Surviving Early-Morning Seminary

Lisa Ray Turner seminary, surviving 46 Comments

My third son just graduated from seminary. My three sons have all gone to early-morning seminary. They stagger to class at 6:15 in the morning, bleary-eyed and yawning. They’ve all graduated, but two of them did significant makeup assignments to “get credit.” My last son made up 92 days, which is something of a record in our stake.

I wonder how much they get out of it. Early-morning seminary students pretty much snooze through class. I did, and my boys tell me things haven’t changed much. In fact, if there’s any change, I would imagine high school students are more tired than they’ve ever been before. They’re more over-extended. They have more homework. Their classes are harder and there’s more pressure to take higher-level classes and get better grades. Adding seminary to the mix is tough and I admire kids who do it.

Why do they do it? Do they have a sincere desire to study the gospel and learn more about the scriptures? Do they want to please their parents? Do they want to impress the hot girl who sits next to them? Or do they do it because it’s on the checklist of things every good Mormon kid does?

As much as I admire kids who go to seminary – and their parents – I only have one word to express the feeling of finishing up the early-morning seminary stage of my life as a parent. Hallelujuh!

Did you go to early-morning seminary? Did you learn anything? How about your kids?

Comments

comments

Comments 46

  1. I was always awake, I didn’t know there was a choice.

    But my daughter’s classes had kids in pajamas, and one kid, who, when the teacher complained about how he was skipping so much, the others said “no he always makes it” and pulled back the divider to show him sleeping on the floor.

    I really enjoyed seminary. But I worry about what it is becoming.

  2. I attended early morning seminary and loved it and learned a lot – from a full-time seminary teacher in a building next to the high school in central Utah.

    My children attend early morning seminary in our church building and generally have loved it and learned a lot – from individual members of our ward who teach with varying personalities and levels of teaching ability. Their class starts at 5:30, since the high school here starts at 7:00. (Don’t get me started!) My kids get themselves up each morning (my son 30 minutes earlier than otherwise necessary to deal with his diabetes) and car pool with two other kids.

    Some of my and their friends did not had the same experience, because they saw it as an obligation instead of a privilege.

  3. Went. Graduated. Usually arrived late. Here are the things I remember:
    -teacher banging on the table when I’d fall asleep
    -donuts on Fridays
    -cheesy videos
    -really cold, icy mornings

    You can’t feel the Spirit at 6am. Kind of like everyone told us the Spirit goes to bed at 11pm. I was usually up on my own. Sometimes Mom cooked breakfast. It helped to be responsible to pick up other kids. And I’d get to drive to school if I went to seminary, otherwise we walked. I guess that was the main motivation.

  4. I posted recently at the real MM on my thoughts on Seminary.

    While I respect the sacrifice that early morning seminary goers make I really doubt they get anything more out of it than whatever character getting up early builds. Recent studies have shown that high school students are chronically sleep deprived and school start times should be moved back, not forward. It is possible that early morning seminary is actively harmful to students in some ways.

  5. Hi everyone!!!

    Personal experience from the past 4 years. I teach!! I wake up! I prepare lessons the night and weekend prior! I’m awake!

    I AM AN EARLY MORNING SEMINARY TEACHER!!!

    And….

    I have had 4 fantastic years. Each year, each and every member of my class was there on time, awake, and ready to learn. In total, over the 4 years I have had exactly ZERO unexcused on not-made up days. It is a rare day when someone is tardy.

    We have a 100% record for memorizing our scripture mastery. Yes, in 4 years, not one student, including the teacher has missed even a single one. Well… There are 3 of us (me including) that still have 2 more to learn, but we do have 6 more days in class.

    We have in our stake a program called Seminary Honors. We have a 100% success rate of getting kids through that. Currently, 2 of my grad young men are on missions. (the only 2 of age). Of the three girls that graduated 3 years ago, they still come over to our house and visit whenever they are in town. One of them went to a singles ward activity with one of my daughters last night.

