HAILEY THOMAS | Photo Illustration

HAILEY THOMAS | Photo Illustration

Students at BYU-Idaho have the opportunity to join together education and the gospel of Jesus Christ, an opportunity not offered at most colleges.

“There are too many blessings to count,” said Jennifer Forsey, a sophomore studying elementary education.

Before attending BYU-I, Forsey attended both Salt Lake Community College and Utah State University. She said she had the support of her Father in Heaven at other schools, but the Spirit is more abundantly felt and understood at BYU-I.

Forsey said being able to start class with a prayer, hymn or spiritual thought is powerful. She said being able to tie math and the gospel together is something special.

“I do not like math, but I like the gospel, so it helps a lot,” Forsey said.

Benjamin Martin, a sophomore studying business management, said having the Spirit on campus helps with the overall learning process. Students gain not only a temporal education, but also a spiritual education.

“I love that in my English class, I can write about my mission without worrying about my professor getting offended by my testimony,” Forsey said.

Forsey said students and professors at BYU-I tie the gospel in to different subjects. Forsey said that as a student studying education, she is learning about all the different rules about what a teacher can and cannot talk about while at school with students.

“I’m learning about how this country was built upon freedom of religion,” Forsey said. “In that time, the Bible was one of the main texts, and now today, you can’t even mention God or say anything about him in public schools.”

The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) survey at UCLA is offered to first-year students before they begin classes, according to the Higher Education Research Institute website. According to the yearly survey, more students around the country are selecting “none” for their religious preference.

“In 2014, more than one-quarter of incoming freshmen (27.5%) selected ‘none,’ a one-year increase of 2.9 percentage points from 2013, and an increase of over 12 percentage points from the 1971 value (15.4%),” according to the Higher Education Research Institute website.

Forsey said that having the gospel on campus makes it easy to talk about testimonies in and outside of classes. She said students should not be worried about being looked down on. Instead, she said students should talk about and share their testimonies. 

Martin said that when he was at Southern Utah University, his roommates would go out and drink or do drugs. He said his old roommates would never want to go to school here. They would think the students here are weird because of the lifestyle chosen in combination with the honor code.

“I had great things going for me at Southern Utah University,” Martin said. “I ran track before my mission and when I came home, the spirit told me I needed to go to a better place.”

Martin said he wanted to go back and run, but the spirit is something he could not deny. He said going to school at BYU-I has been amazing so far.

“If I went back to Utah State now, I would be unhappy,” Forsey said. “It’s a big difference being able to pray in class and having the overall spirit that is here on campus.”

Martin said he now feels like there is a place he belongs and he knows what his mission in life is. He said being at BYU-I has given him more structure and meaning in life.

Martin said it is good to have the gospel on campus because students are surrounded by goodness instead of being surrounded by deception.

Forsey said almost everyone at BYU-I is working on higher education, but also working toward the celestial kingdom. It’s a different kind of mindset when the gospel is weaved into everything.