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For young Latter-day Saints, gospel learning is not just a Sunday thing

TALLAHASSEE – High school and college-age members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Tallahassee area know a little bit about burning the candle at both ends.

High school students participate in the church’s Early Morning Seminary program and college students take weeknight classes as part of the church’s Institute of Religion program to facilitate gospel learning.

Church congregations in Tallahassee (seven), Thomasville, Cairo, Perry, Crawfordville, Quincy, and Madison participate in early morning seminary classes starting at 6 a.m., according to Christine Morse, seminary supervisor for the region.

Morse said there are six early morning classes in the Tallahassee Stake (region) and one online class for students unable to attend a live class. Morse said there are currently 87 students participating in the seminary program in the Tallahassee Stake.

“One of the biggest improvements we’ve seen in the seminary students is their capacity for deep learning,” said Morse. “I’m amazed at the thoughtful, inspired questions and insights they have about the gospel. All our seminary classes allow students to teach portions of the lesson to each other. They are developing their testimonies and laying a solid foundation for true conversion,” she added.

The seminary classes have a volunteer instructor and study the scriptures in their lessons.

According to the church, the purpose of the seminary program is to, “help youth and 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.”

Stephen Livingston, the coordinator for seminaries and institutes of religion in the Tallahassee Stake, said there are currently 153 young adult students enrolled in the eight classes held at the Institute of Religion building adjacent to the church meetinghouse on Stadium Drive near the FSU campus. Livingston said the Institute building on Stadium Drive was built in 1973.

Institute students study topics such as scriptures, Church history, doctrine, and preparation for marriage and missions.

Livingston said the program has fluctuated from year to year but has experienced recent growth.

He said the best part of his assignment is seeing young people draw nearer to the Savior.

“Seeing individuals grow closer to Jesus Christ by learning of and from Him. And take His yoke upon them. The young adults of the church are truly amazing. They love the Lord and want to be like Him. It is my privilege to be able to work with the youth of the church,” he said.

Today, the seminary and institute programs worldwide teach more than 700,000 students in over 150 different countries.

Institutes of religion are available to both single and married college students and other young adults ages 18-30 and are open to those not of the LDS faith.