The last thing my new LDS friends convinced me to attend was seminary. After all, it was held very early in the morning before school and I was not a morning person. As strong as my new testimony was, I wasn’t sure it was strong enough to make me get out of bed before daylight to learn the gospel.
Once I went however, you couldn’t keep me away. I learned so much more in that hour of religion than I learned in the shorter Sunday School class. Even more importantly, I began to treasure the feeling I took with me to school each day. Because I was the only member of the church in my family, I was not awakening to family prayer and scripture study. Attending seminary, however, allowed me to start my day with the gospel and to carry the spirit with me to school. It seemed like school went so much better when I went to seminary. I found it easier to resist temptation, to handle pressure from non-LDS friends, and to remember the new standards of life I had chosen for myself. My mood was better, my grades improved, and I was less concerned with the things that didn’t matter.
It wasn’t magic. Some days I didn’t allow the spiritual uplift to stay with me. I still had trials, hard days, temptations, and hurt feelings. More often than not, however, the days were better when I started with the gospel.
Getting up early was hard, but I soon learned it was easier if I prepared properly. I went to bed earlier, so I wasn’t tired. Then I decided the frantic rush with a half-put together mind was keeping me from getting the full benefit of the experience. I began to prepare the night before by setting out my clothing and school supplies, being sure homework was complete, and checking to see if there was anything for breakfast.
In the morning, I allowed enough time to get completely ready, since I didn’t return home afterwards, and to eat a decent breakfast. I wanted to be sure I had plenty of time for morning prayers as well, so the spirit was with me before I arrived, and I wasn’t dependent on the teacher to bring it in herself.
While it seemed very difficult initially, over time, the new schedule became natural and I began to enjoy starting my day in a quiet house, with the gospel to look forward to before a long day of school.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.