Remembering to Rejoice in Our Covenants

This talk was given at the 2019 stake women's conference.
By Tiffany McMinn

Just one year ago, in his first public message after being called as the new prophet, President Nelson stated that his new presidency wanted “to begin with the end in mind” as they met with media in the annex of the Salt Lake Temple. There, President Nelson said if we were “faithful to covenants made in a temple [it will] qualify us for the greatest gift of God—that of eternal life.”

In this broadcast, and specifically directing the last part of his address to “each member of the Church,” President Nelson used the phrase “covenant path” three times in three different ways:

     1-Keep on the covenant path
     2-stay on the covenant path
     3-return to the covenant path

Afterward, the Church News stated, “The power to be found in making sacred covenants was reflected in President Nelson’s address when he uttered what, since then, is already becoming something of a catchphrase around the church: ‘Keep on the covenant path.’”

Now that it has been a year, and with so many changes, do you feel like this meme on the left?

I think we could add a number 4 to the list from President  Nelson: “Keep up with President Nelson on the covenant path.”

Obviously, being on the covenant path is something our dear prophet feels we need to be reminded of. I noticed this past October conference the phrase “covenant path” was being repeated over and over again. I looked it up and found that the phrase “covenant path” was used 28 times.

When I Focused on the Lord, I Stopped Feeling Stressed Out

This talk was given at the 2019 stake women's conference.
By Kara Lunsford, a Laurel

Hello beautiful sisters! I am so grateful for this opportunity to speak to you wonderful women.

About three weeks ago Sister Adams and Sister Wensel came and asked me if I would be willing to talk at this women's conference. Surprisingly, I was super excited! They asked me to accept this 21-day challenge given by Wendy Watson Nelson. This challenge is to “make a sacrifice of time to the Lord by increasing time in family history and in temple work.” I was very excited about this and to learn and become closer to my Savior.

At the beginning, I did all right with the challenge. I was more focused on what happened and what I could share with you women than how it affected me personally in my life. I didn’t notice a huge difference in how I felt or how happy I was. After that, I didn’t do anything for about a week and a half, partly because I was sick and partly because I wasn't sure what to do and it just didn’t really cross my mind.

However, this past Sunday, my cute mom came and asked me how it was going, and I was completely honest with her. I told her I wasn’t sure what to do or why I was chosen to do this. She told me not to worry about what already happened, (or didn’t happen, haha), but to just focus on what I can do this week.

How We Rejoice on the Covenant Path

This video of testimonies of sisters from our stake was shown at the 2019 women's conference.

Witnessing the Love of the Lord for Me and My Ancestors

This talk was given at the 2019 stake women's conference.
By Brynn Meredith, a Laurel

What a blessing it has been for me to take part in the preparation for this conference. I was challenged to take part in the 21-day challenge at the beginning of January, and it has been amazing for me to witness the love that our Father in Heaven has for us and our ancestors that came before us.

Sister Wensel and Sister Adams came and visited me and asked me to take part and be ready to share my findings. They also gave me a talk to read from a BYU women’s conference about this 21-day challenge. The challenge is about a sacrifice of time to the Lord. The action that I choose to take for this challenge was indexing and going to the temple once a week with my sister.

When I first received the challenge, I was admittedly really worried that I would not only be unable to find something I could consistently do, but that I would not be able to share the importance of it with you. I will also admit that before this challenge, I had never really learned how to use the FamilySearch software. But I felt very strongly that indexing was something that I would be able to do every day and that it was an important part in this work.

As We Submit Our Time to the Lord, He Showers Us with Blessings

This talk was given at the 2019 stake women's conference.
by Bethany Bown, a Laurel

Hello. My name is Bethany Bown. I’m a senior class officer at Davis High, a ballerina at Clytie Adams school of ballet, and a shopaholic. This may give you the impression that I am a busy girl, which I am, but I know it doesn’t even compare to being close to busy as all of you women, mothers, and friends.

