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Hi I'm Tyler Shelton

I'm an aspiring composer. My mind has been called "interesting," by tactful people. And yes, I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I was born in a fairly big city in California and raised in a small town in Arizona; I am now attending college in Utah. I come from a pretty interesting family. My parents had two kids in the normal way, my older brother and me. Then, we adopted four other children: a younger brother, African-American, from Philadelphia; an older sister and younger brother from the Marshall Islands (if you don't know those, google'em); and my youngest brother, a boy with Cerebral Palsy and a host of other disorders. If I am grateful for one thing about my family, it's that they have given me a wide range of experiences and stories--I can find something to talk about with almost anyone I've ever met (discounting language barriers). My life, and my family's life, has had its ups and downs. (For a little more about how I dealt with those, see "Why I am a Mormon"). In spite of the bad things, I personally am a pretty happy guy. Call me a "happy-go-unlucky" character. Friends who I tell my story to will often remark that from my disposition, they would never guess the things I've been through--which I'm glad to hear, as it shows that a person is more than just the sum of their circumstances. Like I said, I am a composition major at Brigham Young University. (For those who don't know, that means I'm writing music). Yes, I know the life of an artist is tough, but why would I go for the easy life now, with so much practice living on the "difficult" setting?

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into a Mormon family. That being said, I don't tolerate people who claim that I'm only a Mormon because that's what I was born into. I have encountered problems big enough to make me question my faith, and people very close to me have, at times, stopped following the Church. With this in mind, I'd say that I have earned my faith--whatever was handed to me has long since been replaced by my own seeking for truth and peace. When I was seven years old, my younger brother (the one from Philadelphia) died, at the age of two. Having been raised in a predominantly Mormon community, and being only seven, I had never questioned my faith before, but I certainly questioned it then. Being of a scientific kind of mind (even back then), I struggled with my natural skepticism, and a grief that discouraged me from trusting God. The experience gave me the motivation to seek answers for myself. While the way a person receives knowledge and feelings from God (called "revelation" by Mormons) is hard to describe, just know that without any tangible proof, I know that God, and Heaven, and the Savior and His plan, all exist. Even in my skeptical mind, I know it just as surely as if I DID have some kind of proof. The nature of revelation is such that I can only know this well enough to convince myself, not you--if you'd like to know, you can study and pray and the answers will come to you as well. Since then, the images of God, Heaven, and the chance to be with my family after this life is over, have been the beacon that leads me through difficult times. I like to say that it's like I'm walking through a storm, and I can see my house in the distance, with the lights on. When the storm gets worse, it doesn't discourage me--it only makes me more determined to reach the safety of my home. Living the teachings of Christ has allowed me to find a peace and happiness from inside me, regardless of what may happen to me.

How I live my faith

For me, the part of my faith that I notice the most is the process of trying to be Christlike. Because none of us is perfect, trying to be like Jesus is a lifelong goal. It strikes the right balance between knowing that you are never good enough to be finished, and knowing that you are expected to fall short, so it's okay to make mistakes--after all, the whole point of Christ's mission was to help us become better in spite of our mistakes. So, every time I'm faced with a strong feeling or reflex to do something I might regret later, I try to listen to the voice that reminds me there's a better way. I let my brother off the hook just one more time (although I remind him that there may be a better way for him, too); I don't take the bait when someone tries to start an argument. Gradually, I've been able to let God make me into a better kind of person. I used to think, "I'm only responsible for me--if I live life right, I'll get to heaven, and that goes for everyone." Life was like a homework assignment (which I always took pretty seriously). Then, as a child, Christ (through the scriptures, the church, and my own heart) told me that one of those things I needed to do was to serve the people around me. And, I learned that you can only serve people for so long before you begin to love them--to serve them no longer out of obligation, but out of sincerely wanting their welfare, and seeing them as your equals in God's eyes. So, I've made it a goal t help those around me in whatever way I can, and while the heaven off in the distance is still a great desire, the trip there is made a lot more bearable by the company of those who journey with me--which is everyone on earth, if you really want to get technical. I try to pay attention to the nuts-and-bolts facets of my religion. I do believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established by God to show us the way to return to Him, and so I follow the practices of the church as best I can.