Answers to Seminary Changes Questions

    President Russell M. Nelson’s prophetic emphasis on home-centered, Church-supported gospel learning and the role of youth in the work of the Lord has accelerated necessary changes to seminary.

    This page provides a central location for you to explore the changes. Please bookmark this location and visit it often to stay informed about the latest updates.

    Click on one of the following topics to jump to the related section on this page or use your browser’s search feature (Ctl+F or Cmd+F) to find the subject that interests you.

    1. Purpose of the Changes to Seminary

    Why are these changes happening now?

    As Elder Kim B. Clark explained, “I think it’s because the prophet of the Lord stood up in general conference and said, ‘We need home-centered, Church-supported gospel instruction. In fact, we need home-centered church. And because he said that, it changed everything.”

    As part of the ongoing restoration, these changes further support the prophetic emphasis on home-centered gospel learning and the role of youth in the work of the Lord.  Making these changes will enhance the home-centered, Church-supported approach to gospel study through a unified study at home, Sunday School and seminary. This unified approach can help students as they seek to increase their love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and deepen their conversion to the restored gospel.

    How can seminary support home-centered gospel learning?

    The objective of seminary is to help youth come unto Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple and prepare themselves, their families and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven. This simplified and unified approach will allow seminary students to gain additional insight and strength as they study the doctrine and principles as found in the scriptures. These students will then be able to further strengthen their family and their own testimony as they explain, share and testify of these truths at home.

    President Russell M. Nelson said, “Today my message is to you who are of seminary and institute age. What will help you become a devout disciple of Jesus Christ?  One answer is seminary and institute—not just attending but actively participating in class and faithfully following through with any assignments given. Seminary and institute can help you with your gospel learning and living. One of the deep desires of my heart is for you to receive all that the Lord is ready to reveal to you. Seminary and institute will help you. Graduating from seminary and institute will increase your ability to excel in the most important things you will ever do in life” (Russell M. Nelson, “A Personal Invitation to Participate in Seminary and Institute,” Feb. 4, 2019).

    What blessings will this alignment bring?

    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated that from the home-centered, Church-supported idea, it expects members to have something happen in the home and in their lives throughout the week. Elder Holland believes that this will happen for seminary students more than any other member.

    Elder Kim B. Clark explained that by simplifying studying, students will now be able to dive deeper into the doctrine, allow for deep learning to take place and grow closer to Jesus Christ. Elder Clark later explained that in the new curriculum, the goal will not be to cover an entire lesson but to dive deep into topics to help students learn, apply and become.

    Sister Bonnie H. Cordon stated that another blessing will come as students continue to learn of Christ, and as they are testifying of Christ in seminary, power will come to them and they will bring that power into their homes. They will get a chance to testify to their families of the doctrine they’re learning and will become more like Christ as they share that with their family.

    2. Seminary Curriculum and Come, Follow Me

    How will seminary curriculum align with Come, Follow Me?   

    Seminary students will now study the same book of scripture in seminary that the rest of the Church is studying on Sundays and throughout the week. However, seminary will continue to use its own curriculum and pacing schedule which will not align exactly with the scripture blocks outlined in Come, Follow Me.

    When will these changes officially take place?  

    Beginning in January 2020, seminary students will begin to study the Book of Mormon in seminary classes, aligning with Come, Follow Me.  To assist in the transition from the current course of study, curriculum schedules for seminary classes have been adjusted so that, beginning in June 2019, the four Gospels of the New Testament will be taught through the remainder of the calendar year. 

    Will seminary curriculum follow an academic calendar or a 12-month calendar? 

    Every January seminary students will begin their study of the book of scripture that coincides with Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families. The seminary curriculum will still align with the academic calendar.     

    When will students begin their first year of seminary?  

    The timing of when youth begin attending seminary will not change. Students will start attending seminary at the beginning of ninth grade or the equivalent.

    3. Accessing and Printing Seminary Materials for 2020

    Where can I find Book of Mormon materials for 2020?

    Course materials are available on the web (HTML) and as PDFs. They can also be found in the Gospel Library app

    Be aware that church websites are undergoing significant changes during 2020 and 2021, If you are unable to locate materials, please provide feedback on the website. Please contact your coordinator for PDF versions.

