Latter-day Saint Life

Elder Gong Shares One Aspect of Covenants We Often Overlook: "By Divine Covenant, We Belong to God and to Each Other"


"The song of our risen Savior’s redeeming love celebrates the harmony of covenants that connect us to God and to each other and the Atonement of Jesus Christ," said Elder Gerrit W. Gong at the closing session of the BYU Women's Conference on May 4.

Speaking with Elder Gong was his wife, Sister Susan L. Gong, who spoke movingly of our need for compassion within the Church.

During their creative and funny opening, Elder Gong spoke about the nudge we often feel to eat fudge. "Sometimes nudge and fudge go together," he said during a short poem reminiscent of Dr. Seuss.

Sister Gong quipped, "That is classic dad humor."

She then went on to describe the central tenet of our Savior's teaching on the earth: compassion and empathy for one another. "[Our Savior] knows the heart of every son and daughter of God," she said. "Compassion is at the heart of Christ’s parables. . . . Know the heart, feel compassion, and bless. This is the Savior's pattern of ministering, and it can be ours."

But for Latter-day Saints, that level of compassion does not come easily. It "requires imagination and intention," Sister Gong taught.

She continued, "As Christians, we are called upon to feel the pains of others, and in this, we truly bear one another's burdens." And as we practice that compassion, "something wondrous happens"—we learn how to help and uplift one another, she said.

Following his wife, Elder Gong spoke of our need for one another and how that is essential to our covenants, saying, “We belong to each other. By divine covenant, we belong to God and to each other. Covenant belonging is a miracle.”

Noting how most ordinances in the Church link our personal names with the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Elder Gong taught, "Meant to be eternal, our covenants include God our Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Eternal covenants can bring the power of God’s love to give hope and increase love, to lift and transform, to edify and sanctify, to redeem and exalt." But in addition to the loving and lifting we experience from our Heavenly Father through covenants, Elder Gong shared that covenants require us to love and lift others in return.

"In covenant belonging we strengthen each other in His love," Elder Gong said. "Covenant belonging gives roots and wings. . . . There is divine harmony and resonance in covenant belonging as we are strengthened in His love and as we strengthen each other in the Lord."

Watch the full session below:

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Video Companion
BYU Women's Conference - Elder and Sister Gong
Lead image a screenshot from the video above
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