    I’m not lying, I’m not kidding. I’m perfectly honest and I have THE BEST SEMINARY CLASS know to exist in the church.

    The kids I teach go to a small high-school. The graduating class is about 40 students. My students are the only 6 LDS kids in the school. There is no bussing, the kids either drive themselves, or their parents have driven them. They love being there, they have fun during class, they make jokes, and we learn together.

    Match that anywhere in the church!!!

    I have the greatest class!!

    However, as to what is wrong in the seminary program?? Plenty….

  6. I did early morning seminary.(I graduated 5 years ago.) I loved it. Loved it, loved it. They tried to get rid of the program during my sophomore year because they didn’t think there was a need for it in the middle of Salt Lake. One class survived, and I was in it. I took it because

    1. I found it to be the people who really wanted to be there who showed up, meaning less casual, bored, sleeping students.
    2. I could take more classes at the high school if one period wasn’t dedicated to seminary.
    3. The best teachers were dedicated enough to teach then, although now and then there were just the youngest teachers or subs for a while who weren’t all that great.

  7. Seminary, like many classes, rises or falls primarily on the shoulders of the teacher – with an important caveat that there are some kids who won’t be inspired no matter who the teacher is.

    If you can feel the Spirit at 5:30, it is possible to feel it at 6:00.

  8. In France you don’t have early seminary class. You meet (at best) once a week with your teacher and you are expected to have it done all by yourself. Never memorized the scriptures. Actually, when they gave us the cards each year with the scripture to memorize I wondered what it was and I only found out late what it was about.
    @GeorgeGT I just wanted to make sure you know even better how lucky you are when reading my experience ;o)

    I did it because I was forced to. My mother had been a seminary teacher and there was no way I could escape from it.
    I remember when I was a child that we would go to members’ place and sleep there because she was going to teach the girls in the morning before they went to school. I realizes that my mom rocked! But it was only once a week since it is the rule in France.

    Can you tell I did not get much out of it as a seminary student? But I got a good example as a child with a mother who had been called as a seminary teacher.

  9. I went. I graduated. I learned a lot about doing things I don’t really want to do just because of social pressure. If the seminary program is to do any good in the world, it will have to become something more than semi-nocturnal Sunday School class. I felt like I spent a lot of mornings on fluff that would have been better employed sleeping (things like journaling about my feelings: there really isn’t enough vomit in the world to do it justice).

    There are many good teachers out there, but the materials, I feel, are generally so focused on “creating spiritual experiences” that they are basically only good as kindling. I find that the more you try to “feel the spirit,” the less you do (or you replace it with emotion). However, if you really study, examine, and analyze the material, the spirit will nearly hunt you down. I think that this focus on the wrong issue is a major failing in the pedagogic approach of the church. If we engage with scripture as something worthwhile in itself, as opposed to a mere means for inducing tearful testimony, the testimony will come (tearful or not).

    (Incidentally, I’ve found that this applies in other areas, like trying to interpret lieder, for instance. Try to emote and you’ll either fall flat or be ridiculous. Study the lyrics and how the composer has set them, trust that the creators knew what they were up to, and–in time–the interpretive elements will begin to reveal themselves as both more subtle and sincere than you first anticipated.)

  10. I enjoyed seminary. Went to early morning, and rarely missed. Some days I didn’t really want to go, but I went. Now, how much I got out of it? That’s debatable.

    Now, for the first 2 1/2 years or so, my dear Mom was the teacher, a situation she always felt extremely unqualified for. When she was first called, she told the Branch President (we weren’t even a ward yet) to go back and pray about it some more because there had to be a mistake. He did, and then came back and told her it wasn’t a mistake. She took the calling. One of the reasons she was so hesitant is that my dad taught Middle Eastern history and she rather strongly felt he would do a much better job as seminary teacher. Of course, that’s probably why she got the calling…

    She only got released when Dad got extremely ill and she was no longer able to function in the calling, or she would have taught the entire time I was in high school. One of the biggest memories I have about seminary is flirting with one of the girls who was younger than me, and of goofing off with one of my buddies. I was never very good at memorizing scriptures (I still stink at rote memorization), but I was always (and still am) one of the first to understand a new concept (just the facts–I’m trying to be honest and humble, but when you’re this smart, it’s difficult [please adjust your sarcasm/humor detectors now!]).

