Friday, September 5, 2014

The Ten Commandments ... And a Few Others

Tithing, Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, Praying, Reading... Man, the missionaries sure teach a lot of commandments. Weren't there only supposed to be ten?

Not to worry! We can use the Ten Commandments, and our fingers like Primary Children, to remember them all.

1. No Other Gods
Just the one.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. -- Exodus 20:3

We are commanded to worship God, our Father in heaven, and no one else. Not our money, not a celebrity, not our jobs. God is our priority. Everything Jesus  Christ did was done to glorify the Father; so it should be for us.

The way we worship god is to pray always to Him. Alma taught, "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day."

2. No False Idols
Don't bow down to them.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
--Exodus 20:4-6

We are not supposed to worship items--things that men have made with their own hands. This includes literal idols and religious items such as icons, crosses, and statues. when these things become the object of our worship, we've misdirected it.

Consequently, as members of the church, we do not worship our Prophet, including Joseph Smith. However, because we strive to do what God wants us to do, we follow the prophet and his counsel. We have this opportunity to listen to the prophet and apostles every six months during General Conference. We also follow him by listening to our local leaders: those who have been called by a prophet or those who he has called.

3. The Lord's Name
Don't say it...
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. --Exodus 20:7

There are lots of things that could come out of our mouths. This commandment puts a filter on our tongue. We must watch the words we say, keeping them clean and wholesome. this includes not misusing the Lord's sacred name when we use expletives.

Another way to use the Lord's name in vain is to take it upon us unworthily or to act in His name, but without His authority. So, we must be baptized and confirmed by proper authority and when we are worthy and ready to keep the covenant.

4. Sabbath Day
It's a church, I promise.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
--Exodus 20:8-11

This commandment is a sign of the Lord's Covenant people. It makes us a peculiar people, we that not only worship on the Sabbath, but refuse to work, make anyone else work, and find other ways to serve God outside of our church services on this day.

In addition to regular Sabbath Day observance, we also follow The Law of the Fast at least once a month on the first Sunday. We go without food for 24 hours or two meals in order to find spiritual strength or ask for blessings. We also donate at least the cost of the two meals, possibly more, to the benefit of the poor.

5. Honor Your Parents
Or else you'll get beat, or something.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. --Exodus 20:12

Seriously, do it. Jesus gets upset when you ignore or mistreat them.

But why does it matter so much that we honor them? Because it teaches us how to be obedient. How can we be obedient to God and all His commandments if we can't obey our own parents?

6. Do Not Kill
Six shooter.
Thou shalt not kill. --Exodus 20:13

Seriously, don't do it. When we murder someone, we keep them from continuing to exercise their agency. There are those who fight in wars in order to preserve our freedom and lives. That is defense and is acceptable to God. However, we should avoid war when we can. We don't have any reason to murder anyone.

The law agrees. As good citizens, we believe in obeying and honoring the law. Those who live the laws of God have no need to break the laws of the land.

7. Do Not Commit Adultery

And the ring comes off...
Thou shalt not commit adultery. --Exodus 20:14

Living this law, or the Law of Chastity, means we not only not cheat on our spouses with married or unmarried people, but we don't have sexual relations before marriage either. That doesn't just mean no sex, but also avoiding anything that arouses those powerful sexual feelings including pornography and masturbation. We have a responsibility to control our thoughts and actions so we don't offend the Holy Ghost. Few things offend God more than sexual sin.

8. Do Not Steal
My thumbs! They have been cut off!
Thou shalt not steal. --Exodus 20:15

If you did not pay for it, work for it, or were given it as a gift, it is not yours. Do not take it. The same goes for things that belong to God. 

As members of the LDS Church, we live the Law of Tithing, giving ten percent of our income to the building up of the kingdom of God. Malachi said, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts."

9. Do Not Bear False Witness
"Did you hear what Martha did..."
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. --Exodus 2:16

If it is not true, don't say it. If it is true, do not hide all or part of it to make people believe something otherwise.

If we are to have others believe that we know the church is true and understand its doctrine, we must be sure that we actually do. We get to that point by reading and studying the scriptures daily. Doing so keeps our testimony strong and our lives anchored to God's word.

10. Do Not Covet
Covet-y fingers...
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
--Exodus 20:17

Coveting is more than being jealous. It is wanting something you shouldn't have, or thinking you deserve something that someone else has. Instead of being happy for others and their good fortune, we think only of ourselves, what we do not have, and are ungrateful for what we do have.

When it comes to our bodies, sometimes we covet things that we shouldn't consume. Things like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and massive amounts of sugar. (I'm still working on that last one.) We have been given the Word of Wisdom to let us know what is good and what is not for our bodies. We shouldn't have coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, or other harmful or illegal drugs. We do need to have grains, fruits and vegetables, exercise, and sleep.

Got it? There will be a test later.

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