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My Talk is on the COMMANDMENTS and I was also given the talk by Dallin

H Oaks from this past conference entitled “Love and Law” to reference and
I will discuss points throughout my talk.
When I taught 4th grade last year I always started out my lessons by telling
my students what the objective was and then we would discuss WHY it was
important to learn this concept and also HOW we can learn this concept. I
would like to apply this same process to my talk. The learning objective
for my talk today is of course- Keep the Commandments. I will discuss
WHY it is important to keep the commandments and HOW we can do so.

WHY
First, I want to start with not why we should learn to keep the
commandments but WHY we even have them in the first place. In a 1996
April conference talk by Elder Robert D. Hales, explains it well:
“Some may ask, “Why did the Lord give us commandments?” In premortal
councils, He determined that we, His spirit children, would be given
commandments by which to live during our mortal lives. Jehovah, the
firstborn spirit child of our Heavenly Father, said: “We will go down, … and
we will make an earth whereon these [God’s other spirit children] may
dwell,
“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things
whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;” (Abr. 3:24–25).
These commandments are loving instructions provided by God our Father
for our physical and spiritual well-being and happiness while in mortality.
Commandments allow us to know the mind and will of God regarding our
eternal progression. And they test our willingness to be obedient to His
will.”

So these commandments are given out of love for our instruction and
guidance through mortality and to eternal life. We must remember that he
has not left you alone to flounder over what these laws are, or what is
right or wrong. He is very specific and clear on how you should conduct
your life as a member of His church. His laws are embodied in the Ten
Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and latter-day revelations.

There are several reasons why we should keep the commandments,


namely: It is our purpose on earth, it brings us happiness, growth and
blessings, it protects us from the adversary, and ultimately it gives us the
greatest blessing of Eternal life.
Purpose on Earth
First we must remember our Heavenly Father created this earth for the
sole purpose so that we could be tested and tried in keeping His
commandments. Ecclesiastes 12:13 states this well:
“ Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his
commandments: for this is the whole DUTY of man”
Therefore our duty and purpose is to show our obedience to the Lord,
therefore showing WHY it is important to live them.
Happiness, Blessings, and Growth
Another wonderful reason why we should keep the commandments is
because it will bring us Happiness and many blessings. “Men are that they
might have joy” and this joy will come from being obedient to the
commandments, The Prophet Joseph Smith taught this in saying:

“God has designed our happiness. … He 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”

God meant for us to be happy and the happiness he planned for us is


found in living the commandments. However, many people feel that the
commandments are burdensome and that they limit freedom and
consequently their joy. But the Savior taught that true freedom comes only
from following Him in John 8: 31-32 stating:

"If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall


know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" .

Choosing to live the commandments frees us from the shackles of sin and
allows us to experience true happiness. We will not be weighed down with
guilt, addictions, or sin. There is no joy in sin. As the prophet Alma taught
his son, “Wickedness never was happiness”. Thus to gain true happiness
we must be faithful and obedient to living God’s laws.

Additionally, I am always amazed at the Lord’s love for us. We should be


solely willing to keep the commandments because the Lord has asked us
to, and for that reason only. But the Lord gives us even more incentive to
be obedient because we also get added blessings when we do so. We do
not truly deserve these blessings from the Lord, but He loves us so much
he wants to bless us.
I have always loved the simple truths taught in Primary songs and the
song “Keep the Commandments” teaches these principles so well. It says:
Keep the commandments!
In this there is safety; in this there is peace.
He will send blessings;
Thus Elder Dallin H. Oaks also makes this point in saying:

“God’s choicest blessings are clearly contingent upon obedience to God’s


laws and commandments. The key teaching is from modern revelation in
D&C 130:20–21 :
“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of
this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain
any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is
predicated”.

Hence, WHY we should keep the commandments is because it is through


obedience to them that our Lord can bless us and receive great happiness.
So we should rejoice in having the commandments- and never begrudge
them. They are one of our greatest sources of blessings on this earth and
it what truly bring us happiness.

Protection
In addition to happiness and blessings, obeying the commandments
provide us with great protection. This is such a great blessing in a world
today that is constantly changing and growing more wicked. President
Heber J. Grant stated:

“The devil is ready to blind our eyes with the things of this world, and he
would gladly rob us of eternal life, the greatest of all gifts. But it is not
given to the devil, and no power will ever be given to him to overthrow any
Latter-day Saint that is keeping the commandments of God..”
Our strongest protecting in the world from sin and wickedness is through
keeping the commandments. No wonder the Lord has so clearly laid out
these commands, because he wants to keep us safe as his children, so we
can return to live with him again. However, the opposite is true also. If we
DO NOT keep the Lord’s commands then we lost that protection and Satan
then can slip in. And let us not get caught up in thinking that it is only
disobeying the “big” commandment that can break down our protection. I
have seen examples in lives around me that even stopping the little, easy
things, such as scripture reading and saying our prayers can slowly lead to
our shield of protection crumbling.
Eternal Life
Lastly, and probably most importantly, one of the greatest blessings we
can gain is given to those who are obedient and is taught in D&C 14: 7:
“And, 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”.
This and many other countless scriptures state that in order to enter into
His kingdom and receive eternal life we must do his will and keep his
commands. Therefore, since our goal in this mortal life is to gain ETERNAL
life, we begin to see WHY it is truly so important to live the
commandments.
I love the teachings of King Benjamin and he so well sums up all these
reasons of why we should keep the commandments in Mosiah 2: 41:
"And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and
happy state of those that keep the commandments of God, For behold,
they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold
out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they
may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember,
remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it"
So we should live the commandments for MANY reasons: it is our duty, it
will bring us true happiness through blessings and protections and will
lead to eternal life, which is our greatest goal. Thus, knowing this it
should not be hard to desire to live the commandments.

