Okay, so I didn’t talk much about the whys of the commandments. Why do we need them? There are a few ways to look at it. Commandments protect us from our own follies, for example. Like, if we want to steal something, and don’t have any other reason (fear of getting caught etc.) not to, we have a commandment.
Now, you can see that the same commandment protects the one I would steal from. Moreover, I would say that there is another side to the commandments. A spiritual side, that is. The Lord states quite clearly, for example, that the law of tithing will prepare us for the law of consecration. We get used to the idea, that what we have is not necessarily all ours.
Or think about chastity. Chastity means moral purity before marriage (in common speak that is just “no sex before marriage,” but I think it’s something more), and total faithfulness in marriage. My faithfulness to my wife is more than just not having sex with other women. It means that my heart belongs to her; that I am willing to stand by her no matter what happens.
Could I remind you of the choice of Adam and Eve in the Garden? The Fall of Adam is one of the best known stories of the world, for a good reason. Did Adam realize that his choice was actually between a blissful but lonely existence with no death or sickness — but also without a possibility to progress — and a mortality that will mean disease and death, sin and failure — but that also included a possibility to progress; to grow spiritually closer to Heavenly Father by learning to use his moral agency?
I would suggest that the role of commandments sometimes is to help us learn to use our agency. We have the ability to make value judgments and then act according to our understanding. By practicing that way we become more like our Father. Real learning means that we have a possibility of failure.
Because the Father knows we will make choices that will take us to dangerous paths, and that make us unworthy — sin itself is in doing something against the will of the Father. And we all sin. None of us is pure. So Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who volunteered to pay the price of sin — which is death and separation from the Father — and overcome both sin and death.
Jesus took upon himself the pains of the world. He knows everything we go through and then some — remember that the Atonement is infinite — because of what he experienced in his life, which culminated in his suffering in Gethsemane. He was in such pain that he cried, “please take this from me!” But he also said, “not my will be done, but thine.”
Likewise, it is important that we do what we do of our own free will and choice — and if we learn to enjoy what we do, all the better!
I want to add my testimony to the fact that we can be happy only by being faithful to our consciences; by living the principles or righteousness, which start by humbling ourselves in order to be penitent. And love our neighbor, doing unto others as we would have done to us. Not because we are “entitled” to the same treatment thereafter, but because we love the Lord and our neighbor. And if you want to leave the Lord out of it — which is your right, naturally — just love your neighbor.
How else could we have something we could call peace in our hearts, and among the peoples of the world?