New at BYU
When Chris Mathis started attending BYU, he had only been baptized for about 6 months. As a child, his mother wasn’t active, and his father was a nonmember. Still, he had the example of his older brother, who was investigating the church. “I had started the missionary discussions with my brother at age 15," Mathis explains, "but after a couple of meetings I stopped going."
His interest in the church was rekindled his senior year, when his older brother left to serve a mission in the Netherlands. “I began to think more seriously about the gospel and the church. I began attending church regularly with a friend, started playing church basketball, and read the Book of Mormon.”
Many people assumed Mathis was already a member. When the missionaries learned otherwise, they moved quickly to set up appointments, and Mathis was baptized at 17 years old. “Early in the discussions, the missionaries challenged me to baptism, and although intellectually I wanted to say ‘no’—I couldn’t.” Six months later, he was at BYU. The following year he left on a mission to Peru.
How did Mathis adjust to BYU? “I couldn't have asked for a better university to attend as a young church convert” he says. One aspect in particular that Mathis found bolstered his faith were the people. “I…greatly appreciated associating with so many tremendous people who lived the gospel and carried the light of the Spirit with them.” He also enjoyed the availability of a variety of wholesome activities, from devotionals to dances.
Between his mission and his time at BYU, Mathis found his testimony was strengthened. He was later able to baptize his father. Over time, Mathis has remained strong in the church and has passed his love for BYU down to his family: all three of his children have attended BYU. “I will forever be grateful for BYU and how the people and the university shaped my life at such a critical time.”