On a sunny Thursday afternoon nearly 40 students crowd the lobby of the Joseph Smith Building. Most sit with their scriptures or laptop open studying for upcoming tests and quizzes for the classes hosted in the building. This isn’t an unusual scene as religion classes are among the most popular classes students choose to take during Spring and Summer terms.
According to the Religious education department, 2,337 students are enrolled in religion classes for Spring term and 2,859 students for Summer.
Ancient scripture secretary Jeanine Ehat credits incoming freshmen for the jump in enrollment Summer term.
“Students graduate high school and come to campus for the BYU experience right away,” she said. “If my children were in the same situation I would want them do the same. It’s a big part of the BYU experience. It sets us apart.”
The purpose of religion classes is to help students have a balanced education and build up their faith and commitment to the Lord. Students should be stretched and strengthened intellectually and spiritually, but still be uplifted and edified by the spirit the classes bring to students.
Taetem Simms, a computer science major from Aberdeen, Idaho, said she sees the benefits of religion classes in her life and looks forward to them.
“Most classes you want them to be over with quickly, but with religion classes I usually want them to keep going,” Simms said. “Because the classes are twice as long, I get to enjoy the class twice as long. I think it’s a nice thing. They really help me out in my own spiritual goals, even in the Spring and Summer.”
Freshman William Bradley from Japan recently received a mission call to serve in the Nebraska Omaha Mission speaking Spanish. He has taken multiple religion classes before, but said he enjoys the pace of Spring and Summer terms as well as getting to know the different professors.
“They’re all great in their own way,” Bradley said. “Every teacher I’ve had has been different, but they’re all great. The classes are good because they force you to do what you should already be doing anyway. Reading the scriptures and looking for meaning rather than just reading them. They have definitely helped prepare me better.”