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Going Back to Seminary

Whitney Wallace Denney

My evenings were packed. Did I have time for seminary?

As a junior in high school, I worked away from my family in Washington, D.C., through a program whose schedule dictated that school start at 6:45 a.m. When school ended, work at the capitol continued until 5:30 p.m. at the earliest. Seminary started at 6:00 p.m. and took an hour and a half from my evening. I rarely had time to finish my homework before falling—exhausted—into bed. I didn’t have time, I told myself, to do everything, and I decided seminary was the only thing that could go.

So, I quit seminary. I was confident I would make up the credit somehow and that I would still be able to graduate, and I reasoned to myself that it wouldn’t affect my entrance into the celestial kingdom or cause me to lose my testimony if I didn’t go to seminary for a few months.

Everything seemed fine, except that my grades dropped. My math teacher put me in mandatory study hall for an hour every night for several weeks. After three months without seminary, my friend convinced me to go just one Friday night. I agreed reluctantly. Deep down, I truly did want to go, but I was too embarrassed to walk sheepishly into the classroom after my three-month absence.

However, my whole outlook changed the moment I entered the room. A feeling of peace and contentment flooded over me, wiping away my embarrassment and apprehension. I couldn’t believe that I had let myself remove a constant source of strength and peace from my life, especially at a time when I was away from my family and needed extra strength to stand as a witness of Christ. I wondered how I could have let myself leave the place that made me happy. That night I made a commitment to attend seminary consistently.

I followed through with that commitment, and I was never put in mandatory study hall again. Even though I still struggled with math, my grades came up and stayed up, and I passed with a good grade. I know that Heavenly Father provided a way for me to follow His commandments and that He blessed me so that I could do more in His hands than I could do by myself.

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