Changes to Institute Program Meant to Deepen Young Adults’ Conversion
Contributed By Camille West, LDS.org Church News
- The Church invites and encourages young single adults to make graduating from institute a priority.
- Four new institute courses are intended to assist young adults in deepening their conversion.
“Making institute a priority offers a chance to get away, regroup, and focus on the bigger picture. The immediate and eternal blessings are well worth a bit of sacrificed time.” —Tanner Harvey, institute student
The Church’s institute program is evolving.
In an effort to help deepen young single adults’ conversion and commitment to Jesus Christ, the Church Educational System is offering four new “cornerstone” classes and increasing its efforts to encourage young single adults to not only attend institute, but graduate.
An official notice explains that “by actively participating in and graduating from institute, young adults will strengthen their testimonies of Jesus Christ, increase their scripture study skills, learn from others and through the Spirit, and gain confidence in making life decisions.”
Benefits and blessings of institute
Many young adults—and even some leaders and parents—may view institute as an optional program, especially when classes conflict with busy young adult lives. But attending institute has benefits and blessings particular for LDS young single adults.
“Institute is the perfect way to keep the Spirit throughout my crazy week,” says sophomore Tanner Harvey, who attends the community college in the small town of Colby, Kansas, USA, with just four other LDS young adults. Their tiny but devoted institute class meets twice each week at 6:30 a.m.
“It's really hard to keep my Sunday testimony strong throughout the week, especially in college, and I look forward to that time I set aside for the Savior,” she said. “There will never be enough time to get everything done, so making institute a priority offers a chance to get away, regroup, and focus on the bigger picture. The immediate and eternal blessings are well worth a bit of sacrificed time.”
According to institute.lds.org, the purpose of institute is to help 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.
Brontë Bringhurst, a returned missionary, says that her religion classes have helped to develop her faith in Christ because they encourage her to study. “I always have had a habit of reading my scriptures,” she said, “but that process of studying and finding answers to questions really helps.”
Young single adults have reported these additional benefits of institute:
- A curriculum tailored to their age and needs.
- An opportunity to study and discuss the gospel with their peers in an environment that is accepting, fun, and spiritual.
- Caring instructors who help students apply truths as they seek to answer everyday questions and make important decisions.
- A chance for returned missionaries to ease into a new phase of their spiritual journey while strengthening others with the experiences they share in class.
Religious courses are available at institutes of religion worldwide. Parents, leaders, and instructors can help invite and encourage young single adults to make graduating from institute a priority, similar to the current expectation for graduation that exists with seminary students.
To graduate, a student must receive credit for each of the four new cornerstone courses and at least three additional elective courses. They can earn the course credit needed to graduate by:
- Attending at least 75 percent of classes.
- Completing assigned readings.
- Completing an institute learning experience for each required and elective course to help them apply what is being taught to their personal lives.
New “cornerstone” courses
These four new required courses are intended to be cornerstones of students' religious education experience:
- Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel
- Focuses on the eternal ministry of Jesus Christ and His divine roles and teachings throughout His premortal, mortal, and postmortal life.
- Foundations of the Restoration
- Includes the study of key revelations, doctrine, people, and events related to the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ.
- The Eternal Family
- Centers on the doctrine of the family and the central role families play in Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. Course content is based on “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” other teachings of latter-day prophets, and the scriptures.
- Teachings and Doctrine of the Book of Mormon
- Focuses on doctrine and themes found throughout the writings, teachings, and sermons of the Book of Mormon.
According to an official notice announcing the changes, “these and other institute courses are intended to assist young adults in deepening their conversion through an in-depth study of the scriptures and teachings of modern prophets.” To learn more about the new classes, visit institute.lds.org.
Institutes of religion are available around the world and at Church-owned universities. Institute is not only for young adults ages 18–30 who are single; married young adults in that age group who desire to graduate are also welcome to attend.