In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Church Educational System (CES) provides a seminary for high school age youth (usually ages 14 to 18). It is typically attended daily during the school year (Monday through Friday) and provides youth with instruction in the scriptures and in gospel principles. These courses are not for credit or degree purposes, for while Latter-day Saints encourage advanced learning in every field, a theological degree is not a requirement for a call to serve or preside in the kingdom of God. Friends of other faiths are also welcome to participate in seminary classes.
Instruction concentrates on a different volume of scripture each year, rotating between the following four courses: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants and Church History. By the time a student graduates from seminary, he or she will have completed the study of all of the standard works of scripture.
The purpose of the Seminary and Institute of Religion program of the Church is to help youth and young adults deepen their conversion to Jesus Christ and His restored gospel, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven.
Changes to the seminary credit requirements were announced in January 2023. The seminary student learning assessment will move from an individual assessment to a group review. Also, instead of reading in the assigned book of scripture for the course of study for 75 percent of semester calendar days, students will be required to read selected scriptural passages each term and then create additional personalized reading goals.
Five prophetic emphases for seminary and institute students, influenced by the teachings of President Russell M. Nelson and other Church leaders: Know your divine identity; Draw on the power of Jesus Christ and your covenants; Let God prevail, and follow His prophet; Teach truth with love; Take charge of your testimony.
Chad H. Webb, the Church’s administrator of seminaries and institutes said to Church Educational System employees during the 2023 Seminaries and Institutes Annual Training Broadcast: “Whatever may change or might be emphasized in our efforts to effectively teach the gospel, what will never change is that we will be Christ–centered, learner–focused and scripture-based. And we will always strive to infuse our teaching and learning experiences with the inspiration and witness of the Holy Ghost.
The classes are free, and the Church Educational System provides manuals and student materials, except for scriptures.
There are three types of seminary:
- Daily (formerly called Early-morning)
Released-time seminary is offered in areas where there are large populations of Latter-day Saint students and where laws to do not forbid it. Seminary classes are attended during school hours in a Church-owned building near the school. The teachers are full-time and are employed by the Church Educational System. Students do not receive any school credit for taking seminary.
Daily (formerly called Early-morning) seminary is available in most areas that have a smaller population of Latter-day Saint youth. It is held each school day, most often before the normal school classes begin. Classes are often held in the local church building or at a member’s home, and are taught by volunteers.
Home-study seminary is available in areas where daily or released-time seminary attendance is not possible, because it is either not offered, or because it is too far away. Youth in this type of seminary are provided with materials to help them study the scriptures daily. They then meet with a CES teacher for class once a week.
All youth are encouraged to complete and graduate from seminary, if the opportunity is available to them. President Boyd K. Packer said, “Parents, encourage, even insist, that your students register for seminary or institute. Presidents, bishops, youth leaders, you are responsible to encourage every youngster, without exception, to enroll. Few things you do will benefit them quite as much” (Boyd K. Packer, “Agency and Control,” Ensign, May 1983, 66).
After high school, the Church offers institute of religion classes for college-age young men and women across the country (often near major colleges and universities).
For More Information visit the Church Educational System website