Walk in the Ordinances

As Brigham Young led thousands of church members into an unknown frontier, he received a revelation teaching them how to organize themselves for the journey. Near the beginning of that revelation is a concise statement encapsulating the standards of behavior expected of this group of travelers:

And this shall be our covenant—that we will walk in all the ordinances of the Lord.

Doctrine and Covenants 136:4

After Moses led the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, his father-in-law, Jethro, gave him some advice about how to lead them toward their promised land: “Thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws,” he said, “and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do” (Exodus 18:20). The people would need to self-govern much better than they had thus far. Their daily decisions would need to be guided by the ordinances and laws which Moses would teach them.

Many years later, Ezekiel prophesied about the latter-day gathering of Israel. Speaking on behalf of the Lord, he said:

I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

Ezekiel 11:19-20

The prophet Nephi urged his people to “keep the performances and ordinances of God” as given by Moses until the coming of the Savior, when they would receive new instructions (2 Nephi 25:30; see also 2 Nephi 32:6.)

After the Savior’s ministry on the American continent, the people “did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God” (4 Nephi 1:12).

An ordinance is “is a sacred, formal act or ceremony performed by the authority of the priesthood,” such as baptism, the sacrament, or eternal marriage. As we receive each ordinance, we make covenants with the Lord. Therefore, to walk in His ordinances can mean that we make decisions which are consistent with the promises we have made to Him.

Last April, in general conference, Elder Timothy J. Dyches taught that good decisions invite God’s light into our lives:

Just as sunlight daily bathes the earth to renew and sustain life, you can daily brighten the light within you when you choose to follow Him—Jesus Christ.

A drop of sunshine is added every time you seek God in prayer; study the scriptures to “hear Him”; act on guidance and revelation from our living prophets; and obey and keep the commandments to “walk in all the ordinances of the Lord.”

Light Cleaveth unto Light” General Conference, April 2021

Later that month, Elder Dyches made the following promise to students at Brigham Young University—Hawaii:

As you continue to obey and keep the commandments and “walk in the ordinances of the Lord,” you will be guided and protected by the Holy Ghost from Satan’s ongoing deception.

“Through Truth, Strength,” BYU-Hawaii Commencement address, 17 April 2021

Today, I will strive to “walk in all the ordinances of the Lord.” I will act in a way that is consistent with the principles I have been taught and with the promises I have made.

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