BYU student finds similarities in religions


    By Jessica Gurnsey

    With a heavy accent and a warm smile, Frances Naluwemba speaks of life in Uganda. It is her home, and she hopes to return when she graduates from BYU with her doctorate. Naluwemba lived in a Pentecostal tribe while in Uganda and practices those religious beliefs here at BYU.

    ?I like talking to people, explaining who I am,? Naluwemba said. ? I?ve never hidden my religion.?

    Naluwemba finds many similarities between her faith and the culture at BYU. Her family and religion taught her morals from childhood just like many of the students at BYU. Uprightness, obedience to God and a desire to live with God again were all similarities between the two religions, Naluwemba said.

    ?Your religion is an extreme where people are very much devoted to it,? she said. ?Mine is an extreme too, people are very devoted it.?

    More than 20 different religions, which share similar characteristics, join together to form the student body at BYU. The top religions on campus have remained constant for the past several years, said Janet Rex of University Communications.

    While The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes up nearly 98 percent of the student body, the top non-LDS religion on campus is is Catholicism. Catholicism is followed by the Protestant religion, which includes such sects as Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and others. Islam is the fourth largest religion at BYU.

    The number of Catholic and Protestant students has remained steady since 2000, with the other religions seeing a slight increase in enrollment, adding about five to 10 students.

    Ahmad Salah, the BYU Arabic Club president, sees many similarities between religions. He said he believes it was easier to adjust to life at BYU than it would have been at other universities because of the religious values.

    ?There are lots of similarities between LDS and Islam,? Salah said. ?Family values, moral values, smiling to your brother or sister, group attitudes, getting out in the world, meeting people, interacting with them, giving help and charity are all things we share.?

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