The cool thing about this Student Series! blog post is that a student interviewed her friend about her everyday religious practice. I feel that this shows how people live out their faith in a high school setting, bringing the abstract into the classroom and making it real.
Mormonism is derived from Christianity, with a new way of portraying the gospels and was founded by Joseph Smith. The belief is that Smith was faced with a series of visions that basically requested the restoration of the Christian church. One of his major duties was to translate the holy book, which was a book put together by the ancient American prophet Mormon. This book became The Book of Mormon.
Mormons do not believe we are sinners by nature like many Christians do, but that you choose to do wrong or right. The only way to salvation is to imitate Jesus and follow his footsteps for he is the only perfect being to walk the earth. To satisfy my curiosity for a special practice performed by the youth of the church, I interviewed a student [this student’s identity will remain private] who talked a little about the religion, Mormon Seminaries and how those shape her mornings daily.
What’s a morning like for you?
On weekdays we wake up very early in order to attend church from 5:50 to 6:45 a.m. Basically we sing, take classes and pray and such. They’re called seminaries.
What do you learn about/focus on during Seminaries?
The book of Mormon. It is another testament of Jesus. We study the prophets and what they did. Then we take tests on what we learned.
Where did this book come from?
Well it all started with the prophet Joseph Smith. He was visited by Jesus and told to reshape the current Christian church, which had lost its most important aspects as it was passed down from generation to generation. He translated ancient scriptures into golden pages. That’s the book of Mormon we have today.
You said you take tests? How often?
We take tests every semester. Just like school. They are on the 4 or 5 prophets we studied throughout the semester. Every year we focus on a different aspect of Mormonism.
Does this mean you are graded?
Yes! We are graded just like in school. The goal is to get good grades so you can be accepted in Mormon colleges like the one in Idaho. It is offered at a much cheaper price for the members of the church.
What do you wear for seminaries?
The dress code is stricter than in school. You can’t show legs at all and you always have to cover your shoulders. But you can wear makeup and stuff.
What are some other rules of the Mormon church?
There are quite a few: You are prohibited from having tattoos or piercings. You can’t take drugs, drink alcohol, coffee or tea; basically nothing that is addictive. Mormons believe in abstinence until marriage. No bad language and women have to really cover up.
Would you say there is gender equality in your religion?
No. Women are just kind of mothers who are meant to have children and take care of them. There are a lot of things that make women and men different when you’re a Mormon I think.
About how many people per class?
I’d say about like 25 people per class. There are a lot of Mormons. I bump into people at school that I see at my morning classes all the time!
**Authors note: according to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the seminary and Institute programs teach over 700,000 students in over 150 different countries.
What do you like the most about your religion?
Just having even more scriptures besides the Bible. More proof! More reasons to believe in Jesus and more of a passion to become a better person. It really makes you shape yourself into a person that serves G-d and loves G-d. It is so rewarding to me. You become someone who is in many ways separated from the sinful world we live in today in hopes of one day reaching salvation and obtaining the gift of eternal life.
- 30-Second religion, Edited by Russell Re Manning. New York: Ivy Press, 2011.
- “Mormonism.” Patheos Library. Accessed May 16, 2016. http://www.patheos.com/library/mormonism
- “Seminary.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Accessed May 16, 2016. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/toic/semnary
- [Student], Interviewed by [Author], May 15, 2016.