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College can be time to lose -- or find -- faith

The four University of Utah students were sharing one of those sublime moments.

Piled in the back of Alec Gehrke's Malibu -- a refurbished car bought from the LDS Church -- they were parked above the Salt Lake City Cemetery in the Avenues late on a warm Saturday night.

Stars lit the sky and the city lights twinkled from the valley floor below. Even their breathing seemed connected, as if they were links on the same chain.

"It was existential," Gehrke says.

"It was so gorgeous," Hannah Munn recalls. "I thought: This is it. This is a defining moment, just being here together, in sync."

The friends were experiencing, they agreed, something sacred.

Like many college students who have shed their ties to religion, they nonetheless hold on to the spirit.

"I now just believe in loving people. That's my religion," says Munn, a native of Bristol, England, who was raised in the LDS faith in Santaquin.

While it has long been understood that attending college can undermine a young adult's religious faith, researchers in separate studies have found some interesting trends.

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