The past 21 days I’ve taken part in an amazing opportunity that has brought blessings and great peace into my busy days. This is an opportunity I’d like to extend to each of you today. It’s called the 21-day sacrifice. You focus on keeping your covenants for 21 days and sacrifice something in order to do so. It’s as simple as that.

Wendy Watson Nelson was the one to initiate it in her address at the BYU Women’s Conference in 2015. She promised this along with her challenge: “When covenant women keep their covenants, they have greater access to the power of God. The power of God flows into them, and that power, His power, generates a decrease in stress, an increase in energy, more and clearer revelation for their lives, renewed focus, courage to make needed changes, an increase in patience, and more time for what matters.”

I can testify that she meant what she promised. The past couple weeks as I’ve taken part in this challenge, I’ve been more relaxed and focused on what really matters. One Saturday afternoon, my mom and I decided to go to the temple. It was about an hour wait. Instead of leaving because we had other things to do that day, we decided to stay. This was so worth it.

JustServe: Find Meaningful Service Opportunities

Are you looking for ways to serve in your community? Don't forget the wonderful resource:

You can also download the smartphone app for Apple and Google Play Stores to serve on the go.

JustServe is a great resource for finding opportunities to serve in our area. See this report for examples of the good this program does. Happy serving!

As We Keep Our Covenants, Christ Builds Us Up

This talk was given at the 2019 stake women's conference.
By Emma Nelson, a Laurel

I love the theme of "Rejoicing on the Covenant Path" because it is so important and applicable throughout our lives. Heavenly Father has asked us to do our best to keep our covenants, and through them comes joy. It is not always easy to find joy, especially during trials or hard times, but we need to trust our Heavenly Father and do what he has asked of us.

President Nelson said, “The highest compliment is to be called a covenant keeper.” This should be something we strive for, not because it is a compliment of the highest, but by keeping our covenants we show God how important our relationship with Him is to us.

Not too long ago I wasn’t sure if the Church was true. Every Sunday I would grudgingly go to church to renew my baptismal covenants and try to learn of Christ, not even knowing if He was there for me. After months of struggling, I was writing my frustration and feeling in my journal but got an overwhelming feeling of peace and love. I knew my Savior because I was renewing my baptismal covenants as I was trying to learn of Him. He has such a deep love for all of us that He will NEVER leave us on our own.

I’ve come to learn through trials that Christ lets us doubt to build us up stronger than we were before. Think about building muscles. As you work out your muscles, they are torn before they rebuild stronger. I feel we are like this as well. Sometimes we doubt, are torn, or broken, but by us always keeping our covenants, Christ helps to rebuild us stronger than ever.

2019 Women's Conference Breakout Sessions

We were so inspired at our recent women's conference by our wonderful guest speaker Sister Reeves and by our other speakers as well.

There were five speakers in each breakout room. The first four spoke on a part of our scripture theme of D&C 90:24. The fifth was a Laurel bearing testimony of and inviting Relief Society sisters and Laurels to participate in the 21-Day Sacrifice Challenge.

Enjoy the videos of these breakout room talks!

Tiffany Smith, Stone Creek Ward
"Seek Christ Diligently"

Janelle LaFontaine, Weaver Lane Ward

Heather Hughes, Swan Lakes Ward
"Be Believing, Doubt Your Doubts"

Lynnae Bitter, Evergreen Ward

Brynn Meredith (a Laurel), Roberts Farms Ward
"21-Day Sacrifice Challenge"

21-Day Sacrifice Challenge

Photo from BYUtv
 In 2015, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson gave a BYU Women’s Conference address titled “…My Soul Delighteth in the Covenants of the Lord” (2 Nephi 11:5). She shared that she received a cry for help from a friend who did not know what to say to a Relief Society group of sisters she would be speaking to because they were greatly stressed, depressed, overwhelmed, and even some feeling without purpose.

She was inspired to respond, “As counterintuitive as this may seem, I felt compelled, in a way I could not deny, to encourage [this sister] to offer a 21-day experiment to her Relief Society sisters. So I emailed back, 'Invite the sisters to make a sacrifice of time to the Lord by increasing their time in family history and in temple work for the next 21 days.'”

