Seminary is a worldwide, four-year religious educational program for youth ages 14 through 18. It is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but is open to teenagers of all faiths.
In seminary, students and their teachers meet each weekday during the school year to study scripture. The curriculum is organized in a sequential or chapter by chapter manner. Instruction concentrates on a different volume of scripture each year, rotating between the following four courses: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants and Church History. By the time a student graduates from seminary, he or she will have completed the study of all of the standard works of scripture.
Courses are taught by full-time instructors in the populous areas of the Church and by volunteers and Church-service missionaries in other areas. To accommodate students throughout the world, seminary programs are offered in a variety of class formats:
- Daily classes are organized where students can meet together each weekday in the morning, afternoon or evening. The recommended length of the class is 50 minutes. Students are taught by a volunteer teacher from the local Church unit. Classes are generally held in either a local Church meetinghouse or a home.
- Home-study classes are organized where students cannot meet each weekday because of distance or other factors. These students participate in daily religious instruction by attending one or more classes each week and by completing homework assignments each weekday that class is not held.
- Released-time seminary classes are held during school hours in areas of concentrated Church membership, according to the adjacent public school’s schedule. They are generally taught by employed teachers in a Church-owned seminary building.
Students with disabilities may be assisted with alternative format materials and, in some locations, adapted needs classes.
Over 100 years ago, the first released-time seminary program was launched at Granite High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. The program has since grown into a worldwide system of religious education, bringing gospel instruction to young members of the Church throughout the world. From small beginnings, the seminary program and its collegiate counterpart — institutes of religion — grew to become the primary educational entities in the Church, with a larger enrollment than any other LDS educational venture and a wider reach than almost any educational organization worldwide. Today the seminary and institute programs teach over 700,000 students in over 150 different countries.