Since being invited to write this article, I’ve spent some time considering what covenants means to me. It’s fitting that last month’s topic was on the Restoration, because understanding covenants begins by having an understanding of the Restoration.
My early understanding of the Restoration began during my mission on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Currently, there is a Visitors’ Center, restored homes, sculptures, and groomed paths at the Restoration Site in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. But during my time there the Visitors’ Center was not yet built, and only the sculptures alerted those passing by that the location marked something of significance. I remember the peace I felt when visiting the location, but it would be many years before I would grasp a deeper understanding of what the Restoration and making and keeping covenants means for me.
We enter into covenants through the power of the priesthood. Through the Restoration this is possible. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we know that covenants are important because they demonstrate our commitment to God. For example, our foundational covenant is performed through baptism. This is when we promise to take upon us the name of Christ. We know that each Sunday we can renew this covenant by partaking of the Sacrament. Other covenants can be made in the temple, qualifying us to spending eternal life with Heavenly Father.
Because the priesthood is restored, we can make covenants with God and be deeply affected— we can pledge our commitment to take upon us the name of Christ, family relationships can continue beyond death, and ultimately we can qualify to return to God’s presence. The doctrine of the Restoration and the principles of making and keeping covenants brings me great peace. We are not alone. God’s power is on the Earth today, and through it we can show our willingness to be a disciple of Christ and embrace those tools (covenants) that will qualify us to return to live with Heavenly Father. Though I do not bear the priesthood, I can be affected by its power through the covenants it provides. That is empowering!