UVU President Astrid Tuminez addressed LDS Institute Directors, university guests and a few hundred students at the LDS Institute of Religion on Campus Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. The topic of Tuminez’s speech was on her faith and the influence the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has had on her life.

In a presentation titled, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ and Me”, Tuminez elaborated on the religious influence of her childhood upbringing in regards to her converting to the Utah-based church. Having attended a Catholic Convent during her childhood education, UVU’s president converted to the LDS church at the age of 11 and later attended Brigham Young University.

Having faced various obstacles and moments of doubt surrounding faith and her life, Tuminez shared five essential principles she learned from her religious affiliation: individual worth, her strength as a woman, the power of sacred words, compassion in community and the love of God.

Tuminez added that in her upbringing, she faced moments of inadequacy, insecurity and doubts about aspects of her faith stemming from her impoverished upbringing colliding with her high career aspirations.

Recounting stories of lessons and principles shared with her through various sets of the Church’s missionaries visiting her home, Tuminez said this coincided with her understanding of some of the Church’s doctrine regarding eternal life. “I know that I am co-eternal with deity”, she said.

Even after her conversion and eventual escape from poverty, Tuminez still faced challenges as a woman within her new found church, and her role as an eventual mother and wife. Recounting several experiences of rejection and condemnation from members of her church and its leaders, Tuminez said that she felt that her faith and dreams were at odds.

“I remember being told once by a boyfriend that I was not suitable to marry because at the time I had dreams of going to law school,” she said. “For a time I thought I was a failure because I graduated as a single woman from the world’s most successful institution of marriage.”

Referencing to the LDS church’s privately owned school, Brigham Young University, she said that these events however, were not sufficient to deter her from her faith. “I drew from the powerful examples of woman in the scriptures,” Tuminez said. She cited woman like Deborah, a judge and battle strategist referenced in the Old Testament, and other woman who accomplished great events recorded in ancient scripture.

Tuminez finished her remarks to attendees by inviting them to reflect on their faith and what the gospel means to them, and thanking the institute and its members for being a part of the Utah Valley community.

President of the LDS Institute Council, and sophomore Public Relations major Makayla Paxton, who attended the event, said that she views President Tuminez as a great example of someone who lives their faith.

“She’s confident in who she is and confident in what she believes and because of that a lot of people can see her as an example and gain confidence in showing it,” Paxton said. “Her generosity and her charity [is] a huge part of religion that carries into school and into the community by seeing everyone through an eye of love. I think she’s a little fireball of love.”

Photography by Johnny Morris

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