My Covenant Path
“We clung together like monkeys!” How My Covenant Path can bless the lives of new and returning members
When Gina Randall joined the Church in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1969, she was recently divorced with two young children. She had no family support and no friends in the Church. Her new branch was a large one. Coming to church was a daunting experience.
“At first I was very dependent on the missionary who had introduced me to the Church, but as he neared the end of his mission, he realised I needed another friend,” she says. “He introduced me to another, older sister who had been baptised at a similar time as I was.
“We clung together like monkeys!” says Sister Randall. “Just having somebody around when everything seemed new and strange gave me a lot of comfort. She really was my lifeline.”
Now, still an active member 52 years later, “I often wonder if I would have made it if it wasn’t for her,” she says.
Gaining a sense of belonging
President M. Russell Ballard said in April general conference that “the Savior’s invitation to come unto Him is an invitation to all not only to come unto Him but also to belong to His Church.”1
The Mayo Clinic recently noted how important the human concept of ‘belonging’ is. “Nearly every aspect of our lives is organized around belonging to something,” President Ballard quoted the clinic as saying. “We cannot separate the importance of a sense of belonging from our physical and mental health—and, I would add, our spiritual health.”2
The My Covenant Path programme is here to help those who have recently joined or returned to the Church to feel that sense of belonging. Whether you’ve recently entered the baptismal waters or decided to come back to Church after being away for some time, you’re on a new path that will bring you many new experiences. The My Covenant Path programme is designed to help you walk this path so that you stay anchored to your faith in Jesus Christ and feel at home in the Church.
The programme is designed to help you to identify and guide your covenant journey through key experiences. It is intended that you work through the steps with a friend from your ward or branch—usually someone assigned as a ministering brother or sister. This friend will help you to understand what the next important step in your covenant journey is, what you need to do to prepare, and how you can be supported along this process.
Progressing along the covenant path
Some of the key experiences in the programme are as follows:
Making friends with members of your branch or ward
Learning about the Aaronic Priesthood
Receiving a limited-use temple recommend
Helping ancestors receive sacred ordinances
Participating in family home evening
Learning about the Melchizedek Priesthood
Receiving your endowment in the temple
Being sealed to your family
If you are a new member, you can have nearly all of the experiences listed in the guide within one year of your baptism and confirmation. Receiving your endowment and being sealed to your family can happen early in your second year of membership.
If you have been a member longer than a year, you can enjoy all these experiences as soon as you are ready. Perhaps you have already started having some of these experiences; if so, the guide will help you to refine what you are doing now. The order and pace you follow should be based on your individual circumstances, readiness, and desire.
Over the next year, the Liahona Local Pages in the Africa South Area will highlight some of the key experiences available in the My Covenant Path guide.
The role of ministering brothers and sisters
“Your role in helping new or returning members of the Church is simple but very important,” the introduction to My Covenant Path tells those with ministering assignments. “Your most important opportunity is to be their genuine friend. You will also be a mentor and a guide to them during the first two years of membership.
“This resource will help you in this important role. You are asked to read through each experience in the resource individually with new or returning members and assist them in completing the actions. For the actions that begin with ‘Learn about . . .’ you will review and discuss the resources that are listed with the new or returning member. Do all you can to help your new brother or sister feel God’s love, feel your love, and stay on the covenant path.”3
Brother Tracy Watson, from the Missionary Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who is helping to oversee the rollout of the programme, says that your role in building friendship and supporting your new or returning brother or sister can’t be overstated. “The seeds of faith are not able to sprout and grow unless they are growing within the fertile soil of love and friendship,” he said. “There are few people who can stay anchored in the Church without strong bonds of friendship. In order for faith and testimony to grow in a way that eventually leads to the temple, these relationships are absolutely key.”
Thank you for helping to keep that soil fertile, and helping that testimony grow so that the fruits of the gospel can begin to become delicious (see Alma 32:28) to your new brother or sister.