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July 9, 2014

The Great Gift of Seminary

Filed under: Early Morning Seminary,Learn about Christ,Seminary — Ryan Best @ 2:52 pm

Seminary – the gospel study class for Latter-Day Saint youth has been a great blessing in my life and in the life of my family. As I observe other members of the Church, I see the benefits of such a program to help build testimony and strength at a critical time in life. Seminary in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not what other Christian churches generally refer to as a Seminary. Theirs is a theological institution preparing individuals for ordination as clergy. Ours is a theological class that educates and prepares young people for their futures and for their personal ministries.

Seminary in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a program for youth from 9th through 12 grades (or ages 15 through 18), where they meet with a group of other youth and study the scriptures.  A four year program generally held before school, it is also a released time program for schools where there is more of a concentration of Latter-Day Saints. According to, the objective of Seminary is to help youth understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven. At our current Utah high school, students attend Seminary as one of their elective classes. They walk to the Seminary building which is on school property and are instructed for one and half hours every other day.

My own husband and I became friends as we attended Seminary together 40 years ago in Salt Lake City. My husband served on the Seminary Council, while I was the Yearbook Editor. With such a large Seminary graduating class (probably 500 students) we even had a Seminary yearbook! Each class started with a five minute devotional given by one of the students. Then the teacher would lead us through the scriptures in whatever book we were studying that year: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants. Principles were discussed and testimonies were strengthened as we studied the gospel together.

Attending Seminary as a youth was a big deal for me. I still remember my Seminary teachers and some of my classmates. I’ve never forgotten some of the experiences we shared in our classes. For me, participating in Seminary was as exciting as participating in high school activities. At that time we had Missionary Week, Friendship Week, Spirituality Week, Service Week and other special events. We even had “S” Day, where all of the Seminary students in the whole valley got together at the Tabernacle for a Saturday morning devotional and a Saturday evening concert at the University of Utah.

Several years ago I had the great opportunity of being a Seminary teacher in my home. Because we lived where there were few Latter-Day Saints, the students came to my home at 5:45 AM every school morning. With those 18 kids attending five different high schools, we had to start extra early so they could make it to school on time. Some of my older children attended Early Morning Seminary. It was particularly challenging for them because they are not what you would consider “morning people.” In fact my oldest son was recognized for having the most tardies. While some kids lived 20 minutes away and arrived on time, he was late almost every morning coming from the other side of the house!
Others of my children benefitted from living in Utah and having Released Time Seminary. One daughter met her current husband in a Seminary class. All of my kids loved Seminary. One son would often share lessons from the scriptures that he heard from his teachers. It gave us a reason to discuss gospel principles with our children.

It was a great opportunity to serve as a Seminary teacher.  I had to work hard to prepare for each class. I studied the scriptures and the Church Education materials diligently. We read and discussed scriptures and we had a memorable time together as we tried to apply the scriptures to our lives. I loved and admired those teen-agers.  One young woman didn’t miss a single day in all of her four years.

After a few years when another sister was asked to teach the class, it was a bittersweet release. I was as worn out as were my carpet and upholstery. Though we ended up buying new carpet and new couches for our living room, I have never forgotten those youth who wore out those couches, yet graced my home with their presence and testimony. Through Facebook and other means I have been able to see that they are living good and productive lives and raising their own families well. It is gratifying to see that they have applied some of the lessons they learned. Our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson continues to encourage the youth by saying, ”Young people, I ask you to participate in Seminary. Study your scriptures daily. Listen to your teachers carefully. Apply what you learn prayerfully.“
Another great blessing is that through the Church Education System, seminaries and institutes are available throughout the world. And if you can’t attend in person, you can study online. Check out for more information.

By: Susan Curtis

I’d love to know more about your own Seminary experiences – past or present. Please share them on the BLOG!

How has attendance at Seminary been a benefit to you?

What is a principle you have learned in Seminary that you have applied to your life?

Who has been your favorite Seminary teacher and why?

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