LOGAN, Utah — Much like the beautifully crocheted and intricately designed cloths that are used to cover the altars in the temple, all of God’s children — the whole human race — are bound together by a single thread, said Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.
Speaking at a Sunday, Nov. 3, devotional for young single adults and married students at the Utah State University Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, Sister Eubank emphasized the importance of the Abrahamic covenant and the ways every generation throughout all of history are linked together through the covenant and the plan of salvation.
Elder Michael L. Staheli, an Area Seventy, presided at the devotional, and Elder Michael J. Hess, an Area Seventy, conducted the meeting and introduced Sister Eubank. The more than 3,000 attendees came from nine YSA stakes and two married students stakes in the Cache Valley area.
Like the intricately looped and woven patterns of the thread used to form the temple altar cloths, each individual and each covenant individuals make with the Lord adds a small piece to “the great cloth that covers the altar of God,” she said.
Through their covenants with the Lord and service to one another, disciples of Christ participate in the work of salvation by bringing together the edges of time and sharing the gospel with those who have not had it until “the whole human race is linked together in these bonds that are holy and sacred.”
Whether or not people are the literal descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, all of God’s children have the chance to be covenant people, and as such, all have available to them the same promises and blessings given to Abraham and Sarah through the Abrahamic covenant, Sister Eubank explained.
To be a covenant people means to turn outward in blessing the human race, she said. And the ability to do that comes through priesthood power.
“When we make priesthood covenants, that’s what we’re under covenant to do, to bless the whole human race,” she said. “When we seek God, and we prove ourselves willing to follow His ways, He offers us a covenant — a baptismal covenant, a sacramental covenant, a temple covenant — and when we keep those covenants, He pours out the priesthood power upon us. And when the power of God flows into our lives, we can know certain things, we can see certain things, and we can teach and heal following our Master, Jesus Christ.”
Sharing some examples of how people participate in the work of the covenant in everyday life, Sister Eubank reminded that as children of God, all are called upon to bear one another’s burdens. “It is one of the things we can do. We do it as missionaries, we do it in the temple, we do it as ministers, we just do it as good people,” she said. “We are called as the children of Abraham and Sarah to help people with their burdens.”
Quoting President Russell M. Nelson, Sister Eubank added that the work of ordinances for the living and the dead are another key part of receiving the fullness of the Abrahamic covenant.
While the Lord has the ability to perform His saving work in many ways, she explained, He wants His children to learn and to be a part of His work, and allowing His children to participate in the work of salvation by offering the ordinances of the temple to their family who have died helps bind the generations to know and love each other.
“When you do family history work and you go after your family that has been lost, … when you enter the temple to perform ordinances for your family, it is in the same spirit of Abraham and Sarah,” she said. “You’re bringing your family back to God.”
Prior to the devotional, Sister Eubank had the opportunity to meet for a Q&A session with a group of some 100 women representing the eleven stakes invited to the devotional. Many of the questions raised by the women centered on the theme of finding and understanding their place as women within the Church and how to use the gospel to overcome personal difficulties and trials.
Keeping with the theme of the Abrahamic covenant and how it applies in every facet of life and eternity, Sister Eubank explained that one of the most important responsibilities individuals have in this life is learning how to be a good family member.
One’s knowledge and one’s family or relationships are the only things people are able to take with them from this life to the next, she said. “Family is our destiny.”
For Jessie Sterr, a mother of two and former USU student who attended both the devotional and the Q&A, the messages Sister Eubank shared reminded her that Heavenly Father is aware of each individual and their circumstances.
“One of the things I loved most was being surrounded by these sisters in this special setting with the Spirit present, allowing us to open up and be vulnerable,” Sterr said of the Q&A. “These sisters, who on the outside really seem like they have their lives all together and figured out, I found have internal struggles just like I do. No one is immune. We all struggle, we all have trials. But Sister Eubank reminded us that we are not alone. Not only do we have others that are able to aide us physically here on earth, but Christ will never leave us comfortless.”
Highlighting that same idea in the devotional, Sister Eubank shared a short story about Chris the Sheep to illustrate how turning outwards and blessing others is part of the Abrahamic covenant.
Chris the Sheep, Sister Eubank explained, was a famous sheep from Australia who, at one point, carried 90 pounds of wool after not being sheared for 5 years. In his dense excess of wool, Chris the Sheep had a low quality of life and was close to death because of issues caused by the large coat. It wasn’t until a passerby noticed Chris the Sheep’s predicament that he was finally able to be shorn — an event that extended his life by several years.
Showing pictures of Chris the Sheep before and after his 90-pound wool coat was removed, Sister Eubank said, “This little picture is a good picture of ministering because that’s someone who saw somebody with heavy burdens and thought, ‘OK, we have got to do something about that.'”
Jesus Christ has already paid the price for everyone’s sins, and He is there to help carry their burdens, Sister Eubank said. But when other people are willing to reach out and help and bring their talents, “we can help each other to get rid of the weight and the burdens that we carry.”
She continued: “We can follow Jesus Christ by helping people with their burdens, by helping people heal, by lifting people up and offering them the great joys of His salvation.”