At important times in our lives, we can strengthen our relationship with God and receive special blessings from Him through covenants. A covenant is a sacred promise between God and His children here on earth. God gives the conditions for the covenant, and He gives us the choice to accept them. As we honor the promises that we have made, we can have complete faith that God will always fulfill His promises to us. The opportunity to have a covenant relationship with God is available to all His children.
For members of the Church, the first covenant we make with God takes place when we are baptized. Covenants are often made through sacred ordinances like baptism. An ordinance is a religious ceremony performed with the authority of God’s priesthood. After baptism, we receive the Holy Spirit through another ordinance. Together, these sacred commitments offer us a fresh start. Our sins are forgiven, and we become members of Jesus Christ’s Church. Keeping covenants with God strengthens us throughout our lives.
When we are baptized, we promise God we will keep His commandments, show love to others, and take Jesus Christ’s name upon us. And if we do these things, God promises to forgive our sins, bless us with His Holy Spirit, and help us return to live with Him forever.
We renew the covenant we make at baptism each Sunday at church as we take the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper (which is similar to Communion, or the Eucharist). This beautiful reminder of our covenant is patterned after the sacrament that Jesus introduced to His Apostles before His death.
Temples are different from the thousands of local church buildings where we hold Sunday worship services and other activities. Temples are unique houses of the Lord and are special, holy places dedicated to God’s most sacred work.
After baptism, adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can make additional covenants with God in the temple that will strengthen their relationship with Him and bring them even greater blessings.
The word endowment means “gift.” In the temple endowment ordinance, adult Church members learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. They also make solemn covenants that include the promise to obey God’s commandments and dedicate everything they have and all that they are to the Lord. In return, they receive blessings such as greater knowledge of God’s plan for our happiness, increased power to follow the example of Jesus, and the opportunity to live forever with God someday.
One of the great joys of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the promise that family ties can continue beyond this earthly life. In the temple, families can be united together for eternity. This special temple marriage is called a “sealing.” During a temple sealing ceremony, a bride and groom kneel across an altar to make covenants with each other and with God. They promise to honor and love one another completely and commit to follow the teachings and example of Jesus. In turn, they are promised that their marriage and their family can endure beyond this life and into eternity.
We believe in a perfectly just and merciful God who would never deny one of His children the blessings of eternal life or an eternal family because of circumstances they can’t control. God has provided a way for us to perform baptisms, endowments, and sealings by proxy for our ancestors who may not have had an opportunity before they died. “Proxy” simply means that someone who is living can act as a substitute on behalf of someone who has died. These sacred ceremonies are performed only in temples. Because life continues after death, we believe our ancestors can choose to accept or reject this offering made in love for them.