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LDS Church announces changes to rules for hiring religious education teachers

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Posted at 3:36 PM, Nov 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-14 17:51:10-05

SALT LAKE CITY – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made changes regarding those who they will consider hiring to teach in their Seminary and Institute of Religion programs, and women who have children in the home and individuals who are divorced are no longer prohibited from teaching.

Seminary and Institute of Religion programs offer religious education in the LDS Church’s doctrine to young adults and college students, and many high school students in Utah elect to take release time from school to attend a seminary class.

LDS Church Spokeswoman Jessica Moody confirmed the change to FOX 13 News Friday and included text describing the policy change that she said was provided to employees. The text is reproduced in its entirety below.

“Seminaries and Institutes of Religion programs exist to help students follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. To do this, the Church hires the best teachers from around the world to represent the standards they teach.

We have adjusted hiring policies to allow mothers with children in the home to be hired. This change makes it possible for families to decide what best meets their needs as it relates to mothers working while raising children. This policy is consistent with other Church departments.

Additionally, members who have been previously divorced and are living Church standards may be considered to be hired in the Church’s educational system.

Families are central to society and we encourage members to make the best decision for their individual circumstances.”

The LDS Church launched the seminary program at Granite High School in Salt Lake City in 1912, and according to lds.org there are more than 700,000 students in Seminary and Institute programs spread across 143 different countries.

According to a report from the LDS Church compiled in 2013, between 2011 and 2012 there were 204,684 students enrolled in Seminary in the United States, and there were 126,176 students enrolled in Seminary who were doing so during released-time. Click here for a PDF of the report: 2013-annual_report_seminaries_institutes