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Dear Gramps,

I am aware of the counsel given on the importance of attending church institutions. I am currently sending one of my girls to BYU-I. Another daughter graduated in April 2006 and our son who just returned in May 2006 from serving in the Utah, Provo Mission will begin in the Fall of 2006.

The problem that my husband and I are now faced with is that our girls’, and most likely our son’s, potential spouses will be from the Idaho area. It does not look like our girls are coming back home. When I attended my daughter’s graduation in April I noticed the names listed were predominately from Idaho.

My question is two fold. When is the church going to recognize other members outside Idaho and Utah and provide educational institutions elsewhere? Nauvoo possibly?–and–How is it a benefit for us to keep sending our best, brightest, and most faithful youth to the west when they are so desperately needed “back at home” to build the kingdom?

Our strongest members and most talented potential leadership are moving away. Our ward has lost or will lose our top ten-twelve youth to moving west, while our ward continues to struggle in righteous growth and leadership, not to mention that families are being separated and unity disjointed.

I was told there was a General Conference message given on this topic about 10-12 years ago, but I cannot find it anywhere. Evidently the youth at that time were being counseled to attend school locally and build their Institutes and wards at home. I would also appreciate it if you could find this for me. Our Institute program suffers because of this very reason–if our youth would not all go west, we would have an amazing program, but the very few righteous ones that are left do not have much selection to pick from for friendships or marriage candidates. My own children are not opposed to attending elsewhere, but there are few LDS educational options, as well as institutions that promote righteous and moral environments for learning.

I hope I do not sound bitter, as I am grateful for the testimony and character building that has occurred as our children have taken advantage of continued learning in an LDS environment, but enough is enough. There are potential righteous spouses in areas other than Utah and Idaho, not to mention the need for leadership outside this areas. Please help!

Dana

 

Answer

 

Dear Dana,

Do you think that your children are the only ones at BYUI that are not from Idaho? I have had four grandchildren, from California, attending BYUI at the same time. One of them actually married a girl from Idaho, but another one married a young man from San Francisco. My question is, why would you want an Institute program in Nauvoo, when you apparently have one in Salem? Where would your children go to college in order to attend at Institute in Nauvoo? Although there are sixteen universities and colleges in Illinois, how many of them would be near enough to Nauvoo to attract any students? However, there are probably LDS Institutes of Religion in each of those sixteen universities. I taught Institute in Naperville, Illinois, on the outskirts of Chicago, for three years in the early ‘70s. We had 50 students in the class, and there was plenty of opportunity there for young LDS people to form lasting relations with each other. And that was over 30 years ago. So I am sure that there is not a shortage of LDS Institutes of Religion in any of the major universities near to your home in Salem, if your children would opt to go to school in Illinois..

Apparently your children go to BYUI because they want to attend an LDS University. That is a noble goal and has much to commend it. But although the Mormon Church has LDS Institutes of Religion in all the major universities in the United States, it certainly cannot found LDS universities in all locations merely to support local LDS Institutes of Religion. However, the Mormon Church does do all that it can to provide higher education opportunities for LDS students in all parts of the world. For instance, you may have heard of the Perpetual Education Fund that provides financing for college education for LDS students at the colleges of their choice anywhere in the world, with the opportunity to pay back the college loans after they graduate and become gainfully employed.

So you may be a little overly concerned that your children will never return home because they may marry a classmate from Idaho. In today’s society young people graduating from college tend to settle where their employment takes them, rather than to the home town of their spouses.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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