“Heirs according to the Covenant,” Ensign, Sept. 1996, 70
Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, observed that Heavenly Father knows and blesses each of us personally. She knows this, she said, “because Heavenly Father has reached His tender hand from the heavens to hold and help me … [and] because I have made promises and covenants that have transformed my life as I’ve kept them” (Ensign, May 1995, 78).
Indeed, one major purpose of covenants is to transform us into the kind of persons our Heavenly Father intends us to be. A covenant is a two-way promise between him and us. He initiates the covenant, sets its terms, promises to bless us (see D&C 82:10; D&C 98:3; D&C 130:20–21), and administers the covenant through his appointed priesthood. We promise to keep the covenant. As we do, the blessings we receive and the effort we expend not only further the Lord’s work, but also help us become more like our Father in Heaven and thus “heirs according to the covenant” (D&C 52:2).
Through making covenants, usually signified by an ordinance, we enter into a sacred relationship with the Father and the Son. For example, by covenanting to keep the commandments and then being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are considered “the children of Christ” (Mosiah 5:5–7; see also Mosiah 18:8–10; Moro. 7:19; Moses 6:64–68). As such, we become “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). By partaking of the sacrament we are reminded of this covenant. We promise always to remember our Savior, Jesus Christ, and we are promised in turn that the Holy Ghost will be with us if we do. The temple ordinances allow us to make further covenants that help us mature spiritually and make it possible for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom.
Having entered into covenants with God, we become emissaries of the gospel to all of Heavenly Father’s children. There are many ways we do this. Key among them is missionary and family history work, along with striving to perfect ourselves and our families through means provided by the Lord. Our great calling is to come unto Christ and to help others do the same. Often that is done simply by being where we should be and doing what we have covenanted to do.
Rosemary Curtis Neider recalls a time, toward the end of a busy month, when her visiting teaching wasn’t done. She was tempted to just make telephone calls, but was prompted to make the visits instead. Sitting in the home of one sister who had limited experience with gospel living, Sister Neider was impressed to read to her about the visit of the Savior to the Nephites. “She concentrated longer than I had ever expected,” Sister Neider said, “and she kept saying, ‘Here, now, put a piece of paper in that page so I can find it again later. Oh, put one there, too.’
“What can I say? I felt the Spirit strongly in her home, and my complex, hurried schedule didn’t matter anymore. I felt gratitude and an increase of strength for many days afterward” (in To Rejoice As Women: Talks from the 1994 Women’s Conference, 1995, 67–68).
As women of covenant, we have every reason to “rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which [we] have made.” For as we keep our covenants, we are promised “a crown of righteousness.” (See D&C 25:13–16.)
Why is it important to make and keep covenants?
What are some covenants that have brought joy to your life?