Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest
by Eric Shuster
The rich traditions of the Catholic Church were etched firmly into the lives of Eric and Marilyn Shuster. He led liturgical music for the church and she was a former Franciscan nun with a degree in Catholic theology. They hadn't thought of leaving their beloved Catholicism, but everything changed when they moved next door to a Mormon family and learned about a form of Christianity they had never considered.
After a year of miraculous experiences and challenging theological study, Eric and Marilyn were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1989. While they were excited about this new transition, they wondered what would come of their deep Catholic roots. In the nearly two decades that followed, they grafted into those roots the doctrines and principles of the restored gospel, resulting in a spiritual harvest for them and their family.
This is the story of their conversion, as told by Eric, along with a respectful and enlightening comparison of 40 key doctrines between Catholicism and Mormonism that testified to them of the restoration of the gospel. Find yourself touched, challenged, and educated as you share Eric and Marilyn's journey from Catholic roots to Mormon harvest.
By Tristi, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I’ve only attended churches of other denominations on occasion, for weddings of friends and such. I do enjoy learning about the traditions and beliefs held by other religions as it helps me to better understand the people I meet, and I enjoy finding commonalities between their practices and my own. Until reading “Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest,” however, I hadn’t done much studying of the Catholic Church, and I found the book fascinating.
Eric Shuster was raised as a Catholic and led liturgical music in the services. His wife, Marilyn, had been a Franciscan nun and carried a degree in Catholic theology. At the time of their marriage, they were very content in their faith and had no intention of converting to something else, and certainly not to Mormonism. But when they moved and found themselves living next door to some Mormons, that all changed.
When I first started reading this book, I half-expected to find a long list of complaints about Catholicism. Isn’t that why people generally convert, because they’re unhappy with what they have? Instead, what I found was a very thoughtful analysis of the doctrines of the gospel as preached by the Catholics as compared to the doctrines as taught by those of the LDS faith. I was impressed by the high level of respect the Shusters showed toward the Catholic Church and the way in which they expressed gratitude for the many good things they gleaned from their experiences with it. This wasn’t a bitter tale of why they left—instead, it was the story of how they came to believe that the LDS Church had things to offer them that would build upon their Catholic foundations.
The back portion of the book was very fascinating to me. The author makes a point-by-point comparison between the two religions, and I felt he was in a unique position to do this, having studied Catholicism the first half of his life and Mormonism the second half. This was not merely a listing of things he’d noticed or things he’d overheard, but things he had studied out and meditated about for years. The approach is thoughtful and non-combative, logical and well laid-out.
If you are a Catholic and wonder why anyone would convert to Mormonism, if you’re a Mormon and would like to better understand your Catholic neighbors, or if you’re just someone who enjoys reading about religious journeys, you will appreciate “Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest.”