SHARE: Students Honoring and Appreciating Religious Equity

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SHARE, or Students Honoring and Appreciating Religious Equity, is a club that was started this semester to help bridge the gap between different religions on BYU campus.

Scott and Kristi Johns, a husband and wife duo, are the presidents of SHARE and decided to start the club when they recognized the need for it here on campus.

“I think a lot of LDS students at BYU grew up in areas where they felt like they were a religious minority and knew what that feeling was like,” Kristi Johns said. “But then we come to BYU and join the majority, and suddenly we forget that maybe there’s other people who feel the same way that we had felt. And so we wanted to provide an opportunity for understanding and support for other religions too. The more you understand people around you, the better you can build relationships with them and appreciate that we have a lot more in common than we really have differences.”

Members of SHARE are helping to build relationships and understand between all religions here on BYU campus.

There are over 500 non-LDS students at BYU. SHARE currently represents 25 different religions, and the club plans on having events and forums to educate BYU students on the different religions around them. Earlier this month the club held its first big event, a forum on Islam and what Muslims believe.

The forum helped to clear up misconceptions about Muslims, address similarities that Islam has with other religions and enabled BYU Muslim students to share their beliefs. Breaking stereotypes can only be achieved in an open-minded community, and the forums that SHARE puts on help to make that community more possible.

Umar Javed, an Economics major from Lahore, Pakistan, and one of the Muslim students at BYU, talked about SHARE and what his experience in the club has been like.

“Being part of SHARE has been a rather amazing experience for me,” Javed said. “Almost every BYU student knows that we have religious minorities here but don’t know who they are, what religion they belong to or what they believe. SHARE has given us that voice that we needed to be heard and a chance to educate students and to bridge gaps between all of these religions. We all want to learn from everyone and try to help each other clear out the misunderstandings that people have and just show them that we’re all here to do good in this world.”

Scott Johns talked about the great value SHARE has to BYU and how much of a difference it can make.

“In our own LDS history we can see examples of religious intolerance and the great cost that it’s been to our Church,” Johns said. “There is such great value in being tolerant of all religions and building bridges between them. This is the first club that brings all beliefs and religions together.”

The club’s next big event is a forum on Roman Catholicism on Nov. 29.┬áStudents looking to get involved or find out more information can contact SHARE at , go to club meetings Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. in 3252 of the Wilkinson Student Center, or find the club by visiting clubs.byu.edu.

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