Youth receive diploma in gospel study
Twenty-three young men and women have received diplomas in seminary gospel study at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Apia Samoa Central Stake’s 2020 seminary graduation ceremony.
The graduation ceremony last Sunday was held at the LDS Motootua chapel with the diploma recipients predominantly college students between the ages of 14-18.
The gospel study program strives to arm youth with the word of God, said Apia Samoa Central Stake, President Hans Jason Joseph.
Students rise early each morning for the seminary gospel study and classes before school instruction between 4-5am.
“They are required to study the gospel of Jesus Christ and be prepared to go forth and serve. This is part of their self-development to spiritually equip themselves with the word of God,” Mr Joseph said.
“Because they have to get up at 4 am or 5am in the morning every day to go to seminary for four years. And if you complete four years of study, pass your exams and assessment then you are qualified to receive a diploma.”
The course components of the seminary gospel study include memorising scripture, knowing the doctrines and principles of the gospel and public speaking, added Mr Joseph.
“This includes memorising scriptures and learning how to prepare speeches or talks. [You have to] learn how to speak in public, learn how to teach, learn about doctrines and principles of the gospel.
“Each year they study a set of Scriptures from the Old Testament and Pearl of Great Price, New Testament, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.
“These four holy scriptures are the foundation of learning and beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ.”
Students who complete the four-year program receive a diploma while those who only finish part of it are awarded certificates of completion.
Reiterating the importance of possessing a religious certificate, Mr Joseph emphasised that the document is important for those who plan to work as missionaries.
“Now these Certificates or Diplomas are very important to their service when they are called to be missionaries,” he said in an interview.
“In some parts of the world, you have to hold a religious certificate to endorse your ability and qualification to be a church servant or preacher.
“So a diploma from Seminary is very crucial otherwise, the visa to serve in those specific countries will be denied.
“Even New Zealand and Australia and most parts of the world will only allow a missionary with a religious qualification.”
Mr Joseph added that an important part in a person’s life is growing up in the church and family, and the church continues to provide assistance to parents and families to provide support for their children.
“This will help families and members to improve gospel living day in and day out. We are facing challenges these days, and we see our youth falling into Satan’s traps, we lost many of our youths in general to alcohol, smoking, the night life and dropping out of school,” he reiterated.
“[We have lost youths to] unemployment, imprisonment due to drugs, theft, and other transgressions like fornication.
“The Church is providing resources including Seminary to help parents protect their children from [the] adversary. The Church is doing all it can to help parents and families support their children.”
And while the young people are required to attend the seminary gospel study program, it is a personal choice and they are not forced, according to the L.D.S. Stake President.