“We are not trying to drive anybody away, and so we will still recognize students for coming and participating,” Brother Davis said. “Our goal as teachers is that we don’t lose a single student because of our lack of action or our interest or our welcome.”
Just as before, students who would like to make up missed assignments for completion will be able to do so this year with the additional requirements. Because each student is different — including some with varying challenges and circumstances — accommodations may be necessary to help some students meet expectations.
“We are going to work with them, as we always have to make it work, to be able to help them finish reading, retake those assessments and to do what they need to do to academically qualify.”
Church leaders and Church Educational System instructors hope that as students increase their efforts to fulfill the new requirements, they will be more prepared to stay strong in the gospel and to be able to share what they know — whether it be on a mission, as they head to college, join the work force or as they marry and start a family.
Graduating from seminary should signify that students have participated in a meaningful process toward understanding and relying on the teachings and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualifying for the blessings of the temple and preparing themselves, their families and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven.
“I am thrilled with the new seminary graduation requirements, which will require more from our students in the way of reading, effort and learning,” said Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, during a broadcast for seminary and institute instructors on Aug. 5. “We often refer to the scripture that ‘where much is given, much is required.’ I believe that a close corollary to this is that ‘where much is required, much more will be given.’
“In other words, if we expect more of our youth, they will step up to the challenge, and I do believe that we need to require more of them. We need to step up our teaching so that our youth do more on their own to understand the doctrines of Christ and the reality of the Restoration, and we need to find a way to motivate them to write these things on the ‘tablets of their hearts.’ ”