During the Sunday morning session of LDS General Conference, L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve said the world is doing a relatively good job of following only four of the Ten Commandments.
According to Perry, most people seem to believe it is still wrong to lie, steal, murder and dishonor one's parents. Meanwhile, the other commandments are getting less attention from an increasingly materialistic world.
I decided to review the Ten Commandments to see how I'm doing. Turns out not very good given that I had completely forgotten what three of them are.
When I tried recalling the Ten Commandments from memory, Nos. 2, 3 and 10 had fallen off my radar. Conversely, I thought one of the commandments was "Thou Shalt Not Watch R-rated Movies."
I looked up the commandments up in the Bible. They're in the Book of Exodus (also in Deuteronomy). Contrary to popular misconception, we did not get the Ten Commandments from Jesus, the Republican Party or Charlton Heston.
Also, I used the King James version of the Bible even though I believe it's the least reliable translation and the hardest to read. Plus, during the course of my life, I've been hit on the head with it on purpose no fewer than 13 times.
Here's how I did.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me • I confess there were dark times in my life when I tried worshipping other gods, including Shiva, Odin, Quetzalcoatl and Microsoft. However, I'm completely over them now.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image • I forgot about this one. I mean, really, who worships idols anymore? OK, anyone other than reality show participants.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain • I've always had a tough time with this one. "God" isn't God's name. It's actually his job, or what he is as opposed to who he is.
Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy • Perry was right. I have let this commandment slip to the point where I do all sorts of unholy stuff on the Sabbath. I sometimes watch TV, shop and even go home teaching.
Honor thy father and thy mother • Of all the commandments, this one was the most risky to break. My father didn't care if I honored him but he made it clear that if I didn't honor my mother I'd find myself headed toward Jupiter in a hurry.
Thou shalt not kill/murder • I have not killed anyone (that I know of). However, I have a list of 500 people I wish that I could. If it's possible to commit adultery in one's heart, am I a mass murderer at heart?
Thou shalt not commit adultery • In terms of risk, pain, suffering and threat to life and limb, this commandment really ought to be No. 1. It's the commandment I'm least likely to break out of simple fear.
Thou shalt not steal • I try to keep the violations of the Eighth Commandment simple. I wouldn't steal food from orphans, but I'm not above cheating on my taxes, taking office supplies and breaking into Pat Bagley's desk for M&M's.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor • Give me a break. I wouldn't have a job if I didn't break this commandment at least three times a week.
Thou shalt not covet • This commandment refers, of course, to being envious of someone else's stuff. It's also the loophole commandment. Thanks to it, I don't have to covet the ability some people have to keep the commandments better than me.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.