Education Week: Covenants

Nearly 20,000 people from 49 states and 14 other countries attended BYU’s annual Campus Education Week August 15-19, which provided more than 1,000 classes. Here are reports on a few of the classes taught that week.

By Caresa Alexander Church News staff writer


Latter-day Saints usually think of the New and Everlasting Covenant as associated with eternal marriage. Victor L. Ludlow, professor of ancient scripture at BYU, suggested that it also applies to a whole body of covenants.

Temporal covenants are made in a certain time and place, he said. Eternal covenants are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise and span all time and place.

The covenant has been around before,” he said, “but once we enter into it, brand new, it carries on forever. A covenant is on-going and everlasting but we are brand new.”

The cleansing covenant of baptism

A class of several hundred gather inside the ballroom at the Wilkinson Student Center on the BYU campus.
A class of several hundred gather inside the ballroom at the Wilkinson Student Center on the BYU campus. Credit: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

“[This] is a symbolic ordinance of cleansing and new life,” said Brother Ludlow. “It is also the covenant gateway into Christ’s Church and God’s Celestial Kingdom.”

There is much symbolism in the manner of baptism, said Brother Ludlow.

1. Immersion and submission = Commitment

2. Washing and cleansing = Purification

3. Death and rebirth = New beginning/name

4. Gateway and benchmark = Verification

Verification takes place through the priesthood, said Brother Ludlow. He continued to say that the priesthood is the power and authority to act for God. It is a tool to be used to help and serve others.

BYU Education week Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011.
BYU Education week Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011. Credit: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

Like ancient Israelites, Latter-day Saints are a covenant people. Brother Ludlow explained that faithful members worship in temples and learn about their relationship with God, make sacred commitments, receive key directions about returning to God’s presence and do ordinance work for their deceased relatives.

“Don’t ever go to the temple with the feeling, I’ve been there before. I know it all,” Brother Ludlow counseled. “Thinking will lead to further questions and you will be edified and enriched for having thought of them.”

Brother Ludlow said the temple is a place on earth that prepares members to live with Him on high. It is a place to learn to live by celestial principles. The temple is also a Heavenly social order.

“In the temple we get to choose the two most important friends we will ever have,” Brother Ludlow said referring to an eternal companion and also to Father in Heaven.

He said the endowment “is an opportunity to have treasure rooms of spiritual blessings opened up to you.”

Sunday is a holy day to rest from weekly labors, worship God, renew covenants and serve others in a spiritual reverence, said Brother Ludlow.

“Observance of the Sabbath is an all-day activity,” he said.” It is a day, not an hour, a brief part of the day. It is all day.”

He talked about the symbolism of the sacrament and said, “All the essential elements of physical life become essential elements of spiritual life.

“How thankful we should be under His servants, the prophets, we have the opportunity to reconnect, to bond with our Father in Heaven through covenants.”

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