LDS mothers with children at home are now eligible to work full time as a teacher in the Church's seminary and institute programs.
The policy change was presented to staff on Friday, said Chad Webb, the administrator of the LDS religion department, seminary and institute. It quickly generated buzz and excitement among women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"We have not previously had women employees who have small children at home, given their important role as mothers," Webb said. "While we continue to recognize the contribution that they make in their homes, we also recognize that sometimes their personal circumstances such that the family situation requires that they work."
The church employs more than 2000 full-time seminary and institute teachers around the world.
Full-time salaried seminary teachers who work in areas with large LDS population in Utah and Idaho, where the Church offers seminary classes in buildings adjacent to public high schools in the liberated school hours. More than 400.000 mormonn young people participate in seminar classes around the world, although most are taught outside school hours with 44.000 volunteer teachers serving in Church callings or as missionaries.
Institute program takes care of almost 400.000 young college-age at the Institut around more than 500 colleges and universities around the world.
The first woman to serve as a director of a district of Religion Institute expressed excitement about the policy change.
"It has been a worry that if I ever had children I would have to leave the seminary and institute," says Barbara Morgan, who oversees LDS Institute in Greater Boston Area, including at Harvard and MIT. "This decision is great. I love it. I think it's the right time. I would have been surprised if it had not changed soon. "
"I'm honestly very excited," she added, "No 1 for my future and for other women, and No. 2, I'm really happy for the students, both male and female students, who have the ability to have women with children experienced in establishing families as a teacher in the classroom. "
Webb said the adjustment has been carefully crafted for years now and discussed with church leaders with higher rank in charge of the church's teaching.
He also asked for advice from the women who lead the Church auxiliaries.
"We specifically sought their advice and found that they were united in their feelings that this was the right thing to do," he said. "But in the end it was an employment decision taken by the Administration in seminary and institute."
The decision comes at a time when other changes for women has happened in the church. Over the past 25 months, the church has, among other things, lowered the age at which women can serve full-time missions, created new leadership positions for missionaries, made it possible for women to pray at general conferences and made kvonnornas general meeting to part of the general conferences.
Morgan has known Webb and other members of the administration of the seminary and institute in 15 years. She confirmed that they have talked about and considered the policy for at least this time.
Morgan knows women with children who decided not to go into teacher education because they knew they could not be employed. She knows women who married men who had children from a previous relationship and had to leave the seminary and institute.
She is also known teachers who married, also she eventually hope to do, and then had children and had to leave the seminary and institute.
"I remember thinking when I came into the program from the beginning, that this might not be the right career for me if my husband dies and I have children and I need a job, I'll be trained to do this but not be eligible for a job. "
This is one of the reasons that Morgan, who earned a bachelor's and master's degree at BYU, finished with a Ph.D. at Utah State University where she taught church history at BYU after having taught at the seminary for six years.
Webb said that all this was considerations played a role in the decision.
"These decisions are important, so therefore we have thought of it all a lot. I am glad that the time is right. We recognize and value the important role of mothers and families. We also recognize that many women are amazing teachers and role models for our students. We trust that our teachers will make the right decisions for their own personal and family situation. "...
... Webb said that administrators removed the policy that made the different members unfit for employment as full-time teachers. Now, those who remarried after a divorce be considered for employment.
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