I was curious about why the church pays seminary and institute teachers (at least in Utah, I know they don’t pay every single one) and was thinking if that was paid ministry? Because our church condemns that…I don’t have doubts at all, I just was wondering why. Thanks!
Yes, seminary and institute teachers are by definition “paid” ministry; however, what the Church condemns is not “paid” ministry but the tradition of priestcraft. On the Church’s website you can read the following descriptions defining priestcrafts (Source 1 and Source 2). I am only going to highlight the most important descriptions:
1. When a person/organization sets themselves up as a light to the world to get gain and praise, but do not seek the welfare of Zion (2 Nephi 26:29)
2. Priestcrafts were a reason as to why Christ was crucified (2 Nephi 10:5)
3. The fruit of priestcrafts is pride, as those committing priestcrafts stiffen their necks against Christ and his gospel (2 Nephi 10: 5)
4. Priestcrafts corrupt the mind causing the sons and daughters of God to err/sin (Doctrine and Covenants 33:4)
Seminary and Institute teachers, collectively as hired by the Church, do not have any of the fruits of priestcraft. They are hired to teach and invite all to come unto Christ via faith and repentance. They are not setup by the Church as a “light to the world” to get gain, and they are definitely hired to seek the welfare of Zion. They are hired to help fulfill the whole purpose of the plan of Salvation, Moses 1:39, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
Let’s review one of Christ’s parables that can draw an interesting parallel between seminary/institute teachers and the Church. In our New Testament Christ taught the following parable, The Laborers in the Vineyard,
“For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.” Matthew 20:1-2
In the opening of this parable the householder hired some labourers to work in his vineyard. They were informed of the amount they would receive for their hire (in this parable, a penny). They were to perform the work agreed upon. When the labourers performed the work agreed upon they received the agreed upon wage.
In our Church, the Lord has hired full-time seminary teachers in order to progress the work of the Lord forward. Each labourer (seminary/institute teacher) receives the agreed upon amount for their performed work. The Lord has also hired other full-time employees for training and other work at the Missionary Training Center (MTC). None of these jobs would qualify as priestcrafts.
The Church definitely condemns priestcrafts. The Church however does not condemn “paid” ministry, as the Church will hire labourers in the vineyard to move forward the work of the Lord.