    Is EMS worthwhile? Absolutely. Is it possible for kids to feel the Spirit at that time? Yes, but only if the teacher forgets about trying to make the lesson all touchy-feely, and really digs into the fun, gory (especially the gory bits–nothing wakes up teenagers, especially boys, like a nice detailed description of blood in battle) details of the scriptures. Make it real for them, bring it home, and they’ll appreciate it. Having a lesson about a battle in the Bible? Try to find the most authentic replica of a period weapon that you can. It will bring it home in a way that they will appreciate.

    Food is never unappreciated. I’ve often helped seminary teachers (my wife taught for a bit) cook for the kids. Omelets, pancakes and similar foods always seem to get their attention. Why? Because they are so used to running off half-fed in the mornings when they get a real meal they realize that this is what the gospel is like–being truly fed.

    So, if you have kids that are wondering about seminary, and you are a parent who is trying to decide how hard to try and convince them to go to EMS, I’d say to encourage them. I think that it is one of the big reasons that I am still active in the church, and that if some of my siblings had had a better EMS, some of them might still be active (although it didn’t work for my one of my sisters, but that’s largely a personality conflict issue between her and my mother, who was also her teacher). That’s life though, and I love them. Still great people, and I wish my mom would see that, instead of focusing on their flaws.

  11. I did not….no..would not go to Seminary. I rebelled against everything in those days. I’ve regretted every minute of it decisions made then. Why I couldn’t have been a good little Molly Mormon is a mystery still to me.

  12. Early morning seminary was a great place to meet cute girls who weren’t in my ward. I also enjoyed the donuts, even though the teacher charged us a quarter. I loved my teachers, even though they were a huge source of unsubstantiated stories supposed to be faith-promoting.

    One of my siblings, on the other hand, would cite one of his authoritarian teachers as helping him out of Church activity…

  13. I attended early morning seminary nearly every day for all 4 years of high school. I fell asleep every day, and this was pretty normal. I remember waking up halfway through class one morning and realizing that of the 15 or so students in the class, only two of them were awake. I forced myself to stay awake just because I felt bad for the teacher.

    I can’t remember a single thing any of my seminary teachers ever said or taught. But I DO remember the effort all of my teachers put into the lessons (despite the high likelihood that most of us would be asleep). I DO remember their smiling faces every morning. And I think that has some value. I think.

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  15. I went to seminary. Graduated (barely). I mostly remember this: 1) resenting the church and my parents for making me go; 2) falling asleep consistently; 3) loving the donuts/muffins/cake our teachers brought in occassionally; 4) being bored to death; 5) wishing I was still in bed like all other ‘normal’ kids; 5) sitting in my car doing homework during seminary and getting caught often. I learned pretty much nothing. I worked 20 hours/week, ran track and skiid during ski season, was an honors student, and was on the journalism squad who produced the school newspaper. I was constantly sleep deprived and totally over-extended. I still think that 5 hours+ per week for seminary, 3 hours of church, 2 hours of YW/YM, plus other church activities is way too much for anyone. I will absolutely not ‘force’ my daughter to go to seminary. Recently in our ward, one of the students nearly lost his life driving to seminary because he fell asleep at the wheel. I think EMS does far more harm than good unless the student him/herself truly wants to go.

