Questions and Answers

“What’s the harm in trying alcohol or tobacco just once?”

“The scriptures teach that for us to exercise agency, there must be opposition—good and evil—in the world and that we must be 'enticed by the one or the other' (2 Nephi 2:16; emphasis added). You do not need to occasionally give in to the enticement of wrong choices in order for your agency to be genuine. The ability to distinguish right from wrong is what’s important. You do not need to know both good and evil; you need to know good from evil—and then choose the good” (Liahona, June 2008, 26–27).

“How can I convince my friends that our standards are really about freedom and not a burden?”

“Those who live gospel standards are not giving up their agency: they are choosing to do what will bring them blessings and inner peace. They know that disobedience will only bring problems into their lives—problems they choose to avoid” (Liahona, Feb. 2010, 50).

“Why does our all-loving Heavenly Father allow bad things to happen to innocent people?”

“The question of why God allows bad things to happen to innocent people has been asked by most of us at one time or another. It is the gospel that helps us understand the necessity of adversity. If we understand the plan of salvation and view our experiences with an eternal perspective, we may come to understand and accept the lessons of mortality as necessary for spiritual growth. We recognize that we are blessed with agency to choose how to respond to those lessons” (Liahona, Feb. 2001, 22).

“Why doesn’t the Church make a list telling me exactly what I can and can’t do?”

“Part of life is to learn to use our agency, not to follow detailed instructions like a robot” (Liahona, Aug. 2003, 22).

“How can I reach out to my less-active brother who isolates himself from our family?”

“Behind this question lies the fundamental issue of agency. Sometimes when our loved ones stray from the gospel and the family, we feel so concerned that we may want to pressure or even force them to return. But this is not only impossible; it is contrary to the Lord’s plan” (Liahona, June 2003, 44).