REL 130: Missionary Preparation
Note: This course code has changed from FDREL 130 to REL 130. You may occasionally see references to the old course code or title.
The purpose of this course is to serve as a sturdy bridge from your time here at BYU-Idaho, to the time you will spend at a missionary training center in preparation to serve the people of your respective missions. As such, great efforts have been undertaken to ensure that the daily activities that you do in the MTC will have a familiar air to them because they have been a staple portion of this class. In order to accomplish this the course has intertwined the Missionary Preparation manual, Preach My Gospel, and the Pre-MTC Training Checklist to enable you to become more prepared for your experiences at the MTC and to hit the ground running as a missionary.
The course curriculum and learning activities consist of the following:
- Study from Missionary Preparation Manual and Preach My Gospel.
- Pre-MTC Training Checklist:
- Identifying and recording in a study journal personal testimony building experiences relative to the 13 missionary lessons that will be taught by prospective missionaries in the course (for example: How I came to know Joseph Smith was a prophet, How I learned the Book of Mormon was true, How feeling the power of the Atonement has affected my life, etc.).
- Studying and preparing, with a companion, the 13 missionary lessons from Preach My Gospel.
- Reading or rereading the Book of Mormon.
- Watching and recording insights about seasons 1 and 2 of The District.
- Participating in online discussion forums called "District Meetings".
- Participating in Companionship Study Preparation activities and companionship study (you will be put into a companionship at the end of Week 02, so you will just do personal study during Week 01 and Week 02).
This is an intensive and demanding class that will require your whole heart and soul, and is meant to be an introduction to the rigors of study and preparation you will experience at the MTC. It will also be a spiritually enlightening, edifying, and testimony building experience that will require upwards of 12-16 hours of effort each week (this is consistent with the university expectation of a two-credit, block course).
As a prospective missionary in REL 130, you will:
- Learn gospel teaching and gospel studying related insights from missionaries, returned missionaries, new members, companions, district members, instructors, and through personal study.
- Gain a firmer testimony of the principles contained in the scriptures, Preach My Gospel, and the missionary lessons.
- Learn to empathize with your companion(s) and with prospective investigators.
- Complete the pre-MTC Training Checklist:
- Read or reread the Book of Mormon
- Watch The District, record impressions, and implement principles of teaching and testifying excellence
- Prepare 7 (3-5 minute) missionary lessons found in Preach My Gospel
- Identify personal testimony building experiences, or work to have these experiences, relative to each of the missionary lessons you will prepare and teach this semester
- Identify personally meaningful scriptures relative to the 7 missionary lessons you will plan, prepare, and teach this semester
- Regularly meet and study with your companion using your missionary study journals
- Receive and dispense instruction-related feedback to both your companion and district members
- Seek to recognize how God has played a part in your life, and the lives of non-members, in leading His children back to His presence
- Become a more devoted disciple-leader by regularly assessing your progress in developing and implementing Christlike attributes in your interactions with your companion(s) and the people you teach
- Become a more powerful gospel teacher, testifier, and disciple of Jesus Christ by implementing feedback from your companion(s), district members, and instructors
- Become accustomed to sharing your thoughts, feelings, and testimony of the gospel with other people
- Become accustomed to studying, planning, and teaching with your companion(s)
- Become more prepared for entrance into the MTC with its associated rigors (for example: studying, planning, preparing, teaching, and learning)
- Begin to become the type of missionary described by Elder David A. Bednar in his October 2005 General Conference address: Becoming a Missionary
- The scriptures
- Missionary Preparation Student Manual
- Preach My Gospel (online PDF version also available)
- True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (online PDF version also available)
- A webcam and Zoom. During Week 03, you will be assigned into a companionship and will use video conferencing to meet, study with, and teach your assigned companion.
- A study journal (replete with dividers and tabs for studying the gospel by topic and for recording impressions and insights)
|Letter Grade||Percentage Range|
|A||100% – 93%|
|A-||92% – 90%|
|B+||89% – 87%|
|B||86% – 83%|
|B-||82% – 80%|
|C+||79% – 77%|
|C||76% – 73%|
|C-||72% – 70%|
|D+||69% – 67%|
|D||66% – 63%|
|D-||62% – 60%|
|F||59% – 00%|
Your grade will consist of the following:
|Book of Mormon Reading||20%|
Under each category, there will be a variety of activities that will need to be completed. Read the instructions carefully for maximum impact and greatest effectiveness.
