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Armed with Righteousness and the Power of God in Great Glory

Reyna Aburto
April 02, 2024 11:15 AM

"It is through our covenants that we make with God in the name of Jesus Christ and through our righteousness and our faithfulness in keeping those covenants that we can draw from God’s power, which is priesthood power."
— Reyna Aburto
By Reyna Aburto
Thank you so much for that beautiful song and inspiring message, and the invitation to rise and shine forth, and to bring the light of the Lord to every person that we get in contact with.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to speak to you, my dear friends. You look so beautiful and handsome! I cannot believe how much light I can perceive in your faces. I know that you are filled with faith and with the desire to follow the Saviour.

I want to express my gratitude to President Kusch and Sister Kusch for this invitation. As you know, I don’t have the calling with the Relief Society General Presidency anymore, but this is such a privilege for me to be with you.

I am an Institute Instructor at the Utah Valley Institute of Religion and I am just enjoying that opportunity to be with the young adults of the Church. You fill me with hope. I know that we are in good hands, because you are our present and our future. So, thank you so much for being who you are.

There is a special connection between us and the Kusch family, because they served as mission leaders in the same place where my husband’s family is from in Mexico. And just to see the love and the joy they felt as they served the people there—it just connects us with them in such a beautiful way.

So, my dear friends, because we live in a mortal state, there may be times in our lives in which we may feel alone, lost, inadequate, depressed, anxious, and powerless, but, as I have learned through personal experience, as we turn our heart to our Heavenly Father, as we reach for our Savior, as we try to be worthy of the Spirit, and as we strive to get closer to Them, They can give us the strength we need to endure to the end and to become more like Them.

President Russell M. Nelson has proclaimed, “God so loved the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son to help us. And His Son, Jesus Christ, gave His life for us. All so that we could have access to godly power—power sufficient to deal with the burdens, obstacles, and temptations of our day.” [1]

I lived the first 26 years of my life without a strong spiritual foundation. At that age, I found myself at a crucial crossroad, not knowing where to find inspired direction for my life and solace for my soul. I had just separated from my first husband, who had fallen into a horrible alcohol and drug addiction, and had a three-year-old son, whose welfare and righteous uprising became my priority. I felt alone, lost, inadequate, depressed, anxious, and powerless.

I had previously received several invitations from extended relatives who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to “come and see,” but I had not accepted them. When they heard about my dire circumstances, another invitation came, and I finally embraced it. I had hit rock bottom and was in desperate need of help. After attending Church for the first time, I realized that I could start an empowering path as a disciple of Jesus Christ and receive of His hope, His light, His peace, His strength, and His power.

I made the baptismal covenant a few weeks later and, since then, my Savior Jesus Christ has graciously shared His light with me “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” [2] as He continues to guide me in my mortal journey.

As I have recently embarked in the study the Book of Mormon one more time, I have been blessed with perspectives that keep opening my eyes and ears to a new understanding of my identity as “a child of God”, as “a child of the covenant”, and as “a disciple of Jesus Christ,” and also about my purpose as I strive to live up to those “paramount and unchanging identifiers.” [3]

Even though the stories related in the Book of Mormon happened hundreds of years ago, they have relevance in our day. As we diligently search its pages, we can find ourselves in them, we can also find our divine identity and purpose, but, more importantly, we can find the light of Christ and His central role in our eternal salvation and exaltation.

The Book of Mormon is a story of dangerous journeys, repeated migration, perils, and struggles. It is a story of people making covenants with God, obeying God’s commandments, receiving revelation, and trusting in God. It is also a story of family conflicts, murmuring, rebelliousness, and pride. But all along, it is an inspiring story about people receiving divine power that allowed them to fulfill their God-given purposes.

From the first chapter of the Book of Mormon, in 1 Nephi 1:20, we find reassuring words from Nephi, “But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”

It calls my attention that Nephi says, “I … will show unto you.” He is speaking to us, the latter-day Saints, the ones that centuries later will read his record. From the beginning of the book, we can see, like President Ezra Taft Benson said, that “the Book of Mormon … was written for our day,” because “the Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times.” [4] So, after addressing us directly in this verse, Nephi is assuring us that “the Lord’s tender mercies are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” He is testifying to us that if we stay faithful to the Lord, He can make us “mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”

It has been wonderful to me lately to notice how recurrent the term “power” is in the Book of Mormon, as well as similar words, like “strength” and “might. That verse in 1 Nephi 1 is just one example. So, let me give you a couple more from 1 Nephi:

In 1 Nephi 5:8, we read Sariah’s words after her sons come back safely from Jerusalem with the plates. She says, “Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them.”

