What We Believe

Agency Is Essential to Our Eternal Progress


Agency Is Essential to Our Eternal Progress

Our Heavenly Father has given us agency. This ability to choose for ourselves is an essential part of the plan of salvation.

In the premortal Council in Heaven, our Heavenly Father presented His plan, which included the principle of agency. Lucifer rebelled and “sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3). As a result, he and those who followed him were cast out. The rest of us chose Heavenly Father’s plan, which allowed us to come to earth and gain a physical body. It also provided a Savior, Jesus Christ, who would atone for our sins. Through repentance we could be forgiven. We shouted for joy (see Job 38:7)!

How we use the gift of agency in mortality affects our eternal happiness or misery. The scriptures teach us that “there is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven … , upon which all blessings are predicated” (D&C 130:20)—and to this law there is also “a punishment affixed” (Alma 42:22). Therefore, when we choose our course of action, we also choose the consequences of our actions (see Galatians 6:7). Although consequences may not be immediate, they will always follow. Choosing to follow God’s commandments leads us toward peace and eternal life. Choosing to accept Satan’s temptations leads us toward sin and heartache. 1

The Old Testament prophet Joshua set the example for us when he said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

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    Our mortal life is a period of testing to see how we will use our agency (see Abraham 3:25).

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    There must be “opposition in all things” so that we can see the differences between good and evil. This gives us the opportunity to choose. (See 2 Nephi 2:11–16; D&C 29:39.)

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    Our Heavenly Father gave each of us the Light of Christ so that we may know good from evil (see Moroni 7:12–17).

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    When we choose our course of action, whether good or bad, we also choose the consequences attached to our actions (see Deuteronomy 11:26–28; 30:15–20; Galatians 6:7; Revelation 22:12).

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    Because “[we] are permitted to act for [ourselves],” we are responsible for our actions (see Helaman 14:30–31).

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    When we choose to obey God’s commandments, our options increase, and we have more freedom (see 2 Nephi 2:27; D&C 58:26–28; 93:20).

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    When we choose to disobey God’s commandments, our options decrease, and we may become captive to wickedness (see 2 Nephi 2:29; John 8:34).

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    Our Heavenly Father “will not suffer [us] to be tempted above that [we] are able; but will … make a way to escape,” provided we choose to resist the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

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    We must humble ourselves and “pray continually” so that we can resist temptation (see Alma 13:28).

“Wherefore, men are free … to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Nephi 2:27).

After the Fall, Adam and Eve “had moral agency or the ability to choose between good and evil. This made it possible for them to learn and progress. It also made it possible for them to make wrong choices and to sin” (Preach My Gospel [2004], 49).

Photo illustrations by Matthew Reier, except as noted; photograph of earth © Corbis; Adam and Eve Cast Out of the Garden of Eden, by Gary Kapp; photo illustration of man and police officer by Robert Casey

Show References

    Note

  1.   1.

    See True to the Faith (2004), 12.