In April 2007, Sister Elaine S. Dalton used an expression which had never appeared in a general conference talk before. Quoting a recent article by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, she said:
Beginning with our baptism, we make covenants as we follow this path to eternal life, and we stay on the path by keeping them….
The promptings of the Holy Ghost will always be sufficient for our needs if we keep to the covenant path. Our path is uphill most days, but the help we receive for the climb is literally divine. We have three members of the Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost—helping us because of the covenants we have made.“Stay on the Path,” General Conference, April 2007, italics added (See Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “What I Wish Every New Member Knew—and Every Longtime Member Remembered,” Ensign, October 2006.)
Two years later, Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke of the importance of “adhering to the covenant path” (“The Power of Covenants,” General Conference, April 2009).
In March 2013, Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, the Primary General President, delivered a talk at Brigham Young University entitled “The Covenant Path.”
Between 2013 and 2017, the term “covenant path” appeared 22 times in general conference talks, 15 times in talks given by women or directed to women. (President Henry B. Eyring used the term twice in a talk entitled “Daughters in the Covenant” in April 2014. President Russell M. Nelson used it in his talk, “A Plea to My Sisters,” in October 2015.)
Then, in his first message as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Nelson said, “To each member of the Church I say: Keep on the covenant path. Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women, and children everywhere” (“A Message from the First Presidency,” 16 January 2018).
Since that time, the term “covenant path” has appeared in general conference talks 137 times (about 23 appearances per conference).
Nephi identified baptism as the entry point for the path to eternal life:
The gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate….2 Nephi 31:18
And he reminds us that entering the path is not enough. We must “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ…and endure to the end” in order to arrive at our final destination: eternal life (2 Nephi 31:20).
Elder D. Todd Christofferson pointed out that God taught this pattern to Adam after he was cast out of the Garden of Eden. Adam asked, “Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water?” and God responded that we must be born again to receive eternal life. Being baptized is an essential part of that process. (See Moses 6:51-68.) Elder Christofferson offered the following explanation:
What is the covenant path? It is the one path that leads to the celestial kingdom of God. We embark upon the path at the gate of baptism and then “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men [the two great commandments] … to the end.” In the course of the covenant path (which, by the way, extends beyond mortality), we receive all the ordinances and covenants pertaining to salvation and exaltation.
Our overarching covenant commitment is to do God’s will “and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us.” Following the principles and commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ day by day is the happiest and most satisfying course in life.“Why the Covenant Path?” General Conference, April 2021
Today, I will remember the importance of continuing along the path I entered when I chose to be baptized. I will remember that God is guiding me on a journey home to Him, and I will progress along that journey as I fulfill the promises I have made to Him.