Karin Velarde, a freshman studying biology offers a her perspective on what it is like to not be member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at BYU-I.
“I’m not going to change my religion. That’s not who I am,” Velarde said.
Verlarde is just one of the several dozen students at BYU-I of another faith.
There are many reasons why members of other faiths come to BYU-I. Emily Nelson, a freshman majoring in general studies, came to BYU-I as an economical decision.
“My parents weren’t happy about it because we’re Catholic,” Nelson said. “Then eventually, when it came to a month of me coming here, they were like, ‘Okay, we’ll pay for you.’”
Applicants of other faiths are required to abide by the BYU-I Honor Code and interview with an ecclesiastical leader.
LDS applicants pay $1,735 per semester while non-LDS applicants pay $3,570. According to BYU-Idaho’s Bursars Office, the reason that it costs more for non-LDS applicants is tithing is only subsidized for LDS applicants.
Some members of other faiths may enjoy BYU-I because of its friendly atmosphere, fellow students who share high morals, outstanding educational opportunities, the scenery, and the Honor Code.
“I really like the classes,” said Nelson. “The prayer at the opening doesn’t bother me because I believe in prayer.”
There are common problems people of other faiths face, according to students interviewed:
· LDS students assuming all students are LDS and know about the Church.
· Having differing points of view on religious matters that are discussed in class and in homework.
· Being asked how they feel about certain church doctrines on homework or exams and worrying if speaking their true feelings will affect their grade in classes.
· People are often being taken aback when you say you aren’t Mormon; then some treat you differently.
· Members pressuring them to be baptized, read the Book of Mormon, and have the missionaries over even when they have declined in the past.
Some non-members don’t enjoy taking a required Book of Mormon class.
“I feel like it’s a last-ditch effort of them trying to convert me which, I don’t feel like doing,” Nelson said.