First-year Yale student Shayna Elliot had an unforgettable experience when she sat down with a group of Mormon students for Sunday dinner last week.
In her blog post “The Mormon You Know,” published on Friday by Yale Daily News, Elliot described what she discovered that evening about the Mormon faith and her peers' experiences being a religious minority.
“My stark otherness — namely, that I was fundamentally not a part of this group, this family, to which they all belonged — was washed away by smiles and openness, questions and answers,” she wrote about attending the Latter-day Saint Student Association’s weekly dinner with their “hospitality more than abundant.”
In the article, she describes what she learned about early church history, including Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, as well as the importance of resolving doubts and the process of missionary service.
“A plethora of misconceptions often tends to make the American public uncomfortable with the intricacies of Mormonism,” she wrote. “This discomfort manifests at Yale as a lack of interest and a nervousness to ask. Likely due to the never-ending fear of offending a classmate, Yale students tend toward small talk instead of delving into deeply personal subjects. If only they would ask, they would hear the stories their Mormon peers so want to divulge.”3 comments on this story
She discusses the diverse political beliefs of Yale Mormons as well as the students’ experiences living their standards in an environment where drinking and partying is common. She outlines ways in which people have generally been supportive and nonjudgmental of their beliefs.
Elliot also tells the individual life stories of several of the Mormon students, including Soren Schmidt, a Yale Law student from Idaho who attended Brigham Young University as an undergraduate. He said the combination of those two very different educational experiences has been “rich and all-encompassing,” she wrote.
Read the entire article at yaledailynews.com.