Three years ago, when I was in 9th grade, a tragedy happened at my junior high school. A boy my age took his life. The following day was full of grief. The mood of the entire school was shock and sorrow. I remember feeling confused, lost and angry. We would attend each class only to be surrounded by counselors and therapists who were doing their best to help.
I appreciated their efforts, however I didn’t feel like they did much. I felt dark inside and asking me questions, trying to get me to vent wasn’t making me feel any better. I would walk from class to class with my head down, head phones in, and trying to compose myself as the tears streamed down my face. I wanted to shut everyone out. My heart hurt, and after class after class of counselors and dissatisfaction, I was convinced nobody could help me.
That is until I stepped inside the seminary building that day. I walked in to see kids flooding the building. Members of my faith and non-members alike. In each room and even sitting in the hallway. I walked in expecting it to be loud and noisy considering how many kids were there, but it was the exact opposite. Soft music was playing, some people sat and talked quietly, but for the most part everyone just sat there thinking. I walked into my teacher’s room and sat down on the floor in the corner because it was the only empty seat.
My teacher, Brother Harris, got up to share a short lesson. I put my head in between my knees and he began. I can’t remember everything he said that day, but he testified of the atonement. He explained that through the atonement we could all be healed from this horrifying event.
He told us that we didn’t have to sin to be able to use the atonement, but that it could heal us from anything that we were going through.
He spoke with power and love, and he broke down the walls I had built up that day. I remember looking up and seeing him bare witness that Jesus Christ was real. That He knew me and knew what I was going through. That He understood.
Peace immediately filled my soul. His words inspired me to take full advantage of the atonement as the Savior has completely healed me from that experience three years later.
As I look back on it, wouldn’t you think a trained professional would have been able to help me? Someone who has specifically trained to help grieving teenagers?
In John 14:27 it reads, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
It was the Spirit through an inspired seminary teacher that gave me hope. That changed my whole life around that day. He gave me a new perspective, stronger faith, and a desire to lean on my Savior to lift me up.
Not only did seminary give me strength when I felt I had hit rock bottom, it gives me hope each time I attend. I am able to escape from the world and the adversary. High school isn’t easy. You are surrounded by temptation. It is that hour and a half every other day that gets me through high school!
I like to think of high school as the great and spacious building Lehi describes in his vision in the Book of Mormon. Full of noise and distraction and sin. The faith strengthening knowledge that comes from seminary is the tree of life. And attending seminary is the iron rod.
Seminary is a place of peace. Peace from trials. Peace from the world. Peace from life. It is a safe haven where we can change our lives. It has made all the difference in my life.
I testify that seminary can produce miracles in your life no matter what you’re going through. I notice that when I come ready to be inspired by the Spirit, I am.
I would invite you, if you are not taking attending seminary, enroll next semester. And if you already are, set some goals to be spiritually enriched.