What Does Motivational Teacher Stephen Covey Really Believe?

 Dr. Michael H. Reynolds


PROVO, UT—Stephen Covey is a world renowned teacher, motivational leader and time management consultant. He, his Covey Leadership Seminars, books and other materials are sought after by Christian denominations, churches, businesses, schools, universities and seminaries. Many defend him strongly while others are wary of this member of the LDS church from Utah who has served his church as a missionary, bishop, mission president, and regional representative of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles along with his duties as a professor at the J.W. Marriott school of business at BYU.

In his best selling book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Covey says: "To the degree which we align ourselves with correct principles, divine endowments will be released within our nature enabling us to fulfill the measure of our creation." What are these principles and endowments that Mr. Covey speaks of? What does he really believe about God, Jesus, the trinity, salvation by grace and other essential Christian doctrines?

Let us take a few moments and ask him by using The Divine Center, a book written by Covey which states in clear terms just what he believes. It was first published in 1988 by Bookcraft, an unofficial Mormon publishing house. In interview format we will ask him just what Stephen Covey believes and let him give the answers. The page numbers that follow are from the book The Divine Center.

*Mr. Covey, you are a world renowned author and speaker and many people from many different walks of life look to you for advice and help. What do you see as your main purpose in writing and speaking?

"For many years I have felt and seen the need for an organizing principle in life, a principle that would enable us to get a handle on things . . . My central purpose is to invite readers to examine their faith and lives from a fresh perspective or angle and consequently deepen their commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ." (p. IX)

*That certainly sounds good, except that most historical Christians would speak of deepening their commitment to the person of Jesus. Who do you see Jesus to be?

In quoting Apostle Bruce R. McConkie Mr. Covey said, @"Our relationship with the Son is one of brother or sister in the pre-mortal life..."(p. 72)

*What kind of relationship do you think people should have with Jesus?

"I am not indicating any kind of `special’ relationship with him or any other approach that scriptures and modern day prophets would not clearly sanction."(p.67-68)

*How do you view the relationship between the centrality of Christ in a person’s life and the concept of grace?

"Rather naturally we associate that emphasis with such false concepts as easy salvation by grace alone....We should not allow apostate doctrines and interpretations to preempt in any degree the unquestioned centrality of the Savior to the true gospel we enjoy and to our individual lives." (p. 68)

*Mr. Covey, I am sure that we would both agree that the church is very important in the life of a Christian. What do you see as the purpose of the church?

The purpose of the Church is to help save all of the living and the dead. To do this it has three essential missions: to preach the gospel to those who have not received it; to perfect the Saints, or those who have received it; and to redeem the dead. (p. 51)

*One of the essential doctrines of historical Christianity is the doctrine of the trinity. What do you think of this doctrine and what do you think it does?

"One of the great behavioral consequences of the apostate doctrine of the Trinity, in which God manifests himself in different ways, is to lead people to believe that we are a creation of God rather than his literal offspring." (p.82)

*Well, that is not exactly what the Christian doctrine of the trinity is. But for the time being we’ll let that slide. It does bring to mind another point. What do you think of the doctrine of God?

"...Elder Lorenzo Snow (a former prophet of the LDS Church) summarized in his couplet: `As man now is, God once was; As God is, man may become." (p.81).

*Mr. Covey, how do you think that you can convey your concepts and the LDS gospel to non-Mormons?

"I have found in speaking to various non-LDS groups in different cultures that we can teach and testify of many gospel principles if we are careful in selecting words which carry our meaning but come from their experience and frame of mind." (p.240)


The Divine Center was obviously written for a Mormon audience and as such we can get to know the real Stephen Covey. Nothing is hidden behind vague statements about God, the scriptures or words like principles and endowments. In the pages of this book Mr. Covey states that the doctrine of the trinity is apostate, denies the concept of salvation by grace alone, gives a completely heretical view of God and offers a purpose for the church that no historical/biblical Christian would ever recognize. The Divine Center shows that not only is Stephen Covey a member of the LDS church, but his own beliefs which form the basis of his principles in all of his other books are clearly and directly opposed to evangelical Christian doctrine.