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Buddha Is HidingRefugees, Citizenship, the New America$
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Aihwa Ong

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520229983

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520229983.001.0001

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The Ambivalence of Salvation

The Ambivalence of Salvation

Chapter:
(p.194) (p.195) Chapter 8 The Ambivalence of Salvation
Source:
Buddha Is Hiding
Author(s):

Aihwa Ong

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520229983.003.0009

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

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