There are times in life when things don’t always go the way we plan them, but at the end of the day, things will work out with time, effort, and trust in the Lord.
There is one person who knows this firsthand: Laryssa Waldron.
Waldron has been a religion professor at BYU-Idaho for the past year and a half. She teaches as a three-year visiting professor and finds joy through the students she works with.
“The students are so excited, energetic and fun to be around,” Waldron said.
Waldron was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and is the second oldest child out of four. Her father worked in the military, and her mother was a piano teacher from home.
Her family only lived in Texas for a short time after she was born and then moved to Salt Lake City, where she lived most of her life. Waldron graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in English, and while attending school, she took seminary training courses, and then taught full time in the released time seminary program.
Waldron taught seminary for seven years, mostly in American Fork, Utah. During her time teaching seminary, Waldron met her husband in a pretty remarkable way.
One day, a student in her class raised his hand and said, “You should date my brother.” Although seemingly awkward, she gave the student her number; one night she got a call from the student’s older brother. The rest is history.
After getting married, Waldron had a different path to follow for her career. At the time Waldron was teaching seminary and expecting her first child. She knew that she would have to stop teaching seminary because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had a policy that didn’t allow mothers with dependent children to teach full-time seminary.
Waldron expected this and got a higher degree as a backup plan.
“I knew when going into the job that the policy meant I would be out of the job at some point because I fully intended on getting married and having children,” Waldron said. “I got my masters degree in education with a teaching license, with the intent to teach English in the public schools.”
Waldron went on to teach English for 13 years at Salt Lake Community College. Then in 2014, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints changed their policy on mothers with dependent children being seminary teachers, so Waldron found another door opened for her.
One day, Waldron got a call from BYU-I and found out that they needed a professor in the Religion Department. In fall 2017, she began teaching classes at BYU-I.
When asked about her experience in teaching English instead of seminary, Waldron said, “There were all sorts of feelings. There was the frustration of course, but I also felt God leading me. I felt so much assurance that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing,” Waldron said.
“I feel like the Lord is pleased when we accept our current circumstances and try to make the best of it,” Waldron said.
On top of her lengthy teaching resume, Waldron tried her hand at starting a publishing company called “Waldron Publishing.” The company published five books before it closed, one of which Waldron wrote.
This experience also led to another opened door, one which she was able to have essays published in three different books, with the final book coming out in April, “I Can Choose Joy with God” on deseretbook.com.
Today she is still teaching religion classes and lives with her family here in Rexburg.