No term to date has been more associated with the leadership tenure of President Russell M. Nelson than “Covenant Path.” It’s become ubiquitous in his and many other church leader messages, and it now also rolls easily off the tongues in LDS stakes, wards, and other conversations. It’s an intriguing term, yet to date, it seems to Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon and his friend and fellow close church watcher Mark Crego that it hasn’t been explored as widely and deeply as it might. Right now, in its current usage, comes across primarily a goal to be accomplished—”make and keep covenants, and if you stray, return to the covenant path”—with a promised reward at the end: eternal life (with all its inherent meanings when understood in full Latter-day Saint context). In that sort of presentation, walking the covenant path feels very “transactional.” Do this, receive that.
To Dan and Mark, however, the idea of both “covenant(s)” and “path(s)” are very rich concepts, and in this two-part episode they share what they consider to be larger and more ennobling visions of what this simple phrase might mean were we as Godwrestlers and faith journeyers to keep revisiting this term and allow its symbolism and sensibilities to grow along with us as we continue to walk our spiritual paths. Among other things, this episode covers: What are Mormonism’s seven primary covenants that make up the “covenant path”? What is their relationship to each of us individually and our relationship with God, however we define that term, but also (and perhaps even more importantly) as members of a religious or community? What roles do symbols and ritual markers of covenanting play in human lives, and can we allow our understanding of such things to become ever expanding and empowering? As LDS rhetoric about the covenant path is still in its infancy, how might each of us learn to understand it and teach of its richness with far more power than we currently do and see/hear from those around us?
Please listen in! We’d also love your comments and ideas to become part of the ongoing conversations at mormonmatters.org! Please share!
Mark Crego, “The Covenant Path,” paper he wrote and posted in a private FB group in October 2018
“The Living Nature of Mormon Covenants,” Mormon Matters episode, April 2017.
Featuring: Charles Randall Paul, Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, and Joseph Stanford