As a Mormon girl, I am asked the best questions:
Can you use electricity? (yes, I am not Amish)
Do you have magic underwear? (um, I don’t think so?)
Do you celebrate Christmas and birthday? (YES!)
Are you Christian? (YES!)
Can anyone attend your church? (Heck yes!)
I really don’t get asked these questions that often anymore. But my children do! And believe me, many of those questions I cannot type out in this forum…:)
But hey, at least they are asking and we are discussing.
Here’s another question we get all the time: Your kids are taking what?
“What’s seminary? Are they monks or something?”
Seminary is a religion class for high school age students.
Does everyone have to do it?
No. Only about half of my children’s Mormon friends are enrolled.
Not everyone thinks it’s important. Or, they think it’s important, but it’s not worth the time and effort. But for our kids growing up in this world, I think it’s essential.
So I say: LET’S DO SEMINARY!
If you live in Utah, Idaho, some parts of Arizona, and other regions of the United States with large concentrations of Mormon high schoolers, you actually get to take a religion class during the day, in a separate building close to your school. You lucky ducks.
But for the majority of LDS teens, class starts before school. I’m sure your teens would shout for joy at the prospect; teenagers love to get up early!
Typically this religion class begins at the beautiful hour of 6 a.m. That’s right, 6 a.m. five days a week. I participated in seminary when I was in high school and luckily, the church was five minutes away. Even as an early bird, it was about the hardest thing I did for four years, especially on the cold Nebraska winter days when it was black as night and I was a frozen, really skinny ice cube.
And there was always the issue of my hair. No matter my grand intentions to look stellar at 6, (uh, there were BOYS in the class!) typically I would roll out of bed mere minutes before rolling out of the driveway looking…like I just rolled out of bed.
It was a happy day for my mother when we had our license. My siblings and I may have broken a few speeding laws and rolled through a few stop signs…and popped a few tires…oh, those were the early morning days that we used to call “cemetery.”
The seminary program has continued. Since we live far away from civilization, I do not have to drive my children to seminary (oh, happy day) but they still get to participate! The internet is one amazing thing. My two teens are enrolled in on-line seminary. They have a real teacher and a real class they connect with every Thursday evening. The other days of the school week they complete a lesson that typically takes between 30-40 minutes.
What exactly are they studying?
For Mormon youth, they rotate every four years between: The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Book of Mormon, and The Doctrine and Covenants.
This year they are studying The Old Testament.
They can complete the lesson at any time during the day; they don’t have to get up really early, but they sometimes do, to get it done. And yes, they are often very tired.
I especially like when they sit and complete a lesson together. Enough with the pictures, Mom. I’m trying to concentrate.Seminary is best done with cozy blankets. And if you’re really lucky, Mom or Dad might bring you a snack or make you breakfast (but admittedly, #slackermom.)
Why would you do such a thing?
Well, here’s my thing.
I want my children to know and love the Lord. I want to raise my children to not only be good, but spiritual. I want them to know that God speaks to us through the scriptures. I want them to know for themselves, that they are not alone on this earth, but that there is a higher power who will get them through their darkest days.
The New Testament tells about the greatest man who ever walked the earth. It tells of the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It gives us lessons from the past and hope of things to come.
Last night I considered the wisdom of these scriptures as I peeked over my children’s shoulders:
Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthes 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
The language is not only beautiful but inspiring. Sometimes I start to lose hope and faith in this world that we live in. The political climate is toxic. But I hold on to the words I read in my youth from Isaiah: Do not fear, for I am with you.
A few weeks ago one of my children had a really hard day at school. As I worried, this child said: “But I remembered a scripture I had read from seminary. It just came to my mind.” And my heart was filled. This strong, good child was going to be okay.
Honestly, with the things our kids have to deal with, sometimes I wonder how I would get through high school now. Today’s youth are part of a strong and good generation, but they need us to help them be good and strong. Reading the scriptures helps our family and our children. There is a great spirit that fills our home when we read individually and together. We are kinder, closer, better.
As for seminary? What could be better than starting the day with prayer, personal scripture study, and meditation?
Seminary had other consequences I didn’t appreciate until much later: I learned that I could do hard things like get up every morning at 5:30. It helped me go to bed earlier. It challenged my willpower. I became much more disciplined. It raised my confidence in myself. It helped me be obedient to the other things I knew were right. It helped me not be so vain about my hair 🙂
It helped me learn and know this principle: God Honors Those Who Honor Him.
Seminary is early and it’s hard and hardly convenient – and it’s worth it.
So that’s a little insight into our world. I’d love to hear from yours!
Any more questions? Ask!