What is a Buddhist Bishop?

I am a Mormon Bishop. I am not exactly a Buddhist, but I subscribe to many if not most of the Buddhist teachings I am familiar with.

So what exactly does it mean to be a Mormon Buddhist Bishop? Certainly I subscribe to the fundamental teachings of the Restoration, as we sometimes like to refer to the works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

But as a Buddhist Bishop I am a little less uptight about some of the particulars. I am not a dogmatist. It is much more about being than it is about knowing. The central issue for me is the kind of person I am trying to become.  There is no real contradiction between that ethos and the central truths of the Restoration. The current culture of Mormonism, in my opinion, however, has become much more focused on knowing the “right thing” than about being the right kind of person. Love  and charity are in the scriptures, and these things are taught, but they are far down on the list.

In this blog, I will describe my adventures as a Buddhist Bishop. As of this writing, I am just midway through my second year as Bishop. My ward is an inner-city ward made up largely of fairly low-income relatively recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America.  These folks are in the main not worried about the nuances that I sometimes fret about. They are mainly worried about staking their claim to the American dream.

So this is really about how I square a broad and open view of the gospel with a hierarchy very much concerned with doctrine and dogma. The saving grace is that the central truths of the Restoration are sublime, and the core truth is  loving kindness, just as it is in Buddhism.

Mainly I will post polished versions of my talks. The Bishop really should be the teacher-in-chief of the ward, and I take every opportunity to speak to my ward. From the pulpit, it might be as often as every other month (which is actually quite a bit for Mormon bishops).

For now, I choose to remain anonymous on the blog. With the recent excommunication of a prominent Mormon feminist, it is perhaps not wise to step out in front. I am not going to any great lengths to hide my identity. I do feel a certain responsibility with this calling, in particular loyalty to my congregation. If the Strengthening Church Membership committee (or whatever it is called) comes after me, fine. But I am not going to lie down in from of the train.

 

UPDATE. August 2017. Now released as Bishop. But we retain the title and so I remain the Buddhist Bishop.

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