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Sunday School History

Richard Ballantyne - First LDS Sunday School TeacherRichard Ballantyne, a Scottish convert and former Sunday School teacher in the Relief Presbyterian Church, started the first Sunday School to educate young people in the gospel and the scriptures in Salt Lake City in December 1849. He built a structure that served both as his home and a classroom. Today, a monument on the northeast corner of 100 West and 300 South streets in Salt Lake City commemorates the location of this first Sunday School. The original building was eighteen feet wide and twenty feet long, furnished with wooden benches, and warmed by a stone fireplace. Fifty children attended that first class.

From 1867 to 1971, Sunday School was administered by the Deseret Sunday School Union.  For many years this was an organization separate from the church.  In 1877, Brigham Young instructed bishoprics to attend Sunday School and administer the sacrament to baptized members - this continued until 1980 when the church consolidated the weekday and Sunday meetings into a three hour block with Sacrament Meeting being the only time the sacrament was administered. In 1971 the church changed to a centralized Sunday School administered by the priesthood, and in 1979, a general authority was established as the general president of the Sunday School.

For more history, visit the
Encyclopedia of Mormonism

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