Why I Stay on the Covenant Path

Much of our property in Garden Valley is on a steep hillside with a creek at the bottom. We built a path to make it easier to get to the creek. Our son spent a lot of time digging deeper into the dirt with a shovel and pickaxe and moving rocks to create steps and a higher edge for the path. We also used logs. It is probably hard to tell from this picture, but towards the top right on the right side of that yellow twine is where we started the path. It ran pretty straight along the hillside and descended from the top right to the bottom left of this picture. After we made the path, we found out that we had been mistaken about our property line. Notice again the yellow twine. That more closely marks our correct property line which means that about half of the path is on the neighbor’s property. This past month we started a new path near that middle tree at the top of the picture. A direct path would have been too steep so we did more of a zig-zag path and then reconnected in the middle. The path is narrow because we are making it with shovel, pickaxe, and our hands.

That was the story of our path on the property. Now for the sermon. (Last week my older son said he was excited to read about the picture of the big rock on our property and then ended up reading a sermon. You’re welcome!). In the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we make covenants which are promises between us and God that bind us to Him, protect us, and lead us back to Him. When we keep those covenants we are on the covenant path. The first covenant we make is at baptism. We make more covenants in the temple. Today in Relief Society we discussed “Why the Covenant Path” by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. I chose the covenant path when I was eight years old because I felt good going to church and being kind to others, and I believed what my parents taught me and what I learned at church about Jesus Christ. After being baptized, I received the gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift directed me as a child, as a teenager, and as a young adult in choosing the right, discerning right and wrong, repenting when I sinned, and serving others. As a young teenager I attended the Las Vegas Temple open house with my family and felt so much joy, awe, and happiness that I knew I wanted to be married in the temple. I was married to Alden Holm in the Mesa Arizona temple and made more covenants that day as I received my endowments and was sealed to Alden. Since then I’ve had to choose each day to keep the covenants I made at baptism to always remember my Savior and keep his commandments and the covenants I made in the temple to live the law of obedience, strive to keep the commandments of God, obey the law of sacrifice and the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to keep the law of chastity, and to help in the Lord’s work. I continue to choose to keep my covenants because of the blessings I’ve received. To me those blessings are evident in four areas: family, church service, personal growth, and spiritual growth.


I love my husband. I love my children. Being a mom and a wife is rewarding and difficult. I am committed to being a mom and a wife because I have made covenants to my husband and to my Heavenly Father.

Church Service

While serving at church, I have felt a portion of the love that Heavenly Father feels for His children. I have been blessed to serve beyond my capacity. I have received guidance and strength.

Personal Growth

I have prayed about what to study in college, how to continue to increase my talents and abilities, which classes to take and groups to join. As I have kept my covenants, I am blessed to receive guidance in my personal growth.

Spiritual Growth

This is the main reason why I stay on the covenant path. Spiritual growth is in every area of my life. I stay on the covenant path, because as I keep my covenants and seek for personal revelation, I am directed by my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost. I am given thoughts that teach me. I receive inspiration to talk to someone, to serve someone. In my scripture study, I receive answers to questions. I have a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I am becoming more than I could be on my own because I keep the commandments, sacrifice, consecrate, keep myself sexually pure, and serve others. I have power to be what the Lord wants me to be because I have made covenants.

Staying on the covenant path can be less treacherous than choosing to get off because I know I am choosing what God wants me to choose, because there is clear direction, and because I won’t have to suffer the consequences of unwise decisions. The covenant path can also be difficult. It may not be the path that some friends and family choose. It may lead to persecution. But mostly, in order to be made into the person my Heavenly Father needs me, I will be tried and tested. Throughout my life as I keep my covenants, Heavenly Father keeps His covenant to me by blessing me with His Spirit, protecting me, and in power to do His work. This leads to joy and peace in this life and eternal life or life with our Heavenly Father after we die.

Building a Foundation on Jesus Christ with Meaningful Family Scripture Study: Or my answer for my brother, Spencer Roundy

Much of our property in Garden Valley is on a steep hillside. We had dirt moved to clear a larger flat area to park and eventually build. We thought moving the dirt wouldn’t take much time with the right equipment, but underneath the pine needles and dirt, there were huge rocks. The one in the picture is about the size of a small car. While it took more time to move the rocks, we were able to extend the flat area with a strong foundation of more rocks.

My favorite scripture is from Helaman, “And now…remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12). Jesus Christ is our sure foundation. One of the ways to develop a foundation built on Jesus Christ is through family scripture study. During our Roundy family Zoom while discussing family traditions that help us build on the foundation of Jesus Christ, my brother, Spencer, asked how we have meaningful family scripture study. He jokingly said I could answer his question through a post on my website. Challenge accepted.

I think that many of us think we are failing at some imagined standard of meaningful family scripture study, so I wanted to know what others are really doing. I asked my amazing running friends about their family scripture studies. In that group is the wife of a bishop who has eight children, the wife of a Stake Presidency member who has six children and coaches cross country, a mother of ten children who does a weekly gospel podcast with friends, and a mother of five children who designs homes. I admire each of these women and often seek advice and support from them. None of our scripture studies are the same. Here’s our typical scripture studies in our current situations.

Two teenage children left at home: Read about five verses each in The Book of Mormon right before bed, mostly on weeknights. Sometimes the oldest child misses depending on what is going on.

Four teenage children left at home: Read a few verses each from The Book of Mormon in the morning around 6:30 am as they are trying to eat and get ready for school.