  16. Aw man, I must be the biggest nerd ever. I went to early morning seminary, and really loved it. Our youth program was large, so we had one class for every graduating class in high school, 9th-12th grades. My teachers were generally good, and I think that for the most part we all had a good time. I hardly did any reading/memorizing outside of class, but I certainly learned a lot of scriptural information. I recall the cheesy videos; I remember my teachers playing Mormon contemporary pop music on a CD player before class each morning; I recall playing scripture Jeopardy! sometimes; and of course, I recall eating donuts. I remember how much fun it was to meet with friends from the two high schools nearby each morning; some mornings we would have enough time to go eat breakfast at a friends house and play Super Mario Kart together. Those were really good memories. Seminary laid the foundation for my scriptural and doctrinal knowledge, upon which further study at BYU, on the mission, and on my own has built. I’m saddened that my youngest brother didn’t graduate; that doesn’t make him a bad person by any means, I just would have liked for him to have the positive experiences I did, sleep deprivation notwithstanding.

  17. Three levels of experience with EMS:

    1. I went as a youth in the 70s in Illinois, where I grew up. My first year I learned a lot (such as the meaning of words like Apocrypha and Apocalypse, how to cross-reference scriptures, basic stuff like that). Then we got a new teacher, and from her I learned next to nothing, but I still liked going for the social aspects. My friends were there and I wanted to be with my friends.

    2. I’ve never been a full-time seminary teacher (turned it down a couple of times; I’m a lawyer with a commute into Chicago, and it would be hard for me to do consistently). But I’ve subbed on a number of occasions. Teaching seminary is brutal. I have a (I hope deserved) reputation as a really interesting, engaging teacher, but I couldn’t reach those kids. They pretty much just slept, and nothing I could do would snap them out of it. It’s disheartening to prepare a different, really interesting lesson and have no one pay attention.

    3. My children did not get along with the seminary program. My daughter went to a class in a woman’s home; it was just this woman, who was the teacher, her twin daughters and my daughter. Every day the woman just read from the scriptures. Absolutely nothing else; that was her teaching method. Towards the beginning of her second year she absolutely refused to go back, and I couldn’t blame her.

    My son went to a much better class, and he was more open to the experience. But his first year he would get up extra early, wait for his ride, and his ride would either be way late or wouldn’t come at all. So his gung ho enthusiasm quickly waned. He lasted longer than my daughter, but in the middle of his last year he refused to go any longer.

    I don’t really know, but I have my doubts that it is really a fruitful program.

  18. I recall a discussion (on BCC, I think) about release time vs. early morning seminary. The hypothesis was that kids graduating from release time did not seem more scripturally prepared for missions/life than their early morning counterparts. So why does the church continue release time seminary, along with its substantial price tag? Is it possible that there are recognized faults with the early morning program? I don’t have the answers, but it’s a question I have thought about on occasion.

  19. Eddie, Early morning seminary in wards where there are 15 kids and you only need 1 non-paid teacher is hard enough. Doing it in my hometown growing up? Next to impossible. (2,000 people in the town; 5 wards; hundreds of seminary age kids.) The logistics – and the comparison of teachers – would be a nightmare.

  20. As a student:
    I had a good teacher for 2 years that helped me learn a lot about the scriptures and what is contained therein. He made a good enough impression on me, when I heard he took a position at the university’s Institute of Religion, as a university student, I signed up for all his classes.
    For the other 2 years, it was a good social outlet where I got to know other kids who were Mormon, and I learned where to find the stories I had heard in Sunday School. All in all, I had a positive experience, I firmly believe you get what you put into it.

    Not to sound harsh or anything, but like most things in life, seminary is what you make of it. If you’d rather be skiing, at football practice, doing the debate team, etc., there’s nothing seminary can do for you that’s positive. It just takes time away from where your heart is. If you think that seminary could be worthwhile, and that your participation *can make it so*, it can be a good and lastingly positive experience.

    As a seminary teacher:
    I was asked to teach early morning seminary a couple of years ago. It was tough, mostly because it was a decent time commitment (2+ hours a day in prep, 1+ hour in class, reading kid’s make up work, etc.). In spite of the rockiness, I have had positive comments from my students and their parents. The kids who wanted to get something out of seminary *did*, and feel like they’re better off for it.

