LDS students balance school, seminary


Ryan Turner

Sophomore Ryan Del Papa and junior Scott Brighton read from the scriptures before seminary starts. “Seminary can be tough,” Del Papa said. “It’s hard to get up every day at five a.m., but it all turns out to be worth it.”

Ryan Turner, Staff Writer

Every weekday at 6:00 a.m, Latter-day Saint (LDS) high school students gather at church to attend seminary to learn more about their religion. The LDS, or Mormon church, requires high school students to attend seminary to prepare for future endeavors such as college or serving missions.

According to junior Rylie McBride, seminary is a useful and spiritual part of her day.

“It goes over key importances of my religion and draws me closer to Christ,” McBride said. “We’re learning about him and his life, why he came here. It helps us return to our Heavenly Father.”

Students studied the New Testament last year, and are focusing on the Book of Mormon this year. The seminary schedule requires students to read a certain amount each week to prepare for lessons and the assessment held at the end of the year. Junior Jeffery Hatch has found that arriving early is imperative to his seminary studies.

“I always arrive 10 minutes early and get a head start on seminary,” Hatch said. “It helps me wake up for the day. I feel more awake and alert, ready for work.”

Some students have found balancing school and seminary to be challenging. Seminary is held an hour before school starts and gives students more reading and work to do. According to McBride, it is especially hard to attend seminary daily when one has sports or other activities.

“I go to seminary in the morning,” McBride said. “But I’m in cross country, so as soon as I get [to school] I get changed and go run.”

Seminary has changed in quite a few ways over the years, but is still similar to how it has always been in many respects. Many people who took seminary years ago now teach a new generation of seminary students. One of these people is Aletha Bradley, who teaches seminary to sophomores and juniors.

“I did home study seminary, so I had to work it into my homework schedule,” Bradley said. “And we would meet once a month as a class at our teacher’s house.”

Seminary gives the youth more experience in the church, along with their three hours of Sunday worship and weekly youth activities. According to Hatch, early morning seminary allows him to be with people with similar beliefs.  

“I go to learn about gospel teachings,” Hatch said. “It’s been good. We get to work with friends we know.”

Places with high Mormon populations, such as Utah and Idaho, seminary is actually held during school. But in Texas, seminary takes place right before, starting at 5:55 a.m.

According to McBride, waking up at that time can be difficult, but she and other students realize that it is necessary.

“Anything is worth waking up early if you want to be there,” McBride said. “And I want to be there. It’s not only fun but spiritually uplifting.”