    How can I get printed copies of Book of Mormon materials?

    All languages can be printed locally from the PDF download found on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. If PDF files cannot be found and you are a teacher, please contact your coordinator. If you are a coordinator, please contact your Area Director.

    Outside of North America the Materials Management Department (MMD) representative can assist in printing. It is recommended that you print black & white to reduce costs.

    Another option to obtain printed copies in English and Spanish is to order from BYU Print & Mail.

    The cost of printed materials should come from the local coordinator’s budget. Teachers are not required to pay for materials themselves.

    4. Seminary Curriculum Change in 2022

    What changes will we see in the new seminary curriculum beginning in 2022?

    Until January 2022, teachers will use the existing seminary curriculum available on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. New curriculum will then be used beginning January 2022. Lessons will have a greater focus on the Savior Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. They will continue to use the fundamentals of gospel teaching and learning and will continue to include Doctrinal Mastery. The new curriculum will facilitate deeper learning experiences for the students. Training on the new curriculum will be provided ahead of 2022.

    5. Course Credit and Graduation Requirements

    What are the requirements for course credit?

    Course credit is earned when students complete a semester of seminary by attending at least 75% of the class sessions and completing a semester assessment with a minimum passing grade of 75%.

    Since reading is now associated with requirements for graduation rather than individual course credit, students who did not complete reading requirements for courses taken prior to June 2019 will earn credit for those courses if the attendance and assessment requirements were met.

    What are Certificates of Recognition?

    Certificates of Recognition replace Certificates of Completion and can be awarded to students for earning course credit.

    Depending on the needs of stakes, local seminary program administrators, in consultation with stake leaders, will determine if certificates of recognition are printed and awarded. Release-time and stake programs will have the option to print and distribute certificates of recognition each semester or at the end ofevery year. Local seminary programs in consultation with stake leaders can determine if certificates of recognition will be distributed at seminary graduation, in seminary classes near the end of the year or semester or by some other means. These will be available in early 2020.

    Are grades still given in seminary?

    Grades are no longer given in seminary.

    What are the graduation requirements for seminary?

    Beginning in the 2019–20 school year, students wanting to graduate at the end of four years of seminary must complete the following:

    1. Eight semesters of seminary courses with at least 75% attendance.
    2. Read the complete standard works during their years in seminary.
    3. An assessment for each semester of seminary.
    4. Verification of worthiness by their ecclesiastical leader.

    Teachers, students and parents can track these graduation requirements in WISE, mySeminary, and the Seminary and Institute App.

    Will there be any changes in WISE, Canvas or other software tools used for seminary students?

    Yes, there will be changes to these applications. Every attempt will be made to make these changes as seamless as possible. Look for upcoming training meetings and materials.

    6. Learning Assessments and Make-up Work

    What do I need to know for Learning Assessments (2019–2021)?

    1. Seminary teachers will use the current learning assessments for each course until January 2022, when new curriculum will include doctrinal mastery assessments and informal unit reviews.
    2. "New Testament: Matthew–John" is the learning assessment that will accompany the 2019 study of the Gospels.
      1. Please preview the assessment so you will know how it can help students understand, explain, apply and testify of the doctrine and principles it addresses.
      2. Complete the assessment with your students before the end of 2019.
    3. The Learning Assessments Overview page explains how students can take assessments online and how you can provide them with the printed version.
    4. Contact Travis Searle at searletp@churchofjesuschrist.org with questions related to the learning assessment content. Contact Jamie Childs at childsdj@churchofjesuschrist.org with learning assessment software questions.

    What about Make-up Work and Assessments (2019–2021)?

    Over the next three school years (2019—2022 , some students may repeat up to 2-3 semesters of course material. In these cases, please use the following guidelines when considering 1) assessments and 2) the need for make-up work as students work toward seminary graduation:

    1. Students who do not meet the assessment requirement for either semester of seminary during which they repeated a course of study will still need to pass an assessment for each of the semesters. Successful completion of one assessment should not be counted for two semesters of seminary (the same assessment would need to be taken twice to count for two semesters
    2. Students who do not meet the attendance requirement for either semester of seminary during which they repeated a course of study should be given a distinct make-up work assignment to satisfy the requirement for completion of that semester. Completion of a single make-up work assignment cannot be counted for two semesters of deficient attendance. Make-up work assignments should be meaningful and should be related to the work missed. They may come from the Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students or be determined by the teacher.
    3. Any exceptions should be considered in counsel with the Area Director. Assessments and make-up work are opportunities to help students understand and rely on the teachings and atonement of Jesus Christ. They should not be communicated as punitive or an arbitrary task to be completed.

