By Stephen Schwendiman
Teaching seminary might not be the highest paying job in terms of cash flow, but, according to seminary teachers, it has blessings that pay in different ways.
“I don’t consider it to be a sacrifice,” said Ron Case, principal of the Olympus High School seminary program for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Brian Prestwich, an LDS seminary teacher at Olympus High School, said seminary teaching is wonderful. The church treats seminary teachers well and gives them superior resources to teach with, he said.
“We are so blessed,” Prestwich said.
Chad Bailey, director of the LDS institute in the Pittsburgh, Penn. area, said the seminary program there consists of mostly volunteer teachers.
Bailey said there are various types of LDS religious education, including release time seminary, early morning seminary and home study.
Each of the programs is different and requires different sacrifices, he said.
Some of the volunteer teachers are mothers and people with other things going on in their lives, Bailey said.
The volunteer teachers are superior teachers, he said.
“Whom God calls, he qualifies,” Bailey said.
Case said his original career goals didn’t include teaching seminary.
He said there are a lot of people who want to be seminary teachers, but he planned on being a pilot in the Air Force.
As he was growing up, Case said he never imagined someone could be a seminary teacher for a profession.
Even though it wasn’t his number one goal, he does not regret deciding to teach seminary, Case said.
He said he feels he was directed to teach seminary through spiritual impressions and scripture study.
Prestwich also said seminary was not at the top of his career list.
He said an institute instructor encouraged him to teach part-time seminary classes, and he then decided to teach seminary.
Seeing kids hungry to learn about the gospel, Prestwich said, is what drives him to continue teaching seminary.
“You have to have a love of the youth and their potential,” Bailey said.
Bailey said the basic goal of the seminary program is to bring the youth to Christ.
Seminary used to be nice, but now it is absolutely necessary, Bailey said.
Case said he loves to see the kids feel the spirit and get excited about studying the gospel.
“That’s it, that’s what you love,” he said.