In the October 2011 general conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminded Saints around the world of the importance of making and keeping sacred covenants. “One of the most important concepts of revealed religion is that of a sacred covenant,” he said. “A covenant … is a sacred promise with God. He fixes the terms. Each person may choose to accept those terms. If one accepts the terms of the covenant and obeys God’s law, he or she receives the blessings associated with the covenant.”
Elder Nelson continued, “Through the ages, God has made covenants with His children. His covenants occur throughout the entire plan of salvation and are therefore part of the fulness of His gospel. For example, God promised to send a Savior for His children, asking in turn for their obedience to His law.”
Men and women in both the Old World of the Bible and the New World of the Book of Mormon were covenant children of Heavenly Father, Elder Nelson said. He also spoke of the importance of the Abrahamic covenant, baptismal covenants, and temple covenants.
He concluded, “When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us. His law is written in our hearts. He is our God and we are His people. Committed children of the covenant remain steadfast, even in the midst of adversity. When that doctrine is deeply implanted in our hearts, even the sting of death is soothed and our spiritual stamina is strengthened.”
Over the years, other prophets and apostles have also spoken of the importance of making and keeping covenants. Here are two examples of their counsel:
The Crucial Test
“Latter-day Saints are a covenant people. From the day of baptism through the spiritual milestones of our lives, we make promises with God and He makes promises with us,” said President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency. “He always keeps His promises offered through His authorized servants, but it is the crucial test of our lives to see if we will make and keep our covenants with Him.” President Eyring gave this message at the October 1996 general conference, while serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
President Eyring promised blessings when we remember to keep our covenants. He said, “Every member has made the covenant in the waters of baptism to be a witness for God. Every member has made a covenant to do works of kindness as the Savior would do. So any call to bear witness and to care for others is not a request for extra service; it is a blessing designed by a loving Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. They have provided such calls as well as other settings, sometimes without a formal call, all for the same purpose. Each is a chance to prove what blessings flow from being a covenant people, and each is an opportunity for which you agreed to be accountable.”
Be Exactly Obedient
“Divine covenants make strong Christians. I urge each one to qualify for and receive all the priesthood ordinances you can and then faithfully keep the promises you have made by covenant. In times of distress, let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact. Then you can ask in faith, nothing wavering, according to your need, and God will answer. He will sustain you as you work and watch. In His own time and way He will stretch forth His hand to you, saying, ‘Here am I,’” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in an address given in an April 2009 general conference.