    7. Reading and Tracking

    Is it a requirement to read the standard works in order to graduate from seminary?

    Yes. Reading the complete standard works (Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) is still a requirement for graduation. However, reading is no longer used to determine course credit earned for a semester. Attendance and assessments are the only requirements considered in awarding course credit.

    How important is personal study for students outside of seminary?

    Brother Chad H Webb said, “It’s also important to understand that a big part of students’ experience, both at home as well as in seminary, is in their personal study. It’s in their relationships and experiences with their families, which will for sure be strengthened by this new focus, but it’s also in what they’re learning and studying privately. And the scripture study skills that they’re acquiring and all of that will certainly still be a part of it.”

    Is there a daily scripture reading requirement for seminary?

    Reading the complete standard works is still a requirement for graduation. However, reading is no longer used to determine course credit earned for a semester. The guiding principle is to be home-centered and Church supported. For each year of seminary, students should read at home the book of scripture that is being used for Come, Follow Me.

    Teachers should regularly emphasize the importance of a daily scripture study habit where a young person is having a meaningful experience in the scriptures, reading each chapter and verse. This may best be accomplished by students reading individually.

    What are the reading guidelines for those repeating a book of scripture?

    Over the next three school years (2019-2022), some students will end up repeating 2-3 semesters of content. In some cases, this will be a second reading of scripture they have already read during a previous year in seminary. When this happens, students can satisfy the reading requirement for graduation by:

    1. Re-reading the scriptures being studied in seminary and counting this reading as a substitute for the missed scripture.
    2. Reading the scriptures that have been missed.

    Regardless of what has been chosen, this should be the choice of the student and her/his family, and not imposed by the seminary.

    Any exceptions should be considered in counsel with the Area Director. Nothing outside of a study of the standard works can be applied toward the scripture reading requirement for seminary graduation.

    What if students do not have the opportunity to study the Old Testament in seminary?

    As seminary, Sunday School and the individual and family curriculum will be in the same book of scripture beginning in January 2020, some students will not study the Old Testament as part of their seminary experience.

    Students should primarily rely on opportunities beyond seminary to study the Old Testament, including Sunday School, institute classes and their personal study.

    If students are repeating a scripture course of study and have already read that book of scripture, the student may choose to read that book again or read the Old Testament. This will count towards completion of the reading requirement. This should be the choice of the student and her/his family, and not imposed by the seminary.

    When and how can students begin tracking their reading requirements for graduation?

    Students do not need to be registered before they will be able to mark their reading in the mySeminary app. All 8th grade students will be able to mark the reading on January 1 of the calendar year that they will begin seminary as a 9th grader (or equivalent), regardless of if they have been registered or not for seminary.

    How can students and teachers keep track of student reading?

    Where available, students (and parents) may mark their reading in the mySeminary app and on myseminary.churchofjesuschrist.org. Using WISE, teachers will also be able to enter reading reported by students and help encourage them to complete their reading of the standard works in time for graduation.

    8. How to Respond to the Seminary Changes

    What can teachers do to respond to changes as we move this work forward?

    1. Be positive.
    2. Seek to understand the changes and the reasons they are being made.
    3. As you gain assurance that these are inspired changes, be a positive example to others. Know that your influence can create a positive tone for your classroom, in your meetings, and in other areas.
    4. Prayerfully seek guidance as you prepare to implement changes as more details come forward.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is blessed with continual revelation to lead and guide. We are blessed to be part of the Lord hastening His work, and with that blessing comes many changes to our previous practices. 

    9. Contact Info

    Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

    If you have questions or feedback about any seminary changes, you can fill out this quick form or email SIQuestions@ChurchofJesusChrist.org