Mormon Education

Mormons have a robust education system within their church. Their religion, which is actually named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (with Mormon merely a nickname sometimes given to members), believes that God gave us our intelligence and wants us to use it. The church sees no conflict between intellectual and spiritual knowledge because science and history are not doctrine. Mormons are taught that the two are compatible and that the intellect should be a part of the spiritual journey.

When people are considering becoming Mormons or when they have questions, they are taught to study the issues before deciding. While they will, of course, pray for guidance as they study, they will study before praying for final wisdom. This study can take many forms, but include a study of the scriptures and teachings of the prophets. Having studied, they then make a decision and take that decision to God to know whether or not they are correct. God gives us this process in order to help us learn more about the gospel and to be an active participant in the building of our testimonies.

mormon-educationMormons are supporters of secular knowledge as well. They teach that all things are spiritual to God. They can use their spiritual learning to help them view their secular learning accurately and secular learning can shed light on spiritual knowledge as well.

The church operates a number of educational systems for its members. They operate three highly respected universities and one business school. Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, is perhaps the best known and has prestigious programs in a number of fields, including animation, engineering, law, and business. BYU-Hawaii was described by a 2006 U.S. News and World Report survey as the most internationally diverse college in the United States. BYU-Idaho began as a two-year college, but is now a full university.

In addition to formal schools, the church also operates Institutes of Religion for college students. These are held on or near campuses and offer classes in religion, scripture, and preparation for a spirit-driven adult life. The religion classes are taught at a college level and are more in-depth and scholarly (while still very spiritual) than are Sunday School classes.

High school students have a similar program called Seminary. Classes are offered during the school year either as a release-time program or before public school classes. Home study is available for students who do not have a program available to them. During the four years of high school, they study one book of scripture each year for the full year. Two years are devoted to the Bible, one to the Book of Mormon, and one to the Doctrine and Covenants. These classes are, naturally, more in-depth than their Sunday School class and are taught at a high school level.

Mormon mother helping daughter studyMormons, both men and women, are encouraged to get as much education as they can in order to better care for their families and to improve their knowledge. They are also encouraged to create an education-rich home for their children. In addition to formal education, Mormons are taught the importance of continuing their educations throughout their lives by reading, attending informal classes, and talking with mentors. The auxiliaries often offer classes and workshops that increase learning in an informal, non-threatening way.

The Relief Society, an auxiliary for women, runs a literacy program world-wide. Both members and non-members are invited to learn how to read or to develop other types of literacy and the programs offered depend on the needs of the congregation. They might include adult reading, literature, foreign languages, learning a nation’s native language, computer skills or writing a personal or family history.

“Remember, you are interested in education, not just for mortal life but for eternal life. When you see that reality clearly, you will put spiritual learning first and yet not slight the secular learning. In fact, you will work harder at your secular learning than you would without that spiritual vision.” (Real-Life Education, President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, From “Education for Real Life,” Ensign, Oct. 2002, 14.

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