Welcome to the Official Blog of the Student President of the Interfaith Student Association.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008


I wanted to share my hopes for this association. We've been discussing the priorities of the organization a lot, and I thought i'd share those now.

1. Multi-Faith Counsel

We are working to help students of different religions connect with each other, but we also want to help students of the SAME religion connect. We can help with the PR and the organization, as well as helping to set things straight with UV Clubs. Eventually, we will organize all religious clubs into a "Multi-Faith Counsel."

2. Promoting the move "From Tolerance To Love"

There are 5 ways that we hope to make this push.

a. Mutual Understanding
b. Promoting Religious Liberty
c. Serving Each Other
d. Social Events
e. Interfaith Prayer Services

3. Working to educate persons in the community on the terrific good each religion has to offer. While differences of opinion can (and should?) exist, there can be a great deal of respect developed once a person SEES the good character that a religion supports.

In other words, we hope to have people learn to say, "I disagree with what you believe, but I support the "noble virtues" that your religion develops.

4. We will publish and promote a directory for local religions, as well as support individual groups and students in the new "Worship Center" that will be located on the 5th floor of the new library.

5. Through the creation of an executive position of "Chaplain" which we will lobby for, we hope to support the institution of counseling for bereavement, support for the searching student, and help support the spirituality of all UVU students and affiliates.

These ideas are still being developed., so give us your input!!!

Credit for the ideas go to our leadership team as a whole. Linda Walton, of course needs to be recognized as the one who has created the phrase "From Tolerance to Love" as well as promoted much of these values for years. That being said, I do not claim that these values are the official priorities of the Interfaith Student Association (at least not yet), but rather reflect my own values.

Well, there you go. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS!!! We would love to hear what YOUR priorities and needs are. Let us know what it is that you'd like to find in an Interfaith Student Association like this one!

More to come soon.

I can be reached at president.isa.uvu@gmail.com.

Curtis Jensen
President - Interfaith Student Association
PR Club President
Communications Department Student Rep.

Response to Lindsay's Comment


Thank you very much for commenting. I appreciate your feedback!

On February 3, 2008, Lindsay wrote:

"I would never have thought to have the presidency of Interfaith not disclose their religious affiliation! That's really what this group is about, isn't it? We're just getting together to have fun and mingle, and even learn a little bit."

I'd like to clarify one thing first. While the leadership of the Interfaith Student Association is planning on not publicizing its affiliation, we encourage all members of the group to openly discuss their religious feeling with the purpose of having fun, mingling, and learning to understand each other.

Our hope is that by having the student leadership be discreet about their own affiliation that it will maintain impartiality and avoid stereotypes and biases against the association as a whole.

Also, we hope to keep it a "safe place" or rather "neutral ground." In a way, we hope that the leadership will act as a "mediator" that will allow greater connection and unity among students of various religions.

That's all I have to say right off the cuff on that topic. Feel free to keep the comments coming!

More to come soon.

I can be reached at president.isa.uvu@gmail.com.

Curtis Jensen

Friday, January 25, 2008

Response to 2 Largest Concerns

In speaking to people in and around Utah Valley University (UVU), I have heard largely two concerns about the Interfaith Student Association (ISA). The concerns raised have helped us to develop the standing policy of all Interfaith Student Association (ISA) being

"Zero Proselyting Zones"

Here were the two concerns, with my response.

1. Will this be an incognito way for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to proselytize? (or any other church, for that matter)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon Church) is the dominant religion in Utah Valley, where Utah Valley University is located. This is a very real concern to many members of many religions. Let me give a very clear response to this question. The answer is unequivically "No, it will not." I will elaborate.

First, this is not an organization housed or sponsored directly by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is sponsored by the University, registered as a University Organization, and the advisor is Linda Walton, the University Chaplain.

Second, the leadership is completely incognito as far as our own religious preference. We do not announce what religious group to affiliate ourselves with.

Third, Linda Walton has a firm history of supporting all religions equally. I have the utmost respect for her, and I recommend her completely. I have never seen her once give preference, extra attention, or show bias in any way.

Fourth, I believe that our mission statement (to be announced in the future), our programs, and the structure of our organization will speak for themselves.

2. Will this organization have an anti-Mormon attitude or slant? (or anti-anyone for that matter)

This is a valid concern for many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many of them have come in contact with religious alliances and associations that either directly attacked their religion or quietly excluded them, essentially becoming anti-Mormon coalitions. I would like to answer equally clearly. "This will not be one of them." I will elaborate.

First, the Interfaith Student Association is sponsored by and registered with Utah Valley University, which has a no place for any religious intolerance. This policy has been reemphasized by President Sederburg.

Second, the Interfaith Student Association is not a group of select religions. The Interfaith Student Association is inclusive of all world religions. We do not classify, group, define, nor describe any religion, meaning that we welcome all established religions.

Third, the Interfaith Student Association has a firm track record of dismissing requests to exclude members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from participation. In some instances, other parties, generally from outside the state, have contacted us and made such requests. These have all been rejected, and that will continue to be the case.

Fourth, we hope to work in cooperation with representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially with faculty members of the Orem Institute of Religion. They are valued participants and will be treated as such.

More to come soon.

I can be reached at president.isa.uvu@gmail.com.

Curtis Jensen

President - Interfaith Student Association

PR Club President

Communications Department Student Rep.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Kicking Things Off

To begin something new is thrilling in the extreme. I don't know if blogging will impress very many as something "new" or "thrilling," but it certainly is to me...and to a great many people who are involved in this project.

I thought to begin things, it would be good to give a background for what this is.

Linda Walton, acting currently as the Chaplain for Utah Valley University, has recently asked me to act as the President of the Interfaith Student Association. I feel like this is less of an appointment to a title and more of a request to work for free! Despite that, I'd like to say that I am thrilled to be asked, and to me it is privilege and an extremely high honor. The mission of the Interfaith Student Association is extremely important to me, personally, and so, since that is the main reason I have accepted her offer, it is on that subject that I would like to write.

The mission of the Interfaith Student Association (up to this point) has been to provide a haven for those who wish to practice their religion, provide assistance for those who are seeking to find the truth, and to provide information so that they can find worship centers of their chosen faith-based group. To put a very strong point on it, we in the Interfaith Student Association, with all of the support given by any of those connected with us, stand against any and all influences that threaten, hamper, or discourage humanity's inate right to choose to worship and to believe as they see fit. We will always stand for Religious Liberty and any that find themselves in need of a friend in that fight can look to us.

Also, I would like to post the cardinal value of the Interfaith Student Association, in hopes that all who read this will catch the vision.

"From Tolerance to Love" has been one of the cardinal values of the Interfaith Student Association, and it is the one that has most strongly motivated me to stand for the Interfaith Student Association. And that is the value that has motivated the creation and naming of this blog. It is that hope that most strongly fills me with passionate feelings for the success of this organization.

To the extent that we are successful in building Love from the bare bones of Tolerance, I will count this effort a monumental success. Some of our pointed efforts towards building love from tolerance include: Religious Liberty, Mutual Understanding, Serving Each Other, Respecting and Valuing the Noble Characteristics of the Soul each doctrine promotes, and Interfaith Socials.

More to come soon. I can be reached at president.isa.uvu@gmail.com.

Curtis Jensen
President - Interfaith Student Association
PR Club President
Communications Department Student Rep.