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Good afternoon everyone,

I'm so grateful for the information shared on this site. I'm a newer convert, and am getting ready to get my endowment and get sealed to my wife. However, I have had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for many years, and have already made covenants with God. My temple prep classes did not at all talk about what covenants are made in the temple, and I am concerned that one or more of the covenants made in the temple endowment ceremony may conflict with or attempt to alter terms of covenants that I already have made with God. I am perhaps over-thinking this, but I'm concerned that if I go to the temple endowment ceremony, and find out during the ceremony that there is a covenant that I cannot make, which will ultimately mean that I cannot receive my endowment, and that it will cripple my relationship with my wife (who was raised LDS and has not known any culture or community outside of the LDS church). Church leadership seems to agree that I should just "go through the endowment ceremony and find out" and not be concerned with this issue at all. 

Ultimately my question is this - am I absolutely required to make/agree to every single covenant that is part of the temple endowment ceremony, or does that remain between God and me? If leadership cannot answer that question, does it matter if I do or don't agree to every single covenant made during the ceremony?

 

Thank you all in advance for your insights.

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Hello, @Investigator!

Okay, obviously there are  things we are comfortable talking about outside of the temple, and things that we . . . aren’t.  

I would suggest that you read this article.  If you study the links it gives and are generally reconciled to those principles, I don’t see the temple covenants giving you any problem at all.

As it pertains to your question, though:  Because of the way the endowment is presented, probably no one would notice if you actually didn’t say the words that bind you to a particular covenant at the time the covenant is presented.  But theologically and liturgically, the five covenants of the modern endowment are sort of an all-or-nothing thing; and when you eventually receive the sealing ceremony to your spouse or other family members it is on the understanding that you have accepted and are trying to live *all* of the covenants that were previously offered to you.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Hi @Investigator, welcome to the site!  It's super exciting that you're taking out your endowments soon, and getting sealed to your wife.

Do you have any specific previous previous promises you're worried about possible conflict?  I"m just looking for something to help guide to a more specifics here.

 

As for the general answer:

The covenants a person makes in the temple are along the same lines as we make in baptism and every other step towards God-- after all it is a straight path.  For example, when you were baptized, you covenanted to keep the Law of Chasity.  In the temple, that covenant is renewed and deepened.  Much like when you were dating your wife you promised to be loyal to her, and when you married her, you renewed and deepened that same promise.  Likewise with covenanting to follow the Lord.  The same type of thing, just re-newed and deepened. 

 

 

26 minutes ago, Investigator said:

Ultimately my question is this - am I absolutely required to make/agree to every single covenant that is part of the temple endowment ceremony, or does that remain between God and me? If leadership cannot answer that question, does it matter if I do or don't agree to every single covenant made during the ceremony?

Forgive me, but I don't feel like I'm understanding your question.  Maybe a rephrase / clarification would help?

When you were baptized, you made a package covenant with God-- after all, it's not like you could promise "yeah, I'll follow you in X Lord, except when it comes to the Law of Chasity- that I'm going to keep sleeping around."  It's a whole-picture deal, not a one-foot-in situation.  Likewise with every other covenant.  Same with the "does it remain between God and me".  

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41 minutes ago, Investigator said:

Good afternoon everyone,

I'm so grateful for the information shared on this site. I'm a newer convert, and am getting ready to get my endowment and get sealed to my wife. However, I have had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for many years, and have already made covenants with God. My temple prep classes did not at all talk about what covenants are made in the temple, and I am concerned that one or more of the covenants made in the temple endowment ceremony may conflict with or attempt to alter terms of covenants that I already have made with God. I am perhaps over-thinking this, but I'm concerned that if I go to the temple endowment ceremony, and find out during the ceremony that there is a covenant that I cannot make, which will ultimately mean that I cannot receive my endowment, and that it will cripple my relationship with my wife (who was raised LDS and has not known any culture or community outside of the LDS church). Church leadership seems to agree that I should just "go through the endowment ceremony and find out" and not be concerned with this issue at all. 

Ultimately my question is this - am I absolutely required to make/agree to every single covenant that is part of the temple endowment ceremony, or does that remain between God and me? If leadership cannot answer that question, does it matter if I do or don't agree to every single covenant made during the ceremony?

Thank you all in advance for your insights.

What covenants have you made with God that you fear you may be required to abandon in the temple?

Do you believe that God might ask a person to make conflicting covenants?

