The Church Executive

Building The Kingdom through Leadership Development



The issue of training programs for LDS Church leaders is one that has not been fully explored. The relationship between a formal educational or training program and reliance upon the powers of inspiration and revelation is not clear. For example, for generations we in the Church have taken pride in the fact that our leaders are not “learned” men in the sense that they have attended schools designed to prepare them for religious work. Indeed, I have heard some sneer at the Protestant clergy and its heavy emphasis upon academic and intellectual preparation. Yet at the same time, training programs in the LDS Church are extensive and seem to be expanding rapidly: seminary has been with us for many years; institutes of religion are proliferating; teachers in the Church school system are encouraged to take advanced degrees (not in religion, however, unless at BYU) and are returned every other summer or so to a campus experience; some missionaries are given language training, and so forth. Yet beyond the statement that “the Lord expects you to learn all you can and then he will inspire you,” the difference between a trained and educated leader and one who is not in meriting inspiration and divine guidance is simply not clear. Does the educated and trained leader have more call upon such help? Does the level of faith possessed by a leader that God will guide and direct make a difference? In recent years there seems to be a tendency to rely more heavily upon formal programs of leadership training. The program carried out by the authors of this book is the first one, to my knowledge, which was planned and carried through outside of the formal Church system.


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