This I Believe

Shalyse - Logan, Utah
Entered on December 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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It is OK to believe in more than one religion.

Growing up in a family where my parents are of two different religions has really affected my personal beliefs. My mother is Lutheran and my father is Mormon. However, religion has never been a big issue in my house. We never went to church on Sundays or said a prayer before every meal; the philosophy of our family seemed to be about individual religion and finding out about personal beliefs rather than family beliefs.

My father always encouraged me to go to the LDS church on holidays or special occasions while my mom encouraged me to go to vacation bible school every summer. I have always had a choice in going or staying home, but as a child I wanted approval from my parents and that seemed to be given by going to church. It also was never a competition with religion. My mother went to blessings of the LDS church and my father went to the Lutheran church when I was baptized.

One thing that greatly affected my religious beliefs by them, although I am sure they never intentionally gave me this impression, is that I don’t have to choose one specific religion and follow every single aspect of it. Although my father is Mormon he will drink beer and swear occasionally, and although my mother is Lutheran she will wear a St. Christopher pendant. It is things like these that gave me the courage to explore different religions and not be so intent on choosing just one. Who is to say that I have to pick one religion that I believe is right? Why can’t I believe different parts of all religions to satisfy my personal feelings?

When I was younger I explored the LDS church because all my friends were LDS and I hated to stand out. The more I looked into the church and started questioning everything, the more I felt like I was being judged. To me, their beliefs did not ease my soul or calm my heart, they just left unanswered questions. I also looked into the Lutheran church and the Catholic Church; that too left me with unanswered questions and a discontent heart. With all these questions in my head and the feeling of judgment all around me I started to rebel in my own way. I pierced my nose, eyebrow, and belly button. I got a tattoo just for the sake of getting a tattoo. I dyed my hair pink because I wanted to stand out. All of these things, though they may have seemed like rebellion to me then, now seem as if it was a moment of awakening for me. I didn’t have to conform to what everyone else believed, and I didn’t have to look different from them to stand out either.

Eventually I looked into Buddhism and found more comfort there than I had from any other religion. I do not believe fully with their teachings, but the Buddhism philosophy made me feel more complete, made me feel more like it was okay to search the earth and my soul to find what I truly feel is right. I believe that there is no ONE religion for everyone. I believe that it is ok to believe in more than one religion. So even though I still do not have a certain religion and am exploring many possibilities, I do not feel discontent anymore. I am content not knowing right now. I am content searching to find contentment.