Religion 100 Introduces LDS Beliefs to Students


    By Stella Chu

    In addition to the typical freshman anxiety, some non-member students have one more concern in mind — what Latter-day Saints are like and what they believe.

    To ease those concerns, there is a Religion 100 course called Introduction to the LDS Church, designed especially for non-LDS students on campus to learn about the basic beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    “The purpose [of the course] is to help them make the adjustment to BYU,” said Lawrence R. Flake, professor of religious education.

    Although non-LDS students soon find out that LDS students are just normal people, they are still surprised at some of the LDS doctrines and standards.

    Muxue Liu, a freshman from China majoring in psychology, said she was surprised to see modesty in dress on campus.

    “I first heard that America is a very open country,” Liu said. “But I was surprised to see the girls here dress more conservative than the girls in China.”

    Flake said many students in his Religion 100 classes are surprised that the church is an essential part of BYU.

    “Family home evening, home teachers, visiting teachers, ward, and the whole campus shuts down for devotional,” Flake said. “It’s kind of a shock to them.”

    Godfrey Matovu, a sophomore from Uganda majoring in business management, said, “I knew it’s a church-sponsored school, but I didn’t know it’s so church-oriented. It’s like a seminary.”

    Raheel Aslam, a devout Muslim student from Pakistan, said before he came to BYU he thought Mormonism was an extreme religion, but has come to admire the LDS moral standards and family values.

    “I like this religion the most after my own religion,” Aslam said.

    Flake said most non-LDS students are international, and choose to attend BYU for a few reasons, such as sports, safety, price of tuition and recommendations from alumni.

    “BYU is one of the best business schools in America and it’s affordable,” Matovu said. “My brother is an alumnus here too.”

    Flake said he enjoys the diversity of students and the opportunity to teach them.

    “It’s [Religion 100] my favorite class to teach in BYU,” Flake said. “It’s a nice experience to expose to so many wonderful young people.”

    Number of Non-LDS students enrolled in the class each fall semester:

    2002: 446

    2003: 524

    2004: 543

    2005: 568

    2006: 504

    2007: 485

    Source: BYU University Communications

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