Why is it Called New and Everlasting? It is called a NEW covenant because it has been restored to the earth during this dispensation. Each time it is restored in a dispensation it is new to that dispensation. It is EVERLASTING because it was revealed by God, who is Everlasting, and the blessings of the covenant are everlastingly the same. That is, anyone who lives the covenant, in any age, will receive the same promised blessings. A COVENANT is an agreement between God and man, wherein God sets the terms which man is free to accept or reject. As ordained by God, marriage is a covenant not a contract.
What is the New and Everlasting Covenant? The gospel referred to as the new and everlasting covenant. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said that “All covenants between God and man are part of the new and everlasting covenant… celestial marriage is a new and an everlasting covenant” ( MD, 530).
“Marriage, the most important event between birth and death, is a determining condition of life’s happiness. Therefore, it should be entered into with the greatest of care.” Elder John A. Widtsoe “Except a man and his wife enter into an everlasting covenant and be married for eternity, while in this probation, by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, they will cease to increase when they die….But those who are married by the power and authority of the Priesthood in this life….will continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory.” Joseph Smith, HC, 5:391
Old Testament?Not really! New Testament?What we do have is not good! Book of Mormon?Basically silent! Doctrine & Covenants?Oh yes!!!! D&C 131:1-6 D&C 132:4-7 D&C 132:14-19 “Three Case Studies from the Lord”
“The Prophet Joseph Smith declared– and he never taught a more comforting doctrine– that the eternal sealing's of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or in the life to come, they will return.” Joseph Smith (1805-1844)
They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God’ (Orson F. Whitney, C.R., Apr. 1929, 110).
Brigham Young (1801-1877) “Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang” (quoted in Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954- 56], 2:90-91).
Lorenzo Snow (1814-1901) “If you succeed in passing through these trials and afflictions and receive a resurrection, you will, by the power of the Priesthood, work and labor, as the Son of God has, until you get all your sons and daughters in the path of exaltation and glory. This is just as sure as the sun rose this morning over yonder mountains. Therefore, mourn not because all your sons and daughters do not follow in the path that you have marked out to them, or give heed to your counsels. Inasmuch as we succeed in securing eternal glory, and stand as saviors, and as kings and priests to our God, we will save our posterity” ( in Collected Discourses, comp. Brian H. Stuy, 5 vols. [1987-92], 3:364).
Boyd K. Packer “The measure of our success as parents.. Will not rest solely on how our children turn out. That judgment would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible. “It is not uncommon for responsible parents to lose one of their children, for a time, to influences over which they have no control. They agonize over rebellious sons or daughters. They are puzzled over why they are so helpless when they have tried so hard to do what they should.
“It is my conviction that those wicked influences one day will be overruled… “We cannot overemphasize the value of temple marriage, the binding ties of the sealing ordinance, and the standards of worthiness required of them. When parents keep the covenants they have made at the altar of the temple, their children will be forever bound to them” (“Our Moral Environment,” Ensign, May 1992, 68).
President Hinckley challenged us not to be the weak link in the chain of generations. Well, if there’s a break in the chain, then the new chain starts with you. And, as you forge your link in that chain, it will bless not only you, but it will reach in both directions to strengthen other links; so, it begins with you. We read the statement by the Prophet Joseph, and Orson Whitney, and the elaborations by President Packer, about the tentacles that will reach out to wayward children. Some parents, I believe, over interpret that to mean that if I’m faithful to my temple covenants then my children will be okay. Well, that can’t be right; we believe that men will be punished for their own sins, not for Adam’s transgressions. And therefore you can’t be saved through the faithfulness of your parents. But the tentacles that reach out because of the faithfulness of parents in honoring temple covenants exert a spiritual pull and a tug on those wayward children. Well, couldn’t that work the same way for children who are faithful to temple covenants and the tentacles reach out to a mom and a dad who are not as faithful as they need to be? So it will extend both ways and they can help forge that chain of the generations, and help repair some of the broken links, regardless of the direction” (Elder David A. Bednar, CES Satellite Training Broadcast, Aug. 2011).
Teach the law of eternal marriage to children. May all Latter- day Saint fathers and mothers see to it that they teach their children the sacredness of the marriage covenant. Let them impress upon their children that in no other way than by honoring the covenants of God, among which the covenant of eternal marriage is one of the greatest and most mandatory, can they obtain the blessings of eternal lives. If they refuse to receive this ordinance and other blessings of the house of God, then shall they be cut off from these higher blessings. They shall wear no crown; they shall have no rule and sway no scepter; they shall be denied the fullness of knowledge and power, and like the prodigal son, they may return again to their Father’s house, but it will be as servants, not to inherit as sons (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2, 75).
“I’d like to append to them the fact—and this is a true gospel verity—that everyone in the Church who is on the straight and narrow path, who is striving and struggling and desiring to do what is right, though is far from perfect in this life; if he passes out of this life while he’s on the straight and narrow, he’s going to go on to eternal reward in his Father’s kingdom.
“We don’t need to get a complex or get a feeling that you have to be perfect to be saved. You don’t. There’s only been one perfect person, and that’s the Lord Jesus, but in order to be saved in the Kingdom of God and in order to pass the test of mortality, what you have to do is get on the straight and narrow path– thus charting a course leading to eternal life– then, being on that path, pass out of this life in full fellowship. I’m not saying that you don’t have to keep the commandments. I’m saying you don’t have to be perfect to be saved. The way it operates is this: you get on the path that’s named the “straight and narrow”. You do it by entering the gate of repentance and baptism. The straight and narrow path leads from the gate of repentance and baptism, a very great distance, to a reward that’s called eternal life. If you're on that path and pressing forward, and you die, you’ll never get off that path. There is no such thing as falling off the straight and narrow path in the life to come, and the reason is that this life is the time that is given to mean to prepare for eternity.