Even though Sariah had been anxious and worried for her children’s welfare because of their apparently prolonged absence, after they come back, she testifies that it was the Lord who had protected them and given them power to accomplish what He had commanded them.

Here is one more example: In 1 Nephi 7:17, after Nephi exhorts his brothers to have faith in the Lord, they get angry at him, bind him with cords and leave him in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts. Have you ever found yourselves in similar desperate situations in which you have felt trapped and powerless?

Now let us read how Nephi faced this predicament. He says, “But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound.”

Nephi does not ask the Lord to burst the bands for him, he asks Him to give him the strength that would allow him to burst the bands. My dear friends, when we are going through a hard time, if we turn to God and ask Him for a measure of His strength, of His power, He will bless us with the ability to face our struggles.

President Nelson has taught, “Each person who makes covenants in baptismal fonts and in temples—and keeps them—has increased access to the power of Jesus Christ. Please ponder that stunning truth!

“The reward for keeping covenants with God is heavenly power—power that strengthens us to withstand our trials, temptations, and heartaches better. This power eases our way. Those who live the higher laws of Jesus Christ have access to His higher power.” [5]

It is through our covenants that we make with God in the name of Jesus Christ and through our righteousness and our faithfulness in keeping those covenants that we can draw from God’s power, which is priesthood power. [6]

In the General Handbook, we read, “God’s priesthood power flows to all members of the Church—female and male—as they keep the covenants they have made with Him. …

“The blessings of priesthood power that members can receive include:

Guidance for their lives.

Revelation to know how to fulfill the work they are ordained, set apart, or assigned to do.

Help and strength to become more like Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.” [7]

We come into the covenant path through baptism. Jesus Christ Himself declared: “And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.” [8]

President Nelson explains, “Adam and Eve accepted the ordinance of baptism and began the process of being one with God. They had entered the covenant path.

“When you and I also enter that path, we have a new way of life. We thereby create a relationship with God that allows Him to bless and change us. The covenant path leads us back to Him. If we let God prevail in our lives, that covenant will lead us closer and closer to Him. All covenants are intended to be binding. They create a relationship with everlasting ties.

“Once you and I have made a covenant with God, our relationship with Him becomes much closer than before our covenant. Now we are bound together. Because of our covenant with God, He will never tire in His efforts to help us, and we will never exhaust His merciful patience with us. Each of us has a special place in God’s heart. He has high hopes for us.

“As did Adam, you and I personally entered the covenant path at baptism. Then we enter it more completely in the temple.” [9]

In the House of the Lord we make higher covenants with our Heavenly Father through which we can receive a measure of His power as we strive to stay faithful to those covenants.

I love that in the General Handbook, it explains this. And we read in there, it says “The [temple] endowment is received in two parts. In the first part, a person receives preliminary ordinances called the initiatory. The initiatory comprises three ordinances: washing, anointing, and clothing. It includes special blessings related to the person’s divine heritage and potential.

“During the initiatory, the member covenants to wear the temple garment. The garment represents his or her personal relationship with God and the commitment to obey covenants made in the temple. …

“In the second part of the endowment, the plan of salvation is taught, including the Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Apostasy, and the Restoration. Members also receive instruction on how to return to the Lord’s presence.

“In the endowment, members are invited to make sacred covenants as follows—and all of this is from the General Handbook, OK?

1. Live the law of obedience and strive to keep Heavenly Father’s commandments.

2. Obey the law of sacrifice, which means sacrificing to support the Lord’s work and repenting with a broken heart and contrite spirit.

3. Obey the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which means:

· Exercising faith in Jesus Christ.

· Repenting daily.

· Making covenants with God by receiving the ordinances of salvation and exaltation.

· Enduring to the end by keeping covenants.

· Striving to live the two great commandments. These are to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

4. Keep the law of chastity, which means abstaining from sexual relations outside of a legal marriage between a man and a woman, which is according to God’s law.