HOW
Now that we understand WHY we must keep the commandments, we
should know how to do so.
Understand the Law and Love
First there is some knowledge and understand that must be present to
help us fully obey. One critical piece of knowledge is to understand the
connection between God’s love and law. Dallin H. Oaks in his “Love and
Law” address has some great insight into this connection. He said:

“The love of God does not supersede His laws and His commandments, and
the effect of God’s laws and commandments does not diminish the purpose
and effect of His love.
[An] examples which illustrate some mortal confusion between love and
law is: A youth reacts to parental commands or pressure by declaring, “If
you really loved me, you wouldn’t force me.”
He continues:
Some seem to value God’s love because of their hope that His love is so
great and so unconditional that it will mercifully excuse them from
obeying His laws. In contrast, those who understand God’s plan for His
children know that God’s laws are invariable, which is another great
evidence of His love for His children. Mercy cannot rob justice,2 and those
who obtain mercy are “they who have kept the covenant and observed the
commandment” (D&C 54:6).”

Therefore it is important to know, as mentioned before, that the


commandments were given out of love and if we were excused from living
the commandments then it would only show that the Lord does not love us
enough to ensure that we are living righteously enough to inherit his
kingdom. I am so glad that the Lord does not let our misdoings be
excused and that he cares for us so much that he has giving us wonderful
guidelines and laws to live by. In understanding the true nature of the
Laws and our Father in Heaven’s love we can more fully accept and willing
live the gospel.

Faith
Secondly, with obedience there is a need for Faith. You must have faith
that the commands that the Lord gives us, through both scriptures and
our living prophets, are for our benefits and will lead to blessings. We
need to have faith and understanding like Nephi did when he said:
“I will go and do. For I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto
the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them that they may
accomplish the thing which He commandeth them.” [1 Nephi 3:7.]
We must have the faith that the Lord will never lead us astray and will
never command us to do something that will not bring us fulfillment and
happiness.
Another wonderful example of this “go and do” attitude is Abraham, who
did not fully know the Lord’s purpose in asking him to sacrifice his son,
Isaac, but was still was willing to obey the Lord because he knew the Lord
would not command him wrongly.
Once we have faith in the Lord and his Commandments, we must
consciously choose to act. Heber J. Grant said:
“We are told that faith without works is dead; and I am sorry to say that
there are many professed Latter-day Saints who are spiritually dead.”

Let us not be among those professed Saints who say they believe the
commandments of God but are not willing to act and live them.

Fully Commit to living the Commandments

Thus, we “must choose this day whom we will serve” and have the
commandments “written on our hearts” so that we will ACT on our faith.
With faith and understanding in the commandments we must FULLY
commit to living them. Therefore we first need to now make our decision
of how we will act and if we will obey. Elder Sterling N. Sill spoke about
what will happen if we are not fully committed.

“We always run into a great deal of trouble when we fail to make firm and
lasting decisions to govern important matters. A psychiatrist once said to
a mental patient, “Do you ever have any trouble making up your mind?”
The mental patient said, “Well, yes and no.” A yes-and-no person is a weak
person. An undecided person makes far more than his share of mistakes.
Certainly we place a serious handicap upon ourselves when we neglect to
definitely make up our minds about those important questions of [life]. “

Once we have made our decision to serve the Lord and be obedient we
must fully commit to living the gospel. Larry W. Gibbons shared why this is
so important:

“In the priesthood leadership session of a regional conference, we sang the


hymn “Ye Elders of Israel.” The chorus contains a line “O Babylon, O
Babylon, we bid thee farewell.” Following the singing, Elder Neal A.
Maxwell spoke and expressed the thought that bidding Babylon farewell is
actually one of our challenges, that too many of us like to keep a summer
cottage there. We cannot keep one foot in the Church and one foot in the
world. One reason is the world and the Church are rapidly diverging. We
will lose our balance.”

We do not want to be caught standing in the uncertain middle, or be an


indecisive saint. Thus we must make sure we are not like the woman who
keeps the Sabbath day holy, unless she needs something from the store.
Or the man who is honest in all his dealings until he cannot resist the urge
to exaggerate his tax deductions because it saves him over $1,000. Or the
father who is kind and gentle with his wife and children except when he
has had a difficult day at the office.
Additionally, We cannot adjust the commandments to meet our needs.
Robert D. Hales stated:

“Each of us is free to accept or reject the commandments, but none of us is


free to modify them to suit our personal preferences. Priesthood leaders
do not have the right to change revealed principles and commandments
just for the sake of being popular with the world. Nor do prophets have
the authority to alter God’s commandments in order to make them more
palatable to those who are weak in their resolve to live worthily.
Rationalization that God should change His commandments to
accommodate our transgressions leads to spiritual darkness, which only
the light of the gospel can remove.“

Therefore we must make sure we are not rationalizing our action of living
or not living the laws of the Lord. We must firmly decide to fully commit
to living the commandments. Through knowledge of our Father’s love,
the promised blessings and with faith we can be more diligent in obeying.
Thus in closing I would like to share my testimony that I know that in
understanding god’s love for us and having faith in his commands and
then FULLY committing to live them will bring us all the wonderful
blessings earlier mentioned. I know that this is true and have a strong
testimony of it. I know that I am happier when I am living the gospel and
have both feet in the church. I know of the strong protection that comes
as we live these commandments and what peace there is in knowing this.
I am so grateful that we have a loving Father in Heaven and Savior who
have laid out a plan and laws so that we can return to live with them. I
know that this gospel is true and have a testimony of it.