Now is the time and the day of your salvation, so if you’re working zealously in this life– though you haven’t fully overcome the world and you haven’t done all you hoped you might do– you're still going to be saved. You don’t have to do what Jacob said, “Go beyond the mark.” You don’t have to live a life that’s truer than true. You don’t have to have excessive zeal that becomes fanatical and becomes unbalancing. What you have to do is stay in the mainstream of the Church and live as upright and decent people live in the Church– keeping the commandments, paying your tithing, serving in the organizations of the Church, loving the lord, staying on the straight and narrow path. If you’re on that path when death comes– because this is the time and the day appointed, this the probationary estate– you’ll never fall off from it, and, for all practical purposes, your calling and election is made sure.” (“The Probationary Test of Mortality,” Address given at University of Utah, January 10, 1982, 11).
Elder Joe J. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy in Conference Report, (Apr. 1995, 84-87; or Ensign, May 1995, 64-66) Here are eight practical suggestions that, hopefully, may be of value in strengthening our marriages, now and in the future :
1. Remember the Importance of Marriage “There is nothing in this world as important as the creation and perfection of family units! 2.Pray for the Success of Your Marriage Elder Kimball shared this wise counsel: “Well, don’t just pray to marry the one you love. Instead, pray to love the one you marry.” We should pray to become kind, courteous, humble, patient, forgiving, and, especially, less selfish.
3.Listen to your Spouse Visit with each other and assess how you are doing as a marriage partner. Brent Barlow asked a question to a group of priesthood brethren if they wanted to receive revelation. Every hand went up. His reply was to go home and ask their wives how they could be better husbands.
4. Avoid Ceaseless Pinpricking It can deflate any marriage! Generally each of us are painfully aware of our weaknesses, and we don’t need frequent reminders. “The Grapefruit Syndrome” 5.Keep Your Courtship Alive It doesn’t need to be costly. The time together is the most important element! 6.Be Quick to Say, “I’m sorry ” Even though you are not the one who is totally at fault. Never go to bed angry? There may be instances when it’s best to take a time-out.
7.Live within Your Means Pay your tithing first, and avoid debt insofar as possible. 8.Share Home and Family Responsibilities Be a true partner in home and family responsibilities.
Several years ago, President and Sister Hinckley spoke at a regional conference held at Ricks College. Sister Hinckley said “I know that my husband loves the Lord more than he loves me. And, I like it!” When someone loves the Lord with all their heart, as demonstrated by his obedience to God’s laws, love of spouse naturally follows.
In the April 1992 General Conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson related how he had been in a two-propeller airplane in which one of the engines burst into flames while in flame. The airplane immediately began a steep dive to the earth. He said he expected to die. Many of the other passengers screamed in hysterical panic. He commented: “Throughout that ordeal, though I ‘knew’ death was coming, my paramount feeling was that I was not afraid to die…I remember my deep sense of gratitude that my sweetheart and I had been sealed eternally to each other and to our children..I realized that our marriage in the temple was my most important accomplishment. Honors bestowed upon me by men could not approach the inner peace provided by sealing's performed in the house of the Lord” ( Ensign, May 1992, 74).
Elder Bruce Hafen described the difference between a contract marriage and a covenant marriage. He said: “When troubles come, the parties to a contractual marriage seek happiness by walking away. They marry to obtain benefits, and will stay only as long as they’re receiving what they bargained for. But when troubles come to a covenant marriage, the husband and wife work them through [They understand that the essential purpose of mortality is to be tested]. They marry to give and to grow, bound by covenants to each other…and to God. A contract companion gives 50 percent; a covenant companion gives 100%. Marriage is by nature a covenant, not just a private contract one may cancel at will” (Covenant Marriage, Oct. 5, 1996 General Conference).
The Lord promises five blessings to those who worthily enter and keep the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. D&C 132:19 gives three : 1. Come forth in the first resurrection and inherit thrones and kingdoms. 2.The marriage will be valid throughout eternity. 3.We will be able to pass by the angels and the Gods which are set there.
Without the ordinances and knowledge of the key words, signs, and tokens available only in the temple, it will be impossible to pass by the angels and gods to our exaltation. 4.We will have a continuation of our seed forever. In other words, our children will be sealed to us and we will be permitted to have additional posterity throughout eternity. 5.We will be exalted and will become Gods (D&C 130:20).
“Your endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being able to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.”
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “Choosing a marriage partner is a vital decision. The greatest single factor affecting what you are going to be tomorrow, your activity, your attitudes, your eventual destiny is the one decision you make that moonlit night when you ask that individual to be your companion for life. That’s the most important decision of your entire life! It isn’t where you are going to school, or what lessons you are going to study, or what your major is, or how you are going to make your living. These, though important, are incidental and nothing compared with the important decision that you make when you ask someone to be your companion for eternity” ( Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 301).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that “From the moment of birth into mortality to the time we are married in the temple, everything we have in the gospel system is to prepare and qualify us to enter that holy order of matrimony which makes up husband and wife in creation and perfection of family units” ( Improvement Era, June 1970, 43-44).