    Aside: Sometimes it was hard because there were two students who didn’t want to be there, but didn’t have the guts to not show up. They tried really hard to interrupt the class, steal focus, badmouth whatever was going on. Their parents wanted them to “graduate” (whatever that really means to anyone) and have “seminary leadership experience” (be Class President, or something). All this so their kid could have an advantage trying to get into a church school. I told the parents I don’t do titular leadership, and their kids had to actually *lead* students to “do good” and have a better seminary experience. I also said their kids weren’t getting any sort of letter of recommendation from me if the kids didn’t fix their attitudes and actually work-and-play-well-with-others in the class, including me. Surprise surprise, the kids stopped coming, and only showed up occasionally for social things, and weren’t planning on going to BYU anymore. I often contrast these kids to others that I had in the same class who have turned out quite differently.

    About teaching:
    At first I tried to run the class like I taught my college classes, and that flopped. The kids don’t have that level of inner motivation or responsibility. There had to be more spoon feeding than I would have wanted.

    Believe it or not, in the class, we talked about the historicity and translation process of the Book of Mormon, dispelled faith-promoting-rumors, and even touched on polygamy as a church practice.
    I generally tried to “inoculate” them before I knew about John Dehlin and his popularization of the term. I always just called it “earnest and detailed study.” All I wanted them to get out of the class was:
    – camaraderie in the family of saints and body of Christ
    – a knowledge of the contents of the Book of Mormon
    – a knowledge of –and increased faith in– the Gospel of Jesus Christ (as expressed in the BoM)
    – and a better commitment to living Christlike lives.

    With those goals, I was less driven to trying to induce tears in or entertain the kids.

  21. N., you mention seminary as a prerequisite for getting into a church school. Does anyone know how much seminary “counts” when applying to BYU? There was all kinds of annoyance here when a star football player got into BYU, despite a lackluster GPA and non-attendance at seminary.

  22. Lisa,

    I was told, and later found to be true after I was admitted, that seminary graduation is required for admission to BYU.

    Unless you are a dependent of a General Authority, in which case you are admitted automatically. Although I’m sure most of them graduate from seminary anyway…

  23. Seminary graduation is not required for admission to BYU. If so, there would be no non-Mormon students there. 🙂

    Seriously, if you have an ecclesiastical endorsement that explains a lack of graduation, that lack will not keep you from being accepted. As with any college, it helps if you truly stand out in some objective way.

  24. #27 Ray: There is an endorsement that is required by the seminary teacher to be included and sent in with the application.

    I think the whole teacher engaging thing is kinda odd. I know that many times, I go prepared with a lesson and then have to throw the thing out 10 minutes in because the kids want to go down a different strain. We have had devotionals last the entire hour. My objective as a teacher is to send them off to school with a cheerful outlook and having had some sense of Christ in their life that morning. If I do most of the talking, my kids clue me and tell me I’m talking to much. I shut up and have them start doing the talking. Sometimes it is on topic, and sometimes not.

  25. Oh,
    And those teachers that you hear about who spend 2 hours prepping for each lesson are just, well… I don’t know…. Odd??? Maybe pent up RS Presidents who have a captive audience? Why would it take 2 hours to prep for anything. Right now it is 9:42pm where I’m at. I have to be up at 5am to go teach. I have not yet started on my lesson.

    I have a web page opened to ldsces.org and wikipedia. I’m teaching on Micah and should make it to Nahum tomorrow. I should be through with my prep work by 10:15. Tops 15-30 minutes. Anymore means I’m doing to much of the talking.

  26. #28 – “There is an endorsement that is required by the seminary teacher to be included and sent in with the application.”

    Yes, but graduation is not required, particularly when lack of graduation can be explained compellingly.

    I agree with the prep comment. Both times I taught seminary, 2 hours per day would have been excessive.

  27. BYU as a private institution does not make its selection criteria public, but as seminary graduation is stressed by admissions counselors, it is an implied admissions requirement.

