“This is revelation,” said Elder Kim B. Clark, General Authority and Commissioner of Church Education. “This is the Lord moving us to a position to educate and develop the rising generation in a more powerful way than we have ever done before.”
For the past 10 years, Richard Dowse has been teaching released-time seminary in Utah County. Whether he is teaching about families, studying the scriptures, or helping students work through a question, he hopes his classroom is a place for students to feel the Spirit as they learn about the gospel.
“Our youth are trying to make sense of things and want to know what to do,” he said. “They want to believe and are looking for understanding to anchor themselves to.”
Often in his classes, Brother Dowse, who will teach at the American Fork High School Seminary this fall, has questions from students about a variety of topics. Although he has addressed questions and concerns many times in the past, this school year will be different, he says, with the addition of Doctrinal Mastery added to the seminary curriculum.
“[The students] need it so much,” said Brother Dowse. “They can’t be passive about their beliefs anymore. And we need to help empower them to find answers for themselves so they are solid in their identity and are able to explain and teach the doctrine to others.”
Brother Dowse is one of the more than 50,000 seminary instructors from 150 countries around the world who listened in—both in the Conference Center Little Theater and by broadcast—as Church leaders and Church Educational System administrators explained the new initiative as part of the 2016 Seminaries and Institutes Annual Training Broadcast on June 14.