- Slides: 40
Why Study the Ten Commandments? Doctrine & Covenants 130: 20 -21 would be one good reason!
Exodus 20 “The most important of all the commandments of God is that one that you’re having the most difficulty keeping today. If it’s one of dishonesty, if it’s one of unchastity, if it’s one of falsifying, not telling the truth, today is the day for you to work on that until you’ve been able to conquer that weakness. Then you start on the next one that’s most difficult for you to keep” (Church News, 5 May 1973, 3).
Perhaps the greatest indication of the importance of the Ten Commandments is that they are found in three of the four standard works of the Church. 1. 2. 3. 4. Mosiah 13: 12 -24 Deuteronomy 5: 6 -21 Doctrine & Covenants 42: 18 -29; 59: 5 -9 Matthew 5: 17 -37
These sixty-seven words can be read in less than thirty seconds, and yet if they were followed, they would quickly transform our earth into God’s paradise. But we not only disobey these important laws; many people don’t even know what they are. One man once said to his friend, ‘I will give you five dollars if you can repeat any one of the Ten Commandments. ’ His friend accepted the challenge and proceeded to demonstrate his knowledge by saying, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. ’ His friend said, ‘Here’s the money. I didn’t think that you could do it’” (Sterling W. Sill, “Thou Shalt Not, ” Ensign, Dec. 1971, 93).
These Commandments Show Man The Three Great Priorities Of Our Life: 1. The first four commandments show him his proper relationship to God. 2. The fifth commandment establishes the importance of the family and proper family relationships. 3. The last five commandments regulate man’s relationships with his fellowmen. A man who has committed himself to the perfecting of his relationships with God, family, and fellowmen is well on his way to perfection in all things.
“Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me” (#1) This commandment gives mankind their first priority in life. If God is not first, then all other things are affected. God will not favor us if we put him in second place in our lives and if we follow worldly things regardless of what they may be. We must have an eye single to the glory of God.
God is the fountain of happiness, and no intelligent creature can be happy but through him…. The very first commandment of the whole series is divinely calculated to prevent man’s misery and promote his happiness, by taking him to God himself, the fountain of all good (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 1: 402 -3).
“Thou Shalt Not Make unto Thee Any Graven Image” (#2) “Modern idols or false gods can take such forms as clothes, homes, businesses, machines, automobiles, pleasure boats, and numerous other material deflectors from the path to godhood. Brigham Young said I would as soon see a man worshipping a little god made of brass or of wood as to see him worshipping his property (Journal of Discourses, 6: 196).
Degrees and titles can become idols. Some neglect Church service through their college years, feeling to give preference to the secular training and ignoring the spiritual covenants they have made. Many people build and furnish a home and buy the automobile first – then find they “cannot afford” to pay tithing. Young married couples who postpone parenthood until their degrees are attained might be shocked if their expressed preference were labeled idolatry.
Many worship the hunt, the fishing trip, the vacation, the weekend picnics and outings. Others have as their idols the games of sport, baseball, football, the bullfight, or golf. Still another image men worship is that of power and prestige. These Gods of power, wealth, and influence are most demanding and are quite as real as the golden calves of the children of Israel in the wilderness (Miracle of Forgiveness, 4042).
What Is Wrong With Searching For “Many Riches? ” President Brigham Young said, “The worst fear I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth” (Brigham Young, cited in Preston Nibley, Brigham Young, 127 -28). I Timothy 6: 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
“Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord Thy God in Vain” (#3) It is implied that His children must have a deep and reverential attitude about God and his name. This precept not only forbids all false oaths, but all common swearing where the name of God is used, or where he is appealed to as a witness of the truth. It is difficult to understand how a person may truly and sincerely approach God in prayer, seeking a blessing at his hand, at the same time be so disrespectful as to take his name in vain. Profanity is incompatible with reverence.
“Remember the Sabbath Day” (#4) The commandment is to labor six days and rest the seventh. The Hebrew word Shabbat means “rest, ” or cessation of labor. ” Under the Mosaic dispensation, the violation of the Sabbath was a capital crime. The death penalties attached to the violation of the Sabbath in the Old Testament era convey two very obvious assumptions: First: the Sabbath is so important that the violation of it is a capital offense. Second: that the violation of the Sabbath laws involved a kind of death in and of itself.
Concerning the Sabbath, the Star offered this advice: “The Lord is not well pleased with a disciple that does any thing on that holy day that should be done on a laboring day. Nor should a disciple go to meeting one Sabbath here, and anothere; let all that can, be strict to attend meeting in their own place…. Neither should the children be allowed to slip off and play, rather than meet where they may be trained up in the way they should go to be saved (The Star, 1832, 5).
