Covenant (Latter Day Saints)
||This article improperly uses one or more religious texts as primary sources without referring to secondary sources that critically analyze them. (December 2010)|
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) encourages its members to make and keep several covenants as a part of the new and everlasting covenant of the gospel. In Latter Day Saint theology, making and keeping covenants is necessary for exaltation.
A covenant is a promise to God whereby He also promises blessings in return. Latter-day Saints believe that making covenants helps in overcoming difficulties in their lives. 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," today God has asked for a latter-day people who will make and keep covenants with Him.
In the LDS Church, there are formal covenants and informal covenants. Formal covenants are limited in number and are always accompanied by the performance of an ordinance. Informal covenants are made without the performance of an ordinance. Typically, formal covenants are made in the presence of other Latter-day Saints, while informal covenants are made privately between a Latter-day Saint and God without the performance of an ordinance. Informal covenants are most commonly referred to simply as commandments.
In the LDS Church, formal covenants include baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost partaking of the sacrament; the oath and covenant of the priesthood; various promises made in the temple endowment; and the temple marriage covenant.
All covenants, both informal and formal, are considered part of the overarching new and everlasting covenant of the gospel. Officially, partaking of the sacrament is considered by the LDS Church to be a renewal of the covenants made at baptism; however, many Latter-day Saints assume that doing so constitutes a renewal of all formal and informal covenants a person has made.
Table of Covenants
|Covenant||Formal or Informal||Action required||Promised blessings|
Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost
|Formal: Baptism by immersion;
Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands
|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|
|Partaking of the sacrament||Formal: Partaking of bread and water (or wine)||Same actions as required for baptism||Same promised blessings as baptism|
|Oath and covenant of the priesthood||Formal: priesthood receiving by the laying on of hands||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|
|Temple Endowment||Formal: performance of temple rituals||Obedience; Sacrifice everything for Christ and His church; chastity; consecrate time, talents, and possessions to the building up of the church; keep key words, signs, and tokens learned in the temple confidential||Admission into the presence of God; exaltation|
|Celestial (temple) marriage||Formal: undergo ceremony in temple||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|
|Tithing||Informal||Pay one-tenth of all income annually to the church||God will open the windows of heaven; rebuke the devourer; land will be delightsome|
|Word of Wisdom health code||Informal||Abstain from tobacco, alcohol, tea, coffee; eat meat sparingly and give thanks for it; eat grain, fruit, vegetables, and herbs||Health in the navel; marrow to the bones; wisdom and great hidden treasures of knowledge; run and not be weary; walk and not faint; destroying angel shall pass by|
|Law of Chastity||Formal||No sexual relations outside of marriage; do not lust after others||Presence of the Holy Ghost; will not be kept out of the church and heaven|
|Keeping Lord's Day holy||Informal||Attend church meetings; partake of the sacrament; rest from labors; pay devotion to God; confess sins; fast; prepare food with singleness of heart; be cheerful; avoid much laughter;||Will be unspotted from sin; fulness of the earth; all living things may be used for food, clothing, and housing|
|New and everlasting covenant||Informal||Keep all the other covenants of the gospel, formal and informal||Exaltation|
- Exodus 19:5-6
- Mosiah 18:8-10, 13; Doctrine and Covenants 20:37; Doctrine and Covenants 39:23
- Doctrine and Covenants 20:75-79
- Doctrine and Covenants 84:33-39
- Doctrine and Covenants 124:39
- Doctrine and Covenants 132:15-20
- Malachi 3:8-10 Doctrine and Covenants 64:23
- Doctrine and Covenants 89
- Doctrine and Covenants 42:23-26; 1 Corinthians 6:9
- Doctrine and Covenants 59:9-20
- Doctrine and Covenants 132:6-14
- Guide to the Scriptures: Sacrament
- "Covenant", lds.org
- Bonnie D. Parkin, "Celebrating Covenants", Ensign, May 1995, p. 78.
- Marion G. Romney, “Gospel Covenants”, Ensign, May 1981, p. 43.
- Joseph Fielding Smith (1954). Doctrines of Salvation, 1:152–66.