Religious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel


Mario O. Lopez


Seminary, Institute, culture, multicultural competency

Document Type



I remember visiting an early morning seminary class in Laie, Hawaii, held in a chapel next to the high school. The seminary teacher was Caucasian. Her students were Polynesians, Asians, Latinos, and haoles (Caucasians). I noticed the Tongans were seated together on one side and the Samoans on the opposite side. The Asians were scattered in the middle. The haoles were in the front seats and the Latinos right next to the back door. The Tongans and Samoans were talking and laughing. The Asians were quiet, heads bowed down, and some were sleeping. The Latinos were always looking at the clock, peeking outside the door, and constantly staring at each other as if a nonverbal communication was transpiring among them. During the class, the teacher was literally just teaching the haoles in the front seats. They were having a great discussion and didn’t seem bothered by what was going on beyond the front seats. When the bell rang, the Latinos were the first ones out, followed by the Samoans and Tongans, who intentionally hit each other on their way out. The Asians cautiously picked up their books from the floor and graciously left the classroom. The haoles stayed for a few minutes after and visited with the teacher. I came out of that class asking myself, “What has just happened?”