May 18, 2015

    New Cornerstone Courses Offered in Institute

    Teacher and students

    Four new courses have been approved to be offered beginning in 2015 and 2016.

    These courses focus on the Savior, His doctrine, the eternal family, and significant events in Church history. They are centered in the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets and will be taught using blocks of scripture, in context, from across the standard works.

    The new courses are:

    Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel

    A study of the roles, ministry, and teachings of Jesus Christ, the doctrine of His Atonement, and Heavenly Father’s everlasting plan for His children.

    The Teachings and Doctrine of the Book of Mormon

    A study of the doctrine taught in the prophetic writings, sermons, and themes of the Book of Mormon, with emphasis on Heavenly Father’s plan and the central role of His Son, Jesus Christ.

    Foundations of the Restoration

    A study of foundational revelations, doctrine, historical events, and people relevant to the unfolding Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ as found in the standard works, the teachings of modern prophets, and Church history.

    The Eternal Family

    A study of the central role of the family in the plan of salvation as taught in the scriptures and the words of modern prophets—particularly “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

    For additional information on these courses, visit education.lds.org.

    Members of the various Brigham Young University (BYU) religion departments and the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion (S&I) curriculum division have worked together—and will continue to work together—to develop and refine these courses.

    Why Are We Making These Changes?

    • Many young adults have studied the scriptures on their own, with their families, at church, in seminary and other religious education courses, and on their missions. The new required courses will ask students to study the scriptures in ways that build on previous sequential and topical study experiences. These courses will deepen students’ understanding of the gospel, increase their capacity to study the scriptures in context, and strengthen their gospel scholarship and personal discipleship (see David A. Bednar, “A Reservoir of Living Water” [Church Educational System fireside, Feb. 4, 2007], speeches.byu.edu).

    • These required courses will provide an opportunity for every student to study foundational teachings of the standard works, key doctrine and principles of the everlasting gospel, and significant events in Church history.

    • Each of the standard works of the Church uniquely testifies of Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and Their teachings. As individuals study all of the standard works, these separate testimonies are woven together into a single powerful witness upon which they can build a sure foundation of faith in the Savior and commitment to the restored gospel. We want to help students tap into the power of that combined witness “unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace . . . and bringing [God’s children] . . . to the knowledge of [His] covenants” (2 Nephi 3:12). To achieve this purpose, the new courses will draw from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the teachings of latter-day prophets. (See Ezekiel 37:15–17Luke 24:273 Nephi 23:14. See also Boyd K. Packer, “Scriptures,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53; Boyd K. Packer, “The Pattern of Our Parentage,” Ensign, Nov. 1984, 66–69.)

    • These courses will assist students in applying gospel principles in ways that are relevant to their current circumstances. They will allow students to thoughtfully study, discuss, and evaluate questions and issues in the light of the scriptures and the teachings of modern prophets.

    • As students realize the value and benefit of these new courses, more students throughout the Church will enroll and participate in all of our classes and be blessed by their religious education experiences.

    What Do These Changes Mean for Institute of Religion Students?

    • These courses will build on the foundation of students’ previous seminary, church, mission, family, and personal study experiences.

    • As students study doctrine and themes across the standard works, they will elevate their gospel scholarship and see these truths woven together into a grand tapestry of testimony. Students will feel a deeper love for the Savior and the restored gospel. They will develop a greater appreciation and a renewed enthusiasm for studying the scriptures.

    • These courses will assist students in applying gospel principles in ways that are relevant to their current circumstances.

    • Students will be assisted in their search for truth and will be strengthened in their ability to find, understand, and articulate answers regarding the Church’s doctrine, history, and position on various moral and social issues. These courses, coupled with prayer and righteous living, will anchor students’ efforts in the standard works and the words of modern prophets.

    • As students deepen their knowledge of the scriptures and feel the witness of the Spirit, they will feel encouraged to invite their friends to attend classes with them.

    • Students will be blessed as they choose to work toward graduation from institute. Graduation will continue to require fourteen credits. These new “cornerstone courses” will constitute the eight required credits, and the remaining six elective credits will be drawn from other institute courses. These requirements are consistent across the institutions of the Church Educational System.

    • These new courses will be required for graduation for all incoming students. Although continuing students may graduate by fulfilling existing requirements, they should be encouraged to take the new classes to obtain any remaining credits.

    • Students who have already graduated should consider taking these classes as they continue their gospel study.

    • All current scripture courses along with other institute classes will continue to be offered.

    • Students can find more information about the new courses at education.lds.org and facebook.com/LDSInstitute.

    What Do These Changes Mean for Institute Teachers?

    • The fundamentals of teaching and learning associated with sequential scripture teaching are essential to effectively teach these courses.

    • We anticipate that more students will be drawn to take these new courses. Please work with priesthood leaders to invite each young adult to participate.

    • Two courses will be available to teach later in 2015: “Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel” and “Foundations of the Restoration.” The two remaining courses will become available early in 2016. Teaching materials will be provided as soon as they are available. Course teaching material will be delivered digitally in approved languages.

    • Feedback is welcomed as the courses are refined and improved.