The experiment worked! She reports, “[Although] they were in distress, they focused on their covenant of sacrifice, they let that covenant be 'paramount,' and they were exactly obedient. And what happened? Their distress fell away!”

God’s love for us is real. He desires us to turn to Him so we may have joy. Through her entire BYU Women's Conference address, Sister Nelson bears a strong and insightful testimony of covenants. The privilege, the perspective offered, and the power of these beautiful exchanges of love between God and us are thrilling.

We are extending the same 21-Day Sacrifice Challenge to you, the Relief Society sisters and Laurels of our stake. We desire each of you to continue to be lifted and to feel joy! If you were to start TODAY, your 21 days would be complete on February 16th.

Please read or listen to the address by Sister Nelson. She will inspire you.
Click here to read the talk transcript.
Click here to see a video of the talk.
Your distress can and will fall away! Let’s go forward and rejoice on the covenant path.

The Covenant Path Is the Way

We truly rejoiced in our covenants yesterday during our stake women’s conference. The entire experience was a testament of our Savior’s love for each sister in our stake; our very souls were lifted. Our covenants truly are an expression of God’s love for us. It was a beautiful and good day!

The final testimony in each breakout was shared by a Laurel inviting the Relief Society sisters and Laurels of the Layton South Stake to participate in a 21-Day Sacrifice Challenge. The Laurels speaking each participated in the challenge leading up to and completing it on women's conference day.

Oh, these incredible Laurels! They are busy and bright, and they did it! Their testimonies were amazing!

President Nelson recently extended an invitation to our youth to join the Youth Battalion. Just as the army of Helaman had an army of women behind them, so must our youth. They need us women to offer our best to them to help build the kingdom of God on this earth.

As we are living in the last days, we each need an increase of God’s power in our lives to fulfill our earthly missions. The Lord will do His work and will help us do our part. The covenant path is the way.

Come to Stake Women's Conference!

Dear Sisters of the Layton Utah South Stake,

I extend a heartfelt, personal invitation to you to attend the Stake Women's Conference this coming weekend. It will be held on Saturday, January 26th, from 12pm-2pm at the Stake Center. Much thought and prayer have gone into the planning of this Conference. Please know that the very purpose of the Conference is to honor, nourish and strengthen you wonderful sisters, who play such an important role in Heavenly Father's Plan for the happiness, progress and salvation of His children.

One of the choicest blessing of my service as Stake President has been the opportunity to interact with and get to know the amazing women of this Stake. Each of you are unique, talented and beautiful. Many times while in your presence, I have been blessed to feel the tremendous love that Heavenly Father and the Savior, Jesus Christ, have for each of you individually. These are experiences I will never forget.

I recognize that your lives are busy and demanding and it is sometimes difficult to set aside some time just for yourself, but I believe this Conference is one of those important opportunities to do so. Please choose to attend and consider a neighbor or friend you could invite to attend with you. My sincere promise to you is that if you will come to this special Conference, bringing your trials, questions and burdens with you, the Lord, through the impressions of the Holy Spirit and the remarks that are made, will speak understanding, direction and peace to your souls.

I look forward to the privilege and blessing of spending some time with you on Saturday. May the Lord bless and keep you. Thank you for who you are and all you do!

Warmest Regards,
President Jensen

Feeling Joy in Our Lives

by Courtney Hagberg

Growing up, I was raised in a home where my mother took us to church. My father was a member, but he was not active. He got baptized so that my mom would marry him. A year later they were sealed in the temple. He didn’t go back to the temple for 25 years.

Photo from; used by permission
As a child, I didn’t realize what a sacrifice it was for my mother to take three kids to church by herself each week. She also worked and served as young women’s president several times. Now that I am a mother, my heart is beyond grateful that she stayed on the covenant path when it would have been so easy to not stay on the path.