In direct answer to your question: Yes, if you receive your endowment, you will actually make (not just think about making) various covenants with God. There are no cafeteria aspects to temple covenants.

Edited by Vort

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40 minutes ago, Investigator said:

Good afternoon everyone,

I'm so grateful for the information shared on this site. I'm a newer convert, and am getting ready to get my endowment and get sealed to my wife. However, I have had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for many years, and have already made covenants with God. My temple prep classes did not at all talk about what covenants are made in the temple, and I am concerned that one or more of the covenants made in the temple endowment ceremony may conflict with or attempt to alter terms of covenants that I already have made with God. I am perhaps over-thinking this, but I'm concerned that if I go to the temple endowment ceremony, and find out during the ceremony that there is a covenant that I cannot make, which will ultimately mean that I cannot receive my endowment, and that it will cripple my relationship with my wife (who was raised LDS and has not known any culture or community outside of the LDS church). Church leadership seems to agree that I should just "go through the endowment ceremony and find out" and not be concerned with this issue at all. 

Ultimately my question is this - am I absolutely required to make/agree to every single covenant that is part of the temple endowment ceremony, or does that remain between God and me? If leadership cannot answer that question, does it matter if I do or don't agree to every single covenant made during the ceremony?

 

Thank you all in advance for your insights.

In all honesty... when I went through and made the temple covenants my thought was “didn’t I already make these at baptism?”. Its all just a reemphasis on covenants you have already made in the church.

There is nothing new or that will surprise you except for perhaps the ceremony itself.

If at any point you don’t want to covenant to something, you can stand up and walk out. It would likely make a minor scene, but it is an option.

but without each of the covenants, you cannot be endowed and receive those blessings.

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7 minutes ago, Vort said:

What covenants have you made with God that you fear you may be required to abandon in the temple?

That was my thoughts as well.  Every covent past baptism is re-forging / re-deepening that same baptismal covenant.  God doesn't through curve balls. 

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I assume this is a personal covenant, because no Church / Priesthood covenant could conflict with a temple covenant.  Therefore, the question to ask yourself is whether God would have you make the covenants He has revealed as required for all who wish to receive exaltation or whether you should forgo exaltation in favor of a personal covenant made before you understood the Lord's will in this matter.  (Because let's be clear, there is no other path to exaltation - no exceptions for "conflicting covenants".)

Personally, I believe if this covenant you speak of really does conflict with temple covenants, God would have you gain understanding and accept the higher covenant that leads to exaltation - even if that means letting go of a prior, personal covenant.  I also believe that if you do your part, humbly and with a willingness to do whatsoever God commands, He will help you come to understand this.

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17 minutes ago, Vort said:

What covenants have you made with God that you fear you may be required to abandon in the temple?

Do you believe that God might ask a person to make conflicting covenants?

In direct answer to your question: Yes, if you receive your endowment, you will actually make (not just think about making) various covenants with God. There are no cafeteria aspects to temple covenants.

I echo Vort's sentiment.  As an adult convert who received my endowment just over a week ago, I can assure you that covenants will be made.  That isn't your real question, though.  As you are baptized, then I assume you understand the Church is the restored church of Jesus Christ.  I further assume you understand that temple ordinances and the covenants you make are of Heavenly Father.  Why would he have conflicting covenants?  What covenants did you make with him previously and why?  I can't imagine how they would conflict, but that isn't the question either.

If you know this is something He wants you to do, and you know He wants you to make these covenants, then does the same apply to the covenants you think you made previously?  If they conflict, then something obviously isn't right.  If you think it's the endowment, then you have bigger issues to resolve.

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1 hour ago, Investigator said:

and have already made covenants with God...

I am concerned that one or more of the covenants made in the temple endowment ceremony may conflict with or attempt to alter terms of covenants that I already have made with God.

Ultimately my question is this - am I absolutely required to make/agree to every single covenant that is part of the temple endowment ceremony, or does that remain between God and me?

First, let me set you at ease.  See what Fether said above.  It's absolutely true.  If you've been a member of the Church for at least a year, you should have covered everything in the new member classes or (if you chose to attend regular Sunday School) the D&C class that we had last year.  And we pretty much agree to live all these covenants when we become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Second, look at it this way.  If you discover there is a covenant that you absolutely disagree with, you certainly can leave as Fether mentioned.  But you will still need to make a decision.

