This article was adapted from my new book, The Three Pillars of Zion. (Click here to receive a free sample.)
This is a six-part series on the new and everlasting covenant, the first pillar of Zion:
(1) The Most Glorious Doctrine Ever Revealed
(2) The Covenant Reveals A Loving Relationship
(3) Power in the Covenant
(4) Safety in the Covenant
(5) Progressing in the Covenant
(6) Abiding in the Covenant
Of unparalleled significance is the fact that the Father created the new and everlasting covenant.i This is the “umbrella covenant under which all other covenants reside. The Father established the Covenant for the salvation of his children, and to that end he set the unalterable terms that result in the absolute promise of exaltation:
And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law. (3 Nephi 16:5; 20:12, 25, 27, 29, 46; 21:4, 7; 29:1; Mormon 5:14; 9:47; Ether 4:15; Moroni 10:33; D&C 84:40.)
No one having received the Covenant can thereafter deny or reject it without experiencing serious and eternal consequences:
I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory. (D&C 132:6.)
Our ability to become Zion people and our eternal future hinge upon our diligence in keeping the terms of the new and everlasting covenant:
I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me. (D&C 98:14–15.)
An additional thought-provoking verity is found in the oath and covenant of the priesthood: if we will abide (“remain in a place, and continue to be sure or firm” (American Heritage Dictionary, s.v. “abide.”) in the Covenant, the Father himself will teach us regarding it.(D&C 84:48.) This astonishing idea speaks to the importance that the Father places on the new and everlasting covenant. Truly, it is by this Covenant that he accomplishes his work that glorifies him. (Moses 1:39.)
The Covenant is founded on a Loving Relationship
The deeper we dig into the doctrine of the Covenant, the more we discover a loving relationship. A caring Father is offering us all that he has and is. To that end, he reveals the laws by which he lives, which are the commandments that he gives us, and he offers us the same eternal covenants of progression and exaltation that made him who he is. He knows that the Covenant will help us grow from dependence to independence. For all these reasons, he invites us into a covenantal relationship, whereby we, together with him, share his order of life and his pattern of celestial living. This is Zion!
Most certainly, Heavenly Father fully dedicates himself to offering us the Covenant, teaching us its intricacies, and walking with us step by step toward the Covenant’s stated purpose: immortality and eternal life.(Moses 1:39.) At each significant event along the way, “to fulfill all righteousness,”(Matthew 3:15.) we meet with him, often at an altar, of our own free will, to exchange vows and gifts. We promise and give our hearts, and he promises and gives us tokens and emblems, treasures that help us to remember his gift of a Savior and to retain in our remembrance the infinite price that was paid by the Father and the Son to make the Covenant possible.
Moreover, by the Covenant we become his “peculiar treasures” (Exodus 19:5; Psalms 135:4.) by treasuring up the words of eternal lifeiv for the everlasting salvation of our souls in the kingdom of God.(D&C 6:20; 84:5.) By the Covenant, he calls us out of the world and separates us for a holy purpose, so that one day he might elect (select) us for the highest manifestation of salvation called eternal life.
Clearly, the Covenant is all about relationship. Broadly, the relationship is called Zion, a celestial condition and an order of pure-hearted individuals who live in eternal marriages and families. The members of such families are pure, happy, and unselfish. They increase in number and joy forever. To make those relationships sure, and to confirm, or “make sure” the terms of the Covenant, three distinct offerings must be made: