As promised when I got my minister's license, I am posting a list of indulgences for sale. I am selling these in order to make the world a better, more guilt-free place. Also, I want the money.
Many years ago, way before the Internet, the Catholic church granted indulgences to sinners (you, me, everybody) as a way of being pardoned for simply being ourselves. Like so many great ideas, it started out OK but gradually lapsed into abuse.
Not only did some greedy church officials begin selling the indulgences at a significant markup, but a practice of forging them began to grow.
For example, if I lived back then and got stopped by the papal police, I might have presented this illicit document:
"In lieu of a pig, the undersigned certifies that the peasant Kirby is hereby pardoned before the throne of Heaven for burning down a church, however accidentally or not, in the village of Vomir du Chien, between the years 1509 and [insert year here]. Signed: Cardinal Sonny Richelieu."
Martin Luther, the great founder of Protestantism (and virulent Jew hater), didn't like people buying their way out of trouble. Yeah, I know. Beats me. Sounds like a great idea.
Thanks to the Reformation, churches don't sell indulgences so much anymore. Which is all the more reason for bringing it back.
Look, aren't you just a little too busy for the whole repentance process? Don't you have better things to do than feeling sorry for embezzling money from an orphanage? Couldn't your time be put to better use than worrying about going to hell?
I can fix that. Join my NONE-denominational church (or the one I plan to start) and being forgiven is as simple as saying, "Do you take Discover?"
The answer to that, of course, is "Sorry, no." But other major cards, including Diner's Club, are OK. In some cases (though probably not yours), an IOU will work.
Enough. Let's get to the list. Because of limited space, we'll only address the commonly accepted Seven Deadly Sins, which are found in various forms in most religious books of scripture.
NOTE: For ease of use, I have made this Mormon-specific in some places. It can be easily tuned to your own faith.
Wrath • If you've gotten angry lately, you can be indulged anywhere from $2 for minor form of peeved to $500 for losing it during a ward ball game, priesthood lesson, or Pinewood Derby.
Sloth • Five bucks for watching TV when you're supposed to be making dinner or taking out the trash. Twenty bucks for goofing off at work. And a whopping $200 for not getting your home/visiting teaching done on time.
Gluttony • If you consume more than you really need, it's a flat $50. If you've overindulged to the point of an addiction, it's $100. If you're addicted to a mindless reality show, it's double that. Per episode.
Envy • Desiring someone else's good fortune particularly when you're already fortunate enough is bad. Like my neighbor Jason buying a new SUV when mine is 10 years old. Let's call it even at $40.
Lust • Ten bucks for checking out someone who isn't your (only) significant other. If you actually touched them, it's $75. If you had sex with them, it's $1,000 over and above whatever you lose in the divorce.
Greed • Otherwise known as desire for wealth and power. If you desire to be bishop of your ward, it'll cost you $60. If you want to be a senator, it's $800. If you're running for president, forget it. There isn't enough money in the world to keep you out of hell.
Pride • This one is tough. I'm enormously proud of having thought up selling indulgences. So much so that I'll probably have to use all the money I make at it to get myself off the hook.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.