Seminaries and institutes of religion are stepping up efforts to help students increase their understanding as well as application of the doctrines and principles of the gospel. The Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, which has a direct bearing on students, and the Doctrinal Mastery teacher manual are part of the instructional material that have recently been released to assist both teachers and students accomplish this great cause.
The nine topics covered may be taught sequentially using a pacing guide, or tackled randomly in line with the youth’s Sunday School lessons as long as they begin with Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge.
The topics include:
- The Godhead
- The Plan of salvation
- The Atonement
- The Restoration
- Prophets and Revelation
- Priesthood and priesthood keys
- Marriage and family and
In the new approach, Doctrinal Mastery will replace the popular scripture mastery, which helps students to understand, believe and live the doctrine of Jesus Christ. The main goal is to help students learn from the scriptures and be able to apply their teachings. Elder David A Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “This is the first and most fundamental way of obtaining living water.” (‘A Reservoir of Living Water’ [Church Educational System fireside for young adults, Feb. 4 2007] 3, lds.org/broadcasts.)
Similar to the previous scripture mastery program, Doctrinal Mastery has twenty five doctrinal mastery scripture passages for each course of study of the standard works of the church, making a total of 100 Doctrinal Mastery passages in all.
The learning experiences in the Doctrinal Mastery Teacher Material are calculated to accomplish the intended outcomes, which are to help the students understand the Saviour’s doctrine more clearly, and deeply enough to readily apply it in their lives. This is the main purpose of church education: to bring souls unto Christ.
The prophet Joseph Smith declared that Latter-day Saints were to “be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel...” As members of the LDS church, we delight in that legacy, that God’s children cannot be saved in ignorance. One of the early church periodicals, The Elders' Journal, declared, “As intelligence is the great object of our holy religion, it is of all things important, that we should place ourselves in the best situation possible to obtain it...”
Week day religious education for the youth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now flourishes as the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. With the advent of social media channels, the church hopes to reach those youths who might have challenges in attending classes frequently through online seminary classes.
The Doctrinal Mastery Core Document will also be provided for home study students although material for home study has at the moment not yet been updated.
The new changes to church education curricula are embodied by the words of Nephi: “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source to look for a remission of their sins (2 Nephi 25: 26).”