“Are There Ten Commandments for Latter-day Zion?”

“Are There Ten Commandments for Latter-day Zion?” July 5, 2024


Rembrandt's Moses
“Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law” (1659), by Rembrandt
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

These items went up today on the website of the Interpreter Foundation.  They represent, by my calculation, the 624th consecutive week in which the Foundation, which has existed for slightly more than 625 weeks, has published at least one article in its online journal:

“Are There Ten Commandments for Latter-day Zion?” written by Dennis Newton

Abstract: New faith traditions often modify existing religious tenets to accommodate the particulars of their membership’s needs. A specific example is how different faith communities have modified the Ten Commandments both inside and outside the historic Jewish community. This paper argues that Joseph Smith received a Latter-day Decalogue that was canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants but went unrecognized as such by either Smith or the early Saints. While some of the commands in this new set of commandments are familiar (thou shalt not kill, steal, nor commit adultery), others are specific to the conditions of the latter days. This paper also argues that this revelation (Doctrine and Covenants 59) warrants elevated consideration whenever Latter-day Saints discuss soteriology. When a Latter-day Saint asks the age-old question, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?,” section 59 should reside in the proverbial quiver of response arrows alongside the Deuteronomist, the Pauline epistles, Nephi’s appendix, the words of Alma, the sayings of Jesus from the Gospels and the New World, and the temple covenants.

“Interpreting Interpreter: The D&C Decalogue,” written by Kyler Rasmussen

This post is a summary of the article “Are There Ten Commandments for Latter-day Zion?” by Dennis Newton in Volume 61 of Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship. All of the Interpreting Interpreter articles may be seen at https://interpreterfoundation.org/category/summaries/. An introduction to the Interpreting Interpreterseries is available at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreting-interpreter-on-abstracting-thought/.

The Takeaway: Newton proposes that D&C 59 represents a version of the ten commandments brought to us via modern revelation, and that, given associated promises of eternal life, Latter-day Saints should strongly consider this section when outlining a path to salvation.

Pretty bold
The cover of Morgan Deane’s new book, from Amazon.com

I’m excited to read a new book by Morgan Deane that has just appeared:  To Stop a Slaughter: Just War and the Book of Mormon:

“In a world filled with what seems like “one continual round of bloodshed and murder” (Mormon 8:8) the debates in how to stop that slaughter are filled with partisan talking points, competing vociferous voices, unexamined assumptions about the use of force, fearful hot takes, and self-serving politicians and media narratives that only serve to increase the tension.

“In this the war of words and tumult of opinions (JS History 1:10) acclaimed military historian Morgan Deane applies a Hugh Nibley like command of numerous Christian and Chinese philosophers to engage the rich, intellectual debates from history, and apply them to the ethics of war and peace within the Book of Mormon. The result shows that Book of Mormon offers robust comments on such pertinent topics as the paramount importance of the heart, when and how a nation should use force, the limits of the word and the sword, the intent of people making war, preemptive war, insurgency, and a resolution between, instead of cross talk and proof text citations of oft cited pacifist and isolationist verses and those that support the use of force. This book amplifies the clarion call of the Book of Mormon to love your neighbor enough to be like the Nephites, reluctantly compelled to use arms to stop their slaughter (Alma 48:21-23).”


This item in the New York Post recently caught my attention, and I thought that perhaps you too might find it worthy of a look:  “The sacred Pride flag and the new double standard blasphemy laws.”

It appeared only a little while after our brief June visit to Sweden, from which I filed this impression:

It’s Pride Month in Sweden — as it is around much of the world right now, though perhaps not in Gaza — and rainbow flags are much, much more visible here than are the flags of Sweden and the European Union.  They fly from buses and trams and hang as banners in the huge Nordstan shopping center near us (where there is also a very large LGBTQ+ display and information center.  They adorn public squares and major buildings and hotel reception desks, and the like.  A new religion has swept over Sweden: In hoc signo vinces.

I didn’t mention it — I think that the blog entry was written before it happened — but we also saw drag queens on the streets and, in one restaurant, sat adjacent to a large table surrounded by about four or five of them and their associates.

Afterwards, though, in Switzerland and still during the merry Pride Month of June, I was struck by the absence of pride flags.  I don’t think that I saw a single one of them, anywhere.  Nor any analogous public displays.  And I began to look for them, but saw none.  And then, reflecting on that singular fact, I realized that I had not, to the best of my recollection, seen any pride flags or displays or demonstrations in Italy, either, or in Austria, our two previous locations.  (Both of those visits were, still, within the month of June.)  I’m not exactly sure what to make of that.  Perhaps nothing.  I certainly don’t think that either of those countries is particularly conservative or devoutly orthodox Christian.  But the contrast was stark.

Women getting water in Africa
A principal focus of Latter-day Saint humanitarian work is providing accessible and clean water in third-world countries.  (LDS Media Library)

And here’s a little something — actually, a trio of appalling horrors — from the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File™ that may help you to make it through the weekend with your indignation fully and gratifyingly stoked:

“President Johnson Shares Women and Children’s Initiative in San Diego: Nonprofit organizations in California collaborate to serve their community”

“A look at this senior missionary couple’s unique service in American Samoa: How a missionary couple’s concern for the hearts of those they serve has been literal, not just metaphorical”

“Church and UNICEF’s Learning for Life changing young lives in Africa: Through Church support, UNICEF teaches South Sudanese refugee students resilience and new skills”

Posted from Newport Beach, California



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