Chapter

The Ambivalence of Salvation

Aihwa Ong

in Buddha Is Hiding

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520229983
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937161 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520229983.003.0009
The Ambivalence of Salvation

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This chapter looks at the loss of Buddhism and the ways Cambodian refugees learned to negotiate cultural rules in order to gain white respectability, which was important for an American success story. It studies the Mormon Church and the Asians that the church was able to recruit, and this is followed by the testimonies of two Cambodian sisters on their conversion to Mormonism. The chapter notes that one of the main Buddhist themes that the Cambodians introduced into Mormon theology was family reunification with relatives who died or were separated during the war. The chapter looks at the ignorance of some young Cambodians on Buddhism, and their belief that Buddhism was irrelevant to the lives that they wanted to lead in America. The appeal of Mormonism to Cambodian women, the appeal of Protestantism to Hispanic youths, and the white masculine aura regarding Protestantism are discussed.

Keywords: Buddhism; cultural rules; Mormonism; Buddhist themes; Mormon theology; family reunification; Protestantism

Chapter.  15601 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Migration Studies

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