Six children left at home (one young adult, two teenagers, three elementary-aged children): Read around 6:15 am from the Doctrine and Covenants following along with the Come Follow Me lesson. One of the teenage children misses scripture study because he leaves for early-morning seminary. Sometimes the youngest is still in bed.

Five children at home (two young adults, three teenagers): Read the Doctrine and Covenants section from the Come Follow Me lesson about two nights a week with a longer lesson on Sundays. Encourage all family members to read The Book of Mormon on their own.

One teenage child left at home (that’s our family): Read two pages of The Book of Mormon around 6:20 am before the bus comes and while I’m trying to make a simple breakfast.

Most of my friends including myself don’t have meaningful discussions during family scripture study. Some of us have switched between morning and evening scripture study. Our family is more consistent with early morning study and our children are more docile then. During the summer we had scripture study before bed but often forgot.

I am the oldest of six children, and I remember having scripture study consistently during the school year early in the morning. My mom made sure we got up. My dad contributed with insightful comments. I remember that for a while we learned a hymn. Since I was the first to leave home, I didn’t see how scripture study changed over time in my family. We’ve had to adjust as our children have gone to school at different times and had different activities and jobs. We’ve had times where we memorized scriptures and The Family Proclamation. But mostly we’ve consistently read a couple of pages every week day from The Book of Mormon.

I’ve often wished we had more in depth discussions, more sharing, more teaching. My brother said that when they try to have more meaningful family scripture study, their children have tantrums and get up and leave. He doesn’t want to force them. A few years ago, I was frustrated with the gap between what I thought our study should be like and what was happening. We had a family council. My family jokes that I should just tell them what I want them to do, not ask them. But this time I did ask. I’d been learning more about how family councils should work. I expressed that I wanted us to learn more. We discussed options. I presented some ideas and what my children decided on worked out much better than what I suggested. They decided that after reading our two pages, one person would share what they learned from their personal scripture study. That worked really well for a while.

I now think that having consistent family scripture study is meaningful family scripture study. That through our consistency, we emphasize the importance to our children of the scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I wrongly assumed that this consistent scripture study would guarantee that my children would not struggle. Now is when I need to rely on my faith that those consistent family scripture studies have built a foundation for myself and my children. Elder Steven R. Bangerter said, “I believe that it is less a question of whether our children are ‘getting it’ in the midst of our teaching, such as while striving to read the scriptures or to have family home evening or to attend Mutual and other Church meetings. It is less a question of whether in those moments they are understanding the importance of those activities and more a question of whether we, as parents, are exercising faith enough to follow the Lord’s counsel to diligently live, teach, exhort, and set forth expectations that are inspired by the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is an effort driven by our faith—our belief that one day the seeds sown in their youth will take root and begin to sprout and grow” (“Laying the Foundation of a Great Work,” October 2018 General Conference).

Spencer, thank you for asking a meaningful question. Running friends, thank you for your examples and faithfulness. Mom and Dad, thank you for years of consistent and meaningful family scripture study that laid a foundation for my testimony and a knowledge of where to turn for questions.


Peace: Let God Prevail

My son in high school is taking Eastern Geographical Perspectives. They spent one class period learning about Christianity and another learning about Islam. My son shared with me that Islam means submission to God. He made the connection between the word Islam and the word Israel that our prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, recently shared. One of the Hebraic meanings of the word Israel is “let God prevail” (“Let God Prevail,” President Russell M. Nelson, Liahona, May 2021). I believe that repentance is the way we submit to God, the way we let God prevail.

In my scripture study this past week, I read about Alma, the prophet, calling the people of Ammonihah to repentance. He reminds them that God delivered their people out of Jerusalem, saved them from famine, sickness, “and all manner of diseases of every kind” and if they “transgress contrary to the light and knowledge which they…have…and rebel against [the Lord], they will “utterly be destroyed from off the face of the earth” (Alma 9:21, 23, 24). I particularly noticed the part about being saved from sickness and diseases. This past week two friends of mine lost parents to COVID. I’ve wondered like many others about God’s plan with this pandemic. Did these two people die because their mission on earth was finished. Did they die because they are needed in the Spirit world to further the work of the Lord there? Did they die simply because their bodies are mortal and disease kills some? I thought about all the people who have suffered with illness and death of loved ones over the past year-and-a-half and wondered if we are not being saved from this disease because we’ve transgressed. As soon as I had the thought, my heart rejected that individuals were dying or not dying because of their personal transgressions. Today in church two prayers were offered asking for the pandemic to be taken away from us. So I’ve been pondering if God is calling us to repentance through this pandemic. Then I thought about the meaning of repentance. I used to think that repentance was only admitting I made a mistake or sinned. I now understand that to repent means to turn to God. Repentance is giving my heart and mind to God and asking what I need to do to be closer to Him. Repentance is submitting to God, letting God prevail. I don’t know God’s plan with this pandemic, but I do know that He wants us to turn to Him. He wants us instead of blaming and accusing each other, to come to Him in prayer and ask for our hearts to be softened, ask what we can do to serve one another, ask how we can let Him prevail in our lives. Then will the pandemic be taken away? I don’t know. I do know that as Alma preached to the people in Gideon, that we “should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things [we] stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things [we] do receive” and then “the peace of God [will] rest upon [us]” (Alma 7:23, 27).

We all need peace, peace in Christ.