This is an encore presentation of an important and still very relevant two-part episode first released on 24 April 2017.
Covenanting is a huge feature of Mormon theology and group life. Beginning at age eight with baptism, and extending through the LDS temple endowment and sealing rites, Latter-day Saints are encouraged to make many covenants with God. Sunday services build into the sacrament ritual the chance to “renew” all the covenants one has made. For many Mormons, making and renewing these covenants are among the most sacred events of their lives, inspiring them to try to live up to the ideals for living and learning, and the promises, of each covenant. For other Latter-day Saints, especially those whose faith has shifted in the years following the moments they made covenants, the burden of having covenanted to do something that they are no longer as certain about, or perhaps even now reject, can be crushing. Some feel regret that the “Mormon track” has members make covenants at very young ages, prior to entering typical developmental stages when complexity enters one’s worldview: “If only I’d known what I know now, I would have chosen differently.” Others feel they were under-prepared for the specific covenants they made in the temple, and how when they reached that stage of the endowment they went ahead with making them partly because of family and loved ones who were present and expecting that of them. Mormonism teaches that when things are done through proper priesthood authority, “what is bound on earth is bound in heaven.” How, then, should someone whose journey is taking them into great complexity regarding Mormonism relate to such weighty covenants?
In this episode, Charles Randall Paul, Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, and Joseph Stanford, join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon for a wonderful and intense query into covenanting within Mormonism and whether or not the nature of covenants, or God, has an expectation of personal growth and change that would naturally affect our views and understandings of promises we have made previously. They also discuss what exactly are we “bound” to with regard to our covenants, and several other important aspects of this topic. The panel shares their own experiences and thoughts about their covenanting pasts and their relationships with these covenants now. At every step, they seek to present and celebrate their best thinking and ideas about we humans as covenanters that don’t rely upon our having a static relationship with God and an “etched in stone at the time one covenanted” understanding of this important element of the spiritual life.
Please listen and then share your own thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!