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Brittany: Religion

October 3, 2010

Ecuador is 95% Catholic. An experience of a fellow student shows how dominant the Catholic faith is: She is Jewish and upon explaining that to her family, her host mom said, “So I’m confused… Do Jews believe in God?”

So it is unusual to not be Catholic… but not unheard of.

The first weekend I was here, we all went out Saturday night. My family said this was fine, and that I should be home by 1 or 2 a.m.  So needless to say I was bit (unpleasantly) surprised when they woke me up at 7 am Sunday morning and announced it was time to go to church. Wanting to be the good host daughter, I dragged myself out of bed and went with them.

We were sitting in the church listening to the sermon when it started to dawn on me that maybe my family was part of the 5% religious exception.  First, I’ve been to Catholic services and this felt… not Catholic. Then I noticed that there were two boys waiting to speak wearing black suits, white dress shirts, and little white pins on their breast pockets. And finally (and probably something I should have noticed sooner), I looked over and realized my host dad was holding the Book of Mormon.

So my family is Mormon.

After the sermon (which was really all these people giving testimonies to God—I guess that happens the first Sunday of every month), I attended a class with other kids my age and then one with all women. People were nice, but it was a little awkward. They insisted I participate and so I read the Book of Mormon… in Spanish, and they kept asking me questions… in Spanish. I spent the whole day being quite confused. I have absolutely zero religious vocabulary.

Since that day I haven’t gone to church with them again, although one night we did sing hymns and read aloud in their living room with some missionaries.

But my family is nice and not pushy about me participating in their religion. I just have to find the balance between staying true to my own belief system and integrating myself into my Ecuadorian family.

–Brittany Libra

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