Important Points for Consideration
It is imperative that you take personal responsibility for your own learning. If you do, you will be empowered and enabled to become a powerful missionary in the Lord's service. It is cliché, but true to life that grades are not given in this course, they are earned. The instructor is not responsible for giving you a grade, you will earn your final grade based upon your personal diligence. That being said, all of you are capable of receiving an A, and I hope that you do. I want to help you succeed because I care about each of you and desire your success. Please contact me if you are experiencing trouble so that we can make arrangements for you to successfully complete your assignments. Late assignments can be submitted at any point. However, they will lose 2% of the possible points per day that they are late unless previous arrangements have been made with me. As always, I am here to help and want to see you succeed. Additionally, extra credit may or may not be given, but this is up to my discretion. In the event it is given, it will be minimal (only 2% of the total grade) as it is not meant to replace your personal diligence.
How to Be Successful in this Course
The keys to being successful in this course are:
- Being proactive and not waiting until your companion contacts you, but contacting him/her and being active in the District Meeting discussions. To not do so will ensure failure in the course as 80% of your grade hinges upon these two types of learning activities.
- Completing all assignments. This class is repetitious in order to allow you to get into the same type of routine you might expect when you serve and study in the MTC.
- Reading announcements and reading and responding to emails from your instructor. This will help you keep abreast of any changes or updates.
- Asking for clarification if there is confusion about an assignment.
- Being diligent. This course is about learning and about diligence. The more diligent you are, the more you will learn, and the more your testimony will grow.
How to Be Unsuccessful in this Course
The keys to being unsuccessful in this course:
- Being passive and not doing any of the District Meeting and/or Companionship Study learning activities unless your companion contacts you, and not being active in the District Meeting discussions.
- Losing focus and energy and letting a whole week pass by before engaging in the course. This will ensure losing whole letter grades.
- Not reading announcements or emails from your instructor.
- Not asking for clarification when unsure about assignments. This will ensure confusion, frustration, and failure.
With that stated, "you are preparing to accept a God-given responsibility. The work you will do as a missionary will be in fulfillment of the Savior's commission to 'teach all nations' (Matthew 28:19). Your purpose as a missionary is to 'invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end'" (MPSM  , p. iv).
Elder M. Russell Ballard stated: "What we need now is the greatest generation of missionaries in the history of the Church. We need worthy, qualified, spiritually energized missionaries who, like Helaman's 2,000 stripling warriors, are 'exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity and who are 'true at all times in whatsoever thing they [are] entrusted' (Alma 53:20)" (in Conference Report, Oct. 2002, 50-51; or Ensign, Nov. 2002, 47).
Beginning with Week 03, you will be paired with a companion as part of a district. You and your companion will study together and teach each other in companionship study through Zoom. You will also participate in online district meeting discussions. Remember that learning to share your testimony, love others, and work together is an extremely valuable part of your mission preparation experience.
My hope is that you will enjoy your time in this course preparing to serve a full-time honorable mission and learning to love others as Heavenly Father and the Savior love them.
The time you spend as a missionary will bless others' lives, and you will count it a privilege. You will come to realize the truthfulness of King Mosiah's words when he spoke to the Nephites:
21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?" (Mosiah 2:21-24)
You will need to have reliable access to a computer with internet access.
Zoom for Companionship Study: Please be proactive when it is time to meet as a companionship. Be responsive to email and text communication from your companion.
Technology Skills: You will need to learn how to use I-Learn, BYU-Idaho's online learning management system. You will be accessing the preparation activities, reading material, videos, and assignments through this system.
Overview of the Course
For the sake of convenience, the names of some of the manuals have been shortened. For instance:
- Missionary Preparation Student Manual is referred to as MPSM .
- Preach My Gospel is simply referred to as PMG.
Below is a brief overview of the activities in this course:
This is a survey found on p.126 of PMG. You will use it throughout your mission to regularly assess your development of Christlike attributes. You will take this survey three times during our course. Once at the beginning of the course, once more at the midpoint, and one last time at the course's conclusion.
Personal Study will help you prepare for interactions with your companion, your district, and our full class. It will also help you ponder and learn from those interactions after they occur. Personal Study includes six components:
- Study: You will have a daily study assignment from MPSM, True to the Faith, and select portions of PMG.
- Study Journal: You need to purchase a study journal. You will use this journal to record personally meaningful spiritual experiences and scripture references. Keeping this journal will help you effectively teach others and testify of the gospel principles found in chapter 3 of PMG. Ideally, this should be a three-ringed binder with loose-leaf paper, dividers and tabs.
