Whether it be good, bad, ugly or somewhere in the middle, just about every person who lives in the state of Utah has an opinion about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
There are those at SLCC who belong to the LDS church and attend regularly; there are also those who do not know more than the two twenty-something year-old missionaries with nametags who knock on their doors a lot. Whatever the opinion is, available at SLCC campuses through the Institute of Religion is the opportunity for all students to learn more of the truth behind “the church” (as many in Utah often call it) so that opinion can turn into knowledge.
According to SLCC student Derek Orr, who serves on a committee at the Taylorsville Institute that is similar to student government, “Unless they fear free food and friendly people” students, members or not, have nothing to worry about when coming to Institute.
As a matter of fact, the Institute is more than just a place where religious learning takes place.
According to Orr, “There is a basketball gym, pool tables, ping pong, air hockey, and we have tournaments going on next semester in basketball, dodgeball, and volleyball.”
In other words, the Institute is an environment where students can have a blast without having to worry about the potential for negative influences like drugs to come to the party. And as mentioned by Orr, there is almost always free food available for students to munch on.
Aside from the fun that can be had at Institute, it is also a place of learning. For those who belong to the LDS Church, going to classes at the Institute gives them a chance for concepts that they learn about in church to be reinforced, while those who are not of the religion, no matter their age, can learn about the beliefs of the faith that roughly half of the state of Utah belongs to from people who are part of it themselves.
Classes are held each day as well as some evening classes at the Jordan, South City and Taylorsville campuses. Like the college, each class has a main subject that is taught. Class subjects range from The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ to the Holy Bible, to more “practical” classes like Marriage Preparation and an Introduction to Family History course among many more.
Much like school, the instructors present material and help students discover how that concept applies to them. Students also have the opportunity to discuss these concepts with each other and learn from their peers. Also, each Institute brings in a person from the community each week who speaks about the role of the faith in their life. Past guests have included people such as Norm Parrish, the men’s basketball coach at SLCC.
Unlike the college, there is no real need to register for a class and there is no grade given. Students can drop in as their schedule allows.
There are a variety of ways to see a schedule for a particular campus. Perhaps the easiest way is to go to lds.org/institutes.
“Institute is a great place to meet new people in a positive environment,” Orr said. “And it’s an opportunity to get away from the stress of school.”