Elder Randy D. and Sister Andrea C. Funk
General Authority Seventy
Elder Randy D. Funk was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 2013. At the time of his call, he was serving as the president of the India Bengaluru Mission. Currently, Elder Funk serves in the Middle East/Africa North Area Presidency, on the Area Committee, as an assistant executive director in the Priesthood and Family Department, and as the editor of Church magazines.
Elder Funk received a bachelor’s degree in history from Utah State University in 1976, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah Law School in 1979. Before his call to full-time Church service, he was an attorney and partner at the law firm Sherman & Howard in Denver, Colorado. He married Andrea Clyde in 1976, and they are the parents of six children.
Please respond to one or more of the questions below on the devotional discussion board:
- During this pandemic and its associated limitations, in what ways are you inspired to exercise the faith to go and do?
- How do our actions relate to the blessings and joy we experience in life? How can we accept and receive the blessings Heavenly Father desires for us?
Elder Randy D. Funk: Sister Funk and I are very thankful to join you from the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City for this BYU-Idaho devotional.
Sister Andrea C. Funk: We really wish we could be with you in person, but we are grateful we can gather through technology.
Elder Randy D. Funk: During this unusual time, we are glad you are pressing forward with faith and hope, furthering your education, and doing many other good things. We hope our messages today are both timely and timeless as we seek to encourage your faithful, covenant-keeping efforts.
Sister Andrea C. Funk: Dear students, this is a wonderful time in your life when you are making many important decisions. Because of this, it is particularly needful to (1) hear what the Lord is telling you, and (2) move forward and act on that inspiration.
During my recent Come, Follow Me study of Alma 60, these words in verse 11 stood out: “Could [you] suppose that . . . because of the exceeding goodness of God [you] could do nothing . . . ? Behold, if ye have supposed this ye have supposed in vain.”  We need to both hear and then do. Faith is a “principle of action and of power.” 
Our prophet and apostles are teaching us how to receive revelation. As we learn to “Hear Him” we should go forward with action.
Joseph Smith was commanded by Moroni to tell his father of the vision and commandments he had received from Moroni. He told his father, who said “it was of God, and told me to go and do”  as the messenger commanded. Joseph then “left the field, and went.” 
In response to the commandment of the Lord to get the brass plates, Nephi acted in faith when he told his father, “I will go and do.” 
Elder David A. Bednar taught, “We begin to come to know the Savior as we arouse our spiritual faculties and experiment upon His teachings. . . . True faith is focused in and on the Lord and always leads to righteous action. ‘Faith [in Christ is] the first principle in revealed religion, . . . the foundation of all righteousness, . . . and the principle of action in all intelligent beings.’” 
My mother has been an example to me of hearing the word of the Lord and then putting her faith into action. At the age of 20, she was a young German woman living in Vienna, Austria, with her mother, who had previously joined the Church. It was near the end of World War II. During that time, she prayed, “Please, Heavenly Father, tell me if this is your Church.”  In answer to her sincere prayer she recorded, “Suddenly a wonderful feeling came over me. I felt like light was surrounding me. . . . It was a marvelous feeling, hard to describe. At that very moment I knew the Church was true and I knew I wanted to be baptized. The Holy Ghost had testified the truth unto me. I will be eternally grateful for this blessing!”  She acted and was baptized.
Soon she had an opportunity to go and do even more. She related, “After my baptism I had the desire to tell all my friends and other people I met about the Church of Jesus Christ. One day, when I was . . . in line at the Academy . . . to register for another quarter, I was standing next to a student I had not met or seen before. I received the strong impression to tell him about our Church. At first I resisted the feeling. This was a complete stranger and we were in an awkward situation. But the prompting stayed with me, and I offered a silent prayer and asked for help with what to say to this young man. So I asked him if he had ever heard about . . . [our] Church. I then told him about my beliefs—all this in the short time we had. . . . I invited him to come to Sunday School the next Sunday, . . . [and] to come to our home, if he wanted to know more. . . . He did accept the invitation and came to our house and also to Church. He was baptized.”  For my mother that was the beginning of many years of following the promptings of the Spirit with action.