As a teenager, I remember feeling sad and praying to my Heavenly Father and asking Him how to truly be happy. My prayer was answered in seminary. My seminary teacher asked the class, “Do you want to be truly happy and feel joy in your life?” Of course we all wanted that. He said the answer was to read our scriptures every day. I took that challenge and felt that joy.

He Rejoices When We Return

by Jenny Barlow 

I am grateful for the time I have had over the last couple of months to think about my testimony of covenants. I have come to realize that although I have a knowledge of the covenants I have made and a testimony of their importance, it is a testimony and knowledge that could use much strengthening and studying.

I have read others' testimonies, read talks on these topics, and have spent time pondering what I have experienced in my own life and what I believe. I'm grateful for this gentle nudge from a loving Heavenly Father to work to build upon what I currently have as a testimony to make it into a stronger foundation that I can always rely on.

I know that God blesses us for our desires and for our efforts. He rejoices when we make efforts to return whenever we stray from the covenant path.

I know He loves us with a love that we can't even comprehend. He has given us His Son, Jesus Christ, to show us the way and to provide the way that we can fully partake of that love and return to Him.

An Eternal Perspective

by April Klavano 
April's family in their "Team April" shirts

I was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on March 15, 2017. At the time, my kids were 2, 4, 8, and 11. I was terrified of cancer but relieved I was the one being diagnosed, and not one of my kids.

When being diagnosed and starting treatments, I never felt that I would die, but just that this was my trial I needed to go through. I was able to use this trial as a learning experience, and understood it to be one of the many ways I can be shaped to become more like my Heavenly Father.

I was able to rejoice on the covenant path, even while going through cancer treatments. By keeping our covenants, there are great blessings poured down upon us. I witnessed many of these blessings during this trial, which made it a very positive experience, and I did rejoice through my treatments.

When President Nelson spoke at the Alamodome, he said, “An eternal perspective will help you endure serious storms.” By staying on the covenant path, I was able to have an eternal perspective. This is how I was able to be so happy and positive, even when the doctor told me I had cancer, when I was sick in bed for days, and even when I shaved my head.

When my husband lost his job in November, someone at his work asked him how his wife was handling the news. He said something to the effect that I can handle getting diagnosed with cancer or my husband losing a job like it’s no big deal, but things like taking someone dinner is what stresses me out. And it’s true! I can see the big picture with big trials, but the little things are what I need to work on.

I’m far from perfect, but because I’m striving my best to stay on the covenant path, I know the Lord is right there with me, helping me make it through the toughest trials and becoming the person I need to be.

Covenants Guide Us Back to God

by Lindsay Wall 
Women's Conference Publicity Chair

I know that the covenants we make and keep can truly lead us back to our Heavenly Father. I remember thinking many times in my life, especially during trials, that I wish Heavenly Father would just tell me exactly what I need to do! I wished He would just lay it all out for me, and I would do it. Then, one day, I realized He already has!

He has given us these covenants and simple commandments as a guide to follow so that we can feel the Spirit, so we can be blessed here on earth and for all eternity. I know that Heavenly Father gave us covenants because He loves us and He wants every opportunity to bless us--and the blessings are even greater than we can imagine! Keeping our covenants really can make us rejoice in life! We can be at peace and know the steps we need to follow.
Photo from; used by permission

With that in mind, I also know that no matter how good we are at following and keeping our covenants, there are always going to be trials that make things hard. I know that not one of us is perfect and that the simple path He’s given us can seem really rough and full of temptation at times.

The best part, though, is that Heavenly Father has planned for that too. He’s molding us into who He wants us to be, and he’s also made a way for us to get back on course if we ever wander off. Keeping our covenants can get us through those hard times and make us stronger.

I know that our covenants were made for us to become closer to the Spirit, which helps us in every aspect of our lives. I know that there are so many things I, myself, need work on to become better at keeping my covenants, and I also know that that’s normal! This is the reason we’re here on earth--to be tested and to show that even when we falter, that we can get back up and try and do better at keeping our covenants the next day.