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Observing Covenants Keeps Us Safe

Observing Covenants Keeps Us Safe

Elder David P. Homer, United States
Area Seventy

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Area Seventy

Not long after arriving in the Salt Lake valley, Heber C. Kimball, counselor to President Brigham Young, predicted: “There will be a great sifting time, and many will fall; for…there is a test coming, and who will be able to stand?”[1]  Although he spoke of a time long ago and a place far away, his words are instructive for us today.  With the widening gap between the teachings of the Church and those of the world, how can we, as members of the Church, remain safe and meet the tests of our day?

The scriptures teach that in the ordinances of the priesthood “the power of godliness is manifest.”[2]  Ordinances are powerful.  I remember my baptism and the joy I felt as I joined the Church.  But as powerful as that ordinance was, I have learned that the covenants associated with ordinances can sustain the power of godliness in our lives. 

A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and his people.  All the saving ordinances of the priesthood are accompanied by covenants.  We make a covenant when we are baptized and renew that covenant each time we partake of the sacrament.  Those who receive the Melchizedek Priesthood enter into the oath and covenant of the priesthood.  And the temple endowment and sealing ordinance also include sacred covenants. 

Keeping our covenants will help us avoid things we should not see or do.  Likewise, our covenants help us do good things, even when it is not convenient.  Elder M. Russell Ballard taught this:

“Sometimes we are tempted to let our lives be governed more by convenience than by covenant. It is not always convenient to live gospel standards and stand up for truth and testify of the Restoration. It usually is not convenient to share the gospel with others. It isn’t always convenient to respond to a calling in the Church, especially one that stretches our abilities. Opportunities to serve others in meaningful ways, as we have covenanted to do, rarely come at convenient times. But there is no spiritual power in living by convenience. The power comes as we keep our covenants.”[3]

It was a covenant that strengthened King Josiah in his effort to rid his kingdom from the worship of idols.[4]  It was a covenant that inspired the struggling saints in Winter Quarters to return to Iowa and collect those in the poor camps who were too destitute to follow.  It was a covenant that gave my great grandmother the strength she needed to meet the challenge of her day.[5]

Bertha Marie Hansen lived in Denmark in the early 1880s where she met missionaries from the Church and received a witness of their message.  After her baptism she was disowned by her parents and, with a heavy heart, moved to Copenhagen where she worked to save money to follow the prophet’s call to emigrate to Utah. 

After several years she was able to do so.  With great anticipation she made her way to Utah hoping to be reunited with friends.  Instead, she found herself alone, not able to speak the language.  It would have been easy to become disillusioned, but she did not.  Instead, she held fast to her covenant to follow the prophet’s call to gather and pressed forward.  I will always be grateful she did because she left our family a legacy of faith that blesses us to this day.

President Kimball was right.  The widening gap between the teachings of the Church and those of the world is a test that can make it difficult for us, as members of the Church, to remain safe from the evils of our day.  But, Heavenly Father has not left us without help.  He has given us ordinances and covenants which, when remembered, will keep us safe and help us meet the challenges that come our way. 

 


[1] As quoted by Elder Edward Stevenson in Life of Heber C. Kimball, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, Utah, page 446.

[2] See Doctrine and Covenants 84:20.

[3] Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Like a Flame Unquenchable,” Ensign, May 1999.

[4] See 2 Kgs. 22:1–13; 2 Kgs. 23:1–3; 2 Chr. 34:1–2, 8, 14–21, 29–33.

[5] The Young Family, Dorothy Marie Young Folk, page 293.