Covenant (Latter Day Saints)

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In the Latter Day Saint movement, a covenant is a promise made between God and a person or a group of people.[1] God sets the conditions of the covenant, and as the conditions are met, he blesses the person who entered into and kept the covenant.[1] If the covenant is violated, blessings are withheld and in some cases a penalty or punishment is inflicted.[1]

Latter Day Saint leaders teach that just as the God of Israel asked the children of Israel to be a covenant people, "a peculiar treasure unto me ... a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation,"[2] today God has asked for a latter-day people who will make and keep covenants with him. All covenants are considered part of the overarching "new and everlasting covenant" of the gospel.[3]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) teaches that one enters a covenant through a ritual or a visible sign.[4] Some leaders have taught that a covenant is always associated with an ordinance.[5] Other leaders have suggested that commandments that include promised blessings for compliance—such as the law of tithing and Word of Wisdom—also constitute covenants.[6]

In the LDS Church, ordinances which are accompanied by covenants include baptism and confirmation;[7] Doctrine and Covenants 20:75–79]</ref> reception of the Melchizedek priesthood;[8] the temple endowment;[9] and celestial marriage.[10] These are known as "saving ordinances" and are a requirement for exaltation. [11]

Officially, partaking of the sacrament is considered by the LDS Church to be a renewal of the covenants made at baptism;[4][12] however, some Latter-day Saint leaders have taught that doing so constitutes a renewal of all covenants a person has made.[13]

Table of covenants associated with saving ordinances[edit]

Saving ordinance Action required Promised blessings
Baptism and
Confirmation
Sincere repentance; take upon the name of Christ; serve Him and keep his commandments; be willing to bear others' burdens, mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort; stand as a witness of Jesus in all times and in all places; always remember Him Sins are forgiven; presence of the Holy Ghost; come forth in first resurrection; receive eternal life
Receiving the Melchizedek priesthood (required for men only) Be faithful to receive the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods; magnify assigned calling Sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of the body; become the son of Moses and Aaron and the seed of Abraham; receives all that God has; exaltation
Endowment Obedience; sacrifice everything for Christ and the church; chastity; consecrate time, talents, and possessions to the building up of the church and the establishment of Zion; keep key words, signs, and tokens learned in the temple confidential Admission into the presence of God; exaltation
Celestial marriage Love spouse with heart, might, mind and strength; keep other commandments Come forth in first resurrection; inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths; name written in Lamb's Book of Life; exaltation; continuation of the seeds forever and ever; godhood; all power

Notes[edit]

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