Church Curriculum for 2008 Required Years of Preparation
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“Church Curriculum for 2008 Required Years of Preparation,” Ensign, Jan. 2008, 76

Church Curriculum for 2008 Required Years of Preparation

A thundering four-color press at a sprawling printing facility located in Salt Lake City has been running hundreds of thousands of pages per hour, 24 hours a day, six days a week preparing the 2008 curriculum of the Church.

Once printed—in languages as diverse as Burmese, Spanish, Cambodian, and English—the pages are collated and assembled by high-speed machines into books, manuals, and other printed materials to be used during priesthood, Relief Society, Sunday School, and Primary classes.

“Curriculum, the instructional material of the Church, is used throughout the world to teach the principles of the gospel to more than 13 million members, whose ages range from as young as 18 months old to adults,” explains David Frischknecht, managing director of the Curriculum Department. “The languages may be different, but the lessons are the same. A Church class in Chicago learns from the same content a Church class in Chile is using.”

This past year, Church members worldwide studied from the New Testament during Sunday School. In 2008 the scripture focus will be the Book of Mormon.

Priesthood and Relief Society classes will continue to take their lessons from the same book. The 2007 curriculum was the teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, the 12th President of the Church. In 2008 the study material will be from the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

On average it takes the Curriculum Department one and a half years to plan and write a lesson manual. All the material is reviewed by the Correlation Department to be sure it is consistent with scripture and the teachings of the prophets.

If the lesson material needs to be translated from English into one of the 170 languages currently spoken in the Church, the process can take months more. Factoring in printing and distribution, a manual in a language other than English can take a total of two and a half years to produce.

To print these materials in a timely manner, the Church operates publication centers in a number of countries outside the United States. These centers work with local printers as coordinated through the printing center in Salt Lake City.

When the Church was formally organized in 1830 and during the Church’s early history, virtually the only teaching materials available to members were the Bible and newly published copies of the Book of Mormon and later the Doctrine and Covenants.

As membership grew, the amount of curriculum materials expanded. The Church’s different organizations for men, women, teenagers, and children became responsible for developing and printing their own materials.

When Church growth began accelerating in the early 1960s, Church leadership recognized the need to correlate the various curricula, and committees were established to bring together the materials. The system was modified over the years until the Curriculum Department was organized in 1978.

A milestone for the Church was reached in 1997, when the first lesson manual was placed online, making it available in an electronic format. Today, all Church curriculum material can be accessed on the Church’s Web site. Go to www.lds.org and click on Gospel Library.

Caroline Johanson picks up a Young Women manual at a distribution center in Salt Lake City.

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