Mormon Education

I had to take my daughter to school at 6:45 this morning to get ready for a band trip, but on the way had to pick up a friend of hers who needed a ride. We were to pick her up not at her home, but at her church. Her Mormon church. At 6:30 in the morning.

It sounded fishy to me.

But we arrived, and there were other cars in the parking lot, and her friend came out and on the way to school I chatted with her about what she was doing and I learned a lot.

From grades 9-12 on every school day she had “seminary” from 6:00-7:00 am. Every school day. For four years. I asked her if every Mormon church does it that way and she said some of them are able to offer it as an elective in the High Schools and have it during the day. I asked if some Mormon churches have it after school and she said they don’t because of sports.

It suddenly clarified so many things about Mormonism to me. They receive so much instruction in (presumably) Mormon doctrine during the high school years it is no wonder they retain so many members who are so dedicated and quick to evangelize, if you want to call it that.

It shouldn’t have surprised me at all that they refrain from after-school activities either–Mormons are adept at accommodating to the American experience.

Is there anything Christians can learn from this?

11 comments on “Mormon Education

      1. Lengthy instruction in itself may not be law…. but making that instruction a part of the legalistic requirements needed for salvation certainly is.

        Couple that with the understanding that the “strong, dedicated” family structure common in Mormonism is not so much them unlocking a secret to “doing church” that we can steal and apply (Maybe have Pr. Warran write a book titled The Mormon-Driven Family). Deep down, you get to three causes: 1. Is the fact that women only receive salvation THROUGH their husbands. 2. Is the fact that raising good Mormon kids is a legalistic work for parents. 3. Is the fact that most of these kids are going to immediately go from their version of “confirmation” to door knocking (for boys) and raising their own kids (for girls). I used to study like hell when I had a big test right around the corner too. 😛

  1. Hello Reverend

    As you sounded unsure of the course of instruction in Seminary, I thought I would explain just a bit. During high school, students have one year each on: the Old Testament; the New Testament; the Book of Mormon; and the Doctrine & Covenants. Each school year, all students, regardless of grade level, study the same book. This year they are studying the Doctrine & Covenants.

    You can see the course materials here: http://seminary.lds.org/

    I noticed that you used a picture of the San Diego Temple which is indeed a spectacular one. Some time you might want to take a look at the Oklahoma City Temple. Here is their web page with a photo, map of location, etc.: http://lds.org/temples/main/0,11204,1912-1-130-2,00.html

    If you have any questions, please let me know, and I will explain or ask someone that can. murdockwallisjern@gmail.com

    Murdock

    1. Thank you for the information, and for visiting my blog! I was curious about the curriculum, so thanks for anticipating that and giving me the links. If you have questions about Lutheranism, feel free to contact me too (there’s a link on the menu at the top of the site).

      I would be happy to count you as a regular reader as well. On this blog I like to have the input of more folks than just us Lutherans, and while I do not count Mormons as Christians, due to the fact that you do not confess the Nicene Creed or agree with it, I do enjoy hearing other perspectives and exchanging information in friendly ways.

      Peace,
      Christopher

  2. Yes, I think it shows the high priority their denomination and the families that support it place on educating and indoctrinating their young members in the ways and traditions of their religion. Most families are more concerned about making sure their children are in a plethora of activities from dancing to soccer and everything in between from an early age. The other push is to make sure they are working feverishly in school so that they can get scholarships to the very best colleges. The church my daughter attends feels if they can get the kids involved the parents will follow. I do feel we would be better off if families placed a higher priority on religious instruction along with all of the other education they receive.

  3. They actually don’t retain their membership all that well. They have an 18% activity rate (attends at least once a month). I think their cultural pressure is a bigger reason for their missionary activity and whatever retention that do have.

    I think committing high school students to serious study is admirable though.

  4. The reason that Seminary takes place in HS as well as having the generally recommended ages for missions (19-21 for males and 21-22 for females) is to give them as much education as possible before they are on their own and making all their own decisions. This gives the kids a solid foundation to stand on and helps them make better choices for themselves. For example, Mormons have a much higher rate of celibacy until marriage than other Christian religions.

    And thankfully we don’t need others to consider us Christians, because the Lord does. I am a convert to the church and attended Harvest with Pastor Greg Laurie of the Harvest Crusades previously. He is an amazing pastor, and I always loved his sermons, however I never felt at home in any other Christian church for many reasons, one of which was that I always felt a lack of commitment from the parishioners, and that seemed to be generally accepted behavior.

    For example, there is (not always but for the most part) an attitude of “oh well, I’ll do what I want and then I’ll repent and be forgiven”, while that is generically the case, it must be sincere, you must have a broken heart and contrite spirit and sincere desire to change, and take steps to correct the negative behavior, while I know that some people use the atonement properly, others just don’t get it, and it has been my experience that this is the case more often than not. When you are well educated on these issues (as seminary classes and missions do) you have a better understand of the atonement (amongst other things) and can therefore be a better Christlike child of God.

    As for the reason more people become inactive, well it would be the same reason. If you have a true understanding of the expectations that the Lord has for his children, and you make a mistake (as we all do) it is harder to face them, move forward after them (especially if it’s a big mistake) and as we tend to be harder on ourselves than others are on us, you have a harder time forgiving yourself. This is a failure to allow the atonement to bless you, denying yourself the precious gift He gave when He shed His blood and died for us. When you mess up, if you are sincere, and do your part to make it right, He will forgive you and you can move on… unless you get wrapped up in “well what will everyone else think?” and the answer to that is who cares!

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

    P.S.

    That Temple is even more beautiful inside ;0)

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