One of our hymns teaches us that “angels above us are silent notes taking” of each one of our actions. I’m sure that is true. And when we keep our covenants, they are doing so much more.
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared that if we “live up to [our] privilege,” the angels will not be able to be restrained from being our associates.
Our “privilege” includes our covenants.
Our covenants are a privilege.
Therefore, as we live up to our covenants, the angels will not be able to be restrained from being our associates. We could also say it this way: As we keep our covenants, we can ask for angels to help us. Literally!
It was during Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s April 2010 general conference address that I first learned this truth. Elder Holland was giving counsel on how to guard against temptation. The one question I most needed to have answered at that time in my life, and which I took to that general conference, was not related to that subject, but part of Elder Holland’s prescription for success was exactly what I needed to hear.
He said, “Ask for angels to help you.”
He said it with such clarity, and yet he said it in a manner that implied this was something we all knew! But for me, it was an entirely new principle.
I wanted to call out, “Wait! Wait! What? You mean I could have been asking for angels to help me all this time?”
Without intending to sound too dramatic, I can say with all candor that Elder Holland’s six words changed my life: “Ask for angels to help you.”
That counsel changed my prayers. It changed my understanding of the very real help from heaven that is always available to us as we keep our covenants. I started to ask for assistance from those on the other side of the veil from that moment on!
Now, I’m not talking about praying to fantasy angels with wings to magically fairy-dust our problems away. I’m not talking about praying to angels. I’m talking about praying to our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, for those on the other side to be “dispatched” (Elder Holland’s word) to assist us. Perhaps a departed loved one could be sent to help you with whatever you need.
Can you imagine the effort it took those angels who pushed from the rear of handcarts as they helped pioneers over the steep, snowy, windy, freezing, jagged terrain of Rocky Ridge? If angels can manage that, they can certainly help you and me over our present-day Rocky Ridges!
One faithful covenant-keeping woman learned how real angels are and how ready they are to help when we are in despair. Her life had been turned upside down and her heart broken. She had recently learned that her husband had for many years chosen to betray her and break his covenants with God and with her. One night all alone with her thoughts, she sank into deep despair. She was without hope and could see no way to move ahead with her life. Darkness and dead ends were all she could see. Thoughts of ending her life seized hold of her mind.
After several hours of seriously contemplating her death, she suddenly felt prompted to walk to her basement. As she passed a bookshelf, her eyes were drawn to something she hadn’t seen in decades, something that had been missing for years: her favorite photograph of herself as a young mother with her children. Seeing their trusting, loving faces looking up to her for guidance brought her to her sense. She knew in that instant that she could never take her own life. She could never leave her children—who were now grown up with children of their own—in that manner. She marveled at how the Lord knew exactly the photograph that would help her in an instant to choose to live. She was amazed at the precise timing when the Lord sent His angels to find the framed, formerly lost photograph and place it exactly where she would see it. Exactly when she needed to see it.
We know the Lord gets His work done with the help of His angels! And who are His angels?
President Joseph F. Smith declared: “When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred [and] friends . . . . In like manner, our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, of reproof and instruction to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.”
So, could you use a little more help in your life? If so, keep your covenants with more exactness than you ever have before! And then ask for angels (a.k.a. your ancestors and other loved ones) to help you with whatever you need. Or ask for them to be dispatched to help those you love!
In Covenant Keepers, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson uses pure doctrine and examples of those who have taken the Lord at His word and put His doctrine to the test to offer us invigorating insights into our baptismal, sacramental, and temple covenants.
She invites us to consider how our covenants can help us with everything from loneliness and despair to boredom, meaninglessness, and feeling overwhelmed. She teaches us how we can ask for angels to help us and those we love; how our premortal covenants can help us make meaning out of the anguishing experiences of this mortal life; how the covenant of sacrifice and the covenant of service, and even the very words of our covenants, can give us access to power we may have been overlooking.
Encouraging us to participate in a 21-day experiment that changed the lives of stressed-out young mothers, Sister Nelson takes us behind the scenes into a most unexpected journey she personally has been on, sharing three truths that now compel her life.