  28. Graduation from seminary can’t be proven for the senior year. Applications for BYU go in during Oct-Nov of the senior year. At that point, graduation from seminary is still 7 months away. So.. NO.. Graduation is not a requirement as that would be impossible to do.

    A senior could get accepted to BYU in the Jan-Mar timeframe of the senior year, and then drop out of Seminary. There is nothing that could hold them back at that point, I think.

  29. I didn’t really like it as a teen; I just wanted to sleep in longer. I was a slacker back then and didn’t even try to absorb the material. Then when I went on my mission, I wish I had paid more attention in class, because all the Utah missionaries seemed to know every scripture by heart. If they had any investigator question, they had a seminary scripture they had memorized and could flip right to it. But the missionaries from Utah had release-time seminary, not early morning seminary like most of the rest of the world (or at least North America). They attended class when they were awake, in lieu of another high school class.

    My wife grew up in Colorado Springs, but also had release-time seminary (an anomaly–most of the Springs does NOT have release-time seminary). She says she loved it, as did most of her class-mates. And they had a real, paid seminary teacher, not some poor soul from the ward roped into teaching because they were too afraid to say, “No!”

    Now my wife is an early morning seminary teacher. She prepares long and hard every night for a lesson the next morning. They meet in our house–the chapel is too far away to meet there. The kids resent it, most show up late and leave early. Occasionally they have fun (I hear them laughing and shouting), but they all resent having to go, despite the treats she prepares from time to time (at least once a week).

    My take? Keep release-time seminary (with real, paid, CES teachers) and abolish early-morning seminary. Teenagers need as much sleep as possible, and going to bed earlier isn’t an option for most (nor does it help–teens REM sleep normally doesn’t occur until 11:00 p.m., no matter what time they go to bed). They don’t absorb material that early and it ends up just being a waste of everyone’s time.

    IMHO, YMMV…

  30. I never graduated from seminary! Though I did receive a two-year certificate of completion. I’m proud of never graduating from seminary. Attending seminary became my decision. Originally, my parents required that I attend at least one year (I suppose if I staunchly resisted, they would have relented). I had an energetic, young teacher whom I really liked and admired. However, I had made the decision to not continue past my freshman year. My parents accepted that and I was proud of my decision.

    Fast forward to my sixteenth birthday when I had an interview with my bishop. He asked if I attended seminary. Without any shame I said, “Nope.” He then challenged me that if I attended EMS each day for two weeks, and then decided not to attend any more, he would never mention it again. I accepted the deal. It was a cheap price to pay to get the bishop off my back. I remember waking my dad up Monday at 5:30 AM telling him I needed a ride to church. (He wished I had given him some notice, but I think he was still happy at my choice.) My first day in seminary, I introduced myself and announced it was my tenth-to-the-last day in seminary. I was wrong ’cause somehow, it stuck and I finished out the year and completed the entire next year.

    I enjoyed EMS. Sure it wasn’t perfect–it is composed of pubescent kids taught by untrained volunteers in the wee hours of the morning. But for me, it was the place where I made my own decision to privately read the scriptures and pray about their message. When all is said and done, isn’t that the purpose of seminary?

    BTW, I was admitted to BYU with my two year certificate of seminary completion.

  31. Other members of the church in my ward often quickly identify me as the “smart guy” in the room, the one who knows the scriptures, ect.

    Occasionally they ask me how I came to learn the scriptures so well. The first several times I was quite puzzled by the question, because my answer is always the same: “I went to seminary” (and it was early morning seminary). My questioners then will say something about how they always slept through seminary. (Even when they had release time).

  32. Maybe this has been hashed through already, but I attended early morning seminary and had a great experience. We met at 5:30 AM. It wasn’t always easy to be there. As a convert and the only member in my family my parents were never up when I left. I was there to learn and absorbed everything I possibly could. I was there because I wanted to be not because of church pressure, family pressure, admission requirements, hot guys, or anything else. We had great teachers and bad teachers, but I was there. I wanted to learn everything I could about the gospel and the scriptures. That may make all the difference in whether or not one stays awake and you can’t give or make someone have that motivation.

