Welcome to a brand new year of seminary and institute!
2012 marks the 100th year of seminary in the Church and this year we will be studying the New Testament. What a perfect time to learn about the Life and Teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself has extended to us the invitation to learn of Him:
“…learn of me…and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt. 11:29)
“Search the scriptures…” (John 5:39)
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matt. 7:7)
“… learn to maintain good works …” (Titus 3:14)
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience …” (Heb. 5:8)
Have you ever thought about that? Even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had things to learn in order to be capable to do all that His Father had prepared for Him.
Our Heavenly Father also wants you to have the opportunity to learn so that you can accomplish the great work He has in store for you. Isn’t that wonderful? Did you know that God started your religious education in a setting similar to seminary and institute long before you were even born?
President Joseph F. Smith had a vision into the world of spirits and among the wonderful things he saw were many of the prophets “and other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fulness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work, including the building of the temples and the performance of ordinances therein for the redemption of the dead….Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.” (D&C 138:53-54,56, emphasis added)
Isn’t that amazing? How does it make you feel to know that you were taught and prepared to do a great work before you were even born?
Ready to receive more of His teachings
In seminary and institute this year, you will continue to gather and to learn the great truths of God that will help prepare you to accomplish the great work God has called you to do. But you will not be alone in that challenge.
Look at what else God has done for you:
“…I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” (D&C 84:88)
“I will go before you and be your rearward; and I will be in your midst, and you shall not be confounded.” (D&C 49:27)
Don’t you see, you can’t fail? God is with you. Now, He also expects you to do your part by preparing and learning all that you can. Our living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, has extended to you a personal invitation to attend seminary:
“I remember my own seminary experience. Seminary for me was held at an early hour in a little house across the street from my high school. I thought, if my teacher can get up that early, I can get up that early.
“Seminary will help you to understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ. You will feel the Spirit of the Lord as you learn to love the scriptures. You will prepare yourselves for the temple and for missionary service.
“Young people, I ask you to participate in seminary. Study your scriptures daily. Listen to your teachers carefully. Apply what you learn prayerfully.” (http://seminary.lds.org/participate/ )
The invitation from the Prophet
President Monson has also extended a similar invitation to young adults to attend institute:
“If you are a single college student, I ask you to make participation in institute a priority. Married students and other young adults are also welcome and encouraged to attend. Think of it. Friends will be made, the Spirit will be felt, and faith will be strengthened. I promise you that as you participate in institute and study the scriptures diligently, your power to avoid temptation and to receive direction of the Holy Ghost in all you do will be increased. Divine favor will attend those who humbly seek it. That is a promise which I leave with you." (http://institute.lds.org/quotes/ )
I am very excited for this new year to begin. I love to learn! And I hope you will be excited to begin your seminary or institute class this year and learn of the wonderful things the Lord has prepared for you. I also hope you will realize that if you make the sacrifice to participate and do your best in seminary or institute, the Lord will bless you and help you succeed with your dreams for the future.
Here is one of my favorite scriptures that has always been a guide for me and assisted me to learn all that I can in order to fulfill the destiny the Lord has prepared for me. I hope and pray it will guide and bless you in your journey as well:
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels….The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:5,7)