By JENNIFER ROBINSON
The main emphasis of this year’s Church Educational System symposium is to make sure that the scriptures are the main focus of seminary classes, said Phillip Boren, director of the seminary teacher training center at BYU.
More than 200,000 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 attend seminary daily for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to CES seminary statistics.
Seminary programs across the world are under the CES.
According to the CES objectives for seminary programs, seminary should “teach students the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the standard works and the words of the prophets.”
“Seminary has helped me think of sacred things every day,” said Laura Swim, a senior at Timpview High School in Orem.
A good seminary experience is up to the student, and whether the student brings the Spirit to class with them, Swim said.
She said getting to know the teachers has been one of the best parts of her experience. However, Swim said she wished more doctrine was covered during class.
Since 1984, the central office of CES has been pushing for the seminary teachers to base teachings on the doctrine in the scriptures, Boren said. He said the CES office is also placing more responsibility on students. Teachers should show students how to study the scriptures, but students must accept the invitation to study, he said.
According to the CES objectives, seminary teachers should teach students by precept and example, and seminary should provide a spiritual and social climate where students can associate together and be prepared for effective LDS Church service.
Amber Augustin, a junior majoring in communications, from Bountiful, Davis County, reflected on her seminary experience.
“I feel seminary was beneficial to me. I think at that time in your life, you struggle with who you are and what is truth. Seminary really teaches values that help you through the rest of your life,” Augustin said.
Of the large number of students who attend seminary, some have release time during regular school hours, while others trek to LDS Church facilities in the wee hours of the morning to learn from the scriptures.