Rosemary Wixom, Primary general president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke about covenant keeping at the BYU Devotional on March 12.
She began her address by highlighting the curiosity of having the president of the Primary speak in a university setting.
“’What does the Primary general president have to say to me?’” Sister Wixom said. “After all, many of you graduated from Primary years ago, and you have put away those childish things. Yet the messages and principles of the songs you sang in Primary still apply today and hopefully have remained in your heart.”
She continued by stating the importance of God’s plan as one of the doctrines taught in Primary that remains crucial throughout life.
“As a student on this campus, you are progressing with your plan,” Sister Wixom said. “You have a purpose in mind. Can you see the Lord’s hand in your life? Can you see the path you took to get here?”
Reminiscing about her time at BYU, she recalled her goals and desires for her life at that point in time.
“I hoped that somewhere out there, there was a handsome young man who also had the goal to stay on the path, get an education and fall in love so we could marry, have a family and bring children into this world,” Sister Wixom said. “But I was anxious and nervous inside. What if my plan did not unfold how I wanted it to and when I wanted it to?”
In retrospect, she realizes she may have needed some perspective to help achieve her goals the way God wanted her to.
“I was looking at the path through a magnifying glass, and all I could see was my shoelaces,” Sister Wixom said. “I remembered those lessons in Primary about the Plan of Salvation. I could see the circles and the arrows on the chart, but I could not yet visualize myself in the plan.”
She related that the way to achieve this perspective properly is described by the Primary hymn “I Will Follow God’s Plan for Me.”
“That is the key,” Sister Wixom said. “It is really quite simple. ‘I will follow God’s plan for me.’ And we do it by holding fast to his word, his love and our prayers to him while simply living life.”
According to Sister Wixom, God gives his children covenants to help keep them on the path that will lead them to happiness.
“It’s as if the Lord has given us tools with which to create this being,” Sister Wixom said. “These tools are the covenants we make and keep, beginning with the baptismal covenant. We promise to do three things: take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, keep his commandments, and always remember him.”
As disciples make covenants and take upon them the name of Christ, they begin to emulate his example and their natures.
“The results may alter how we dress, our appearance, what we text, the movies we see, our very thoughts,” Sister Wixom said. “When we seek his will, he will magnify our every effort to stay on the path back to him. We need not ever feel alone. Be patient with yourself as you learn this process.”
As a result, the contents and feelings of disciples’ prayers become more aligned with God’s desires.
“We find ourselves stepping out of the boat, so to speak, to do his will,” Sister Wixom said. “We prepare spiritually each day with personal prayers to him, we read his words in the scriptures, and then we trust that he will guide us. His will then becomes ours.”
While serving a mission, she found that the trials she faced led her to take upon her the name of Christ in an even more personal way.
“When it becomes impossible to carry on, it is that covenant to do the Lord’s will that causes a missionary to find a private place and get on his or her knees,” Sister Wixom said. “His or her prayer may be, ‘I cannot do this alone. Only with thee can I continue. Only with thee can I learn another language, and only with thee can I teach those older, wiser, and more articulate than I.’ A mission changes one’s life for the better because we take upon us his name.”
This commitment to be better people and behave as God wishes gradually distinguishes a disciple of Christ from the unrighteousness of the world.
“In living the baptismal covenant, we look for ways to keep the commandments rather than looking for ways around them,” Sister Wixom said.
Another story of great faith was when President Lugo of the Illagan Stake in the Philippines had been in a serious accident and couldn’t walk. His wife said he couldn’t go to the temple on a trip with the youth because asking them to carry him would be too much.
“President Lugo said, ‘If they will carry me into the temple, I will walk out,’” Sister Wixom said. “And that is exactly what he did. How can we possibly draw limits on our service to the Lord?”
However, such strong faith can be difficult for most people to obtain, and they may then get discouraged when they see themselves falling short.
“We may see nothing but our imperfections,” Sister Wixom said. “We may think our mistakes are impossible to repair, and we may think we cannot change. We may feel like we are failing.”
The way God has provided for his children to overcome the condition of imperfection and the feeling of failure is through the sacrament.
“One real blessing is this Sunday we will again have the opportunity to renew the covenant we made at baptism as we partake of the sacrament with the glorious promise that we may always have his Spirit to be with us,” Sister Wixom said.
Doing so is a way of keeping covenants, and it helps change a person into the righteous child of God that is his or her ultimate potential.
“Regardless of its form, we will stand in awe as the angel emerges,” Sister Wixom said. “And we will give credit to our Savior, Jesus Christ, for he is perfect.”