Soon after her baptism, she met my father, an American soldier, at church in Vienna. My life has been forever blessed because of my mother’s faith and willingness to act on the inspiration she received throughout her life.
I pray that each of us can learn to hear the words of the Lord and then act promptly upon them. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder Randy D. Funk: Thank you, Andrea. I am very grateful that both Sister Funk and her mother have been willing to act in making and keeping sacred covenants.
I. Making Covenants - Accepting Offered Blessings
President Russell M. Nelson has taught, “One of the most important concepts of revealed religion is that of a sacred covenant. In legal language, a covenant generally denotes an agreement between two or more parties. But in a religious context, a covenant is much more significant. It is a sacred promise with God. He fixes the terms. Each person may choose to accept those terms. If one accepts the terms of the covenant and obeys God’s law, he or she receives the blessings associated with the covenant.” 
We are children of a Heavenly Father who truly loves us and desires to bless us. But in doing so, He, like us, is bound by eternal principles or laws. During the first semester of my law school training, I learned a legal principle that helped me better understand how our actions affect our ability to receive the blessings Heavenly Father desires for us.
My contracts class was taught by a distinguished professor who was very kind and gracious—when he was not in the classroom. In class, he was a master at teaching using the Socratic method—a method of teaching that involves asking probing questions in a way intended to develop critical thinking. My professor was so skilled that he seemed like the lawyers described by Amulek, who “by their cunning devices . . . might catch them in their words.” 
For most class periods we were assigned to read three legal decisions or cases. During class, a student was called upon to summarize the facts of the case and then describe the legal principles of contract law that the cases established. The unfortunate student was then subject to the professor’s probing, twisting questions that followed. It was almost always a very humbling experience. The first time I was called upon, the cases dealt with a principle of contract law known as unilateral acceptance. As a result, I have never forgotten that principle.
Among other things, to form a binding contract under the laws of man, there must be an offer and an acceptance. For most contracts, one party makes an offer and the other party can make a counteroffer or agree to accept the initial offer.
For some agreements, such as a contract to purchase real estate, the law requires that the offer and the acceptance be in writing. In other situations, the parties need only verbally agree. But for some agreements, the acceptance of an offer is made simply by performance. This is known as unilateral acceptance.
Let me illustrate with this example: If I lived in Rexburg, perhaps I might send one of you a text message that generously says, “If you mow my lawn, I will pay you $200.” To accept the offer, you don’t need to sign an agreement or even reply to say you will mow my lawn. You simply need to mow my lawn. If you do, I would be contractually obligated to pay you $200. Why? Because you accepted my offer by your performance.
Covenants with our Heavenly Father work in much the same way. To receive the generous blessings He offers, we must act to accept them. There is not a negotiation followed by a signed acceptance. Instead, by our affirmative expressions and by acting in accordance with His will, including by receiving essential ordinances, we indicate our desire and willingness to make covenants with Him. As we then keep our covenants with Him by what we do, we qualify for the abundant blessings He has promised.
In the Doctrine and Covenants we learn: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” 
The Savior taught, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”  In other words, we accept our Heavenly Father’s offered blessing of eternal life in the kingdom of heaven not simply by what we say but by what we do. And when we covenant with Him, He has assured us, “I the Lord am bound, when ye do what I say.” 
He also made clear that if we do not do His will—if we don’t accept His offer—then we have no agreement. Or in His words, “but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” 
II. The Ordinances of Salvation and Exaltation
We enter into those covenants necessary for salvation and exaltation by receiving saving ordinances. As stated in the General Handbook, “Members make covenants with God as they receive the ordinances of salvation and exaltation. All who endure to the end in keeping their covenants will receive eternal life.” 
The ordinances of salvation and exaltation are baptism, confirmation, priesthood ordination for men, and the endowment and sealing ordinances of the temple.  Each of these five ordinances are performed vicariously in the temple for deceased ancestors because they are essential for all God’s children.
The record of Alma teaching at the waters of Mormon illustrates the relationship between covenants, ordinances, and blessings. Notice how God, through His prophet, sets the conditions, describes the promised blessings, and declares how we may receive those blessings.
