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Hi Gramps,
My 15 year old son announced today that he does not want to go to seminary tomorrow. He is struggling with some doctrinal issues regarding plural marriage and one other one that I was able to help him resolve in his mind. If you were his dad, would you require him to attend seminary? What if he emotionally and loudly objected, saying he wanted to skip until he was ready to return. I know he is upset with his seminary teacher, thinks she doesn’t want to talk to him and can’t answer his questions. This is a very good young man, very active in his quorum, great student, and very intelligent and beyond his years in most areas. My inclination is to just give him some space – a day or two to see if this will blow over rather than make a big issue of it. What do you think?
Mom

 

Dear Mom,
I’m sorry that I could not answer this within the day or two about which you asked, so I guess that we will have to deal with generalities. I’m of the opinion that doctrinal issues have nothing to do with your boy’s not wanting to go to seminary. If he were concerned about doctrine, seminary would be the place to get it all sorted out. Now, he certainly could be upset with his teacher, but if everyone who gets upset with their teacher is allowed to leave school, there wouldn’t be very many attending. I think that perhaps the first thing to do is to get down to the real issues. Try to find out what his concerns really are and deal with those. Next, I don’t think that I would require him to attend seminary, but who is running this house, anyway, the kids or the parents? Children at home are legally under the direction of their parents. The parents command and the children respond. But as I mentioned, force is never a good solution, and almost always produces a negative rebound effect. So give your boy his choice of alternatives– one alternative would be to go to seminary, another alternative would be to read and study the scriptures for three hours each day that he didn’t attend seminary. That way he would be getting the needed religious instruction. Why three hours at home rather than one hour in seminary? Because that is the efficiency ratio between a 15-year-old boy studying by himself and studying in classroom setting with a competent teacher and other students.
Gramps

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