Monday, June 28, 2010


Because my mother could not be out here in Utah for my talk last week in church, i have taken the text of my speech and presented it here. My assigned topic was keeping our covenants.

The Book of Abraham teaches us the purpose of our mortal existence: “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” It is that challenge, our exact obedience to the words of God, which forms the foundation for each covenant we make with God. From the Book of Mosiah we are taught the importance of entering into covenants by the people of King Benjamin as they said, following his great discourse, “And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God.” Benjamin then explains, “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.”

Our salvation comes through the covenants we form with God, and us striving to live up to those promises throughout our lives. It is through these covenants, especially those formed in the sacred ordinances of the temple that we learn how to become like God.

The Doctrine and Covenants teach us “And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh.” Covenants and their associated ordinances are vital to our eternal progression, we simply cannot reach our potential with them.

As we enter these covenants we become key players in battle of Good and Evil. We have upon us a solemn obligation to keep the commandments of God and serve his children. Said Jeffrey Holland:
“The war is on, and we have conspicuously enlisted. And certainly it is a war worth waging. But we are foolish, fatally foolish, if we believe it will be a casual or convenient thing. We are foolish if we think it will demand nothing of us. Indeed, as the chief figure, the great commander in this struggle, Christ has warned us about treating the new testament of his body and his blood trivially. We are told emphatically not to pilfer and profane, prevaricate and fornicate, satiate ourselves in every indulgence or violation that strikes our fancy and then suppose that we are still "pretty darn good soldiers." No, not in this army, not in defending the kingdom of God. More is expected than that. Much more is needed.”

The prophets of old knew what dedication the covenants would require. Nephi learned that lesson as he went back to get the brass plates to fulfill the commandment of the Lord. After having his property taken and life threatened, in order to live up to the Lord’s command, Nephi was required to take Laban’s life, an event that no doubt was a struggle for someone raised by goodly parents. In discussing this Book of Mormon story, Elder Holland comments:
“’I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded’ (1 Nephi 3:7). I confess that I wince a little when I hear that promise quoted so casually among us. Jesus knew what that kind of commitment would entail, and so now does Nephi. And so will a host of others before it is over. That vow took Christ to the cross on Calvary, and it remains at the heart of every Christian covenant. "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded." Well, we shall see.”

Yet despite the refining fires of affliction and trial that surely await all of us who declare our allegiance to God, we can have confidence that because of our covenants, we need not fear abandonment.
From Isaiah we read, Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.

George Q. Cannon adds:
No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character [to do so]. He is an unchangeable being; the same yesterday, the same today, and He will be the same throughout the eternal ages to come. We have found that God. We have made Him our friend by obeying His Gospel; and He will stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them, if we only trust in our God and keep His commandments.

Brothers and sisters, we have taken upon us covenants of eternal consequence. We have promised God, the creator and ruler of the universe, that we will obey him. We have taken upon us the name of Christ as a symbol of our dedication to the kingdom of God as we turn our lives over to the Savior. In return we have been promised guidance, help and support throughout our earthly journey back to our Heavenly Father. We must live up to the covenants and promises we have made. Christ, as our supreme example did so. For the Joy that was set before him, Christ endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. That eternal joy can be ours if we will but put God first in our lives, obey his commandments and keep his covenants.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing, Greg... so glad to get to read the words, you are a talented writer and speaker! But I especially want to thank you for being true and faithful. Your example helps me to stand a little taller and do a little better. I love you!