News Release

Best High School Basketball Player Since Lebron James is Mormon Seminary Student

Recently, Sports Illustrated placed Jabari Parker of Chicago, Illinois, USA, on its cover. Jabari is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and attends his Church’s seminary (religious instruction) program every day before school.

The article stated that Parker was the “best high school basketball player since LeBron James, but there's something more important to him than instant NBA stardom: his faith.”

Many Filipino Mormons also attend the Church’s seminary program for youth on a regular basis. Adryian Rumbaoa, seminary student and star  basketball player for FEU-FERN of Fairview, said, "Seminary helps my life to be balanced both physically and spiritually.. Also , it helps me to organize and balance my time. It's hard to do it at the same time but with my testimony and faith in the Lord, it helps me to keep on going. I know that as long as I attend seminary it will help me to prepare to be a missionary and for my eternal decisions."

Currently there are about 16,000 Filipinos involved in seminary. Most of them attend in the evenings four days a week. All of these teens—and nearly 370,000 others like them througout the world—are following prophetic counsel to make seminary a priority in their lives, particularly this month, as students in many parts of the world return to seminary and to school.

As Elijah Bugayong, 17, of the Philippines approached her final year of high school—and of seminary—she thought about having always been second in her high school “batch,” or class. This year, she was determined to secure the honor of being first. She told herself that she would do anything to reach that goal, including giving more time to academic subjects. She even considered foregoing seminary, until one day, when she had a poignant experience.

“I [looked at] my study table,” she explained. “I saw a pile of books and near it, my quadruple combination (scriptures) together with my seminary notebook and manual. Deep inside I asked myself, ‘Which matters most?’”

She prayed and later found her answer in Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

From that point on, she put extra effort into balancing her time so that she could still faithfully attend seminary and excel in her academic performance. At the end of the year, she was named valedictorian and won a scholarship that would help her with her university expenses.

Dia Lacno, 18, of the Philippines, was baptized at age 14 and began attending seminary soon after. She expected class to be like a typical school course, where she had homework, lectures, and the pressures that accompany them. Instead, she said, “seminary gives me the strength to overcome all those loads that I get from school. Whenever I attend seminary, I feel replenished and at ease.”

Because she didn’t grow up with the Gospel, she is grateful for the foundation that seminary is creating for her.

“Seminary gives me the strength to continue to keep moving forward in the straight and narrow path in spite of the difficulties and challenges I encounter,” Dia says. “The things I have learned are the stepping stones and preparation for a greater and more profound knowledge of the Gospel.”

High school students learn about religious history and the scriptures in seminary. Courses of study include the Bible’s Old and New Testaments, Book of Mormon, and other Gospel subjects.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.