What Covenants Do Latter-day Saints Make at Baptism?
Today’s question is “What covenants are made at baptism? Ours and the Lord’s?”
Entering into your own covenant with the Lord is an extraordinary blessing. Some view baptism as simply a rite of passage for children who have turned eight, but God views it as much more. He wants us to remember and live up to our covenants which is why they are renewed each week in partaking of the sacrament. To help us remember, most of the baptismal covenants are reiterated in the sacrament prayers each week. The sacrament prayers can be found in D&C 22:77 and 79. The prayer for the bread is included below.
Our promises to the Lord are highlighted in blue. His promises to us are highlighted in red.
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
A few other scriptural verses add to these covenants.
When Alma the elder, former priest of Noah heard the truth from Abinadi, he repented of his sins and wanted to spread the truth to others. He taught and baptized more than 200 people at the waters of Mormon. Before they made their covenants, Alma made sure they knew what covenants they were making. Again, our covenants are in blue, the Lord’s are in red.
In Mosiah 18:8-10, Alma explains that if the people are “desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death . . . ”
Then, why wouldn’t the people want to be “baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?>/span>”
As a child, I wondered why it seemed like we made so many promises, but the Lord only made one—to give us His Spirit to be with us. President Russell M. Nelson recently added some insight into what the Lord covenants with us when we covenant with Him.
“Once you and I have made a covenant with God, our relationship with Him becomes much closer than before our covenant. Now we are bound together. Because of our covenant with God, He will never tire in His efforts to help us, and we will never exhaust His merciful patience with us. Each of us has a special place in God’s heart. He has high hopes for us.”
President Nelson described a particular, unique, special love the Lord has for us when we enter into a covenant with Him. In Hebrew it is called “hesed” and it has no perfect equivalent in English. Though often translated as lovingkindness, it’s even more than that. “Hesed is a special kind of love and mercy that God feels for and extends to those who have made a covenant with Him. And we reciprocate with hesed for Him.”
The covenant we make with Heavenly Father, therefore, is much more than a promise. It’s a relationship.
“The covenant path is all about our relationship with God—our hesed relationship with Him. When we enter a covenant with God, we have made a covenant with Him who will always keep His word. He will do everything He can, without infringing on our agency, to help us keep ours.
The Lord’s covenant with us is that we may receive everything from Him. We enter “the covenant path at baptism. Then we enter it more completely in the temple.” Our temple covenants are a continuation of our baptismal covenant. Our baptism is where it all begins. He has designed the covenant path for us to receive “thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths” (D&C 132:19). He wants us to receive all things from Him. His promises are beyond comprehension. We are forever in His debt.
The fact that the Lord even wants to enter into covenants with us is evidence of His love for us. He wants to grant us these greater blessings made possible through the covenant relationship.