By Jonathan Madsen
Most students at BYU have taken seminary, but between release-time seminary and early-morning seminary, they have hardly had the same experiences.
Students have identified large differences between the two.
Ben Boruchowitz, 22, a junior from Ithaca, New York, majoring in chemistry said, “The big differences is release-time teachers have years of experience and can motivate and capture kids attention.”
Although Boruchowitz occasionally teaches seminary in American Fork, he still says that early-morning seminary, like he attended in New York, is better.
“You have to show a lot of dedication. Also doing it in the morning is helpful – you get a good start to the day,” he said.
Many students feel that the disadvantages to early-morning seminary are obvious.
“The name says it all,” said senior Robert Mullen, 23, from Provo, majoring in psychology.
Emily Murphy, 20, a junior from Rancho Cucamonga, California, majoring in English, said of her experience, “We were all so tired, people are sometimes late, and it”s hard to bring friends.”
Murphy also said she thinks early-morning seminary is more beneficial. “A lot of my Utah friends would have seminary right before lunch so they could have a two hour lunch,” she said.
Although early-morning seminary students must sacrifice their morning, release-time students still have some sacrifices. Philip Boren, director of seminary teacher training at BYU said of release time students, “Rather than giving up sleep, they are giving up on another opportunity to take another class.”
Kristen Eliason, 19, an English major from Sandy, Utah, had the opportunity to take both types of seminary classes. “I took early-morning seminary so that it wouldn”t interfere with taking other fun classes during the day. I loved release-time seminary because it gave me the opportunity to focus on spiritual things in the middle of an otherwise secular day,” she said.
The opportunity Eliason had is now nearly nonexistent. Boren said the Church Educational System wanted to phase out “zero hour” seminary because “too many of the super kids were taking it and it left individuals not so dedicated in the daytime program.”
As for a straightforward success rate Boren said, “I see dedicated kids in all programs.”
Eighty percent of release-time seminary students graduate while about 60 percent of early-morning seminary students graduate, he said.
With all the differences between both types of seminary, Boren said that he”s pleased with the goals and objectives of seminary.