The Ten Commandments are found in the Old Testament (see Exodus 20:1–17), but Latter-day Saints know that those commandments apply in all ages, not just in Old Testament times. Abinadi taught the Ten Commandments in the Book of Mormon (see Mosiah 12:33–36; 13:13–24), and the Lord revealed them again to the Prophet Joseph Smith for our day (see D&C 42:18–29; 59:5–13).
Although people in many societies today disregard these commandments, we believe they are still in effect. President Thomas S. Monson explained:
“Behaviors which once were considered inappropriate and immoral are now not only tolerated but also viewed by ever so many as acceptable. …
“Although the world has changed, the laws of God remain constant. They have not changed; they will not change. The Ten Commandments are just that—commandments. They are not suggestions. They are every bit as requisite today as they were when God gave them to the children of Israel.”1
We do not speak ill of others for not following the commandments. Rather, we look at our own lives and determine how well we live by the divine instruction we’ve been given.
The Ten Commandments represent basic standards of behavior that can be divided into two groups: how we treat God and how we treat others. To help us keep God at the center of our lives, He commands us to worship no other gods, to keep the Sabbath day holy, and to avoid blasphemy and idolatry. To help us love God’s children, He commands us to honor our parents and to not steal, kill, lie, covet, or commit adultery.
Because of God’s continued revelations to His prophets, we have learned more about what He expects of us, but the Ten Commandments remain a good place to start in our quest to be obedient. “[God’s] commandments are a manifestation of His love for us and obedience to His commandments is an expression of our love for Him.”2
Here are some examples of living the commandments today:
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). While most people are not tempted today to worship a golden calf, we should not worship “idols” such as prestige or material possessions (see 2 Nephi 9:30).
“Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12). This can include honoring our ancestors, our parents, and our heavenly parents.
“Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17). Coveting leads to, among other things, dissatisfaction and unhappiness.