Programs and Policies Newsletter

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    Seminary Home-Study Program. Where Church members are few in number, the Department of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion operates a seminary home-study program. To provide motivation and direction to this home course work, the students meet together as a class one or more times each week under the direction of a teacher called by the bishop or branch president. Once a month during the school year the students and teachers of a stake or district meet together (usually on Saturday) in an all-day session under the direction of a seminary home-study supervisor. Two or three hours of religious instruction and inservice teacher training are provided in the morning hours, and in the afternoon, social, cultural, recreational, and athletic activities are planned and conducted by the stake, district, ward, or branch MIA leadership, assisted by youth seminary officers. The entire day’s program is carried out with the approval of the stake or district president.

    Qualified Teachers for Seminary. Because early-morning seminary classes are held five times each week, seminary teachers usually have more teaching contact and a potentially greater influence for good with young people than other teachers in their wards. For this reason persons with the strongest testimony of the gospel and the greatest teaching ability should be chosen as early-morning seminary teachers. The selection of such teachers is the responsibility of the seminary district coordinator, with the prior approval of the bishop and stake president. Bishops are encouraged to make available those persons best qualified for seminary teaching, even if it means a reduction in the ward service load of such individuals.

    Mission District Athletic Program. Under proper priesthood authority, mission districts may have branch teams participate in the regional, zone, and area Church athletic tournaments held in their locality. The rules and policies outlined in the handbook MIA Athletics apply to all branches that take part. A mission president who desires his mission to enter into the Church athletic program should forward to his mission supervisor a list of the districts desiring to participate. An invitation will then be extended to the mission president to have those districts become a part of the regional tournament where the districts are located. Isolated mission branches may also participate in the athletic program at the discretion of the mission president. The Church athletic program under no conditions is open to full-time proselyting missionaries. This applies to practice games, coaching, and related activities in the wards, branches, stakes, and districts and to any tournament play.

    Medical Missionaries Called. Medical missionaries have been called for the first time in the history of the Church to serve in Church missions. Dr. Blair LaMar Bybee, a University of Utah School of Medicine graduate, will serve in the Samoa Mission, and Marilyn Lyons, a Salt Lake City nurse, presently serving in the Oklahoma Mission, will begin the program in the Tonga Mission. Both areas have acute health and nutrition problems. Dr. James O. Mason, Commissioner of Church Health Services, explained that medical missionaries will serve under the direction of their respective mission presidents, doing proselyting as well as providing medical service to members in their fields of labor. The medical missionaries will survey the medical needs of members and nonmembers to establish priorities and to develop programs to be implemented through existing Church organizations, working through priesthood correlation channels. The emphasis under this new program will be on preventive medicine. While serving the medical needs of the local members on these islands, the medical missionaries will also attend to the medical needs of Church members on the staffs of the Church schools located in their fields of labor.