“How Institute Helps You Learn the Gospel,” Ensign, January 2018
“The world today is more challenging than it was … years ago,” said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Our young men and young women have many more distractions to sidetrack them in their preparations for both a mission and a future happy life.” Now, more than ever, we need to learn “how to listen to and respond to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.”1
To help you become more spiritually in tune, the Church has provided institutes of religion. Institute can give you hands-on “meaningful experiences with the word of God.”2
When you attend institute, you can choose from numerous classes. Teachers who understand the needs and questions of young adults will help you learn from the scriptures and teachings of latter-day prophets.
A recent change in institute now gives you the opportunity to use (1) course study journals, (2) course questions, and (3) personal learning projects to elevate your learning and strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ. These three study options will help you personalize your gospel study and learn firsthand how the Spirit works with you.
Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recommended capturing spiritual impressions in a journal: “Write down in a secure place the important things you learn from the Spirit. You will find that as you write down precious impressions, often more will come.”3
Students use a journal (whether on paper or in the Gospel Library app) in class and at home to record impressions as they study the scriptures. Jayme Dhennz, an institute student in the Philippines, has seen the benefits of keeping a study journal: “I can’t really pass up writing passages and messages from the scriptures or talks of the prophets because it widens my gospel learning.”
Brother Seiichi Takahashi’s institute students in Nagoya, Japan, like journaling because it allows “the learning process to flow smoothly” and helps students come to class more prepared to learn and participate.
Taisia Bartolomeo of southern Italy says, “By writing down what I learned, I am able to better recall the concepts when I need them.” Her classmate, Mariaterasa Santoro, adds, “My journal is something I can look upon to recall a specific spiritual concept or personal revelation.”
Questions, given at the beginning of the course, give students topics to ponder and study throughout the course. At the end, students submit their personal, Spirit-guided answers to their teacher.
Ilaria Bellomo, a student in southern Italy, explains, “The questions made me reflect on my life and on the fact that what I study for institute helps me know Jesus Christ better.”
Jinseop Jeong, an institute student in South Korea, says, “The questions helped me think deeply about and review what I learned. It was an important time to review, contemplate, and internalize what I learned.”
The students’ spiritual growth becomes evident in their answers. Sister Seonsim Kang, a stake institute teacher in Korea, says, “It was a great experience for me to read and learn the testimonies and thoughts of the students.”
Many institute students prayerfully choose to do a meaningful project. Depending on their interests, students around the world have created gospel-related art, music, videos, and social media posts. These projects invite the students to act on the things they have learned in class. For instance, one student chose to paint a portrait of the Savior to accompany the course “Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel.”
One student attending an “Eternal Family” course created a temple and family history project that “culminated in a temple trip with my grandmother and immediate family members in which we completed together over 40 temple sealings that had been prepared throughout the semester. This brought our family closer together.”
As Cenia Avila Organis, an institute student in Bicol, Philippines, points out, working on a personal learning project “provides flexibility,” giving students the freedom to learn the word of God and feel the Spirit using their own talents.
Using these learning approaches can improve your gospel study and deepen your testimony. By diving deeper into gospel study through institute courses, you can better understand how to apply the word of God in your own life and how to bless the lives of others.