Three Covenants

One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon is for us to “know the covenants of the Lord” (Title Page).

The Savior emphasized three of those covenants during His visit to the American continent, following His death and resurrection:

  1. Israel will be gathered: “Then will I gather them in from the four quarters of the earth; and then will I fulfil the covenant which the Father hath made unto all the people of the house of Israel” (3 Nephi 16:5).
  2. The children of Israel will bless everyone else: “Ye are the children of the prophets; and ye are of the house of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed” (3 Nephi 20:25).
  3. Family relationships will be strengthened: [quoting Malachi] “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (3 Nephi 25:5-6).

On April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple, three heavenly visitors commissioned Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to direct the work of fulfilling these covenants.

  1. Moses, who had anciently led the children of Israel out of captivity in Egypt, “committed unto [them] the keys of the gathering of Israel” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:11).
  2. Elias, who prepared the way for the Savior’s coming to the earth, “committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:12).
  3. Elijah, who called down fire from heaven and traveled to heaven in a whirlwind, gave them power to turn the hearts of fathers and children to each other, saying, “The time has fully come which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:14-15).

These three covenants are interconnected: As we work to gather Israel, we bless and lift other people as well. As we connect with our ancestors, we find that we are connected to an increasing number of people. Our sense of family becomes more open-ended and less exclusive.

We often associate the first and second of these covenants with sharing the gospel and the third with temple and family history work. But President Russell M. Nelson has emphasized the interconnectedness of these efforts:

Anytime we do anything that helps anyone—on either side of the veil—to make and keep their covenants with God, we are helping to gather Israel.

Let God Prevail,” General Conference, October 2020

Today, I will do my part to contribute to the fulfillment of these three covenants. I will find specific ways to help people make and keep covenants with God, to bless everyone in my circles of influence, and to strengthen family relationships.

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