Lately, I have been questioning a phrase that I hear repeated. What does it mean “power of covenants” and what power is it?
I know that a covenant is a promise made between man and God. I made promises to God at my baptism to take His name upon me, always remember Him, and keep his commandments. Then God promises to always allow His Spirit to be with me. I likewise made other covenants to dedicate my time and talents to loving God and loving His children as I entered the temple and God promised me further light and knowledge.
But where is the power? What does that mean? I was reading in the Book of Mormon when after Jesus’s resurrection and ministry to the Jews he appeared to the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. Jesus teaches in 3 Nephi 16:7 “I will remember my covenant unto you…and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fullness of my gospel.” Is the knowledge of the fullness of His gospel power? Is knowledge power? Of course, it is!
I want to tell you about the knowledge of the fullness of His gospel and how it gives me power. Here is a picture of an overview of what I believe.
First, I believe that life did not start with my birth here on earth. I believe that I was created spiritually first. That I am a littoral daughter of a Heavenly Father and Mother who loved me and I loved them. I believe that everyone here on earth shares that birth rite and quite wonderfully we are brothers and sisters. In this pre-earth state, we were taught and we lived peacefully but we were limited in our ability to progress. Our loving parents presented us with a plan to continue to learn with the opportunity to become like them -exalted beautiful parents. We would have to leave their presence and put our spirits in a physical body that would be weak, corruptible, sinful, and sad. But our Father didn’t leave us hopeless. He would devise a plan that would allow our Older Brother, Jesus Christ, to come and live a perfect life and offer himself as a sacrifice so that we could return to live in our Heavenly home once again.
Going to earth, we knew there would be a deep chasm, sin and death, that would prevent us from traveling back to our Father in Heaven. Jesus offered to build the bridge over which we all must cross to return to our Parents presence.
We weren’t all excited about this plan. There were some who rebelled and doubted, in fact they choose not to come to earth and get bodies. I believe that those who choose not to come down became Satan and his spirit followers, doomed forever to never have a physical body and draw on the saving power of Jesus Christ. They became set on trying to destroy all those who choose to follow God’s plan.
The difficulty is that we don’t clearly remember this part of life. As we were born, a veil of forgetfulness was cast over us. Part of this earths test is to see if we will live by faith and learn between good and evil and choose the right. I beg you to quietly reflect on this truth. Sometimes we are trying to understand a play without viewing the beginning act. We are thrown right into the second act of the play and we are left confused, not understanding the full context. The power of this knowledge is it gives us an overview of the play, to see the bigger picture, and not get so caught up in the character and plot developments.
I believe I choose to come to earth to learn how to help my spirit-self and my mortal-self live in harmony. My mortal-self wants to satisfy its cravings, desires, and passions. My spiritual-self wants to love and be enlightened, to sacrifice and serve and reach my full potential. There is a constant war inside myself of choosing to give into this carnal state or to rise above it and learn to master and control my body. This is why I adhere to strict laws about how to treat and take care of the God-given gift of my earthly body. I exercise it, I rest it, I fill it full of healthy food and learn to appreciate the limitations and weakness it contains. I call upon my Savior to help me care for this gift and to learn how to master my own appetites, desires, and passions. I must learn to choose for myself and discern between truth and error and choose the right. I don’t believe the test is a tally the good and bad choices I make but a summation of the direction I am heading and the person that I want to become. How much I know God and how are my words and actions reflecting that knowledge.
After my life on earth is done. I believe my body and spirit separate again. My body is buried here on earth for a season and my spirit enters into a realm of spirits. Death does not change my personality or my desires. If I lived and desired righteousness here on earth my spirit enters into a place of happiness, peace and rest. In the spirit world, there is a separation of those who chose to obey God and those who didn’t. I believe that the gospel is preached to people who didn’t have the opportunity on earth to hear the fullness of the gospel. (1Peter 4:6 and 1Peter 3:19-20) This is one of the most beautiful and perfect parts of the plan of happiness. If every good person on earth chooses the truth here on earth there wouldn’t be a need for faith and we wouldn’t be tested. But the spirit world is the equalizer, everyone gets a chance to be taught the truth and accept it or reject it. Can you see how the gift of agency, the right to choose for ourselves, is woven throughout this whole plan? It was present in the premortal state, it exists on earth and continues after death. What a beautiful gift our Heavenly Parents offer us. This is why we perform baptismal work in temples for our deceased ancestors. They are not automatically baptized into our church but it’s like we hand them an invitation and they can decide if they want to come to the party or not. The spirit world is among us and sometimes the veil between us and them is thin.
When Jesus Christ comes again we will be resurrected. That means our body and our spirit will be reunited in a perfect and glorified state. We will become immortal. Thanks to Jesus’s atonement immortality is a gift given to everyone. Eternal life, living eternally with God, is offered to those who have freed themselves from sin and suffering through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Then we will be brought before our Creator to be judged. We will have a perfect recollection of how we lived. According to our deeds and desires, we will be assigned a kingdom of glory. It won’t be that God assigns us to a glory as we know what we have desired and wanted to become. I love how Elder Oaks explained: “The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become.”25
During our mortal lives we make choices, according to the knowledge that we had, about good and evil. These choices influence which kingdom we may obtain. The first kingdom is compared to the glory of the sun and is the highest place where we live in families and forever with God. It is a Celestial glory.
The second kingdom is compared to the glory of the moon and for people who didn’t accept the fullness of the gospel but lived honorable lives. It is called terrestrial.
Those who continued in their sins and did not repent in this life will be rewarded the telestial kingdom.
This great knowledge is scattered throughout the bible but it is found and taught in its completeness with scriptures modern and ancient working together. And modern revelation. I encourage you to ponder this plan. To really think about it. Ask me any questions that you may have… bur maybe sometime tonight quietly kneel down and ask God if this is truth and let Him reveal it to you.