5. Keep the law of consecration, which means that members dedicate their time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed them to building up Jesus Christ’s Church on the earth.

In return, Heavenly Father promises that those who remain faithful to their temple covenants will be endowed “with power from on high” [10]

In the House of the Lord, we are endowed with “power from on high” and with the “power of godliness.” We are endowed with the strength we need to prepare ourselves to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father through the sanctifying, redeeming, enabling and empowering Atonement of Jesus Christ; and our faithfulness in following His commandments, His example, and His word.

I feel that it is empowering to know that Nephi saw us, the latter-day saints, in the vision he beheld because of his desire to know the things that his father had seen, and his belief that the Lord was able to make them known unto him. [11]

“I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.” [12]

Nephi saw us being endowed in the House of the Lord with higher knowledge, with clear understanding of our divine identity and purpose, and with the ability to go and do the things that the Lord has commanded us to do.

As we read in the General Handbook:

“Some of the gifts that members receive through the temple endowment include:

• Greater knowledge of the Lord’s purposes and teachings.

• Power to do all that Heavenly Father wants His children to do.

• Divine direction when serving the Lord, their families, and others.

• Increased hope, comfort, and peace.” [13]

In his infinite mercy, our Savior Jesus Christ has provided a way for us to keep renewing our covenants and to make a new covenant each Sabbath, as we partake of the sacrament. He said: “And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you. …

“and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.

“And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things. And if ye shall always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock.” [14]

I think it is significant that every week we have the opportunity to declare to our Heavenly Father that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of His Son, and always remember Him, and keep His commandments which he has given us, and in return, we receive the promise that we may always have his Spirit to be with us. [15]

The Spirit of the Lord gives us light, the Spirit of the Lord gives us knowledge and the Spirit of the Lord gives us power to do the things that we cannot do ourselves.

My dear friends, I invite you to expand and deepen your understanding about what it means to make a covenant with our Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus Christ. I invite you to look back in your life and recognize times in which you have been able to draw upon the God-given power you have received through your covenants and through your righteousness to strengthen your faith, to help others in their journey through the covenant path, and to be an instrument in God’s hands to fulfill His purposes for you.

I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Through His enabling Atonement, He sanctifies us, He delivers us, He empowers us. I have seen His power manifest in my life over and over. I testify to you that this power is real and that our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ will continue to bring to pass miracles in your lives as you remain faithful to your covenants with Them. May They bless you in this effort, is my humble prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

[1] President Russell M. Nelson, “Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” General Conference, April 2017
[2] 2 Nephi 28:30.
[3] Russell M. Nelson, “Choices for Eternity,” Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, May 2022.
[4] See Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” General Conference, October 1986.
[5] President Russell M. Nelson, “Overcome the World and Find Rest,” General Conference October 2022.
[6] See “Priesthood Power,” General Handbook, 3.5; see also Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures”, General Conference October 2019.
[7] “Priesthood Power,” General Handbook, 3.5; see also Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures,” October 2019.
[8] 3 Nephi 11:33.
[9] Russell M. Nelson, “The Everlasting Covenant,” Liahona, October 2022.
[10] “The Endowment,” General Handbook, 27.2.
[11] See 1 Nephi 11:1.
[12] 1 Nephi 14:14.
[13] “The Endowment,” General Handbook, 27.2.
[14] 3 Nephi 18:7, 11-12.
[15] Doctrine and Covenants 20:77-79

About the Speakers

Reyna Aburto

Reyna Aburto was born in Nicaragua, is married to Carlos Aburto from Mexico, and they have three children and three grandchildren.

Reyna studied Industrial Engineering in Nicaragua and holds a degree in Computer Science from Utah Valley University. She is an Institute instructor and coordinator at Utah Valley Institute of Religion. She has worked in the language industry for more than 30 years and owns a translation business with her husband.

She has served as the Second Counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency, as a member of the Primary General Board, and she currently serves on the Correlation Materials Evaluation Committee in Church Headquarters.

Reyna is a member of several governing boards and is the author of Reaching for the Savior (Acudamos al Salvador, in Spanish), and co-host of the Consecrating Your Life podcast (@consecratingpod) with her daughter Elena.
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