A history of the Seminaries and Institute programs of the Church will soon be available to instructors in an effort to help them learn from the past — as well as recognize the progress of the programs over many years.
“There is much in our history that is worth remembering,” said Grant C. Anderson, assistant administrator for Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. “To that end, the Central Office has been compiling and writing the history of our organization. We are happy to announce that in the near future a published or online copy of this history will be available.
“This history can help us learn from the individuals who made Seminaries and Institutes what it is today. We stand on their shoulders and enjoy a rich heritage they have left us.”
The announcement came during the annual Seminaries and Institutes of Religion August broadcast, held live in the Conference Center Little Theater on Aug. 4. The program was translated into more than 30 languages and was available to Seminary and Institute instructors and personnel.
Elder Kim B. Clark of the Seventy and new commissioner of education for the Church Educational System spoke, along with Sister Carol F. McConkie of the Young Women general presidency, Chad H Webb, R. Kelly Haws and Grant C. Anderson, all administrators for Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. A recording of a choir from Mongolia provided a special musical number.
“Every job, every calling, every person in the Church Educational System is important, and every one of us, including me, needs to be better than we have ever been,” Elder Clark said.
Sharing words of President Thomas S. Monson, Elder Clark spoke of ways the prophet has called teachers to help those around them. Elder Clark gave two reasons for his charge. First, he recognized the need to educate the rising generation more deeply and more powerfully than ever before, to experience what he called “deep learning.”
“Deep learning is an increase in the power ‘to know, to do and to become,’ ” he said. “It definitely means increased knowledge, but also increased understanding of the heart. It means increased skill and capacity to act. It means increased strength of character, including integrity, courage and kindness.”
“The rising generation needs that deep learning because the world they will face will be both great and terrible — there will be increased light and power from heaven, and there will be even more terrible wickedness and turmoil and confusion,” he said. “They will need to be grounded in the plain and simple truths of the gospel, the gospel will need to be deep in their hearts.”
The second reason Elder Clark shared was that young people will be ready for — and will want to receive — much more than what is now given to them.
“I do not mean that young people need to venture out into the weeds of complexity and speculation,” he said. “They will need the plain and simple truths of the gospel taught with increased love and with increased power of the Holy Ghost.”
Elder Clark also spoke of individuals learning how to do what the Lord wants done. He shared a story of when he and his wife were raising their family, serving in their Church callings and doing the best they could. Although he was doing much good, he felt he needed to “put on the whole armour of God.” Two questions came to his mind — “What am I doing that I should stop doing?” and “What am I not doing that I should start doing?”
“As we asked those questions in prayer, we received very specific answers,” he said. “We changed how we spent our time, what media we allowed into our home, how we served in the temple, how we studied the scriptures, and how we served the Lord. We needed to increase our spirituality. ...
“The rising generation needs the plain and simple truths of the gospel taught and learned with increased love, with greater spiritual power, and with deeper impact in their lives,” he said. “I believe that impact will come because the gospel of Jesus Christ will be more powerfully rooted in our hearts and in our minds and because the Holy Ghost will be our constant companion. Our lives will more fully and completely reflect the teachings of the Savior.
“Then — when we administer programs, or develop curriculum, or implement new pedagogy, or hire or call and train new teachers, or counsel students, or plan new buildings, or open up a new area, or walk into a classroom to teach God’s children — we will receive the revelation we need, and we will do the work with the pure love of Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost. The rising generation will learn deeply; they will rise up.”
Sister Carol F. McConkie spoke of “learning as the Lord describes” by inviting the Spirit to be the teacher. It is through teaching in the Lord’s way that “our youth may be inspired with answers to their questions and have the Holy Ghost ‘show unto [them] all things what [they] should do,’ ” she said.
Through helping young men and young women prepare to learn by feasting upon the words of Christ, interacting to edify by speaking the words of Christ, and inviting the youth to act by obeying the words of Christ, teachers are able to help them become “witnessness of Christ who say what He would say, do what He would do and become even as He is.”
Brother Webb spoke of teaching students the importance of Sabbath-day observance. Drawing from the Old Testament — the course of study for the upcoming school year — he shared examples of incorporating Sabbath-day observance in the curriculum.
“In this worldwide effort, Seminaries and Institutes of Religion has been specifically directed by the Church Board of Education to assist by renewing our focus on teaching the principle of Sabbath-day observance and the doctrine associated with the sacrament, and to enlist the youth and young adults of the Church to strive to better understand and live these principles,” he said “We are to do that by emphasizing these principles as they naturally appear in our sequential teaching of the scriptures and in our course outlines.”
Brother Haws spoke of the important role scriptures play in teaching.
“If we want to teach the scriptures with power, if we want our students to feel the truth and importance of a passage, it surely must begin with a fresh, personal excitement inside ourselves.”
[email protected] @marianne_holman