Most BYU students are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but there are some who identify with other spiritual traditions. The Interfaith Club strives to facilitate dialogue between students of all faiths.
The Interfaith Club’s co-presidents are Nick Hainsworth and Arianna Davidson. Hainsworth is a member of the Church, and Davidson practices Judaism. Both work together to plan different events for club members to attend, such as a panel with representatives from different faiths, communication exercises and service projects.
Davidson, who came to BYU for the ballroom dance program, joined the club at its inception two years ago. She said that the goal of the club is to help people who might feel alone find a community. Through the Interfaith Club, Davidson has been able to make friends and even connect with other Jewish youth from the University of Utah.
Hainsworth said one of his primary goals for the club is to help Latter-Day Saint students understand how to communicate with people of other faiths from a non-proselytizing standpoint. He also feels that it is important to help those who have transitioned out of the Latter-Day Saint faith, sometimes called post-believers, feel welcome at BYU.
George Garcia is one such student. Garcia’s involvement in the club has recently lessened, but he was involved with the club at its beginning. Garcia said his time as a post-believer at BYU has been mostly positive, though he finds it difficult to enjoy religion classes and attend church to earn his ecclesiastical endorsement.
Garcia recommends the Interfaith Club to students who are transferring out of the Latter-Day Saint faith, as he found people there to be understanding. Garcia said faith transitions are hard, and it can help to have a support system. He notes that faith traditions like atheism should be represented in any faith group but said that the Interfaith Club might work better for someone searching for a new spiritual tradition.
The Interfaith Club meets the second and fourth Thursdays of every month at 7 p.m. More information can be found on the BYU Student Organizations website.