LDS mothers with children at home are now entitled to work full time as teachers in the Church Seminar and Institute Program.
The policy change was presented to the staff on Friday, says Chad Webb, the administrator of the LDS religious department, the Seminar and the Institute. It quickly generated sorrow and excitement among women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"We have previously had no women employees who have young children at home, given their important role as mothers," said Webb. "While we continue to acknowledge the contribution they make in their homes, we also realize that sometimes their personal relationships are such that family situations require them to 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 considered for years now and was discussed with church leaders with higher rank in charge of Church 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 have happened in the church. In the last 25 months, the Church has, among other things, reduced the age at which women can earn full-time mission, created new leadership positions for missionaries, enabled women to pray at general conferences and made the general meeting of the quarters a part of general conferences.
Morgan has known Webb and other members of the administration of the Seminar and Institute for 15 years. She confirmed that they have talked about and considered the policy during 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 has also known teachers who marry, as she eventually hopes to do, and then had children and had to leave the Seminar and the 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 why Morgan, who obtained a master's and master's degree at BYU, completed a Ph.D. at Utah State University when she taught in church history at BYU after teaching at the Seminar 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 separate members unsuitable for a full-time employee appointment. Now, those who marry after a divorce can come for a job.
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