Doctrine and Covenants 59: 6 Anything like unto it! Sabbath Day — Holy Day or Holiday? Look at what you can do, not what you can’t.
Anciently, a sacrament was a ceremony in which a soldier swore an oath of allegiance to his king. So it is in the realm of spiritual things; a sacrament is a ceremony associated with a covenant in which we pledge loyalty to Christ and the standards of the gospel. Thus a sacrament is a formal expression of commitment and loyalty to our divinely sent King. Not one Sabbath day should pass without making the wrongs of the week right. Most sins would not be grievous, if attended to immediately.
“There is, ” said David O. Mc. Kay, “no more sacred ordinance administered in the Church of Jesus Christ than the administration of the Sacrament. ” Doctrine and Covenants 59: 9 “The true test!” The true test is here given. That which keeps us “unspotted from the world” is in harmony with the law of the Sabbath; that which does not so distinguish us is not in harmony with the spirit of the day. Our dress, our speech, and our behavior on this day should be such that it attests that we are a covenant people who love and honor the Lord. Anything less than this is less than the standard which ought to be ours.
“I mention the Sabbath Day” The Sabbath of the Lord is becoming the play day of the people. It is a day of golf and football on television, of buying and selling in our stores and markets. Are we moving to mainstream America as some observers believe? In this I fear we are. What a telling thing it is to see the parking lots of the markets filled on Sunday in communities that are predominately LDS. Our strength for the future, our resolution to grow the Church across the world, will be weakened if we violate the will of the Lord in this important matter.
Homework on Sunday? “Over a lifetime of observation, it is clear to me that the farmer who observes the Sabbath day seems to get more done on his farm than he would if he worked seven days. The mechanic will be able to turn out more and better products in six days than in seven. The doctor, the lawyer, the dentist, the scientist will accomplish more by trying to rest on the Sabbath than if he tries to utilize every day of the week for his professional work. I would counsel all students, if they can, to arrange their schedules so that they do not study on the Sabbath. If students and other seekers after truth will do this, their minds will be quickened and the infinite Spirit will lead them to the verities they wish to learn. This is because God has hallowed his day and blessed it as a perpetual covenant of faithfulness (Elder James E. Faust, Ensign, Nov. 1991, 34). (Exodus 31: 16)
Doctrine & Covenants 59: 12 Isaiah 58: 13 -14 Oblations – in the highest sense giving full devotion to the Lord of offering him a broken heart and contrite spirit (M. D. , 541 -42). Doctrine & Covenants 59: 13 -14 Why fast? (Isaiah 58: 5 -11) Fasting without prayer is hardly more than a period of irritating hunger. With prayer it is spiritual strength and hunger.
Doctrine and Covenants 59: 13 “Fasting may be perfect” Let it be remembered that the observance of the fast day by abstaining twenty-four hours from food and drink is not an absolute rule, it is no ironclad law to us, but it is left with the people as a matter of conscience, to exercise wisdom and discretion. Many are subject to weakness, others are delicate in health, and others having nursing babies; of such it should not be required to fast. Neither should parents compel their little children to fast. (Gospel Doctrine, 243 -44, President Joseph F. Smith).
Toward the end of the century, economic changes in the working world made it difficult to attend a daytime Thursday fast meeting. In 1896 Hyrum M. Smith, then a missionary in England, wrote to his father, President Joseph F. Smith, then second counselor in the First Presidency, about the difficulty members faced getting excused from their jobs to attend Thursday fast meetings. Workers had no paid leave, and “when these came from the pits, they had to go home, bathe, and change their clothes” (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Prayer and Fasting, ” Improvement Era, Dec. 1956, 895). He asked if Sunday would be a more appropriate day.
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve prayerfully discussed the question and felt guided to change fast meeting to the first Sunday of each month. In announcing the change, President Wilford Woodruff and his counselors said they recognized the need to make the meeting more accessible to all members throughout the world. The change became effective on 6 December 1896.
Each Sabbath is a day of fasting, abstaining from the things of the world, including the good things of the world. The Sabbath is a day to refrain from worldly activities regardless of how wholesome they may be. To justify participating in worldly activities on the Sabbath because they are good activities is to have an imperfect fast. “Not with much laughter, for this is sin. ” Activities that lead to excessive laughter are not appropriate on the Sabbath (Galatians 5: 22 -23, Doctrine & Covenants 88: 69, Doctrine & Covenants 88: 121).
Fasting is sometimes thought of as going without food and drink. Smith and Sjodahl pointed out “upon the Sabbath, even the food should be prepared ‘with singleness of heart’; that is to say, in simplicity. ” Our hearts our desires, on that day, would not be elaborate feast, whereby some are prevented from having a Sabbath. A simple meal should suffice. To that extent every Sabbath should be a fast day, one bringing perfect joy. “Let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart” This is not a commandment precluding nice meals on the Lord’s day, but rather that those that prepare meals and those that receive of the bounty of the Lord recognize the hand from whom all blessings flow.
