Q&A: Questions and Answers

“Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, Apr. 2001, 16

Questions and Answers

Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

Early-morning seminary starts at five-thirty where I live. Getting up that early is hard for me. Is it really that important to go? Why can’t I just study on my own?

New Era:

  • Attending seminary can help you gain a stronger testimony, build friendships with other Church members, and start your day off right.

  • Seminary teachers are trained to help you understand the scriptures.

  • Missing out on seminary means missing out on blessings and opportunities.

  • Studying as a group allows you to learn from others and share what you know.

  • Seminary is a blessing, not a task or obligation.

It can be difficult to pry the bed from your back when it seems the rest of the world is still sleeping. And once you are up, it can be difficult to remain awake through a seminary lesson if you haven’t slept all the hours your body requires. Although it may be tempting to stay in bed and say you will just study the gospel on your own, missing out on seminary means missing out on blessings and opportunities.

You can study on your own. In fact, we have been commanded to study the scriptures individually. But personal study and seminary shouldn’t be seen as an either/or choice. They should complement each other so you can glean as much knowledge as possible from your gospel study and have more opportunities to build your testimony.

One of the greatest blessings we can gain in this life is gospel knowledge. “And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come” (D&C 130:19). Seminary is an excellent place to gain or add to that knowledge.

In addition to helping you develop supportive friendships and associations, studying as a group allows you to learn from others and share what you know. There isn’t one person who has a corner on all gospel knowledge. When you study with a group, you hear the testimonies of others and gain insights that make the scriptures easier to understand. You also have the opportunity to share your testimony and insights.

Another benefit of early-morning seminary is the teacher. Seminary teachers are trained to help you understand the scriptures. Studying with a teacher on a set schedule can provide the structure and motivation necessary to feast on the scriptures regularly.

At the New Era, we are sold on seminary because we have seen the impact it has in people’s lives.

One key to waking up and staying alert during early-morning seminary is to make sure you get enough sleep. Recent studies show that teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep each night. That might mean going to bed earlier than usual.

Another key to staying attentive during seminary is to cultivate a hunger to learn all you can about the gospel. You should try to look at seminary as a blessing, not a task or obligation. You can gain this hunger through prayer and striving to have a positive attitude about seminary. Once you have it, seminary and personal study should help feed your spiritual hunger, and staying awake shouldn’t be as difficult.

By sacrificing the urge to snooze, you have the opportunity to gain a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ and a better understanding of the gospel, to build friendships with other Church members, and to start your day off right. These blessings should more than compensate for your lost Zs.

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“Our great program of Church education moves forward. … We urge all for whom it is available to take advantage of it. We do not hesitate to promise that your knowledge of the gospel will be increased, your faith will be strengthened, and you will develop wonderful associations and friendships” (Ensign, May 1984, 47).—President Gordon B. Hinckley


Sleep is nice, but seminary will change your life. We have been asked by the prophet to attend seminary. It is an inspired program where we can learn about the gospel through seminary teachers and other students. I know that you will be blessed for your efforts and that your testimony will grow just as mine has.

Brooke Richards, 17
Sandy, Utah

I am not quite old enough to go to seminary yet. However, I can really see how important it is for the other young men and women. Getting up early before school and learning about the gospel can really change your day. You should stick with it, and I know you’ll benefit.

Claire Dawson, 13
Windlesham, England

I’m still struggling with being on time for seminary, but I know that’s where I should be in the early morning. I find that having a desire to learn and participate makes it a little easier. Plus, when you go to seminary with a class, you make new friendships and become better friends with those you already know.

Cassie Zaugg, 17
Tallahassee, Florida

I always have a great day when I go to seminary before school, because I have the Spirit with me for the whole day.

Richy Littledyke, 16
Wells, Nevada

There is a unique feeling of fellowship and love at seminary. When you attend with those who share your values, hopes, and feelings, you become strengthened and unified by each other. Getting up early is definitely worth the memorable experiences of seminary.

Kamron Eck, 16
Meridian, Idaho

Photography by Matt Reier. Posed by model