“Shielded by Covenants,” Ensign, March 2019
My love for wearing the temple garment cannot be fully expressed in words. Though the physical material that the garment is made from is light and barely noticeable once I got used to it, what the garment represents, the blessings that come with it, and the ever-present outward expression of my inner commitment to God—and of my love for God—make wearing it every day a beautiful and spiritual experience. It is peace. It is strength. It is tranquility. It is power. It is holy. It is as much of a blessing in my life as I treat it.
Sometimes people consider the garment as mere underwear or simply a measure of modesty, meant to show them what they can and cannot wear—an arbitrary line of what is decent and indecent. And while proper wearing of the garment certainly does encourage modesty (especially by the world’s standards), the garment of the holy priesthood represents so much more.
I received my own endowment at age 19 in preparation for my temple marriage. And while unfortunate circumstances brought that marriage to an end, I had been faithful to my covenants, and those covenants I had made with the Lord remained. I clung to them and they sustained me. I was not left alone in my trials and I was made stronger for them.
I have received numerous blessings for continuously holding a temple recommend, for properly wearing the garment as instructed, and for keeping the covenants I made in the temple. Though it would be impossible to single out every blessing from this obedience, the most obvious ones I have noticed are the ability to maintain a heavenly perspective and the constant physical reminder to make correct choices even when others around me are not—and even when the choices of others cause me pain.
A lot went wrong in my life during the past 11 years (the lowlights of which include divorce, painful financial struggles, and frustrating career and personal setbacks), but consistently wearing the garment and regularly attending the temple helped me know that there is more to this life than whatever trial I was experiencing at the moment—no matter how difficult or painful each moment was.
Because these two constants helped me stay close to the Spirit, I have been led out of physical danger with internal promptings I chose to follow—and I have also been given a strong sense of hope and an eternal perspective that have guided me through dark points when I didn’t feel like I had the strength to take one more emotional or physical step forward on my journey. This peace continues to sustain me as new challenges and trials arise.
Blessings from the temple that I have experienced range from the day-to-day blessings we sometimes overlook (like inner peace and promptings), to the dramatic, everlasting, and obvious (like being forever sealed to our families). Each individual’s experience is unique and personal—but blessings always come to us in the Lord’s perfect timing when we keep our covenants (see Doctrine and Covenants 82:10). And wearing the garment is an important, personal way of showing the Lord that we remember our covenants.
President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015), President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained one of the blessings we can expect when we wear the garment properly: “The garment represents sacred covenants. It fosters modesty and becomes a shield and protection to the wearer.”1
This shield can protect us from what Nephi called the “fiery darts of the adversary” (1 Nephi 15:24). If we could calculate how many darts Satan throws at us every single day, I imagine the number would be astronomical. We live in a world that actively seeks to destroy what we believe. Inappropriate images and messages surround us everywhere, along with pressure to use harmful substances or break the law of chastity. Even more rampant is the pressure and temptation to argue and to be unkind, either in person or especially online; to mock or belittle others for expressing their opinions or beliefs; or to tease a person for something as small as a grammatical mistake. These spiritual attacks, if heeded, dull our senses and reduce our ability to sense warnings from the Holy Ghost.
The list of “fiery darts” that Satan throws at us is literally endless and always dangerous. Elder Taniela B. Wakolo of the Seventy said, “The many distractions and temptations of life are like ‘ravening wolves.’” So how are we to protect ourselves? Later in that same talk, he added, “I promise that participating in ordinances and honoring the associated covenants will bring you marvelous light and protection in this ever-darkening world.”2
If the “darts” Satan throws at you every day were literal sharp objects that you could both see and feel, would you leave a shield at home? Would you ignore the knowledge of how to defend yourself—or of the path to a place of refuge? Would you put off making or keeping covenants with God when He promised that those covenants would help you be victorious?
The protection the garment gives doesn’t come from any sort of magic in the physical garment itself, as some mistakenly believe. Rather, the promised protection is the protection the Lord provides both physically and spiritually when we keep our covenants and express our faithful commitment to Him every day.
Temple covenants and the garment are not for perfect people. They are meant to help shield and protect imperfect people who are trying their best to become better. People who repent when they fall and keep going forward. People like you and me.
Just as we physically partake of the sacrament every week to remember and renew our baptismal covenants, wearing the garment every day serves as a physical reminder of the covenants we have made in the temple. These are things that we need on our journey to becoming more Christlike.
Beyond divine protection, keeping our covenants and wearing the garment are ways to show God every day how much we love Him and that we will follow His commandments because we love Him—and it is a way for us to receive the numerous blessings God wants to give us. He truly loves us more than we can understand and He wants us to be safe and have the protection that He has promised.
We all fight on a spiritual battlefield every day, whether we realize it or not. Covenants made in the temple and kept in our daily lives will help us win the war against sin and Satan, but it is up to us to prepare—and then to be faithful.
I am so glad for my decision to go to the temple—and for the subsequent decisions I’ve made to keep my covenants. I am blessed every day for my choice and for properly wearing the garment, as I covenanted to do. It keeps me safe. It reminds me of my covenants. And it shows God that I love Him more than the world and that I will do what He asks me to do.