News Release

1700 Young Africans Graduate from LDS Religious Courses

With Institute programs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in more that 2,600 locations all over the globe the LDS Institute program is one of the world’s largest religious education programs but feels like home to more than 350,000 students in 144 different countries. Institutes of religion provide these young adults with a place of refuge from the outside world; a place to socialize with others with similar standards; a place to learn the gospel more fully; a place of spiritual protection and growth.

In 2011 the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent a letter to priesthood leaders across the world that stated: “Week-day gospel study classes can help young single adults strengthen their faith and testimonies. All young single adults should be encouraged to attend Institute classes whether they are attending school or not”. Local priesthood leaders were also authorized to create stake-based Institute classes to insure that Institute is available for all young adults.  To quote one Stake Priesthood leader, “Many of the members of my stake that have been involved in Institute have shared with me experiences that they have had where they have had their lives changed. The spirit of the Lord has touched them”.  “The gospel will be taught. Truths will be taught. Love will be shared.”  “That (participation) puts them in a position to feel the spirit and the more often they feel it the better acquainted they are with that voice.

Students at Institutes of Religion benefit from an in-depth study of the scriptures and the teachings of living prophets. They can also receive instruction that will help them prepare for missionary service and marriage in the temple of the Lord. The purpose of the Church’s Institutes of Religion is to help 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.

Institute students around the globe are encouraged to not just learn the gospel but to learn the gospel in ways that allow them to teach the gospel to others effectively no matter what their native language might be. Institute students discover, learn, and teach using the language of the spirit of the Lord.

Today, Institutes of Religion are available to all young adults, all year round, virtually everywhere. Because of what it has to offer, and because of where you can find it, is it any wonder that Pres. Thomas S. Monson has stated: “I ask you to make Institute a priority. Think of it.  Friends will be made. The spirit will be felt, and faith will be strengthened. I promise you that as you participate in Institute and study the scriptures diligently your power to avoid temptation and receive direction of the Holy Ghost in all  that you do will be increased. That is a promise I leave with you.”

In 2012 LDS Church units in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania provided Institute programs, managed and taught by specialists who were called to serve in this important endeavor. Young single adult enrollment in these four countries totaled more than 1700 which included Church members as well as non-members. Over 700 of these students completed the courses and were awarded graduation certificates. These certificates require 75% attendance at weekly class and activity participation.

An amazing aspect of these special young people is that they are building character and a sense of love and service to the people with whom they interact on a daily basis. Government and community leaders should be proud of these young people and their influence for doing good works through the influence of the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The 13th Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-we believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” 

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