Handbooks and Callings
15. Seminaries and Institutes of Religion
Footnotes
Theme

“15. Seminaries and Institutes of Religion,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2020).

“15. Seminaries and Institutes of Religion,” General Handbook.

Dominican Republic

15.

Seminaries and Institutes of Religion

15.0

Introduction

Seminaries and Institutes of Religion (S&I) assists parents and Church leaders in helping youth and young adults increase their faith in Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. This is done by supporting a home-centered study of the scriptures and the words of living prophets and other Church leaders.

Seminary and institute programs are governed by policies established by the Church Board of Education, which is directed by the President of the Church. The stake presidency carries out these programs in the stake and wards. Stake and ward leaders regularly review the participation of their youth in seminary and institute programs.

An S&I representative is assigned to each stake to help leaders administer S&I programs.

15.1

Seminary

Seminary is a four-year program in which youth study the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets. Seminary students are generally 14–18 years old.

The bishopric, youth leaders, and quorum and class presidencies encourage every youth to participate fully in seminary. The bishopric encourages parents to register their children each year before seminary classes start. For more information, see Seminary Registration on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

15.1.1

Teachers

Seminary teachers should be Church members who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and a testimony of His restored gospel. They should live the principles they teach and work well with youth. When possible, teachers should be worthy of a temple recommend.

A member of the stake presidency counsels with the bishop, stake supervisor, and S&I representative about potential seminary teachers. A member of the stake presidency or an assigned high councilor calls, sets apart, and releases stake seminary teachers and stake supervisors. After the person has been called and set apart, the S&I representative trains and supports him or her.

To protect teachers and students, two adults should be present in the building or home where a seminary class is being taught. A team teacher may be called, or another responsible adult may be assigned to be present. The second adult could be the teacher’s spouse or the parent of a class member. He or she should be the same gender as the teacher, unless that person is an adult member of the teacher’s family. A teacher should never be alone in a classroom, building, or vehicle with a student unless the student is the teacher’s child.

15.1.2

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Class Options

Seminary is most helpful when students can meet with a teacher each weekday. However, this may not be possible due to safety issues, travel distance, and other factors. Local leaders have the following options for holding seminary.

Option

Number of Weekly In-Class Lessons

Number of Weekly Home Study or Online Lessons

Option

A

Number of Weekly In-Class Lessons

5 (50 minutes)

Number of Weekly Home Study or Online Lessons

None

Option

B

Number of Weekly In-Class Lessons

4 (60 minutes)

Number of Weekly Home Study or Online Lessons

None

Option

C

Number of Weekly In-Class Lessons

4 (50 minutes)

Number of Weekly Home Study or Online Lessons

1

Option

D

Number of Weekly In-Class Lessons

3 (50 minutes)

Number of Weekly Home Study or Online Lessons

2

Option

E

Number of Weekly In-Class Lessons

2 (90 minutes)

Number of Weekly Home Study or Online Lessons

1

Option

F

Number of Weekly In-Class Lessons

2 (50 minutes)

Number of Weekly Home Study or Online Lessons

3

Option

G

Number of Weekly In-Class Lessons

1 (50 minutes)

Number of Weekly Home Study or Online Lessons

4

Church leaders counsel with their S&I representative to decide which option will:

  • Best help students learn the gospel and grow spiritually.

  • Keep students safe.

  • Not burden families unnecessarily.

If meeting with a teacher during the week is difficult, using technology for virtual meetings may be considered.

Classes should not be held on Sunday. Exceptions require approval from the Church Board of Education.

A stake president may recommend to the local S&I representative changes to which seminary option the stake uses. The S&I representative takes the recommendation to the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion administration. Approval from the administration is necessary before implementing the change.

15.1.3

Buildings, Equipment, and Materials

Stake and ward leaders ensure that locations such as meetinghouses or members’ homes are available for seminary classes. Buildings or rooms should not be rented for seminary classes. If classes meet in a meetinghouse, teachers should have access to the equipment in the resource center.

The S&I representative provides materials for teachers and students for each class. Students should bring their own scriptures, printed or digital.

15.1.4

Class Officers and Activities

A seminary teacher may choose class officers, such as a president, vice presidents, and a secretary. The teacher first contacts each student’s parents and bishop for approval. Class officers are not sustained or set apart. They can help the teacher with routine classroom duties and encourage other students to attend and participate.

Seminary teachers should not provide activities outside of normal class time or away from the classroom. Exceptions require approval from local priesthood leaders.

15.1.5

Credit and Graduation

Seminary students can learn more effectively and deepen their conversion if they regularly attend class, participate, and study the scriptures outside of class. As they do these things, they also earn seminary credit each year and can graduate from seminary.

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Some students may have difficulty earning seminary credit due to reading challenges or other reasons. The teacher may adapt the requirements to the needs of these students. Adaptations for an entire program can be requested by the S&I representative. These adaptations require approval from the S&I Central Office.

To graduate from seminary, a student must earn four years of credit and receive an ecclesiastical endorsement from a bishopric member. This endorsement verifies that a student is worthy and committed to living the standards of the gospel.

Each year the stake holds a seminary graduation. This event is planned by a stake presidency member or a high councilor. The S&I representative may help. For more information, see A Guide to Seminary and Institute Graduation Exercises.

15.1.6

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Released-Time Seminary

In some areas of the United States and Canada, local laws allow students to leave school and attend seminary during school hours. The Church Board of Education approves where this type of seminary is used. For more information on released-time seminary, see Released-Time Seminary on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

15.2

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Institute

Institute provides weekday gospel study classes that strengthen faith and testimony in Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. All young single adults ages 18–30 should be encouraged to attend institute classes, whether they are attending school or not.

Campus-based institute classes are not available in many areas. In these cases, stake presidents may establish stake-based institute classes. Priesthood leaders and S&I personnel coordinate the arrangements.

Additional guidelines for establishing and operating stake-based institute classes, planning for facilities, calling teachers, and recognizing student achievement are available at Stake Institute on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

15.2.1

Other Religion Classes

Stake presidencies may desire to provide religion classes for adults ages 31 years and older. These classes are not a function of S&I and are not called institute classes. However, institute curriculum materials may be used for the classes.

15.3

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Church Schools

For information on Church primary and secondary schools, BYU–Pathway Worldwide, and institutions of higher education, see CES.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Information about ecclesiastical endorsements to attend these schools is also provided there.

The Lesson Is Inside the Learner