The Ten Commandments

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The Ten Commandments tell us what the Lord expects of us. They explain how we can show our love to the Lord and how we should interact with our neighbors. Following these laws can help people exist in peace and harmony. On a deeper level, these commandments describe how the Lord reaches out to us, and how we can experience His eternal happiness.

The Story


The Lord gave the Ten Commandments in a miraculous way on Mount Sinai. There was thunder, lightning, and thick cloud on Mount Sinai. The Lord descended and the whole mountain quaked (see Exodus 19:16,18). The Lord called Moses to come to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. These miracles show us that the Ten Commandments are Divine laws from God.

Read or retell the story in Exodus 20:1-18.

After giving the commandments, the Lord told Moses to tell the children of Israel, “You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven” (Exodus 20:22).

Key parts of the story to discuss with children:

  1. The Lord gave us ten rules telling us how to live a good life. They are called the Ten Commandments.
  2. Who went up on Mount Sinai to receive the commandments? (Moses)
  3. What did the children of Israel hear and see when the Lord gave the Ten Commandments? (thunder, lightning, thick clouds, the sound of a loud trumpet)
  4. The miracles around the giving of the commandments showed people that they are Divine laws from the Lord.
  5. We need to obey the commandments because they are from the Lord. Disobeying the commandments will bring unhappiness to us and to others.
  6. Why is the commandment to love the Lord the first commandment? (We need to keep this commandment in order to obey all of the other commandments.)

Ideas to help us apply this story to our lives:

  1. God wrote the Commandments on tablets of stone, because stones symbolize fundamental truths of the Word. The Ten Commandments give us an excellent foundation for our lives.
  2. When we look at the literal meaning of the commandments, it may not seem difficult to obey them. The commandments have many layers of deeper meaning, so there is endless opportunity to learn how to apply these Divine laws. The Heavenly Doctrines can help us understand the deeper meaning.
  3. The commandment “you shall not murder” is a good example of a commandment that might seem easy to obey at first. But it also forbids spiritual murder, such hating another person.
  4. If we strive to keep the commandments on all levels, we can help bring peace into the lives of those around us and draw closer and closer to our Heavenly Father.

Read more about the Ten Commandments:

Projects and activities for various ages:

Concluding thoughts

Just as the Lord wrote the commandments on the tablets of stone, we should try to let the Lord write these commandments upon our minds and hearts. We do this when we learn the Ten Commandments and seek the Lord’s help to apply them in our lives.

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