- Institute of Religion
Institutes of Religion are the official young single adult and university student ministry of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Local institutes may be run out of ordinary church meetinghouses, but often have their own buildings situated adjacent to colleges or universities (especially in the Western United Statesand Canada). The Church describes the purpose of the Institute program as "weekday religious instruction for single and married postsecondary students." [ [http://institute.lds.org "Institutes of Religion." institute.lds.org] ] Institutes of Religion are professionally directed by the Church Educational System, the same department responsible for the seminary program and Brigham Young University. In areas with a large LDS population, there are often special-needs Institutes that serve adults who have mental or physical handicaps. These Institutes adapt their curricula to meet the students' needs. In addition to offering classes, Institutes often sponsor activities, such as dances, aimed at the needs of postsecondary students between 18-30 years old. Young Adult church members are encouraged, although not required, to be enrolled in a Institute class whenever possible.
Brigham Young University(BYU) is an LDS university, it has no Institute program; BYU students are required to take religionclasses which are more advanced than the standard Institute curriculum. Among the standard Institute course offerings are classes on the Book of Mormon, Old Testament, New Testament, and other modern revelation. Students can transfer Institute course credit to BYU for a nominal charge and can graduate from the Institute program after completing 14 credit hours of courses.
The first Institute of Religion was established in Moscow, Idaho adjacent to the University of Idaho. Its first director was
J. Wyley Sessions. Currently the largest Institute of Religion enrollment is found at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. The largest Institute enrollment outside of the State of Utah is found at Idaho State Universityin Pocatello, Idaho. There are currently 150,000 students in over 500 locations. [ [http://institute.lds.org/faq/index.asp "Institutes of Religion." institute.lds.org/faq/index.asp] ]
Each institute has an Institute Director who is hired by the
Church Educational System. An Institute Council consists of studentswho are appointed by the bishop (the equivalent of a pastor) of the local congregation, called a ward, in which the Institute is situated. An Institute Councilship is a non-paid, voluntary position. Ultimate responsibility for the Institute program falls on the Church Board of Education, which, in 2008, was composed of the First Presidency, four members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other leaders of the LDS Church.
LDS Student Association
* [http://institute.lds.org Official Institutes website]
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