1) Do you believe this is the Church of Jesus Christ?
2) Do you have a testimony in the Savior Jesus Christ?
3) Do you believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God?
4) Do you believe the Book of Mormon is the inspired word of God?

Do these questions sound familiar?

If you can say 'yes' to each of these questions, then you know the covenants you're about to make are the covenants God wants you to make at this time.  If you don't believe you can make the covenants, then you're saying that you don't believe these things to be true.  And you need to do some soul searching.  Either this is true, or it is not true.  If it is not true, you're not really making any covenants with anyone.  But if it is true, you need to make these covenants because God wants you to.

Best of luck to you.

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First off, let me say a huge thank you to everyone for your insights. This is not a trivial matter to me, and I would not have been baptized into the church if I wasn't able to answer yes to the questions in @Carborendum's response. I may just be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I take this all very seriously, and I'm finding that a large number of members  in my stake seem to have a fairly blazé attitude towards spiritual matters and it troubles me. I asked leadership why members seem to eat so much meat when the word of wisdom is clear on the topic, and my bishop, as well as a member of the stake presidency (I forgot his specific title), in separate conversations, told me that it is between each member and God, and if they have a clear conscience about obedience to the word of wisdom, they can legitimately answer 'yes' to the temple recommend question. I was a vegetarian when I converted and I found it a bit odd that they would respond to my inquiry in that way - it did seem a lot like a 'cafeteria style' approach, which to me sounded a lot like "as long as you're OK with it, you're OK." 

I made a covenant with Jesus Christ when I was first saved, and I explicitly covenanted that all of my time here on Earth, all of the possessions He blesses me with, and all of the resources He makes available to me would be used in the pursuit of an ever-deepening relationship with Him, and that I would never put any organization above the Lord Himself. My concern is that one of my friends, who is a member, said that I would be asked to make a pledge to the church as an organization, rather than as an instrument of God's will. Again, may be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I don't want to cause a scene during the ceremony and put my wife through that. And of course, if there's a problem there, then I'm left with what to do next, if I can't ever be sealed to my wife. To me, my words matter a great deal, and I don't take this lightly at all, but it seems like the local church culture doesn't seem concerned with this in the slightest, and just wants me to go through the motions, even if I don't understand. 

Edited by Investigator
Too many quotes included originally

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8 hours ago, Investigator said:

First off, let me say a huge thank you to everyone for your insights. This is not a trivial matter to me, and I would not have been baptized into the church if I wasn't able to answer yes to the questions in @Carborendum's response. I may just be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I take this all very seriously, and I'm finding that a large number of members  in my stake seem to have a fairly blazé attitude towards spiritual matters and it troubles me. I asked leadership why members seem to eat so much meat when the word of wisdom is clear on the topic, and my bishop, as well as a member of the stake presidency (I forgot his specific title), in separate conversations, told me that it is between each member and God, and if they have a clear conscience about obedience to the word of wisdom, they can legitimately answer 'yes' to the temple recommend question. I was a vegetarian when I converted and I found it a bit odd that they would respond to my inquiry in that way - it did seem a lot like a 'cafeteria style' approach, which to me sounded a lot like "as long as you're OK with it, you're OK." 

I made a covenant with Jesus Christ when I was first saved, and I explicitly covenanted that all of my time here on Earth, all of the possessions He blesses me with, and all of the resources He makes available to me would be used in the pursuit of an ever-deepening relationship with Him, and that I would never put any organization above the Lord Himself. My concern is that one of my friends, who is a member, said that I would be asked to make a pledge to the church as an organization, rather than as an instrument of God's will. Again, may be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I don't want to cause a scene during the ceremony and put my wife through that. And of course, if there's a problem there, then I'm left with what to do next, if I can't ever be sealed to my wife. To me, my words matter a great deal, and I don't take this lightly at all, but it seems like the local church culture doesn't seem concerned with this in the slightest, and just wants me to go through the motions, even if I don't understand. 

You sound a lot like me.   Some of that is good, some of it not so much.  Like you, I always had in the back of my mind things like "Word of Wisdom is a command for health, then why so many overweight Mormons?  Why is that lady drinking Coke?  Why did I see so-and-so with a beer?".    Stop that thinking.  It set me back.  You sound smarter than I was, though, so you'll likely get it.  While we are to commune, support each other, and follow Church leaders, our relationship with Heavenly Father is individual.  Don't worry what everyone else is or isn't doing.    Don't look for the line between black and white.  Stay as far in the green as you can.  Follow the Prophet.  Make and keep your covenants as you understand them and to the best of your ability.  