  33. I graduated from 4 years of early morning Seminary many years ago. And then I just funished teaching 4 years of Early Morning Seminary. Yes there were a few kids who slept. And a few that did not come but told their parents they did. But you get out of it what you put into it. And Iahve some kids who put in to it a lot and came away with a wealth of knowledge and a stronger testamony. I spent many hours preparing for each lesson and for several years I taught I got up as early as 3:00 am. None of my student complained that it was too early once they learned that I ran 3 miles before classs. LOL
    Is it early? Yes. Is it hard to do? Yes. But so worth it in the end. Seminary is not the same as it was when I was in high school. It is so much more.

  34. We have about 53-63 people attending on Sunday in our branch. Currently we have 8 kids enrolled in home study/early morning seminary. We meet on Fridays at 6:30. Approximately seven of us are always there. We have a teacher who is not extremely well versed in the gospel, but it’s cool because she learns along with us. Recently the seminary teacher for the nearest town has been coming out, which is nice. I like this home study program, mostly because if you don’t get your homework done one night you can do it the next. I’m constantly doing it all Thursday night…anyway, I like it. I can see where you’re coming from with the whole “sleep deprivation” argument. It sounds horrible. It’s really helped me a LOT in terms of strengthening my faith and testimony. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be so gung ho about it if my dad hadn’t told me that there was no way I was getting in to BYU unless I graduated. I really love it though.

    Does/did anyone else have an annoying “Peter Priesthood” in their class? How did you deal with it? He drives me NUTS sometimes becuase he acts like the teacher and/or everyone’s spiritual advisor.

  35. Rural Mia Maid, I am sorry to say that I was that Annoying Peter Priesthood type all those years ago. The best thing to know is that more than likely he will be humbled at some point in the future when he discovers the test in life is not knowing the scriptures or the doctrine, but living divine principles.

    You can’t teach anybody anything, you can only help them discover the truth for themselves.

  36. I live in St. Petersburg, Fl where we have about 8 kids in EMS that regularly go. When I was a freshman I was super excited for seminary and absolutely loved it. My brother, who was supposed to be driving me, went inactive and I felt terrible waking up my parents every morning. I ended up not going for the second semester. The next year I started going again, but this time around, I did not like the teacher. She was the kind that if you missed a couple days she would freak out on you and assume you were a crazy sinner or something. I stopped going. This year, once again I stopped around Christmas break. Now, I’ve started looking at BYU as an option and going on a mission later in life. I know seminary is really important for both of these, but I don’t know if I even have a chance of making it up and I’m afraid of falling off the wagon again, I know they’ll expect me to.

  37. I could not be more grateful for seminary. I am a convert from a city in England UK. I was one of about 6 youth in my Ward and 65 members in a city of 1 million. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone could not see the benifit of seminary. You may not think these young men and women are listening but be assured they are. I’m grateful the Lord gave us a study time where my children are set for the day to face the challenges that come. The sad reality of life here in England is that we lose 50% of our youth by the time they turn 16. Seminary has seen my daughter through some really difficuly times. I thank the Lord daily for the blessings of his inspired programs that keep our youth on the strait and narrow. With so few members we need all the help we can get.

  38. Ok! so I am currently a early-morning seminary student, and honestly I don’t think that there is a single answer for this one. I go to seminary for a lot of reasons. I personally enjoy it. My teacher is wonderful and really makes it fun and educational. But everyone has those mornings where they just DO NOT want to get up. On those days I know that my parents step in and say “nope! your still going!” and I appreciate them doing that by the time seminary is over. If they let me get away with not going I know that I would probably make it a habit. Not only that, but I know that my day actually is better when I go. Seminary makes me happy, helps me remember what I stand for in these latter days, and helps me form better bonds with the other kids who have the same standards as me! It is an amazing program which I know the Lord has set in place for a purpose. I hope that I helped.

