The LDS seminary squeeze

Before marching to "Pomp and Circumstance," thousands of Utah high-school graduates picked up another diploma at a separate, quieter ceremony.

They passed by a pulpit and graduated from LDS seminary.

In addition to taking all the credits to finish high school and all those Advanced Placement and elective courses to beef up college applications, Mormon students frequently cram in time every school day for religious study. In Utah, where nearly a quarter of all LDS seminary students worldwide are schooled, the teens typically are "released" from high school for one class period to attend seminary at a church-owned-and-operated building near campus.

But, increasingly, Utah seminaries also offer before-school and after-school classes for students who don't want to skip a spot in student government, chorus or debate. Outside the Beehive State, most students attend seminary before school. Seminary does not count toward graduation.

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