It's awesome that you take this so seriously.  I'm fairly confident that any covenant you made previously unless it is absolutely whacky, won't interfere with anything you do in the temple.  We are expected to go to the temple, and once you accept that it will be easier.  I absolutely didn't want to go but knew it was expected by Heavenly Father.  I'm glad I did.

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9 hours ago, Investigator said:

First off, let me say a huge thank you to everyone for your insights. This is not a trivial matter to me, and I would not have been baptized into the church if I wasn't able to answer yes to the questions in @Carborendum's response. I may just be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I take this all very seriously, and I'm finding that a large number of members  in my stake seem to have a fairly blazé attitude towards spiritual matters and it troubles me. I asked leadership why members seem to eat so much meat when the word of wisdom is clear on the topic, and my bishop, as well as a member of the stake presidency (I forgot his specific title), in separate conversations, told me that it is between each member and God, and if they have a clear conscience about obedience to the word of wisdom, they can legitimately answer 'yes' to the temple recommend question. I was a vegetarian when I converted and I found it a bit odd that they would respond to my inquiry in that way - it did seem a lot like a 'cafeteria style' approach, which to me sounded a lot like "as long as you're OK with it, you're OK." 

I made a covenant with Jesus Christ when I was first saved, and I explicitly covenanted that all of my time here on Earth, all of the possessions He blesses me with, and all of the resources He makes available to me would be used in the pursuit of an ever-deepening relationship with Him, and that I would never put any organization above the Lord Himself. My concern is that one of my friends, who is a member, said that I would be asked to make a pledge to the church as an organization, rather than as an instrument of God's will. Again, may be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I don't want to cause a scene during the ceremony and put my wife through that. And of course, if there's a problem there, then I'm left with what to do next, if I can't ever be sealed to my wife. To me, my words matter a great deal, and I don't take this lightly at all, but it seems like the local church culture doesn't seem concerned with this in the slightest, and just wants me to go through the motions, even if I don't understand. 

I appreciate the fact that you take your covenants with God so seriously, and I am sure God is well pleased with your desire to honor him. First off, remember that your relationship with God is what matters. Don't concern yourself with how closely Tom, Dick, and Harry are following the commandments, just worry about you (and your family of course). The church is a hospital for sinners, and all of us are trying to overcome our weaknesses and sins through Christ's grace.

As far as the temple covenants are concerned, I can't talk about the specifics (I and everyone else who has been to the temple have made a covenant with God not to) but I feel inspired to share a scripture with you. Doctrine and Covenants 1:30

"30 And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually"

You said you made a covenant to devote all your time, talents, and gifts to pursue a deepening relationship with Christ. This is Christ's church. Anything dedicated to his church is dedicated to him, as he created and continues to run this organization. So the question you have to ask yourself is do you truly believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored Church of Christ? If the answer is yes, you should have no problems making the covenants in the temple as they will not conflict with your personal covenants. If your answer is no, work on gaining that testimony before going to make your covenants. Best of luck in your spiritual journey brother.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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@Grunt & @Midwest LDS - thank you both so much! Your kind-spirited and uplifting words have encouraged me a great deal. I still have a lot to learn about the culture and about the doctrine of the church, and there is a lot of confusion on my part at times. I've found this forum to be tremendously helpful as I've been reading through posts, and I usually love the spirit in which information is shared. I had a friend suggest that I just watch the endowment ceremony on youtube, and I immediately felt like I should be extremely careful about the sources that I choose, and that I shouldn't treat such a sacred ceremony lightly. 

I've got to keep this brief as I have to head to work early this morning, but my heart is now at peace and I know that I can fully participate in the endowment ceremony and get sealed to my wife without any reservations at all. 

God bless you for being willing to share, and for your kind & caring spirits.

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1 hour ago, Investigator said:

@Grunt & @Midwest LDS - thank you both so much! Your kind-spirited and uplifting words have encouraged me a great deal. I still have a lot to learn about the culture and about the doctrine of the church, and there is a lot of confusion on my part at times. I've found this forum to be tremendously helpful as I've been reading through posts, and I usually love the spirit in which information is shared. I had a friend suggest that I just watch the endowment ceremony on youtube, and I immediately felt like I should be extremely careful about the sources that I choose, and that I shouldn't treat such a sacred ceremony lightly. 