- Journal Reflection: You will be asked to watch The District: Series One and The District: Series Two (BYUtv's version) and then be asked to reflectively write responses to questions about these episodes. Watching The District will satisfy part of your Pre-MTC Training Checklist.
- Book of Mormon Reading: You will also be asked to read or reread the Book of Mormon in its entirety through the course of this class. This also will satisfy a portion of your Pre-MTC Training Checklist. This will entail reading 20 chapters per week in a full semester, or 40 chapters (about 6.5 chapters/day) in the block class. If you have read the Book of Mormon previously, that is great, but it will not count towards receiving credit in this class.
- District Meeting Discussion: You will regularly communicate online with your district. In asynchronous discussions you will watch videos from the REL 130 manual and also videos about new members sharing their experiences when they were investigators first hearing about various principles from the missionary lessons (for example: The First Vision, The Word of Wisdom, Praying Often, etc.). This will help you gain an appreciation for how Heavenly Father is working in the lives of investigators.
This folder includes assignments that will help you prepare not only for companionship study but also for the teaching you and your companion will do in each class.
Companionship Study Preparation
You'll prepare for Companionship Study in 3 ways:
- Study: You will study select portions of PMG.
- Personal Experiences & Meaningful Scripture Activities: You will record your personal conversion experiences and personally meaningful scriptures in your study journal. This will help you identify how Heavenly Father has worked in your life. If you have not had personal testimony-building experiences with a particular missionary principle, it will give you the opportunity to study, pray, and actively work to have that spiritual confirmation.
- Lesson Plan: You will be asked to create a lesson plan in your study journal on the topic being studied that week in the PMG manual. Your lesson plan should include a personal experience and a meaningful scripture. In your companionship study you will teach your companion the lesson you prepared. This will give you practice preparing lesson plans and teaching gospel principles.
Companionship Study is a time for you to study and share gospel insights with an assigned companion. This form of study will help you learn to articulately express your testimony and your feelings about the gospel. This will be a time where you share a 3–5 minute lesson with your companion. Your companion will give you feedback and then you will switch roles with your companion. Companionship study will help you learn to give and receive feedback effectively.
- Teaching and Testimony Videos: You will discuss videos of returned missionaries teaching new members—who are acting as investigators—based on their experiences as real investigators. The returned missionaries will provide models of teaching for you to comment on and learn from. You will also see interviews of new members as they recall how they felt upon hearing of important gospel subjects such as the First Vision, the Book of Mormon, personal prayer, and attending church meetings. These videos will help you learn from their conversions, identify concerns that they had as they first listened to the gospel, and also ways in which Heavenly Father reached out to them in their lives.
- Teaching: You and your companion will teach each other principles from Preach My Gospel. You will share your personal conversion experiences and meaningful scriptures with each other as you teach each other a 3-5 minute lesson at the end of Companionship Study. Please consider the following example of teaching by two former members of this course in this brief video.
- Companionship Inventory: At the end of Companionship Study, you and your companion will reflect on the things you learned and provide feedback to one another. You will summarize and report on this in your weekly accountability quiz.
Each week you will report on what activities you completed in each category.
Students with Disabilities
In compliance with applicable disability law, qualified students with a disability may be entitled to reasonable accommodation. It is the student's responsibility to disclose to the teacher any special need he/she may have before the end of the first week of class.
Sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and any other sex crimes are not tolerated at BYU-Idaho on or off campus. Sexual harassment and sexual assault refers to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment and sexual assault may include 1) unwelcome sexual advances, 2) requests for sexual favors, and 3) other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may also include denying or limiting, on the basis of sex, the student's ability to participate in or receive benefits, services, or opportunities in university programs. Sexual violence is defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. This may include 1) rape, 2) sexual assault, 3) sexual battery, and 4) sexual coercion. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX. BYU-Idaho's policy against sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking extends not only to employment situations but to academic situations as well. If a student becomes aware of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or needs assistance or information related to these allegations they should contact the Student Honor Office at 208-496-9300, Kimball Building Room 270; Dean of Students Office at 208-496-9200, Kimball Building Room 290; or Human Resources at 208-496-1700, Kimball Building Room 240. Victims of a sex crime, violence, or stalking should contact the police where the crime occurred.
Please be sure to complete the syllabus quiz to assess your understanding of the course requirements and standards.