1990
Why doesn’t the Church synchronize the reading schedules of the Gospel Doctrine class and the seminary program?
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“Why doesn’t the Church synchronize the reading schedules of the Gospel Doctrine class and the seminary program?” Ensign, Feb. 1990, 63

Why doesn’t the Church synchronize the reading schedules of the Gospel Doctrine class and the seminary program? Wouldn’t doing so help to encourage family scripture study?

Josiah W. Douglas, director of curriculum planning and development, Church Curriculum Department. Both the Church Educational System and the Church Curriculum Department have studied the possibility of synchronizing reading schedules and have found that several factors would make such a step both difficult and impractical.

One factor is that the Church’s curriculum study schedule follows a calendar year, while the seminary program’s study schedule begins with each new school year. Since this is a worldwide church, in which members in different parts of the world attend schools that begin in nearly every month of the year, the problem is obvious.

Another factor is the pace at which materials are studied. It is difficult to synchronize the scripture study of a five-day-per-week class with that of classes that meet once a week with occasional interruptions for stake conferences, general conferences, and special programs held on holidays.

Add to this the fact that most schools are in session only nine months of the year, that younger children in Sunday School or Primary may be studying another book of scripture in their classes, and that college-age young people may be attending institute classes and studying an entirely different book of scripture, and you begin to see why synchronization would pose as many challenges as, at first glance, it would appear to solve.

Trying to synchronize every family’s and individual’s scripture reading would be an impractical task for the Church to attempt. However, families might achieve some degree of synchronization by choosing a book of scripture they wish to study together—perhaps the Book of Mormon.

President Ezra Taft Benson has said, “At present, the Book of Mormon is studied in our Sunday School and seminary classes every fourth year. This four-year pattern, however, must not be followed by Church members in their personal and family study. We need to read daily from the pages of the book that will get a man ‘nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.’ (History of the Church, 4:461.)” (Ensign, Nov. 1988, p. 4.)

In addition to the book their families are studying, seminary students and Gospel Doctrine class members should also read from the particular book of scripture they are studying in their respective classes.