From the combox

I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not because of archaeology, or history, or linguistics, or any other secular discipline. I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ for the exact same reason that you are a member (and leader) of the Roman Catholic Church: because it bears good fruit in my life.

This person’s comment should put paid once and for all the idea that The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints is a Christian religion in any sense at all. His comment (and I have received several like it) indicates the current state of teaching in the Mormon religion. That is to say, it is all about fruit. That is to say, “Those Mormons sure are nice folks. Their religion must be right.” or “Since I’ve become a Mormon I’ve been so much happier. Why, God even inspires my art!”

If this is what Mormonism is, then it is the perfect religion for the United States. You can be a squeaky clean, nice, successful person if you become a Mormon! In other words, they have a product to sell. It’s a product that will make you happy! Sign up here and join us!

I can understand this. It is always tempting to re-package a religion to make it sell. In fact, if you were going to make up a religion isn’t that what you’d do? You’d come up with a big benefit at a low cost, and since this makes so much sense and is just the sort of religion you would invent if you were inventing one then it does make one suspect that this is exactly what happened with Mormonism? Someone invented it.

I’m happy to say that Catholicism isn’t really about making me happy or healthy or successful or neat and tidy. It’s not really about good orthodontics. I can get all that elsewhere without belonging to a religion. Heck, I could do that by going to the gym, eating Raisin Bran and following a self help course. I could just read How to Win Friends and Influence People or The Power of Positive Thinking.

I am not a Catholic because it “bears good fruit” or makes me a nice person. Religion is not a set of table manners.

I’m a Catholic for the salvation of my soul. For those who missed the old, old story it goes like this:

Like the rest of the human race, I am a sinner, separated from God and headed for an eternity of darkness. But God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son who took human flesh of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He lived, suffered and died for the sins of the world in a mysterious and powerful sacrifice. He rose again on the third day and now is seated at the right hand of the Father. All dominion power and authority have been given to him. He shared that authority with his apostles and instituted the Catholic Church and through that church the sacraments of my salvation have been given through God’s great grace. By faith in his saving action, and by a lifetime of taking up my cross and following him I have received the forgiveness of sins and the hope of the salvation of my eternal soul.

I hope there is ‘good fruit’ in my life, but that is God’s doing and is (like fruit) the end result not the essential reason.

UPDATE: Mormonism proposes a solution for a non-existent problem. Like most of the Protestant based sects invented in the 19th century in America, it begins with Primitivism. This is the idea that the Catholic Church became corrupt and apostatized some time long ago. The newly invented religion therefore is a restoration of the “primitive” Church. This article shows why the basic assumptions of Primitivism are wrong, and why the proposed solutions are even worse.