Profile: Amanda Beshay on Mormonism
What first fascinated senior business major Amanda Beshay about Mormons the most was not their differences from Christianity but actually their similarities. Their passion for service and sharing their religion inspired her. She realized she needed to understand Mormonism better before she could ever discuss Christianity with them.
to be aware and to be educated
Throughout the years, Biola has offered an increasing number of opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students alike to learn more about Mormon-Christian interaction. For instance, the Christian Apologetics graduate program hosted a two-day long conference on Mormonism on Sept. 1-2. Spiritual Development also offers a local ministry for growing in relationships with Mormons called Evangelical and Mormon Interaction. These opportunities encourage what Beshay holds as the most important element in Christian-Mormon interaction: building relationships first.
“It’s so important to just be aware and be educated on what [Mormons] believe because this is a really needed people group that often gets shoved to the side,” Beshay said.
Beshay’s interest in Mormons’ lifestyle and beliefs were piqued in high school by her school’s large population of Mormons, including her best friend. She admired the confidence they exuded in their religion by openly carrying the Book of Mormon to school. She tried to talk with her best friend about Christianity, but it only made her friend uncomfortable. She yearned to understand how to talk with Mormons regarding religions and how to view their religion from a Christian perspective.
When she reached Biola, she found she could finally fulfill her yearning with the EMI ministry, through which she learned the importance of connecting with Mormons locally, in Utah and nationwide by first building relationships and trust.
“Ever since EMI and hearing a different perspective and different take on this ministry, it’s really opened my eyes to more of a relational missionary aspect and not just apologetics and going in to convert,” Beshay said.
After first joining EMI, she had an immense passion for sharing with Mormons that proved difficult to control. She desperately wanted to share her beliefs with her best friend, but she realized with time she needed to establish strong levels of trust first.
bridging gap between two religions
“Building a foundational relationship and building trust is so important before you just go in and bring up something that’s so dear to their hearts and something that’s their entire lives, because most of them don’t know anything other than Mormonism,” Beshay said.
All Beshay learned through Biola’s ministry towards Mormons has given her valuable knowledge about her high school friendships, interacting with Mormons and interacting with those of other religions as well. She strongly believes that gaining knowledge of the religion and gaining friendships present two of the best ways to minister, and she believes Biola’s work in informing students will continue to reap good things.
“The passion behind Mormon ministry is to start bridging the gap between the two religions and being friends first, building a foundation of relationship and building that trust to be able to talk about it and not go into it with an agenda but a true genuine relationship with people,” Beshay said. “And that’s relevant in every ministry I think, but Mormons especially.”