by Jenny Hutchins Whitcomb
Once Upon A Time in 1961 a beautiful Simmons College nursing student named Priscilla fell in love and married a handsome young serviceman in the Navy whose name was Kenneth.
Young Kenneth and Priscilla on their honeymoon on Martha’s Vineyard
They only had eyes for each other. Within a few years they had enlarged their little family to include a set of twin girls and a bouncy baby boy.
The young mother, who lost her own mom while still in High School took her responsibility for raising little humans very seriously and went to her minister with some thoughtful questions about the purpose of life. He did not have all the answers she was hoping to find. She decided to start taking her questions to as many churches as she was able, in order to feel equipped to send her babies out into the world when the time came. One day she was having a telephone conversation with a distant cousin about religion. The cousin suggested that Priscilla get in touch with the Mormon missionaries. In a short time, two 19 year old boys, one from California and one from Arizona, knocked on her door. They said they had a message to share with her family about the purpose of life.
You can probably guess how this chapter of the story ends. These young men were not experienced clergymen, but they were able to help Priscilla navigate her way through some meaningful questions that she wanted to be able to answer for her children. These two young elders were both graduates of the seminary program during their high school years.
In a recent seminary kick off meeting, President Todd Miller of the Massachusetts Boston Mission said that seminary is the greatest pre-MTC training experience there is. In seminary, students make connections between learning gospel doctrines for themselves, and then teaching it to others. Seminary helps today’s youth experience deep conversion–and gospel learners become consecrated disciples of Jesus Christ. Whether your future plans include a full time mission or just being able to answer some of life’s most meaningful questions, seminary is a game changer. And, like in the story of Priscilla and Kenneth, it just may be the toolbox to help you be the game changer in the lives of someone else searching for answers.
My name is Jenny, and I am one of the twin girls of Kenneth and Priscilla. I grew up with a mother who encouraged us to ask questions and seek answers. When I was a teenager, both of my parents had the chance to serve as an early morning seminary teacher in our home. I’d be lying if I said I loved getting up early to study the gospel, but the truth is that what I loved was feeling the spirit with a group of other teenagers in surrounding towns, and learning how to defend my beliefs in an area of the country where LDS teens were a rare breed.
Now I am teaching early morning seminary in my home in central Massachusetts to a group of six teenagers from four different towns in my area. They are talking about their brothers and cousins on missions, and eventually serving missions themselves. We know that seminary isn’t easy, but it’s a safe place to ask questions and find answers. I am so so grateful for those missionaries who were able to provide answers for my parents when I was a small child. I was raised under the protective influence of the Holy Ghost, and went on to serve a mission of my own after which Priscilla and Kenneth went on to serve missions. My mother, through her example, has never let me forget that the gospel is the greatest gift she has ever received.
Kenneth and Priscilla today