Man does not make covenants with God. God offers a covenant, and people either accept or reject God’s offer. But until God offers, mankind can do nothing to create a covenant with or for God.1 The Book of Mormon is intended by God to be a covenant. In it there are examples of covenant making provided so man can understand the process. The covenant offered through the Book of Mormon has never been received by any people until the Boise Conference in 2017. When the 1835 conference adopted scriptures, they adopted only the Doctrine & Covenants and not the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon, as an offered covenant to the gentiles, is an essential step required for the gentiles to become numbered with the remnant and obtain the right to inherit the promised land. If it is not received as a covenant by the gentiles, they have no right to be here on this land or on any other land of promise.2 Paragraph 9 of Lecture Sixth says, And in the last days, before the Lord comes, he is to gather together his saints who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice. This event will be in the “last days” but still “before” His Second Coming. The wording is important. A covenant will be made “by” sacrifice; not a covenant “to” sacrifice. Only through actually sacrificing is it possible to obtain a covenant with the Lord.3 To know the Lord is to have a covenant with Him.4 The way in which one accepts the covenants is set out by Joseph Smith: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in Heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”5 Therefore, it is important to understand and learn what the relevant law requires. The way in which man accepts the covenant offered to him is by learning the principle or the law upon which the blessing he seeks is predicated. Then having learned what the law ordains, he follows through by obeying it.6 “God can offer you something, but it’s up to you to accept it. You accept it by what you do. It’s not enough to say, Yea, Lord, I’ll go out and do as I’m bidden. Instead you must actually do it. Because it is only through doing that the covenant is kept by you. It is only through doing the covenant is able to be empowered sufficiently to give you the blessing which a law has been established to allow you to lay ahold. You can’t get there without God offering you the covenant and you accepting God’s invitation.”7“God only works to bring people into His good graces by covenants. They have to be made. Without covenants you cannot participate in what the Lord sets out.”8
1 “Covenant People,” July 21, 2017, blog post.
2 “Covenant,” April 6, 2017, blog post.
3 Preserving the Restoration, 78.
4 Preserving the Restoration, 21.
5 D&C 130:20. Section 130 of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants first appeared as canon in the 1876 edition prepared by Orson Pratt under the direction of Brigham Young. For original sources see JSP, Journals Vol. 2:323–326, (Dec. 1841 – April 1843), 2 April 1843. Willard Richards didn’t accompany Joseph Smith on his four-day trip to Ramus, IL, and reconstructed the Joseph Smith Journal entry from the Journal of William Clayton. See JSP, Journals Vol. 2:403–405, Appendix 2, 1–4 April 1843. WJS, 169–170, 267n6; 172–173.
6 40 Years in Mormonism Lecture 4, “Covenants,” 7.
7 40 Years in Mormonism Lecture 4, “Covenants, 12.
8 “Book of Mormon as Covenant,” talk given at the Book of Mormon Covenant Conference in Columbia, SC, on Jan. 13, 2019; Podcast 54: “Abraham, Part 1,” Jan. 27, 2019.