Covenants and Ordinances

(Adapted from an October 1991 general conference address. See Ensign, November 1991, pages 44–45.)
And this shall be our covenant—that we will walk in all the ordinances of the Lord (D&C 136:4).

My dear young friends, I want to assure you that Father in Heaven loves you. He knows you by name. And He loves you so much that He is waiting for you. He wants you to come back to Him.

In order to come back, we need to love and have faith in Jesus Christ. He said something very important to all of us: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Now, that’s a very, very important thing to know. No one comes back without His help. There are three essential things we must do to go back to His presence.

First, He said to each of us, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). So, we love Him by keeping His commandments. And He loves us by helping us come back. Now, that’s an agreement between Him and us. It’s a very sacred agreement. In His church this agreement is called a covenant.

Remember your baptism? You first agreed to have faith in Him, repent of your sins, and live a good, righteous life. And He agreed to help you come back. That was the agreement; that was the covenant you both made.

Second, you then had to make the agreement official—just as you do when you write down an agreement on paper and sign it. When you want to make an agreement with the Lord official, you don’t sign a document—you perform an ordinance. Ordinances are also very sacred in His church.

Third, after the covenant, or agreement, is made, and after the ordinance is performed, there is another important thing to do: You must live up to the agreement or covenant. This step is also very sacred. What good will a covenant do, or an ordinance, if you don’t live up to it?

The first covenant and ordinance the Lord requires is baptism. Baptism puts us on the starting line of that road that will take us back to His presence. As we walk along this road, there are other covenants we must accept and other ordinances we must receive, like receiving the priesthood and going to the temple. But remember that, for each one of them, we must live up to each new covenant we make.

Let’s review together the three essential things you and I must do to go back to His presence: (1) We must accept covenants. (2) We must receive ordinances. (3) We must live up to the covenants we agree to keep.

My dear young friends, I love you and am very proud of your efforts to be wonderful children of God.

[illustration] Painting by Del Parson