There is a pseudo-doctrine that has been floating around the Church for several decades now. Every time the General Authorities of Church find out about it, they make some semantic changes, but typically allow the activities to persist. What is the doctrine, you ask?
Covenanting Committing with the Lord.
My first exposure to this practice was during the mission. Some Elders got a copy of a copy of an account of a missionary who single handedly increased mission baptisms by 1,253% by employing the techniques. The Mission President reviewed it and made a Mission Program out of it.
Several years later a stake president instituted a similar program to enhance personal righteousness. This time you got a little card that you signed to boot. In both cases, the GAs changed the name of the programs as soon as they heard about it but the substance remained the same.
Basically, the thought is that if you are being righteous, you can go to the Lord in prayer and layout a plan. This plan will typically have a goal (baptisms or whatever) and a reasonable set of activities that will bring about the goal. In prayer, you propose the plan and ask for confirmation. You covenant with the Lord to do your part. Then you wait for the confirmation that the Lord accepts the covenant and will deliver if you do your part. This is often accompanied with recitations of “I the Lord am bound…” If you don’t get the goal, you repent for breaking the covenant and start over.
The GAs don’t like us using the term covenanting like that. Covenants are only mediated by the priesthood. So, the Covenanting Cards and the Covenanting Program become Commitment Cards and the Commitment Program.
Typically, such programs get thoroughly abused. I find their implementation manipulative and destructive. There have been a couple of posts in the ‘nacle that have outlined some antipathy. I’ve chimed in as an antagonist; that said, I think when done out of personal volition it does work. I had a great experience on my mission, grew a lot because of it and had some choice experiences.
I tend look at it through the lens of Peter. Peter is on the boat and sees Jesus on the water. Peter says, “How about you ask me to come walk on water too?” Jesus responds and Peter walks for a while, then gets scared and starts to sink.
Now, what would have happened if Peter really didn’t have the wherewithal to try to walk on water, but the other apostles manipulated him into asking Jesus to do it anyway? He asks, this time without faith. Jesus responds. Peter does the backstroke. An important thing here is that Peter hasn’t sinned and doesn’t need to repent.
I really do believe that the Lord is willing to have a conversation with us in prayer. I believe that he will let us know that we are on the right path. The most important aspect of the "commitment" doctrine (that also doesn’t ever get taught) is that Lord will say “Sure, why don’t you come walk on the water,” when he knows full well that we only have faith to swim. Why? Because walking on water is sweet.