Wednesday, August 29, 2012

LDS Seminary in China

As you know, I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I wasn't always Mormon though. But my older sister was Mormon from the time I could remember. When I was little, I can remember her being picked up by her friend's loud green Volkswagen Bug, even before the sun arose. That was when I learned about seminary.

The only thing I knew about seminary, as a kid, was that is was very early in the morning. I didn't ever participate in seminary because I became a member of the church after high school finished. Seminary is an early morning class that high school students attend before their regular school classes. Each year they study a different book of the standard works; The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Book of Mormon and The Doctrine and Covenants. Typically the freshman meet with each other, as do the rest of the classes. In most cases, seminary classes are held at a church building. Dedicated teachers make the scriptures come alive in the wee hours of the morning.

In China, like everything, seminary is a little different. I know this because my daughter just became a freshman in high school and has now started seminary. The youth in our branch attend a variety of different high schools in Beijing. There are also youth throughout China who are so far from other LDS youth that it is not feasible to gather together in the morning. Thanks to modern day technology each of these fifteen students call in to a virtual seminary classroom. From 6:00 -6:50 am they pray, read, learn and discuss the teachings and life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This year they are studying the New Testament with two dedicated teachers who plan meaningful lessons and sacrifice their time and sleep. The suburban branch, where most of the students go to the same high school, meet together each morning in someone's home for seminary. It speaks volumes to me that this program is thriving under challenging circumstances. 
My daughter's seminary spot. 
No matter where you are in the world, seminary is a sacrifice. With the strenuous schedules of these teenagers, sleep is a hot commodity. I am in awe of these youth who make the choice to push aside their physical wants in order to gain eternal knowledge. The benefits far outweigh the sacrifice. They start their day equipped with an armor of God, ready to withstand the temptations of the world. The scriptural knowledge gained will last far into the eternities. I am grateful for the example of my daughter and her opportunity to participate in such a testimony building experience.

To learn more about seminary, visit here
or ask me any questions you have.


Robin said...

I am a Seminary teacher in Clovis California and I loved reading your post about seminary in Bejing. Truly we belong to a world wide church. I can't wait to tell my students about your post tomorrow morning. There is strength in numbers even when those numbers are spread around the world.
How's scripture mastery going?

Bro Simon Says said...

My daughter is in a Chinese immersion program right now (3rd year). She will enjoy seeing your blog.
I teach for Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, but I was also an early morning student in CA and PA. You are correct when you say that, "No matter where you are in the world, seminary is a sacrifice."
Your daughter can check out some of the stuff that we are doing in my classes at: