What are the main similarities and differences between Confucianism and Mormonism?
The Confucian focus on moral example as the basis of harmony in society is consistent with LDS views. While some have argued that Confucianism is not a religion, others point to its sacred text and to the millions who honor their parents and deceased ancestors through acts of piety in the home or through performances at shrines or tombs. Latter-day Saints and Confucians share a mutual concern for the salvation of the extended family. Though the focus differs, both carry out devotional ceremonies in sacred places on behalf of departed ancestors. Both place importance upon genealogical research. Latter-day Saints believe that Joseph Smith received priesthood keys or authority by which families and generations could be joined together "for time and all eternity." This work is carried out in Latter-day Saint temples. The Confucian quest for sagehood, for refinement and cultivation of the ideal human, has its counterpart in the Latter-day Saint quest for eternal life. Both the sage and the true Latter-day Saint personify the transforming power of righteous behavior.
Jan Shipps -
Jan Shipps has been Professor of Religious Studies and History at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis and coeditor of Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation.
Spencer J. Palmer -
Spencer J. Palmer has been assistant professor of history and religious instruction at Brigham Young University.