To those gathered at the waters of Mormon who expressed a desire to come into the fold of God—desire being an important first step —Alma taught what was expected of them. They must be:
- “willing to bear one another’s burdens . . . willing to mourn with those that mourn . . . and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” and
- “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places . . . even until death.”
Alma then described the promised blessings, including that they:
- “may be redeemed of God,”
- “be numbered with those of the first resurrection,”
- “may have eternal life,” and
- “That [Heavenly Father] may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you.”
Think of the magnitude of those promised blessings!
What did the people need to do to accept those remarkable blessings? In the words of Alma, they must be “baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments.”  Please notice that the ordinance of baptism, a physical act that most of us clearly remember, serves as a witness or evidence that we have entered into a covenant with God.
The people were so eager to do this that “they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts” and they were baptized.  They freely and with desire entered into a covenant as they entered into the waters of baptism.
Similarly, as we receive each of the other ordinances of salvation and exaltation, we receive additional promises of great blessings. The covenants we make are sacred and binding on us and with God. We choose to accept His offered blessings when we exercise our moral agency to receive ordinances and keep the associated covenants.
III. The Sacrament
The ordinance of the sacrament, the only ordinance we repeat for ourselves, invites us to remember the Savior and our covenants. When Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament among the Nephites, He gave priesthood power to His disciples and instructed them “to break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those shall believe and be baptized in my name.” 
We often think of partaking of the sacrament to renew our baptismal covenants. Though that is correct, please notice the language used by the Savior. When He instructed His followers to partake of the bread, He said, “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.”  When they drank of the wine, He said, “This is fulfilling my commandments, and doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you.”  In other words, when we partake of the sacrament, we are testifying and witnessing anew each week that we will always remember Jesus Christ and that we are willing to keep His commandments. A specific promised blessing is that if we do always remember Him, His Spirit will be with us. 
When the Savior instituted the sacrament, He broke bread and taught, “This is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”  In reflecting on the blessings that come to us as we partake of the sacrament, President Dallin H. Oaks observed, “Because it is broken and torn, each piece of bread is unique, just as the individuals who partake of it are unique. We all have different sins to repent of. We all have different needs to be strengthened through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, whom we remember in this ordinance.” 
I have found it helpful to ponder verses 10, 12, and 14 of 3 Nephi 18. In each of these verses the Savior says to those who partake of the sacrament, “Blessed are ye,” but He does not specify what the blessing will be. Perhaps because each of us who participate in this sacred ordinance are as different as the shape of each piece of bread, we each need different blessings. Though our challenges, circumstances and needs differ, the Savior has promised each of us who keep the sacramental covenant, “Blessed are ye.”
IV. Resisting Temptation and the Cares of the World
With all these blessings available to us, why would not everyone eagerly seek them?
Let me remind you of a sad example recorded in Doctrine and Covenants sections 39 and 40. James Covel, who had been a minister for about 40 years, had learned of the restored gospel and had covenanted with the Lord that he would obey any command the Lord would give to him through Joseph the Prophet. On January 5, 1831 in Fayette, New York, Joseph Smith received a revelation for James Covel. Through His prophet, the Lord stated that James had rejected Him many times because of the cares of the world but said James’ heart was now right. He said that James should be baptized, and if he did so the Lord had a great work for him to do in building up the Church and specifically said that James was called to go to the Ohio. 
The very next day, the Prophet Joseph received another revelation concerning James Covel. Section 40 has only three verses. Those short verses describe that James “received the word with gladness, but straightway Satan tempted him; and the fear of persecution and the cares of the world caused him to reject the word.”  Notice how quickly Satan came to tempt James? “Wherefore,” the Lord said, “he broke my covenant, and it remaineth with me to do with him as seemeth me good.”  Notice also who broke the covenant. It will never be the Lord. In the heading of the next section, section 41, we see that a month later Joseph Smith is in Ohio, where James was called to go. The work is moving forward, but without James Covel.
