Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Why we Need to Know the Ten Commandments (and an FHE idea)

Teach your family the ten commandments!  Most Christians don't know them. My seminary class learned them this morning within minutes. 

Some Christian leaders say the current generation is the most Biblically illiterate we've ever had. They say the reason is that U.S. Christians are guiding their lives by popular culture instead of by scripture. Check out these statistics:

  • "More than 60 percent of Americans can't name either half of the Ten Commandments or the four Gospels of the New Testament.
  • "Some 80 percent including "born again" Christians believe that "God helps those who help themselves" is a direct quote from the Bible.
  • "And 31 percent believe a good person can earn his/her way into heaven.
  • "According to a recent George Barna study, most self-proclaimed Christians don't believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit actually exist. 
  • "And even though the Bible is very clear about the sinless nature of Christ, 22 percent believe that Jesus sinned while he was on the earth." (Source)

Here is an FHE idea. 

1. First, memorize them. 
This four minute video shows a quick and easy way to remember the ten commandments. 

2. Next, mark and number each commandment in your Bible. They are in Exodus 20:3-17. 

3. Read and discuss together some quotes about the commandments. Click here for a printable handout of the quotes below. 

4. Close by asking what blessings it brings to obey this or that commandment. 

  • What blessings does it bring to avoid killing someone? How about avoiding going to prison and keeping your freedom  and a clean conscience? 
  • What blessings come from avoiding adultery and keeping the law of chastity? How about avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, broken hearts and broken families and homes?  Those are just a couple ideas to get your discussion going. 

Quotes about the Ten Commandments

President Thomas S. Monson: “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” (Ensign, Nov. 2011).

“Cecil B. DeMille, director of the 1956 film The Ten Commandments: ‘We are too inclined to think of law as something … hemming us in. We sometimes think of law as the opposite of liberty. But that is a false conception. … God does not contradict Himself. He did not create man and then, as an afterthought, impose upon him a set of arbitrary, irritating, restrictive rules. He made man free—and then gave him the Commandments to keep him free. … We cannot break the Ten Commandments. We can only break ourselves against them—or else, by keeping them, rise through them to the fulness of freedom under God. God means us to be free. With divine daring, he gave us the power of choice’ (BYU Commencement Address, 31 May 1957).

Joseph Smith: "[God] never will institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of His law and ordinances.” (History of the Church, 5:135)

President Harold B. Lee: “The most important of all the commandments of God is that one that you are having the most difficulty keeping today. If it is one of dishonesty, if it is one of unchastity, if it is one of falsifying, not telling the truth, today is the day for you to work on that until you have been able to conquer that weakness. Put that aright and then you start on the next one that is most difficult for you to keep. That's the way to sanctify yourself by keeping the commandments of God” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 82)

#1 – Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
President Ezra Taft Benson: “When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities” (Ensign, May 88)

#2 – Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
Spencer W. Kimball: “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. ... Degrees and letters and titles become idols. … 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. … These pursuits more often than not interfere with the worship of the Lord and with giving service to the building up of the kingdom of God” (The Miracle of Forgiveness).

#3 – Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord they God in vain.
President Spencer W. Kimball: “In the hospital one day I was wheeled out of the operating room by an attendant who stumbled, and there issued from his angry lips vicious cursing with a combination of the names of the Savior. Even half-conscious, I recoiled and implored: ‘Please! Please! That is my Lord whose names you revile.’ There was a deathly silence, then a subdued voice whispered: ‘I am sorry’” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball).

“There is an additional implication in the commandment to avoid taking the name of God in vain. An integral part of living the gospel is the making of oaths and covenants with God. When a person [makes] covenants ... if he forgets that solemn oath ... he has taken the name of the Lord in vain” (Old Testament Student Manual).

#4 – Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
For the Strength of Youth: “The Lord has given the Sabbath day for your benefit... Honoring the Sabbath day includes attending all your Church meetings. …Prepare during the week so that you can reserve Sunday for the many uplifting activities that are appropriate for the Sabbath day. Such activities include spending quiet time with your family, studying the gospel, fulfilling your Church callings and responsibilities, serving others, writing letters, writing in your journal, and doing family history work. Your behavior and dress on the Sabbath should show respect for the Lord and His holy day. Sunday is not a day for shopping, recreation, or athletic events. Do not seek entertainment or make purchases on this day. …Observing the Sabbath will bring you closer to the Lord and to your family. It will give you an eternal perspective and spiritual strength” 

#5 – Honor thy father and thy mother.
Gordon B. Hinckley: “If [this commandment] were only observed more widely, there would be far less misery in the homes of the people. Instead of backbiting, accusation, argument, there would be appreciation and respect and quiet love” (Ensign, May 1993). 

#6 – Thou shalt not kill.
"’Thou shalt not ... kill, nor do anything like unto it’ (D&C 59:6). Entertainment and media that glorifies or presents as acceptable murder and other forms of violence should be avoided. Such entertainment and media influence our attitudes and thoughts and offend the Spirit (see For the Strength of Youth)” (Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual).

#7 – Thou shalt not commit adultery.
For the Strength of Youth: “Physical intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred. It is ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love between husband and wife. God has commanded that sexual intimacy be reserved for marriage.”

Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual: “Adultery means sexual relations between a married individual and someone other than his or her spouse. Any sexual relations outside the bond of marriage between a man and a woman, including homosexual behavior, violate the Lord’s law of chastity. To keep the law of chastity before and during marriage, prophets have also taught that we are not to share, view, read, or listen to anything that depicts or describes the physical body or sexual conduct in an immoral or pornographic way. We must keep our thoughts, desires, words, and actions pure.”

#8 – Thou shalt not steal and #9 – Thou shalt not bear false witness.
For the Strength of Youth: “Be honest with yourself, others, and God at all times. Being honest means choosing not to lie, steal, cheat, or deceive in any way. … Dishonesty harms you and harms others as well. If you lie, steal, shoplift, or cheat, you damage your spirit and your relationships with others. Being honest will enhance your future opportunities and your ability to be guided by the Holy Ghost.” 

#10 – Thou shalt not covet.
Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual: “Coveting, in this context, means having a selfish, excessive desire for something that belongs to another person. Coveting can cause feelings of jealousy, envy, pride, and greed. Coveting can lead us to be ungrateful and never satisfied with what we have. We can admire what others have, and we can seek to improve our lives and circumstances, but we must do so with modest, humble desires and honest, appropriate efforts.”


Cheryl said...

I just want to thank you for compiling these quotes. I printed them off for my seminary class, and we did a pass and write activity with them. It went very well. Thank you!

Becky Edwards said...

Thank you for the nice comment. I'd love to hear how you did the pass and write activity with this if you don't mind sharing!