Doctrine & Covenants 59: 12 Isaiah 58: 13 -14 Oblations – in the highest sense giving full devotion to the Lord of offering him a broken heart and contrite spirit (Mormon Doctrine, 541 -42). Doctrine & Covenants 59: 13 -14 Why fast? (Isaiah 58: 5 -11) Fasting without prayer is hardly more than a period of irritating hunger. With prayer it is spiritual strength and hunger.
“Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother” (#5) When parents are righteous, God-fearing people, children have little problem understanding the commandment to honor them, although they may have difficulty doing it. Anytime a child lives righteously he brings honor to his parents, whether those parents are themselves righteous or wicked. The opposite is also true. Anytime a child lives wickedly he brings shame to his parents, whether or not the parents are righteous. A parent may fail miserably in their calling, even to the point where a child cannot follow their example. The child still has the obligation to honor the parent because of the parent’s standing as a representative of God. Elder Bruce R. Mc. Conkie stated this principle as follows: “Children come into mortality with the inborn requirement, planted in their souls by that very Being who gave them birth as spirits, to honor their parents and to obey their counsel in righteousness” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2: 521).
“That Thy Days May Be Long” “Paul interprets the promise as a personal one. Obedient and faithful children are to have long lives upon the earth. That is, in the generality of instances, temporal life is prolonged by obedience to gospel laws; but, more particularly and in the ultimate sense, those who are god-fearing and righteous – meaning the meek – shall live upon the earth again in its final or celestial state” (Doctrine & Covenants 86: 16 -20, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2: 521 -22).
“Thou Shalt Not Kill” (6) It is in the same category as the rebellion of Satan and his hosts and therefore it would not be surprising if the penalties to be imposed upon a murderer were to be of similar character as the penalties meted out to those spirits which were cast out of heaven with Satan (Harold B. Lee in “The Sixth Commandment, ” Part 1, The Ten Commandments Today, 88).
“Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery” (#7) There should be no sex relationships outside of marriage. Doctrine & Covenants 42: 24 Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out. But he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive. But if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out. Doctrine & Covenants 59: 6 “Nor do anything like unto it”
As dramatic as the brave passage through the Red Sea was, those in our time who make their way through a sea of filth and still keep the seventh commandment will be even more victorious and deserving of praise (Neal A. Maxwell, That Ye May Believe, 125).
“Thou Shalt Not Steal” (#8) When a man seeks to reap the benefits of another’s labor without adequate compensation, it is theft. To all thieveries and dishonest acts, the Lord says, “Thou shalt not steal. ”
“Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness” (#9) To bear witness is to testify to or to pass along reports, insinuations, speculations, or rumors as if they were true, to the hurt of a fellow human being. Bearing false witness centers in the destruction of character or its defamation. It reaches the ruin of reputation.
“Thou Shalt Not Covet” (#10) All the commandments are so intertwined that none can be broken without weakening all the others. The earth holds plenty for all – and the urge to acquire for ourselves such good things as other men have is a productive quality of character – provided that we acquire them by honest effort, by lawful means, and by keeping life well-balanced. The danger comes when mere “things” begin to matter too much (Richard L. Evans, in “The Tenth Commandment, ” Part 1, The Ten Commandments Today, 142 -44).
The Ten Commandments Now! Commandment Now: 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. D&C 76: 1 -4 2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. D&C 1: 15 -16 3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy D&C 63: 61 -62 God in vain. 4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. D&C 59: 9 -13 5. Honor thy Father and Mother. D&C 27: 9 6. Thou shalt not kill. D&C 42: 18 -19, 79 7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. D&C 42: 22 -26, 74 -81 8. Thou shalt not steal. D&C 42: 20, 84 -85 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness D&C 42: 21, 27, 86 10. Thou shalt not covet D&C 19: 25 -26
The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. But we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received. That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another” (Teachings, 255 -56).
Doctrine & Covenants 59: 5 -9 “The New 10 Commandments” This revelation not only re-establishes the law of the Sabbath for this dispensation but also reinstates the Decalogue, affirming that the Ten Commandments as given to Moses on Sinai were part to the higher law rather than the law of carnal commandments. As given in this dispensation, these commandments are as follows:
1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength. 2. In the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him. 3. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 4. Thou shalt not steal. 5. Neither commit adultery. 6. Nor kill.
7. Nor do anything like unto it. 8. Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things. 9. Thou shalt offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in righteousness, even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. 10. And that thou mayest more fully keep thy self unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day.