The Ten Commandments are eternal gospel principles that are necessary for our exaltation. The Lord revealed them to Moses in ancient times (see Exodus 20:1–17), and they are also referenced in whole or in part in other books of scripture (see Matthew 19:18–19; Romans 13:9; Mosiah 12:33–36; 13:13–24; Doctrine and Covenants 42:18–29; 59:5–13; 63:61–62). The Ten Commandments are a vital part of the gospel. Obedience to these commandments paves the way for obedience to other gospel principles.
The following review of the Ten Commandments includes brief explanations of how they continue to apply in our lives today:
1. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). We should do “all things with an eye single to the glory of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 82:19). We should love and serve the Lord with all our heart, might, mind, and strength (see Deuteronomy 6:5; Doctrine and Covenants 59:5).
2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (Exodus 20:4). In this commandment, the Lord condemns the worship of idols. Idolatry may take many forms. Some people do not bow before graven images or statues but instead replace the living God with other idols, such as money, material possessions, ideas, or prestige. In their lives, “their treasure is their god”—a god that “shall perish with them” (2 Nephi 9:30).
3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
4. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).
5. “Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12). This commandment remains binding throughout our lives and can be understood in several ways: We should honor our fathers and our mothers who are our ancestors; we should be grateful to the father and mother who provided our earthly bodies; we should honor those who raised us in the knowledge of the truth. Above all, we should honor our Heavenly Parents. The way we honor all these fathers and mothers is by keeping the commandments.
6. “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13).
7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). In a latter-day revelation, the Lord condemned not only adultery, but “anything like unto it” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:6). Having sexual relations outside of marriage and participating in other sexual sins are violations of the seventh commandment.
8. “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15). Stealing is a form of dishonesty.
9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). Bearing false witness is another form of dishonesty.
10. “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17). Coveting, or envying something that belongs to another, is damaging to the soul. It can consume our thoughts and plague us with constant unhappiness and dissatisfaction. It often leads to other sins and to financial indebtedness.
Although most of the Ten Commandments list things we should not do, they also represent things we should do. The Savior summarized the Ten Commandments in two principles—love for the Lord and love for our fellow men:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37–39).
“Obedience to the Ten Commandments”
“Chapter 19: The Ten Commandments”
“The Other Six,” New Era, August 2013
“The Ten Commandments Teach Me to Love God and His Children,” Friend, September 2012
“Commandments,” Lesson Helps for Teaching Children