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Why do the choices I make matter?

Heavenly Father has given us moral agency, the ability to choose and act for ourselves. While we are free to make our own choices, we cannot choose the consequences of those choices. Good choices lead to lasting happiness and eternal life. If we ask Him, Heavenly Father will help us make wise choices.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Study the scriptures below, and complete one of the Choice and Accountability value experiences in Personal Progress. As you do, make note of things you learn about agency that you could share with the young women.

Joshua 24:15 (We can choose to serve the Lord)

John 14:15 (Our good choices show our love for Heavenly Father and our desire to do His will)

2 Nephi 2:16, 27; Helaman 14:30–31 (We are free to choose and act for ourselves)

Moroni 7:14–15 (It is given to us to judge between good and evil)

Gary B. Sabin, “Stand Up Inside and Be All In,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 52–55

Thomas S. Monson, “Choices,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 86

Carole M. Stephens, “If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 118–20; see also the video for this talk “Going to Grandma’s”

D. Todd Christofferson, “Free Forever, to Act for Themselves,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 16–19

Choice and Accountability,Personal Progress, 46–49

Agency,True to the Faith (2004), 12–13

Agency and Accountability” and “Music and Dancing,” For the Strength of Youth (2011), 2–3, 22–23

Video: “No Regrets”; “Dangerous Tides”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Invite the young women to think of some things they might do when others challenge their standards. How does Satan try to confuse us about the consequences of our choices? Encourage them to look for truths during this lesson that help them combat Satan’s lies.
  • Ask the young women to list some choices they have made recently. How have their choices affected them? How have their choices affected others?

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the young women understand the doctrine of agency. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • What do you think it means to be “all in”? What do you think it means to “stand up inside”? Invite the young women to read the examples and stories Elder Gary B. Sabin used to define these phrases in his talk “Stand Up Inside and Be All In.” What are some spiritual things that people might do half-heartedly? How can we choose to be spiritually “all in”? It might be fun for the young women to create Mormonads using the phrases “stand up inside” or “all in” and the examples Elder Sabin gave. They could also incorporate their own examples.
  • Show the video “Going to Grandma’s,” and invite the young women to share thoughts they have about the video. Invite them to search the four bolded sections of Sister Carole M. Stephens’s talk “If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments,” looking for insights on keeping the commandments and why it’s important to make righteous choices. With permission from the bishop, invite some of the exemplary sisters in the ward to participate in a discussion about how choosing to keep the commandments has blessed their lives. Include single sisters as well as married sisters in this discussion.
  • Invite the young women to do one of the Choice and Accountability value experiences in the Personal Progress book (individually or in groups). Before class is over, invite each young woman to share something she learned from her study about agency. Invite a young woman to share with the rest of the class what she has done on her own to complete one of the Choice and Accountability value experiences.
  • Invite each young woman to silently read “Agency and Accountability” in For the Strength of Youth and share what impresses her. Class members could then choose another standard in the book and share some choices they’ve made in relation to that standard and the blessings that came from their choices. For example, they could read “Music and Dancing” in For the Strength of Youth and discuss the blessings they’ve received from following the counsel to avoid unwholesome music and dancing.
  • Give each young woman portions of Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s talk “Free Forever, to Act for Themselves” or President Thomas S. Monson’s talk “Choices.” Invite the young women to read on their own and then share their insights. They could do this in small groups or with the entire class. What do they learn about the consequences of our beliefs and actions? Invite them to discuss how the counsel they have studied could help them make better choices.
  • Invite each young woman to find an example of someone making a choice in the scriptures (for example, contrast the choices of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38–42). What were the consequences of these choices? How did the choices affect others?
  • Show one of the videos suggested in this outline. Invite the young women to look for the results of the choices the people in the video made. Ask them to share what they find. Invite them to share experiences in which they made a choice that had far-reaching consequences. Invite each young woman to read one of the scriptures in this outline and share how it can help her make the right choices in the future.

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand the doctrine of agency better? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Write in their journals about the temptations they face and how they plan to respond to them through the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
  • Continue to work on the Choice and Accountability value experiences in Personal Progress.