  39.  Experience has taught me to be able to distinguish the good and bad affects of the quantity and quality of sleep on a person’s health. Because someone works as an air traffic controller does not mean that God is going to bless them to stay awake in the middle of the night. God has ordained that our galaxy is moving away from other galaxies  so the light from those stars would remain dim so that we would have night. If our galaxy was stationary than the light from other stars would be  bright enough to eliminate the night.
    God wants us to have night and sleep.
     
    Getting into BYU is very competitive and school projects are very demanding often requiring late nights. There needs to be an alternative to early morning seminary such as an online course unless of course Heavenly Father wants us to experience the affects of lack of sleep and the resulting illnesses.
     
     
    “Teen sleep: Why is your teen so tired?”
    Teen sleep cycles may seem to come from another world. Understand why teen sleep is a challenge — and what you can do to promote better teen sleep.
    By Mayo Clinic staff
    Teens are notorious for staying up late at night and being hard to awaken in the morning. Your teen is probably no exception, but it’s not necessarily because he or she is lazy or contrary. This behavior pattern actually has a physical cause — and there are ways to help mesh your teen’s sleep schedule with that of the rest of the world.
    A teen’s internal clock
    Everyone has an internal clock that influences body temperature, sleep cycles, appetite and hormonal changes. The biological and psychological processes that follow the cycle of this 24-hour internal clock are called circadian rhythms. Before adolescence, these circadian rhythms direct most children to naturally fall asleep around 8 or 9 p.m. But puberty changes a teen’s internal clock, delaying the time he or she starts feeling sleepy — often until 11 p.m. or later. Staying up late to study or socialize can disrupt a teen’s internal clock even more.
    Too little sleep
    Most teens need about nine hours of sleep a night — and sometimes more — to maintain optimal daytime alertness. But few teens actually get that much sleep regularly, thanks to part-time jobs, homework, extracurricular activities, social demands and early-morning classes. More than 90 percent of teens in a recent study reported sleeping less than the recommended nine hours a night. In the same study, 10 percent of teens reported sleeping less than six hours a night.
    Big deal? Yes. Irritability aside, sleep deprivation can have serious consequences.  Consider these disturbing facts: Sleeping even a single hour less than our bodies require reduces our cognitive capacity dramatically. Much as we try, we can’t fool our bodies. Sacrificing sleep is self-defeating. Problem is, missing sleep repeatedly affects every part of your life. Daytime sleepiness makes it difficult to concentrate and learn, or even stay awake in class. Too little sleep may contribute to mood swings, behavioral problems and depression.   Sleep deprivation also affects your complexion, your health, increased blood pressure, and your weight. (Some studies link sleeping less with an increased risk of obesity.) Too little sleep can also make young people more likely to suffer injuries and sleepy teens who get behind the wheel may cause serious — even deadly — accidents.
     
    Original Article:http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/teens-health/CC00019

    1. D&C 88:124 124 Cease to be aidle; cease to be bunclean; cease to cfind fault one with another; cease to dsleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be einvigorated.
      I call it the seminary scripture.  If you sleep early enough, then you can wake up early enough 🙂

  40. Sorry but to say that you can’t feel the spirit at 6 in the morning is ridiculous. I try to make 100% attendance and usually get pretty close, I’m in my past year and I love seminary and feel the spirit frequently. it’s your attitude, not the time of morning, no offence meant.

  41. I am finishing up my last year of seminary… In fact, my graduation is tonight! Honestly, seminary is about what you put into it. If a person sleeps through class then obviously they will not get much out of it. It is the same for every part of his or her life. But if a person stays awake and tries to feel the Spirit (and more than anything, it is the desire that allows one to feel it in seminary), then the person will receive immense eternal education and blessings. I am/was a busy high school student but making time for seminary and making the effort to get things out of it was what made the difference. It’s the same for anything you do in your life.

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