The LDS Church Seminary and Institute programs are great mission preparation services that all future missionaries should take advantage of. This is what our former prophet, President Spencer W. Kimball said about seminary and institute and how they aid in missionary preparation.
“Young men having planned for 19 years to fill a mission will be more fruitful, more effective, and more successful when they serve and more people will come into the Church and will create more enthusiasm and there will be a chain reaction….Can you imagine what would happen to the seminary and institute programs with so many wonderful young men who have been planning for missions from birth until seminary days? Seminary and institute buildings would be crowded with a new kind of maturity and seriousness that would give the Church a new image. The morality of the youth would greatly increase. They would be taught cleanliness and righteousness in a way that they have never been taught before…I wish every boy and girl could go to seminary, because that is where they learn many of the truths of the gospel. Seminary is where many of them get their ideals settled in their minds about what they are going to do, and they go on missions.” (President Kimball Speaks Out on Being a Missionary, New Era, May 1981, 46)
Testimonies of Seminary and Institute
The January 2009 Ensign article called Nourishing the Soul through Institute as has some great testimonies of mission preparation aided by seminary and institute.
José Araujo, said “Among the many blessings I have received by attending institute are improved family relationships and an increased interest in the scriptures. It has also increased my testimony. Before attending institute, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to serve a mission. Now I know that serving a mission is what I need to do.” (“Strengthening My Testimony,” Ensign, Jan. 2009, 54)
Malinda Morrison said, “My love for institute started back in seminary. I joined the Church at age 14, and I had a thirst for knowledge. I enjoyed learning about the gospel and loved the admirable friends and teachers I met along the way…Just as seminary enriched my life when I was a teenager, institute has enriched my life during my young adult years. I have treasured up the words of Christ in my heart and in my mind (see D&C 6:20; 84:85). These teachings helped me serve the Lord more effectively as a missionary. I am grateful for institute and know that it is an inspired program because I have seen its blessings in my life.” (“Showing Faith,” Ensign, Jan. 2009, 55–56)
President Thomas S. Monson has said the following regarding institute, but I believe it applies to seminary as well:
“I ask you to make participation in institute a priority. Married students and other young adults are also welcome and encouraged to attend. Think of it. Friends will be made, the Spirit will be felt, and faith will be strengthened. I promise you that as you participate in institute and study the scriptures diligently, your power to avoid temptation and to receive direction of the Holy Ghost in all you do will be increased. Divine favor will attend those who humbly seek it. That is a promise which I leave with you.” (April 21, 2009).
And Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave this prophetic promise: “Don’t neglect the opportunity of attending seminary and institute classes. Participate and gain all you can from the scriptures taught in these great religious-education settings. They will prepare you to present the message of the restored gospel to those you have opportunity to meet.” (“Raising the Bar,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 48.)
How Do I Find an Institute Program Near Me?
Visit the Institutes of Religion site for information about any of the more than 500 institute locations worldwide. In many cases, you can register for classes online. If you don’t have Internet access, ask your bishop or branch president for a list of institute locations.
Here are a couple of videos I found on the LDS Institute program and the blessings, promised by a prophet, if we attend.