For no matter what faith I was born into, the tenets of Buddhism are the core elements that inspire me to yield to what Mormonism wishes of me, provided I continue to purify my mind through meditation so that all that is Mormon fits with all that I know of Buddhism. This means the Pure Land will akin to the Celestial Kingdom as a destination in the afterlife where the faithful Mormons go to receive spiritual guidance from the Christ.

Will I forget about baptism? No, but my continued association with the Mormons will be worth the change of faith. As for now, I am satisfied with my life as a Jack Mormon, balancing Zen and Mormonism.

Reference:

Jack Mormon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Mormon

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