I've got to keep this brief as I have to head to work early this morning, but my heart is now at peace and I know that I can fully participate in the endowment ceremony and get sealed to my wife without any reservations at all. 

God bless you for being willing to share, and for your kind & caring spirits.

That's great to hear! You are more than welcome☺

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2 hours ago, Investigator said:

@Grunt & @Midwest LDS - thank you both so much! Your kind-spirited and uplifting words have encouraged me a great deal. I still have a lot to learn about the culture and about the doctrine of the church, and there is a lot of confusion on my part at times. I've found this forum to be tremendously helpful as I've been reading through posts, and I usually love the spirit in which information is shared. I had a friend suggest that I just watch the endowment ceremony on youtube, and I immediately felt like I should be extremely careful about the sources that I choose, and that I shouldn't treat such a sacred ceremony lightly. 

I've got to keep this brief as I have to head to work early this morning, but my heart is now at peace and I know that I can fully participate in the endowment ceremony and get sealed to my wife without any reservations at all. 

God bless you for being willing to share, and for your kind & caring spirits.

DO NOT WATCH THE CEREMONY ON YOUTUBE!

 

Trust me on that one.   

Edited by Grunt

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13 hours ago, Investigator said:

...This is not a trivial matter to me, and I would not have been baptized into the church if I wasn't able to answer yes to the questions in @Carborendum's response. I may just be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I take this all very seriously, and I'm finding that a large number of members  in my stake seem to have a fairly blazé attitude towards spiritual matters and it troubles me. ...

.... To me, my words matter a great deal, and I don't take this lightly at all, but it seems like the local church culture doesn't seem concerned with this in the slightest, and just wants me to go through the motions, even if I don't understand. 

While I'm sure there are some (perhaps many, how could I know) who do have too casual an attitude about the gospel and its covenants, please consider that at least some of the quick, short answers you got may well be because the answer itself is simple (meaning "not complex", which is entirely different from "easy").  Those who have a testimony of it know that God wants you to make temple covenants and receive temple ordinances.  That is simple (again, "not complex").  Therefore, anything which conflicts with that is not God's will.

But members, especially lifelong members or members who have not had to struggle (yet) for their faith, may not know how to express the simplicity of God's will in this matter in a way that doesn't sound overly casual - or they may not recognize the need to find a way - or even that they sound overly casual.

Just a thought.

13 hours ago, Investigator said:

it did seem a lot like a 'cafeteria style' approach,

PS: You might want to start another thread (or specify in this one if you want to discuss further) about things like the Word of Wisdom, tithes & offerings, serving in callings, frequency of temple attendance, scripture study, etc. where each member decides for themselves at least some of the details of their service / devotion - how much, how long, what some adjective or adverb means in practical terms, etc.  Understanding that some degree of flexibility is "built in", why that's good, and how to view things from the Lord's perspective might help you as you continue in your journey with your fellow saints.  (It might help all of us to recognize the good in this.)  And it might help you understand the "why" behind some of the things your leaders have told you.

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On 1/28/2019 at 12:10 PM, zil said:

PS: You might want to start another thread (or specify in this one if you want to discuss further) about things like the Word of Wisdom, tithes & offerings, serving in callings, frequency of temple attendance, scripture study, etc. where each member decides for themselves at least some of the details of their service / devotion - how much, how long, what some adjective or adverb means in practical terms, etc.  Understanding that some degree of flexibility is "built in", why that's good, and how to view things from the Lord's perspective might help you as you continue in your journey with your fellow saints.

What kind of flexibility is there in the Word of Wisdom?

Thank you,

Gale

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1 hour ago, GaleG said:

What kind of flexibility is there in the Word of Wisdom?

Depends on what you mean by flexibility.   In one sense, it is the most rigid thing in the universe - you're either following it, or you're not.  In another sense, the consequences for not following it vary widely.  From zero immediate consequences, to no temple recommend until you make changes, to increased risk of lung cancer, to consequences of eternal significance. 

Edited by NeuroTypical

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1 hour ago, GaleG said:

What kind of flexibility is there in the Word of Wisdom?

Thank you,

Gale

Some parts of the Word of Wisdom are pretty straight forward: don't smoke, don't drink, etc.

But there are grey areas which are between you and God: how about cooking with alcohol, how best rise early, etc. 

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