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  • Writer's pictureMesquite Nevada Stakes

Mesquite Stake Seminary Graduation by Cheryl Jensen

Mesquite Nevada Stake Seminary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held their graduation on Sunday evening, May 22. Forty seniors graduated having attended class 5 days a week for their four years of high school studying scriptures each year-Old Testament, New Testament, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. They each received a diploma and a framed picture of Jesus Christ.

Jocelyn Spilker, seminary graduate, spoke about the good habits she learned of daily scripture study. She found a place of safety in going to seminary and reaching out to other classmates.

Lydia Wakefield told her favorite scripture stories – she told of the courage of Mary Elizabeth and Caroline Rollins, two young sisters, who saved the pages of the book of Doctrine and Covenants when a mob was destroying the printing press and papers in Missouri in 1831. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were courageous young men who defied the king of Babylon and would not worship false gods. She said, “The greatest miracle is “I am, you are and we are” meaning we are God’s greatest creation and we can receive miracles - great and small if we look to Jesus Christ for help.”

Cameron Perkins, seminary council president, thanked his parents and older brothers who got him excited about going to seminary. He quoted Pres. Russell M. Nelson who said, “You are free to choose faith.” Perkins continued, “What you look for is what you find. Go with a positive attitude and discipline yourself to form good daily habits. The spiritual momentum you gain will help you move forward. The real test is now that we don’t have daily class, will we continue to open our scripture?”

Nathan Porter, seminary teacher and principal, spoke about the term in sports of personal PR – personal record. He asked the students to make a PR - personal record for scripture study. He said you are not in competition with your friends about who can read the most chapters a day. He explained the word have means to possess or own or hold. The word make means to form or combine. “There is a difference between have time and make time - Some say they don’t have time, but everyone has been given 24 hours a day. We must make time. Making time implies a willingness to sacrifice,” he said. “Make time for a gospel PR for prayer, service and scripture study - in other words, make time for Jesus Christ. God is eagerly waiting to answer your prayers – just go pray! “ He asked the students to “give the Lord His portion of their time for He has given us 24 hours each day.” He challenged the students to keep looking to the future and their dreams and said, “Trust in the Lord and God will help you fulfill your dream in His time.”

Pres. David J. Anderson, told the story of the how our stake got a seminary building that opened for classes in 1995 across the street from the Virgin Valley High School making it accessible for the high school students to be able to cross the street and attend seminary classes each day of the school year. When the new high school was built, the students met for class in his double wide garage which had been converted into a classroom, but when the enrollment increased to more than 80 students, more room was needed for classes. He requested a seminary building be built on property the LDS church owned but his request was denied on the grounds that they did not build separate seminary buildings. The seminary department suggested he ask the city of Mesquite if a double wide trailer could be installed on the lot and used for seminary – the city said, “No” and he was glad.

Pres. Elwin Whipple, Mesquite Nevada Stake president, suggested Pres. Anderson write to the priesthood department of the church and request a seminary building and the request was ultimately given to Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley. Pres. Hinckley had heard about the people in Mesquite and surrounding areas who had picketed the pron shop 24 hours a day, seven days a week for thirty-six months straight through summer heat and cold winter winds. He said those parents are concerned about their children and if they are that dedicated, they need seminary building! He approved the plan for a building just for seminary and had an architect start working on the project. Pres. Anderson looked at seminary buildings in the St. George area, chose the design he liked and working with the architect, it was submitted but the plans read French Provincial. The plans were rejected saying they did not build French Provincial buildings. Speaking with the architect, the plans were changed to read southwest architecture and then the plans were approved by the building department of the church. The seminary building was completed and dedicated by Ben B. Banks, a seventy. In the audience were some parents of the graduates who remembered attending seminary in the “garage” and then being welcomed into a beautiful building of their own.

Pres. Anderson told the students that it was their parents and grandparents who sacrificed their time to provide a good moral environment for the rising generation. Pres. Anderson continued, “There are somethings worth sacrificing for and someday you will be asked to stand for truth and righteousness. Will you be willing to pay the price to defend Jesus Christ and his message and His atoning sacrifice?”

Those graduating are: Emily Anderson, Ada Avila, Calla Haviland, Hana Iverson, Hunter Levitt, Savannah Poole, Kyler Sudweeks, Cole Wilson, Kade Wilson, Adalee Anderson, Riley Averett, Clayton Hollingshead, Benson Leavitt, Abby Sonnenberg, Elizabeth Garlick, Alleia Atkinson, Samuel Atkinson, Caydn Clem, Olivia Tobler, Javen Laub, Jennifer Mitchell, Malia McOmie, Vncento Piazza, Joseph Kazek, Madison Marshall, Lindsey Mickelson, Cameron Perkins, Zachary Thornton, Cheyann Hafen, Emma Hughes, Leieste Macias, Laila Ponce, Jocelyn Spilker, Lydia Wakefield, Allie Law, Elsa Whipple, Kelly Denninghoff, Luke Wahl, Shaynie Abbott, and Mackenzie Wheeler.

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