The following was written by Katie Child.

Anthony Sweat, associate teaching professor of Church history and doctrine, delivered Tuesday’s devotional address. He spoke on the importance of the endowment and drawing upon God’s power in our lives.

Sweat emphasized that increasing our understanding of the endowment can provide us with the power necessary to overcome the spiritual challenges of our day, as a part of the ongoing Restoration.

Often the word “endowment” is used to refer to the priesthood ceremony in the temple, but Sweat challenged that sole specific definition by expounding on how an endowment is more than a religious ceremony.

“There is a difference between endowment and the presentation of the endowment. The endowment is a divine power, and the presentation of the endowment is an authorized religious ceremony that facilitates that power,” Sweat continued. “If we understand that endowment is a spiritual capacity, then we need to develop that capacity over time through faithfully seeking to understand and then diligently live the concepts and covenants presented in the temple endowment ceremony.”

To emphasize how the major temple covenants can facilitate accessing the spiritual power that we need, Sweat described five challenges we might face as we continue in the Restoration and how the five covenants of the temple endowment can address them:

1. We live in a time that worships individuality

We are bombarded with well-intended yet self-centric messages. While these messages can be worthwhile in small doses, Sweat explained how they can stand in stark contrast to Jesus’s perfect example of lifelong submission and obedience to God.Hidden image

2. We live in a world of fractured families and declining marriage

Sweat reported that recent data has shown that the marriage rate in America is decreasing, while the rate of divorce increases. Drawing upon experiences in his marriage, he counseled that the principle and covenant of sacrifice is the key to maintaining and strengthening eternal relationships.

3. We live in a time of conflicting social and political questions

While we are surrounded by increased social and political questions and division, Sweat pointed out how the laws and principles of the gospel outline that we should treat those who have differing views or opinions with respect and understanding.

“There is power in living the higher teachings of Jesus Christ as taught in his marvelous gospel — to not judge or revile, but instead to love, to pray for, to forgive, to extend mercy and to make peace,” he said.

4. We live in a world of sexual permissiveness

As casual sex and pornography have become more common and acceptable in society, Sweat highlighted the law of chastity and its purpose to help us develop a “character that can be trusted, exercises restraint, respects boundaries, won’t selfishly abuse power and has the ability to create and maintain a covenant family.”

5. We live in a world with a heightened focus on worldly successes

“The desire to be something in the eyes of everyone else can taint our motives, lead us to rationalize away ethical standards, justify stepping on and overlooking other people in our desperate climb to the top, and it can cause us to miss out on our true life’s mission,” Sweat explained.

In contrast, the temple teaches the importance of consecrating our time, talents, gifts, and lives over to God to fulfill that which he has planned for us.

Sweat concluded by explaining how the power of covenants is available to those who seek to implement holy patterns in their lives and consistently and consciously strive to live those covenants and concepts.