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  1. I too have felt irritation and discomfort with ‘stay on the covenant path.” Thanks for putting words and explanation to my feelings. The irritation for me is the underlying formulaic understanding of that phrase, that it is about the ‘do’ rather than the ‘become.’ I still don’t like the phrase and would not use it.
    I always enjoy both of your thinking and expression. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, CLH.

      In retrospection on this podcast, my sense is that we’ve only talked about half of it. I think there is a dark side of the Covenant Path, where one enters into a “covenant” without full knowledge of what the covenant entails, and then, later, must make cascading covenants to continue to be faithful to the original covenant. This becomes a kind of psychological entrapment.

      When a person enters the temple, there is little to no prior education as to what kind of covenants s/he is going to be making. These covenants include obedience (without limit), sacrifice of life in defending the church, and giving/consecrating all that one has to the Church. Additionally, one is placed under covenant not to disclose these covenants to others (or at least, the tokens and signs of said covenants), thus making it impossible for someone to discuss before hand the significance of their commitment, and the, afterwards, to contemplate the extent to this commitment with anyone.

      Then, later in life, a person is asked to do something by a church leader. It could be a calling, or it could be supporting a political proposition. IF that calling or proposition goes against one’s better judgment, the church leader can, by virtue of the covenants made in the temple, remind the person that they are under covenant to obey, sacrifice, and consecrate all that they have to the Church.

      This happened in the case of Proposition 8 in California. Church leaders specifically invoked language that echoed LDS covenants regarding the Law of Consecration: “We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman.” Endowed members of the Church were thus required by their prior covenant to support this political proposition. It didn’t matter whether the individual member supported the proposition — once under covenant, the terms and conditions of the covenant apply.

      I believe we can, as members of the Church, apply the teachings of the leaders in a way that doesn’t entrap or bind people to that which they do not understand. But it is difficult, because there are so many messages that bind us to what Gordon B Hinckley called “uncompromising loyalty” to the Church and its leaders. (GBH:”Loyalty”, April, 2003).

      Our goal can be here to find a way to make these teachings make sense in a more universalizing, mature faith; but I do think it’s extremely difficult.

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