DELANEY NELSON | Scroll Photography

Religion professors share experiences in South Asia

DELANEY NELSON | Scroll Photography

DELANEY NELSON | Scroll Photography

The BYU-Idaho Department of History held a forum Thursday called Religious Life (Un)Interrupted: The History and Context of Everyday Religion.

Tyson Yost and David Peck, history department faculty members, shared their knowledge of and experiences from South Asia at the forum.

Yost began the forum with how three different ways of life affect religion in India: Veda, Upanishad and Buddhism.

“We have three different groups of society arguing for three different kinds of religious practices,” Yost said. “The tendency in India is to combine all three of those practices.”

Peck said he has traveled many places in the world. During the forum, Peck showed pictures, statistics and videos of different encounters he had in South Asia.

Peck said South Asia has more religious performances than any other place he has been in the world. He said there is no set structure to their religion or how they practice it. There is a high degree of spontaneity, and they are very active in their religious devotion.

Peck said earthquake in Nepal April 25 has changed the way people worship. He said the people of Nepal lost about 70 percent of their temples and places of worship.

“The people in South Asia cannot worship the way they used to due to the earthquake,” said Connor Forrest, an attendee of the forum and freshman majoring in international studies. “They seem lost religiously.”

Both Peck and Yost were in Nepal two days before the earthquake. Peck shared before-and-after photos show the damage that the earthquake caused.

According to a report posted by the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, the 7.9 Earthquake moved Mount Everest three centimeters.

Peck said the people of South Asia worship at a statue of Jesus Christ and other religious statues. He said the people in South Asia believe Jesus Christ will bring them miracles.

He said many of those who worship at the statue of Jesus are not Christians but want the blessings of the many miricles he performed.

“I found it very interesting seeing how different cultures practice religion,” said Shelly Lundstrom, an attendee of the forum and sophomore majoring in international studies.

Forrest said he found the similarities between the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the religions in South Asia interesting.

Forrest said there is a truth in all religions and the people of South Asia are trying to find truth and happiness just like everyone else in the world.

Yost said there was interruption of religion in Nepal after the earthquake because their ritual structures were destroyed. People lost their places of worship and have the need to build new ones.

Yost said he wanted to get across to the audience the value of the study abroad programs.

“I feel like I need to do more and be more aware and involved in what is happening in other parts of the world,” Lundstrom said. “I need to be more proactive.”

Lundstrom said the forum made her want to go out and explore more of the world. She said she would like to go to other countries and find the similarities in different cultures and religions.

“I love learning about different cultures of the world,” Forrest said. “It makes me want to go out and explore and meet the people.”

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