The Lord has said, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments” (D&C 42:29).
The Prophet Joseph said: “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” (History of the Church, 5:135).
When the Lord organized his church in 1830, he soon thereafter gave several revelations in which he laid down the law of the Church, the law by which the people of his church were to be governed.
I think it is a good thing for us to realize that we do not get the gospel of Jesus Christ out of the Bible only. We accept the doctrines of the gospel as taught in the Bible to be the word of God. The Bible teachings are the word of God wherever they have not been mutilated. But the teaching of the gospel as contained in the Bible is but a part of the teaching which the Lord and his prophets gave in past dispensations.
In each dispensation, from the days of Adam to the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord has revealed anew the principles of the gospel. So that while the records of past dispensations, insofar as they are uncorrupted, testify to the truths of the gospel, still each dispensation has had revealed in its day sufficient truth to guide the people of the new dispensation, independent of the records of the past.
I do not wish to discredit in any manner the records we have of the truths revealed by the Lord in past dispensations. What I now desire is to impress upon our minds that the gospel, as revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, is complete and is the word direct from heaven to this dispensation. It alone is sufficient to teach us the principles of eternal life. It is the truth revealed, the commandments given in this dispensation through modern prophets by which we are to be governed.
Consider a few of them:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him” (D&C 59:5).
“Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God shall give thee” (1 Ne. 17:55).
To honor one’s father and mother is to please and honor God.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (D&C 59:6).
“Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer” (D&C 42:42).
We are therefore under command to be an industrious, hardworking, frugal people.
The wisdom of obeying this commandment is self-evident.
In another statement he added the phrase, “nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6), which to me suggests that there are other unspecified transgressions akin to killing, which may carry a similar penalty.
“Thou shalt not steal; and he that stealeth and will not repent shall be cast out” (D&C 42:20). This means that a thief who will not repent should be cut off from the Church, deprived of his membership.
It is reported that violations of this commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” constitute a higher percentage of crimes than all other crimes put together. (See “The Eighth Commandment,” by Cleon Skousen, in The Ten Commandments Today, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955, p. 120.)
Countless are the devious ways of stealing. Fortunate indeed are they who, through righteous living and the gift of discernment, can clearly distinguish between honesty and dishonesty.
“Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out” (D&C 42:21).
“Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart” (D&C 42:22).
“Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out” (D&C 42:24).
This commandment, given also in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:14), is repeated here in this dispensation so that there can be no doubt about its being binding upon the people of the Church in this day:
“He that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out.”
The violator of this commandment suffers a loss second only to the loss suffered by him who kills. With the loss of the Spirit of the Lord, which always accompanies adultery, comes a diminution of the power to choose between right and wrong. Lying, loss of self-respect, and disloyalty are bosom companions of adultery. If we are seriously interested in being successful in any endeavor, we shall avoid every type of immorality as we would avoid the plague.
“Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor” (D&C 42:27).
“Thou wilt remember the poor” (D&C 42:30).
“Thou shalt live together in love” (D&C 42:45).
“Thou shalt not covet” (D&C 19:25).
There are many others. It would be well for all of us to study the scriptures and become aware of our responsibilities.
Some of these rules are the same as the Lord gave to the children of Israel in the Ten Commandments. They were, however, given to us again in this dispensation. We are therefore left without excuse. We cannot say they are not now in force.
And so, in conclusion, I repeat the challenge to strictly abide in the spirit and by the letter of the Lord’s commandments—his divinely prescribed code for successful living. Doing so will not only bring us temporal success but also that which is of infinitely greater worth: peace, self-fulfillment, joy, and eternal happiness.
“If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7).
A glorious promise.
1. Relate a personal experience about the Lord’s commandments being a “code for successful living” In your life.
2. Ask if anyone in the family has a personal experience about the commandments as a “code for successful living.”
3. Are there some scriptural verses in the article the family might read aloud together or some supplemental scripture you desire to read?
4. Would this discussion on “living the commandments” be better after a pre-visit chat with the head of the house?
5. Is there a message from the quorum leader or bishop to the household head concerning this discussion on “keeping the commandments?”