Liahona, New Era Special Sections Offer Helps for Seminary Teachers, Students
By Heather Whittle Wrigley, Church News and Events
A typical day for Nick Prince begins at 5:30 a.m., when he wakes up, having prepared the night before to teach high school-age students from the Champaign-Urbana area of Illinois, USA, who attend early-morning seminary five days a week.
“There is a part of me that loves teaching seminary and a part of me that dreads getting up that early to teach it,” he says. Following an hour of instructing six to eight students, Brother Prince spends his days and several evenings pursuing his studies as a PhD student at the University of Illinois.
At the end of the day, the process begins all over again, in preparation for the following day’s lesson. Brother Prince teaches twice a week, sharing the responsibility of teaching the class with another local member.
Seminary teachers rely almost exclusively on the scriptures and the teacher’s manual for that year’s course of study.
The April 2012 issues of the Liahona and New Era, however, offer additional help—they include special sections on seminary, intended to help strengthen students in their commitment to attend and complete seminary and in their understanding of the blessings associated with attending seminary.
A letter from the Church Seminaries and Institutes of Religion encourages leaders to read the issue and use the articles about seminary “to motivate parents and students in seminary enrollment.”
Below is a list of items in the April 2012 Liahona and New Era related to seminary:
- Line upon Line: “2 Timothy 3:16–17”: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…”
- Poster: “Get into the Scriptures”: 1 Nephi 19:23
- Questions & Answers: Why do youth need to go to seminary if they can just study the scriptures on their own?
- “Seminary in the Jungles of Ecuador”: In a branch made up primarily of new converts, youth are finding gospel strength through seminary.
- “The Blessings of Seminary”: Throughout the world, hundreds of thousands of youth are going to seminary and loving it.
- “What Comes after Seminary?”: Once a student graduates from seminary, could there be anything else as great? Try institute!
- “Why Seminary?”: Modern-day prophets share the promised blessings that come through participation in seminary.
Today, seminary programs exist in 134 countries and territories worldwide, with some 370,000 students enrolled.
In areas with a large concentration of Church members, students attend released-time seminary—where students take seminary classes during their school day. Released-time seminary teachers are hired employees of the Church Educational System.
Other areas utilize the early-morning or home-study seminary programs, which are administered by members who volunteer their time as part of their calling.
Seminary teachers throughout the Church face similar challenges. “The first challenge is to help [the students] to understand that you care about them as individuals,” Brother Prince says. “After that, I think that one of the challenges that any teacher has is to help their pupils to see themselves as God sees them and as they truly are, as opposed to what the world has taught them to see themselves as.”
Regardless of whether they attend released-time, early-morning, or home-study seminary, students have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the scriptures and a greater knowledge of the gospel.
Seminary instructors, meanwhile, devote much time and effort to preparation and teaching and hope that the lessons students study over four years bring them closer to God.
“As a seminary teacher I have the opportunity to help these students to build their testimonies before they go out into the world to stand on their own,” Brother Prince says. “I am humbled by the responsibility and trust that has been placed before me, but I am also grateful for this responsibility. There is not a seminary teacher out there who does not have the opportunity to touch the lives of their students for good. The seminary program really is God's way of strengthening the youth of the Church and preparing them to face the world.”
Audio and/or text versions of the April 2012 Liahona are available at lds.org/liahona in 41 languages. Find the New Era issue online at LDS.org/new-era. Extra copies of the issue are available in 48 languages through the Online Store, distribution centers, or local priesthood leaders (item number 10484).