Man spends 12 months practicing 12 different religions, and finds peace at year’s end

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RNS photos courtesy Andrew Bowen

RNS photos courtesy Andrew Bowen

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LUMBERTON, N.C. (RNS) Andrew Bowen isn't Muslim, or Hindu, or Baha'i, or Mormon. In fact, he's none of the 12 faiths he practiced for a month at a time during 2011. Finding faith in God again was not Bowen's aim; he was looking for faith in humanity. By Amanda Greene.

  • Texas2Step

    An interesting experience, no doubt about that. I do wonder, though, how Bowen reconciled the teachings of one religion that contradicted the teachings of another. I know he was not actually converting to each religion as he learned and practiced, but I also know that I would have felt very muddled at some point.

  • EW88

    Why should he worry about reconciliation if he isn’t seeking conversion? There is so much more in common among people of different faiths than there is different, and his journey through 12 of them taught him respect for each religion. That is commendable. I think we could all stand to learn a little more about each other and respect each other more. I am a Mormon, for example. I invite you and anyone else to visit,, or to fact-check the many media articles you see these days, or to just find out more for yourself.
    Thanks for listening.

  • coltakashi

    There is certainly a virtue in learning about another person’s faith from that person, rather than from someone who is on the outside and only knows an unfaithful version of it. On the other hand, having an appointment with yourself to practice a different religion on the first of the next month is a barrier to allowing oneself to have real regenerative faith. The Book of Mormon, for example, promises that if a person reads it while pondering on the mercy and love of God for mankind, and asks God if the record is a true history, with sincere willingness to accept and live by God’s answer. and with faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, the person can receive assurance through revelation that the book is in fact a true record. Having this kind of project in mind means that he was incapable of exercising the kind of faith and commitment that is required to receive spiritual confirmation from God about the Book of Mormon, the kind of confirmation that motivates two hundred thousand people a year to join the Mormon Church.

    On a more constrained scale, there are many people who visit a variety of Christian churches, searching for one that they feel at home in, one where God seems to speak to them. The difference is that they are not on a path to skim the surface of those denominations, but rather are seeking to determine whether the particular church is the one through which God will speak to them. That means having no artificial and arbitrary time limit on how long you will study a particular church. Many people who find their home in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have done just that, including Glenn Beck.

  • margret hamilton

    All well and good for such a person in search of the truth. But what is the message for a Christian who knows the truth? Surely it is not to take a journey upon a relgious smorgasbord? No, I do not think that is the message here.

    My greater concern, however, is for the ambiguous out there. To them, this sounds like a grand plan. Why? Because as it says somewhere in Timothy (paraphrase) “in the end times there will many prophets appealing to those with itchy ears.” In other words, people will choose that which very often most appeals to their senses and causes them the least amount of sacrifice and obedience. I doubt that will be Christianity.

  • joylobo

    This is really commendable…..I am surprised to know there are still people who search for humanity in such a way..

    freight loads

  • Sarah

    I am a couple months late on this article but oh well here is my opinion:

    I am a mormon, and I do not mind at all the faith journey this man has had. It is the greatest possible thing to find the similarities, and learn from each religion their practices. I myself have decided to do such a thing. It is not wrong, for Joseph Smith said something to the effect of, and I paraphrase it a bit: Do the Baptists have truth? Yes, do the methodists? Yes…We will not be true mormons if we do not search for the truth and take it from where it comes.” I really truly believe that if we do not search out every religion to find truth, even truth to questions our Prophets have not received revelation on, then we will be held accountable to our God for that. I think that it seems he has chosen at least one church to attend and that is Catholicism, but he hasn’t chosen to call himself catholic, he hasn’t chosen to call himself anything yet. In the process of conversation sometimes you need to wait.

  • Sarah

    Also on the whole false prophet thing, if the truth comes from God, it will resonate with in you in such a way you can not deny it is truth. If it is not truth, it will fail you. If you believe and trust the Holy Spirit to guide you, you can not come to a false conclusion.

  • Sue

    It can be very interesting learning about different . as a Jehovah’s Witness I personally talk to people of all religeons as long as they want to talk. I have looked closely at many many faiths. I have had bible studies with Moslems, Mormons, Catholics Methodist, baptists, etc etc. I discuss and need to have an understanding of all the religeons because we are willing to talk to all. When you have what you see as the truth though, you can’t rightly worship god in a different way. You either know that Jehovah or yahweh is the almighty god and Jesus is his son. You can’t worship Jesus as god as many religeons teach. I couldn’t belong to a religeons that will back up fighting where eg catholics would fight Catholics. We do follow the truths of the bible and appreciate the incredible prophecies recorded in the bile and historic accuracy etc etc. once you are honest and are looking to serve god in the way he wants and not just what suits you it is a beautiful place to be and that is what motivates you to talk to others by knocking on doors like Jesus taught his disciples to do and commanded them to do. I appreciate though we still need to be loving and kind to all we meet.