Church announces changes to seminary credit requirements, updates to the official seminary objective statement

What will never change is that seminary requirements will be ‘Christ–centered, learner–focused and scripture-based,’ says Church’s administrator of seminaries and institutes

New changes announced by Seminaries and Institutes of Religion of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — including updates to the official objective statement and seminary credit requirements — are meant to help instructors create experiences that will help deepen students’ conversion to the Savior Jesus Christ.

Chad H. Webb, the Church’s administrator of seminaries and institutes, highlighted the changes during a training broadcast for instructors, administrators and other Church Educational System employees during the 2023 Seminaries and Institutes Annual Training Broadcast on Friday, Jan. 27.

“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,” said Webb. “And we will always strive to infuse our teaching and learning experiences with the inspiration and witness of the Holy Ghost.

“All we do should deepen conversion to Jesus Christ and His restored gospel, because He is the answer to [students’] challenges and questions.”

Also during the annual training broadcast, Elder Clark G. Gilbert, General Authority Seventy and Church commissioner of education, announced five prophetic emphases for seminary and institute students, influenced by the teachings of President Russell M. Nelson and other Church leaders.

  1. Know your divine identity.
  2. Draw on the power of Jesus Christ and your covenants.
  3. Let God prevail, and follow His prophet.
  4. Teach truth with love.
  5. Take charge of your testimony.
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What are the changes for seminary credit?

Regarding the changes made for seminary credit, Webb announced 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% of semester calendar days, students will be required to read selected scriptural passages each term and then create additional personalized reading goals.

To preface the announcement, Webb shared the parable of the sower from Matthew 13 where the Savior speaks of some seeds bringing forth, “an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, [and] some thirtyfold” (verse 8). 

“This was not the wayside, the stony places or seed that landed among thorns,” Webb pointed out, adding that all came from good ground.

Chad H Webb, administrator of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, speaks to teachers and administrators worldwide about improving teaching in the Savior’s way at the 2023 seminaries and institutes annual broadcast. | Screenshot from

This parable caused administrators to wonder if the current requirements were analogous to only recognizing those who brought forth an hundredfold and not the sixty and thirtyfold.

These seminary changes come from a recognition that every student has a different level of family support, gospel understanding and personal commitment, Webb said. “Certainly, we should have high expectations, but we should also be careful not to discourage those who are doing their best in the circumstances they are in.”

Webb highlighted the reaction of President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, to the change when they were discussed. “To do this well will require more personal, individual attention from teachers,” President Eyring said. “It will add a burden, but it is a burden teachers should be glad to carry, because their personal ministries are as important as their classroom instruction. If anyone can do it, your teachers can. They are wonderful.”

“You are wonderful,” Webb agreed, adding that he recognized individualized goals will require more time and attention from instructors. “But what could we do that would bless our students more than to help them create a personal daily habit of scripture study that is motivated by the right reasons?”

Update to the official objective statement

In the June 2020 annual training broadcast, Webb shared research collected from a survey of thousands of youth and young adults from four continents. They then grouped the results into three categories: conversion, relevance and belonging. 

In other words, young people want experiences that draw them closer to their Father in Heaven — conversion. They want a safe, faith-filled place where they can ask sincere questions about doctrine, Church history and social issues that are important to them — relevance. And they also want connections with Heavenly Father, with the teacher and with other students in the class — belonging.

So for the past two years, Seminaries and Institutes of Religion have been focusing on providing learner experiences that lead to conversion, relevance and belonging, and making those experiences accessible to more youth and young adults.

Webb explained in Friday’s broadcast that these principles are not of equal value. “The ultimate purpose is to provide experiences that invite our students to learn the gospel and deepen their conversion to Jesus Christ.”

Relevance and belonging are important, but a means to an end that when used effectively can lead to conversion, Webb explained.

Brother Chad H Webb, Administrator of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, speaks to teachers and administrators worldwide about improving teaching in the Savior’s way at the 2023 Seminaries and Institutes of Religion annual broadcast. | Screenshot from

“Relevance that leads to conversion is more than simply talking about things of interest with our students,” Webb said. Relevance that leads to conversion is helping students understand Heavenly Father’s plan, Jesus’ central role and how the scriptures and teachings of modern prophets relate to students’ circumstances and needs. “It helps them recognize how the gospel answers the questions of their souls.”

Belonging that leads to conversion is more than just the sense of belonging that happens on sports team with close friends. It involves love and respect and includes principles that engage individuals to the Savior’s cause as they help each other to walk the covenant path.

“The blessings of true gospel-centered belonging also include covenant connections,” he said. “Belonging as defined through the lens of the restored gospel helps us to know our true identity and our eternal relationship with our Father in Heaven. Our covenants are made available because of His love for us and connect us to Him, to our families and to a community of believers who have promised to carry one another’s burdens. This type of belonging leads to conversion to Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.”

With that in mind, Webb announced an update to the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion objective statement. 

The past statement read: “Our purpose is to help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven.”

The objective statement now reads: “Our purpose 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.”

Webb also said that with the availability of “Teaching in the Savior’s Way,” the instructor handbook “Gospel Teaching and Learning” will be retired. 

Messengers of good news

Anciently, it was considered a supreme honor to be selected to be the messenger of good news, especially a victory in battle, Webb explained.

Isaiah referenced this concept when he said, “And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth! And, O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet! … how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace” (Mosiah 15:14-16).

These verses comforted Webb when he was a young, homesick missionary, he said, as he pondered being trusted to be the messenger of the greatest news the world could ever hear. 

These instructors are messengers of the good tidings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Webb said. “Thank you for publishing peace in a world of divisiveness and discord, and for bringing light and truth into a world that can feel dark and full of confusion. This is the true Church of Jesus Christ. You have been prepared and selected to be messengers of peace to the youth and young adults of the Lord’s Church. What an honor it is to represent Jesus Christ, to teach His gospel and to strive to teach it in His way.”

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