I’ve had a few people ask me why I found early morning Seminary to be such a positive thing. When I first found out about the program, and particularly the fact that I would be attending “Early Morning Seminary” (that meant I had to wake up at 5 AM and be there by 6 AM) I was a little hesitant. Come on, who wouldn’t be? A Freshman in High School and he’s starting his first day with an early morning wake up call. Not even the first day alone, but for the rest of his High School career; Seminary is a four year program! What in the world is so appealing about that? Let me explain. A simple definition of the purpose of Seminary is to help young students fulfill a role in gospel learning. It is designed to help strengthen understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and apply its teachings in daily life through a study of the scriptures.
I started attending early morning seminary in 2009 at the beginning of my Freshman year as I had mentioned above. We began with the Book of Mormon and the subsequent years of High School we read from the Doctrine and Covenants, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. The cycle continues every four years. The study of each book of doctrine allowed me to have broader sense of the stories and teachings that are connected between all four.
As I continued to go through the scriptures I really did begin to understand more about what I believed. The reason why this was important to me was because while I’ve been a missionary a lot of people have asked me, “Were you raised a Mormon or converted later in life?” I was raised a Mormon with both my parents already active members, but to me the question really only has one available answer. I am a convert even though I was raised in the faith, and the time I spent during Seminary I fell helped me in my conversion. It helped me to determine if what I was learning made sense to me and if I wanted to be fully engaged in it.
A follow up question that is often asked when I give the response of being raised in the Church is, “Have you ever fallen away?” Yes. I have, but maybe not in the more common way. I confess that I wasn’t the most faithful member of the Church during my younger days (I’m only twenty, I’m talking about the early teens). There were times when I didn’t want to go to Seminary, Church, my Youth Activities, read my scriptures, or even pray. But I quickly began to realize that when I didn’t have God and His teachings being a more involved part of my life I was missing something. I feel that I rebounded back quicker than I would have if I allowed myself to slip more.
I love this quote about Seminary and what it can do for a young teen.
“…You have the chance to be involved in seminary, whether in the early morning or in released-time classes, take advantage of that opportunity. Many of you are attending seminary now. As with anything in life, much of what you take from your seminary experience depends on your attitude and your willingness to be taught. May your attitude be one of humility and a desire to learn. How grateful I am for the opportunity I had as a teenager to attend early-morning seminary, for it played a vital role in my development and the development of my testimony. Seminary can change lives.” -Thomas S. Monson
Truthfully, it was all worth it, but you only “get as much as you put into it”. If anyone has the opportunity to attend a Seminary class during their High School years, Take it! It will change your life! And even if you are in college or later on you can try out the Institute program, it’s basically Seminary but for adults. Before I sign off on this post, did you know that Elvis went to an early morning Seminary class? Crazy right?! I didn’t believe it at first but as I began to read on it sounded plausible. I’ve attached a link to the article below.