One of the most important choices that our youth can make is to enroll in the seminary program. Whether they choose to attend an early-morning seminary program, a released-time seminary program, or a home-study program, seminary is an inspired program for the youth that will help them to grow closer to their Savior, Jesus Christ.
Seminary is meant to be a daily program. In an early-morning program, students meet for about an hour of spiritual instruction from the scriptures before they attend school. In a released-time program, students meet in a church owned building off of the school campus where schools allow students to be released for one period each day for the seminary program. The home-study program is administered in those areas where it is difficult for students to gather together for instruction. These studies are completed at home, and all the students meet together once a week with an instructor.
In a society where God has essentially been removed from the public school classroom, seminary provides an hour of respite during the day. This hour of instruction helps to provide students with a spiritual feeding during their school day. It helps to provide a spiritual armor as the scriptures are studied and the spirit is felt. It is a time where students can remember who they really are--a child of a loving Heavenly Father.
Seminary teaches the youth our basic beliefs through the scriptures. During a 4 year period of time, students have the opportunity to read through all of the standard works and gain a personal testimony of the word of God. Seminary also helps to build the habit of daily scripture study. Students begin to learn the difference between reading the scriptures and truly studying the words within them.
When I went on a mission for the church, I discovered another reason for regular seminary attendance. Of course I benefited from the instruction I received from the scriptures and I was able to draw upon that while I was a missionary. However, I served in a country that required documentation of formal religious instruction. They wanted to know what qualified me to be a missionary and teach religion. While we know that they Lord will qualify those who serve Him, it was of great benefit to be able to list the years I had successfully completed seminary and institute. Those credits were accepted and I was able to obtain the needed visa to enter that country and preach the gospel during my mission.
If you have a youth who is questioning why they should take seminary, prayerfully guide them to take advantage of this inspired program. President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said: “Without guidance, [a] student may choose another elective instead of seminary, or another course instead of an institute class. That would surely be a mistake. It would be like adding one more brick to the house of knowledge when there is little mortar to hold it all together. … Students, if your values are in place, you will not hesitate to forego an elective class that may decorate your life in favor of instruction which can hold together the very foundation of it. Then, once enrolled, attend, study, and learn. Persuade your friends to do the same. You will never regret it; this I promise you.”