Students freely asked each other questions and took turns sharing their beliefs in small groups Thursday Aug. 5 at the Reflection Center. Faith Discussions is a monthly event designed to facilitate conversation between Latter-day Saint and Evangelical students.
The casual and friendly environment put newcomers at ease as students meandered into the Reflection Center’s convening room, picking up snacks and chatting as they found their seats.
During his opening remarks, Justin Tappan, Campus Ministry team leader with InterVarsity, said the goal of the Faith Discussions is to strengthen each others faith by giving people the opportunity to “share why they believe what they believe” and to leave as friends.
Tappan encouraged students to speak for themselves, to get comfortable with disagreeing amiably and to ask all the questions that they have always wanted to ask.
“Sometimes there are no straight answers to questions like ‘what do you believe about hell?’ or ‘are Mormons Christian?’, but giving each other the chance to share why we believe what we believe in the age of Facebook is a gift” said Tappan.
While most of the students in attendance were either Christian or members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one student self-identified as agnostic and two others stated that they are exploring their beliefs.
Don Chugg, a freshman studying animation and game development, is one such student who attended the discussion as part of his faith exploration. Chugg said that he left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints due to his sexual orientation, and considered himself an atheist. More recently however, he has gravitated toward Christianity.
“Religion has done a lot of harm to the gay commuity so I was really nervous, but they have been really loving and kind,” said Chugg regarding the InterVarsity club. “I love how I can openly talk about my feelings and how I feel about certain topics and they aren’t going to judge me for it. It’s more about just sharing what you believe rather than telling someone what they have to believe.”
The event, which will occur on the first Thursday of every month in the Reflection Center’s Convening Room, is hosted by the UVU InterVarsity Club. The club is the local chapter of InterVarsity, a non-profit Christian alliance which establishes Christian communities on campuses nationwide.