Speeches by Topic Topics | Agency
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that agency, or the ability to choose for ourselves, is an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. A war was fought in heaven when Satan advocated an opposing plan that stifled the agency of Heavenly Father’s children. Because we are here on earth, we know that all of us fought for and chose God’s plan.
One of our major purposes in this mortal life is to show that we are willing to follow God of our own free will. Therefore, Heavenly Father will never take away our ability to choose. He will give us commandments, but He will not force us to obey.
Every choice has a consequence. God ensures our agency, but by so doing He also allows us to face the consequences of our actions, good or bad. We are also often faced with the consequences of the actions of others. While it is difficult to deal with the consequences of our own agency and the agency of others, the alternative—a world without consequences—would effectively be a world without choices. Without agency, we would be unable to learn and grow. Our righteousness would be meaningless and our joy empty. In the Book of Mormon, Nephi teaches that without wickedness, we cannot know righteousness, and without sorrow, we cannot know happiness (2 Nephi 2:22-23). Thankfully, the Atonement of Jesus Christ makes the negative consequences of agency, which would otherwise be eternal, only temporary if we will accept His grace. He can forgive our sins and heal the bitterness and pain caused by the wrongs of others.
Agency is empowered by knowledge. The more we know, the more power we have to make choices—and the more accountable we become for those choices. Therefore, we strive to learn all we can to enable us to not just choose good over evil, but best over “good enough”. We also strive to teach others so that they are empowered to choose.
These BYU devotionals explore the necessity and significance of human agency, its place within God’s plan for each of us, and its implications in many earthly endeavors.