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Friday, March 22, 2019

BREAKING NEWS: Changes Announced to Seminary Program

Hello again, everyone! In a landmark announcement, the First Presidency has noted changes to its' seminary program. Rather than following a traditional academic schedule (August to May), beginning in January 2020, seminary students will have the opportunity to have their "Come Follow Me" Church curriculum and home study additionally supported by following a similar study schedule (and focus on the same book of scripture) as will be studied each year with the "Come Follow Me" curriculum.

In addition to the First Presidency announcement, 3 members of the Church Board of Education addressed these adjustments in a broadcast this morning. Those 3 Board members included Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who is the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles assigned to oversee the work of the Church Educational System, Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, who, as Young Women General President, serves on that Board, and Elder Kim B. Clark, a General Authority Seventy who is currently serving as the Commissioner of Church Education. Joining these Board members was Brother Chad H. Webb, who has been involved with the CES program for a while, and who presently serves as the Seminary and Institutes of Religion administrator.

One thing that really struck me as I briefly skimmed the articles to which I linked above is what was said about the timing of this announcement. Knowing that the announcement was going to be forthcoming, although the Board members had some concerns about the logistics associated with these adjustments, they said that the Lord confirmed to them that the timing of the change was right, and that the logistics would work themselves out as they are implemented.

The faith evident in that expression is in line with John 7:17, wherein we read: "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself." Some may feel more inclined to do the reverse: They want to know that something said or done is of God before they do anything as a result. But I was also reminded of 1 Nephi 4:6, in which Nephi says this: "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."

More often than not, the Lord requires a small step into the darkness before He provides a light to help us see ahead. And that goes back to the Lord's statement elsewhere hat "ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." I am grateful that the members of the Church Board of Education determined to follow this inspired decision now and worry about the logistics of doing so later,

I also wanted to note the significance behind Elder Holland's current service as the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on the Church Board of Education. Elder Holland has long been involved with the Church Board of Education. He found his heart was in teaching, and he had a prestigious career as a professional educator, during which time he served on many national college boards. He also taught seminary and institute for a time.

In 1976, Elder Holland succeeded Elder Neal A. Maxwell as Commissioner of Church Education. Almost 4 years later, while serving in that capacity, he was helping lead the search for a new president of Brigham Young University, and he was surprised when the First Presidency called him to fill that same position himself. The end of his service at BYU in 1989 coincided with his call to serve as a General Authority Seventy.

And I am blessed to have some degree of familiarity with his long-term ties to the Church Educational System. My mom has worked as a freelance proofreader to varying degrees, and I recall her mentioning working on some projects for the Church Educational System during the same time Elder Holland was serving as the Commissioner of Church Education, and has shared fond memories of working for and with Elder Holland.

Sorry for that side-track on my part, but I thought some of you might be interested in those details. As soon as I read about the details of this change, I knew it was inspired. I continue to monitor any and all Church news and temple developments and will do my level best to bring word of those to you all as I receive it.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.