Jerry Earl Johnston: To all seminary teachers; you are doing good

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  • cjac USA, UT
    Feb. 2, 2012 11:35 a.m.

    (I was inspired with Pres. Reuben Clarke who mentioned in the Charted Course of Education that one should keep in mind the departure point to know where to take a stance in the present.) Thanks for this part, in reference to the author's seminary teachers:

    âThey took their work â and our tribulations â seriously. They felt a vocation for their work.â

    There are things I have never done. I never read Catcher in the Rye. It wasnât required when I was in high school, but I can understand the importance of helping when the spiritual trust we all hunger for seems diluted and difficult to come by. As one investigating seminary teaching, whether or not I get called in the future, I appreciate this truth that this vocation can do good out there, FELT vocation being a key, as this article so kindly accepts. As I watch classes, I see hunger and an eagerness for the âbalm of Gileadâ our young brothers and sisters seek to understand. Even attempting to fill this void takes guts. I thank the writer of this article for so bravely applauding his former teachers, in a day where few (adults, anyway) will take a stand for pure truth. I feel a lot of that same responsibility the author discusses though I have never been asked to teach a seminary class. And it does matter. Keep at it, religion teachers from Utah, Idaho, or beyond! There are many rooting for you!

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 2, 2012 1:06 p.m.

    Liberal Ted: Actually the Seminary Teachers outside of Utah and possibly Idaho are called to their positions as seminary teachers. They volunteer to get up early each morning to teach the Gospel to kids 14 years of age and older. They are not paid for it nor are they even guaranteed anything.

    In Utah my understanding is that Seminary is an optional class that the students can take. The teachers are their to teach them. Opinions are given many times and unfortunately some parents and students take those opinions as Gospel, which they aren't.

    We have had many prophesies of the last days and one of these is that before the second coming of the Lord all of the wicked will be destroyed leaving only the most righteous upon the earth. Many of us take a look and can see some of these prophesies being fulfilled but only our Father in Heaven knows the day and hour of the coming of his son. Anything else is speculation on the part of members. Most students understand this and take it with a grain of salt. Some don't however and take it as Gospel.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 12:34 p.m.

    There are people who speculate and make guesses of current events and try to tie them to prophecies. That was happening even when Jesus was born, and people were trying to decide whether or not he was the Messiah. People are still debating whether or not if He has come yet or not.

    So why would it surprise anyone, if people see a war happening and cite scripture that says there will be wars and rumors of wars. The revolutionary war was an eye opener and people thought that was the end, the civil war seemed like it could be the final war, then came World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Cold War, Current wars, 7 day war, Cuban missle crisis, Iran etc.

    I've seen the full moon when it looked pretty red. Could that be fullfillment of scripture?

    The scriptures state there will be great pollutions on the land. Is that happening now?

    The scriptures state there will be earthquakes. We have those everyday, some more severe than others.

    I doubt the tsunami was sent to destroy the wicked.

    Remember these teachers aren't called to the position. If you disapprove or have concerns. Talk to them.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 12:22 p.m.

    I was taught in my school that because we drive cars that the planet would heat up by the year 2000, and most of the animal, forest, people and other living things would perish. I was also taught that the world population could never go beyond 6 billion people, and if it did then there would be wars everywhere and people killing each other for food. I was also taught that all of the glaciers in the world would be gone by the year 2000. Now they're teaching that the world is cooling and can go into a freeze. But now they're switching that climate change is the end of us all.

    We were also taught that man started as a tadpole, became a lizard, that turned into a monkey, that turned into a man.

    Not sure how a seminary teachers opinion is an issue, when you go there voluntarily. However, you go to public schools and are forced to believe the rubish there.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Dec. 29, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    The reason the Church doesn't change as quickly as its critics would like, is because the Church has grown every week since 1830 (it's winning and working)-- although we are far from perfection. In Seminary I was taught the Old Testament, the New Testament, Latter-Day scripture and more important than all of those, I felt the spirit there and was renewed and refreshed. If a class got off on the tsunami in Asia as a topic of discussion, it wasn't likely the teacher, the students can go off on tangents.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Dec. 28, 2011 8:24 p.m.

    Dennis speaks of experience and tries to say that Seminary is not necessary because what is taught. Vanka gives examples of what teachers say so thus it is unnecessary as well. Yet, I have known more than my share of seminary teachers and I have the complete opposite view. It really depends not on the students but the teacher themselves. What the teacher brings to seminary is more important than the students. Why because it is the teacher that is able to reach out to each and every student that will get and have a much better experience.

    I've seen bad ones and good ones. In each case it is prevelant that the seminary teacher be able to associate with the youth. Opinions are welcome and should be stated but still voiced as opinion. In none of the cases stated by Vanka is any of that doctrine or actually part of the teachings of seminary. Considering the teacher only has an hour at most to teach it seems that stating what they say was taught. In fact, it appears that four or five different seminary teachers taught Vanka's kids. This generally doesn't happen.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Dec. 28, 2011 5:39 p.m.

    The most prevalent problem in the Seminary system is the inability to control what's taught. Many try to fill in the gaps of doctrine that doesn't exist and the final result is less than acceptable.
    I was very thankful my folks didn't make me attend any more than I did.
    Don't think I'm some sort of a rebel. I served a mission. Was in 3 bishoprics and on the High Council. I just find that over the years the seminary system is very, very overrated.

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    Dec. 28, 2011 2:14 p.m.

    you truly are entittled to your opinion and your interpetation to my comments. I had 3 sons and one daughter attend early morning LDS Seminary. Sons slept during class, daughter graduated from seminary. Upon inquirey, I found Seminary lesson material and teacher very good....the same with grammar and high schools classes and teachers. All in all, both types of learning did them good - especially for the ones who stayed awake! College courses also do a person good.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Dec. 28, 2011 12:56 p.m.


    That is the problem. There wasn't much "truth and goodness" in those classes.

    And to imply that skeptics do not have "a balanced life well lived" is presumptuous and erroneous.

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    Dec. 28, 2011 11:29 a.m.

    "Teeter Totter, bread and water" is a great example of religious seminar classes in partnership with wordly knowledge and its teachings. However one is never dissapointed in the 'logic' of skeptics and others of like mind as they continue to fault religion and its teachings - in this case church seminary classes. Would not a balanced life well lived take in truth and goodness where ever found?

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Dec. 28, 2011 8:37 a.m.

    I had children go through the LDS seminary program. They came home and told me what they learned on several occasions. Their seminary teachers taught them that the 2004 tsunami was a "punishment from God", and God "cleansing the unrighteous from the earth prior to his second coming." Another seminary teacher taught that the prophecy that "the moon shall turn to blood" (Acts2:20) was fulfilled when astronauts landed on the moon. Another told them Big Foot is probably Cain, doomed to walk the earth. Another teacher taught that Pres. Hinckley proved he was a prophet by seeing into the future and cancelling the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's trip to London, thereby sparing them from the subway bombing in London. The things my kids learned in LDS seminary were truly unbelievable!

    Which is why I don't believe them.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 28, 2011 8:10 a.m.

    It is astonishing how many young brains are conditioned in these institutions that never again look back or seek alternative reasoning or natural truths. It is similar to the Catholic approach of: give me a child until age eight and it is mine for life.

  • Timj South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 28, 2011 7:50 a.m.

    It's curious that the church pays people to teach seminary in Utah and Idaho, but calls people to serve as seminary teachers (and doesn't pay them) everywhere else. I have so much more respect for seminary teachers who prepare and teach every day without getting paid.