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The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have announced a change to the course of study schedule and curriculum for students in the seminary program.
Beginning January 2020, seminary students will study the same book of scripture used in the Church’s Come, Follow Me study outline for the year. This means that all Church members — including those enrolled in seminary classes — will study the Book of Mormon in 2020. Historically, the seminary curriculum has been organized by the school year and has remained separate from the course of study followed by other Church members. Read the First Presidency letter announcing this change.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who sits on the Church Board of Education, said this change is “significant” and will benefit seminary students and their families.
“We hope that they will have a great experience on Sunday at the meetinghouse, we hope that they will go home and have an experience with their family on Sunday, and we hope that through the week they will have a great experience in seminary studying the Book of Mormon,” said Elder Holland.
Seminary is a worldwide, four-year religious educational program for youth ages 14 through 18. It is operated by the Church but is open to teenagers of all faiths. Currently, there are more than 400,000 students enrolled in seminary in 140 countries. Courses are taught by full-time instructors in the populous areas of the Church and by volunteers in other areas.
“I love seminary,” said Elder Holland. “We can tell when a student has had seminary. We can almost see it in the light in their eyes.”
In seminary, students and their teachers meet throughout the week during the school year to study scripture. With this change, the seminary curriculum will be updated, providing an in-depth focus on Jesus Christ and His teachings while still covering the key themes and events of the scriptures.
“We know that our young people need to be more deeply converted unto the Lord Jesus Christ, and they need to have personal spiritual experiences with the scriptures,” said Elder Kim B. Clark, Church Commissioner of Education and a General Authority Seventy. “We feel that by going a bit deeper, we can help them do that.”
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president and a member of the Church Board of Education, said aligning the topics of study for all Church members will strengthen homes and families.
“As students learn of Christ and testify of Christ in seminary, they will have the opportunity to share what they learn with their families,” said Sister Cordon. “A power will come into their lives that will enlarge their souls and help them deal with the challenges they face.”
Despite the change to a calendar year curriculum, students will still begin seminary as they enter high school or secondary school. The course requirements for seminary graduation — such as reading the book of scripture assigned for that year — will also remain in place.
“By teaching the gospel as found in the scriptures, seminary will help our young people discover the themes and points of doctrine that are most significant,” said Chad Webb, administrator of Seminaries and Institutes. “Students will gain a deeper love for the scriptures and discover things that are most relevant and valuable to them at this time in their lives.”