V. The Role of Love and Mercy
Now let me highlight an important distinction between the laws of God and the laws of man. That is the role of love and mercy in God’s plan of redemption for His children. As noted, in many cases we invite His offered blessings through our actions. In some cases, as loving parents do, Heavenly Father mercifully considers the desire of our hearts as well as our works.  He realizes that sometimes the opportunity to act may be limited by circumstances beyond our control— an early death, a serious disability, the simple lack of knowledge or of opportunity, or any other unfairness that occurs in a fallen world—that may seemingly block our progress and the receipt of promised blessings we desire. Thus, central to the great plan of happiness is a Savior, Jesus Christ, who makes up the difference, overcomes the unfairness, and allows all who truly desire and do all they can, to ultimately accept and receive the promised blessings of a loving Heavenly Father.
Heavenly Father wants us to return to His presence because we desire to do so. As Elder Dale G. Renlund taught, “our Heavenly Father’s goal in parenting is not to have His children do what is right; it is to have His children choose to do what is right and ultimately become like Him. If He simply wanted us to be obedient, He would use immediate rewards and punishments to influence our behaviors.” 
Heavenly Father requires a willing heart and effort on our part. Many of the rewards for choosing what is right come in the future, and they are far more than we deserve—which is why some are referred to as a gift.  Like the generous, merciful parent He is, He gives us much—far beyond anything we merit. Thus, exaltation is not earned, but it must be chosen, accepted, and gratefully received.
“This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.”  In all seasons and all circumstances may each of us act with faith, obedience, diligence and gratitude to prepare to receive all that our Father hath. 
VI. A Righteous, Covenant People
We live in a wonderful time when the blessings of the gospel are readily available to those who choose to accept them. In the recent words from our dear prophet, President Nelson: “We have front row seats to witness live what the prophet Nephi saw only in vision, that ‘the power of the Lamb of God’ would descend ‘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.’ You, my brothers and sisters, are among those men, women and children whom Nephi saw. Think of that!” 
Thank you, brothers and sisters, for your goodness; and for your faith and faithfulness in striving to follow the covenant path. I bear witness that our Heavenly Father loves us and truly desires to bless us. Through the infinite Atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ, all can be made whole. As we trust God, and act in faith to make and keep sacred covenants with Him, how great will be our joy now and throughout eternity. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 Alma 60:11.
 “Faith,” Bible Dictionary; emphasis added.
 Joseph Smith—History 1:50; emphasis added.
 Joseph Smith—History 1:50.
 1 Nephi 3:7; emphasis added.
 David A Bednar, “If Ye Had Known Me,” Ensign, Nov. 2016, 103; emphasis added.
 Brigitta Straumer Clyde, “Brigitta Straumer Clyde: Dancer, Wife, Mother,” 42.
 Brigitta Straumer Clyde, “Brigitta Straumer Clyde: Dancer, Wife, Mother,” 43.
 Russell M. Nelson, “Covenants,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 86.
 Alma 10:13.
 Doctrine and Covenants 130:20–21.
 Matthew 7:21.
 Doctrine and Covenants 82:10; emphasis added.
 Doctrine and Covenants 82:10; emphasis added.
 General Handbook, 3.5.1.
 See General Handbook 18.1.
 See Alma 32:27.
 Mosiah 18:10; emphasis added.
 Mosiah 18:11.
 3 Nephi 18:5.
 3 Nephi 18:7; emphasis added.
 3 Nephi 18:10; emphasis added.
 See 3 Nephi 18:7, 11.
 1 Corinthians 11:24.
 Dallin H. Oaks, 2017 New Mission Presidents Seminar, June 24, 2017.
 See Doctrine and Covenants 39.
 Doctrine and Covenants 40:2.
 Doctrine and Covenants 40:3.
 See Doctrine and Covenants 137:9.
 Dale G. Renlund, “Choose You This Day,” Ensign, Nov. 2018, 104.
 See Doctrine and Covenants 14:7, 1 Nephi 10:17.
 Alma 34:32.
 See Doctrine and Covenants 84:38.
 Russell M. Nelson, “Hear Him,” Ensign, May 2020, 88; emphasis in original.