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How to Memorize Scriptures: The Ten Commandments

By Mormon.org
Moses holding the Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments and the Gospel of Jesus Christ

The Ten Commandments form the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Though revealed anciently to the prophet Moses, they are relevant today. Hollywood film producer Cecil B. DeMille observed, “Today some people are inclined to look upon those commandments as a bit archaic. But they are not. They are more modern than today’s newspaper—because they are timeless” (“Commencement Address” [Brigham Young University, May 31, 1957], speeches.byu.edu). With that in mind, it’s a good idea to understand what principles they teach.

Understanding the Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments set forth a code of conduct for our relationship with God and our fellowmen. During Christ’s mortal ministry, the Pharisees asked Jesus which commandment was the greatest in the law. He replied: “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. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40).

Memorizing the Ten Commandments

When memorizing the Ten Commandments, begin by separating them into the two categories identified by the Savior—love for God and love for our neighbor—and then add a little rhyme-time fun to remember each one.

Thou Shalt Love the Lord Thy God

The first four commandments deal with our relationship with God—how and when we worship Him.

  1. One—None: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” None, nada, zip. No other gods. Period. 
  2. Two—Moo: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.” No golden calf (moo) or any other likeness for worship. Worship God.
  3. Three—Tree: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Trees have leaves. Leaves have veins. Don’t take the name of God in vain. Word association.
  4. Four—Door: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Think of the finger play “Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the door and see all the people.” When the door is open, the church is full of people keeping the Sabbath day holy.

Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself

The last six commandments address our association with others. Whether dealing with family members, friends, or strangers, these six commandments teach us how to act toward others.

  1. Five—Hive: “Honour thy father and thy mother.” A home is like a busy beehive with a father and “queen bee” mother. Honor them.
  2. Six—Sticks: “Thou shalt not kill.” Don’t use sticks or any other weapon to take a life.
  3. Seven—Heaven: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Marriage can and will be heavenly when vows are kept with exactness.
  4. Eight—Gate: “Thou shalt not steal.” Keep your gate locked so no one can steal your belongings.
  5. Nine—Lyin’: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Bearing false witness means lyin’. Don’t do it.
  6. Ten—Hen: “Thou shalt not covet.” To covet means to want something that belongs to someone else. Don’t covet your neighbor’s hen. It might be the best hen you have ever seen, but it doesn’t matter. Be content with your own hen.

These rhymes might seem simplistic, but with a little practice, anyone can quickly recall the Ten Commandments and make them part of daily living. Request your free copy of the Holy Bible, and begin studying and memorizing the Ten Commandments today.