~ by Brenda
Some may wonder: How do LDS young adults who don’t attend BYU maintain their faith and values at other schools around the world?
They attend institute!
What is Institute? Here is a fun video that explains just that. Institute is a combination of weekly religious instruction and social activities provided for young adults ages 18-30. There are often times Institute buildings that are located directly adjacent to many of the major US colleges and Universities. Where an Institute Building is not present, religious instruction will take place in our congregational buildings. Even outside of the US, Institute programs are providing social and learning opportunities to young adults worldwide.
After graduating from BYU I moved to Salt Lake City for a job. The apartment building I lived in was within the ward boundaries of a young single adult ward that held worship services at the Institute buildings on the University of Utah campus. My ward (congregation) consisted of young adults who were attending courses at the University of Utah, graduates, post-graduates and working professionals like myself. It was very fun ward and I made friends easily after moving. After graduating from BYU I wanted to continue my religious instruction so I enrolled in the Institute courses at the U of U and took classes at night after work. I enjoyed my Institute classes at the University of Utah just as much as the religion courses I took at BYU.
Young single adult wards and Institute courses are available worldwide, but are typically centered around Colleges and Universities. Using the Institute locator website I found that there are 95 different Institute programs in California, 19 in New York state, 16 in Samoa and 9 in the Democratic Republic of Congo!
Here is a sampling of answers about Institute that I found at the FAQ page about Institutes at LDS.org
What is Institute?
With a worldwide enrollment of 350,000 students in over 2,500 locations, there is an institute near you. Institute is a safe haven from the pressures, trials, and challenges of the world. Institute is concerned with education for eternity and provides an opportunity for students to be touched and nurtured by the spirit through classes and activities.
Who Can Attend?
Institutes of religion provide weekday religious instruction for single and married postsecondary students. Married students and young single adults 18-30 are also welcome to attend. Adult religion classes are available for those over 30. A variety of free distance-learning classes, including religion courses are also available.
How Do I Participate?
Just walk into the institute building. A friendly face or two will welcome you and tell you about the classes being taught and the activities that are planned. If you’re not sure where your local institute class meets, Find an Institute.
The young adult wards and the Institute programs offered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offer a safety net of faith and friendship to members of our faith ages 18-30 worldwide. You don’t have to be a member of the LDS church to attend Institute, in fact here is an invitation from our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson.
“If you are a single college student, I ask you to make participation in institute a priority. Married students and other young adults are also welcome and encouraged to attend. 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 to receive direction of the Holy Ghost in all you do will be increased. Divine favor will attend those who humbly seek it. That is a promise which I leave with you.”
I want to share one last (super cheesy) video with you entitled “I’ve gotta get to Institute“