As an actress, Tracy Lindsey Melchior has had roles in soap operas such as "The Bold and the Beautiful," and "One Life to Live," appeared in "Beverly Hills Cop II," and done commercials for Nike and Coca-Cola. Several years ago, she became a Christian, a transformation that gave her a new sense of purpose. Along the way, Tracy realized she'd broken all 10 commandments in her life, literally. (Asked most often about "Thou shalt not kill," the answer is: She had an abortion, which she sees as murder.) Through her new book "Breaking the Perfect 10" and speaking gigs, Tracy hopes to advise young women on avoiding promiscuity and making moral choices. She spoke with Beliefnet by phone from her home outside of Los Angeles, as her son played in the background.
Breaking all 10 commandments doesn't sound easy.
It wasn't exactly a list of things to do. It was one of those things I hadn't even realized I'd done. It's scary that other people may fit that mold and not realize it as well. It's not that hard to do, actually. As I look back, it's not that I was what people would describe as a "terrible person." But in our society it really isn't that difficult to do because so much is permissible in our society. You can justify so much in our culture. Most people are surprised about the killing--abortion, the taking of a human life--and that one is done on a daily basis in our society. So it may surprise some people that they may have broken all 10, if they really went through it and were real honest with themselves.
At what point did you realize you'd broken "the perfect 10"?
I came up with the book's title before I knew what I was going to do with the book. I got an opportunity to write the book, and I knew my passion was that line between being a believer and being in Hollywood and trying to find the balance so you can serve both. And the Ten Commandments came to mind. As I was continuing to brainstorm, I thought I could talk about how I broke each commandment, and I'd thought I came to an obstacle with Number Six. I was like, "I've never killed anyone, so I couldn't do that part of the book." And all of a sudden a wave of sadness came over me when I realized that in fact I had. And that was when I knew I needed to write that.
How did you go from someone who broke commandments to one who follows them as a Christian?
You can only go so long thinking you can be self-reliant and self-serving and still make yourself happy. When I realized that everything I was doing was bringing me the opposite of what I wanted, I got to a dead-end street. Sometimes when you've got nowhere to go, it's a good place to be, then you're forced to face your demons and look yourself in the mirror. You've lost everything, you've been stripped of everything. And when I got to that point, I knew I needed to do something different.
So did you go religion shopping?
I didn't explore a lot of them real deeply. But I did ask questions of friends of mine who were Jewish and friends of mine who had more of a New Age philosophy, and [explored] a little bit about Buddha. There was an enormous amount of people surrounding me at that time who were Christian, and it made sense to me, the more I learned about it. I felt peaceful the more I learned about it. Religion isn't just about whether it works for you, but to me, it was the one that gave me the most peace and made the most sense. There were things in Christianity that I discovered were innately in me already but I didn't have anything to base them on. Christianity and the Bible gave me a basis for things I was already feeling.