Illustration by Michael Mullan
When I was in junior high, my parents got divorced. Because of that, there was a lot of tension in my family, and my two oldest siblings moved away. My other brother was struggling a lot and often had trouble with the law, so it was usually just me and my younger siblings at home with my mom. During this time, I couldn’t help but sense that my family didn’t feel whole. We slowly stopped praying together, and we didn’t have family home evenings anymore. I felt lonely, and not just at home—at school I felt like I couldn’t fit in and didn’t have any friends.
When I got to high school, I started seminary. I immediately felt a difference. Seminary felt like a home with a family in it—my new source of spiritual strength.
In seminary, I learned how to study the scriptures and understand their teachings, which helped me to go home and teach my family about the gospel more clearly. I also learned the importance of prayer and was able to bring my family together to have family prayer. After a while, my experiences in seminary even gave me the courage to help out with family home evenings again. It had a great impact on us and made our spirits stronger. We felt like a family again.
Because of seminary, I made more friends. We would read scriptures in groups or participate in activities that encouraged me to talk to everyone. Seminary felt like the place where I could be myself and still fit in, because we were all coming closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Seminary helped me grow closer to my Heavenly Father. When I had bad days, I could remember that I have a Father in Heaven who hears me and loves me, and my bad days could turn into great days.
One day, I was facing a hard trial at home. It seemed like everything was going wrong. My brother had been going in and out of juvenile detention centers, and we were struggling financially. I felt useless because I couldn’t help. That day in seminary we read Alma 37:36: “Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.”
As we discussed that scripture in class, I was filled with comfort and peace, because I knew that the Lord would always be there and that Christ would be willing to take upon Himself my burdens and support me in all my righteous doings.
I am so grateful for the influence of seminary in my life. It enabled me to be spiritually strengthened and to bring that strength home to my family, and it brought great joy into my life.