The Agency of Man                                                                         Chapter 11Introduction          ...
Chapter 11B. Satan seeks to destroy our agency.                    C. We are accountable to God for the use of our■   “We ...
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Dof g ch11

  1. 1. The Agency of Man Chapter 11Introduction 2. Our final state is determined by our own choices (see Galatians 6:7–9; D&C 58:26–29; Alma 41:3–8; No principle in time or eternity is so cherished 42:27–28).as the right of agency, the right to consider 3. We receive our reward from him whom we choosealternatives and make choices without compulsion. to obey (see Alma 3:27; 5:41–42; Mosiah 2:32–33).A war was waged in heaven over our agency—a 4. Those who choose good will gain a great rewardwar that was transferred to earth. Satan is (see Proverbs 11:18; Mark 10:28–30; D&C 6:33;determined to blind, bind, and lead captive 58:28).through ignorance and sin everyone he can. 5. Those who choose evil do not receive God’s giftsUnderstanding our agency is imperative for our (see D&C 88:32–35).spiritual survival and fulfillment in Christ.Doctrinal Outline Supporting Statements A. Agency is the eternal right of independent choice.A. Agency is the eternal right of independent choice. ■ “With regard to the rights of the human family,1. Agency is a gift from God (see Moses 7:32; D&C I wish to say that God has given unto all of his 98:8; 2 Nephi 2:16; Helaman 14:30). children of this dispensation, as he gave unto all of2. As premortal spirits we enjoyed the gift of agency his children of previous dispensations, individual (see Alma 13:3; D&C 29:36). agency. This agency has always been the heritage3. Agency allows us to choose our own course in of man under the rule and government of God. He life (see Joshua 24:15; 2 Nephi 2:26–27; 10:23; possessed it in the heaven of heavens before the D&C 58:27–29; Alma 12:31; Helaman 14:30–31). world was, and the Lord maintained and defendedB. Satan seeks to destroy our agency. it there against the aggression of Lucifer and those1. The devil is the enemy of God and the enemy of that took sides with him, to the overthrow of all righteousness (see Mosiah 4:14; Moses 4:4). Lucifer and one-third part of the heavenly hosts. By virtue of this agency you and I and all mankind2. In the premortal world, the devil sought to destroy the agency that God had given to His are made responsible beings, responsible for the children (see Moses 4:1–3). course we pursue, the lives we live, the deeds we do in the body” (Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses3. The devil and his angels continue to tempt us to use our agency for evil purposes (see 2 Nephi of Wilford Woodruff, 8–9). ■ “Free agency is the impelling source of the 2:17–18; D&C 29:39; 3 Nephi 2:3; 6:15–16). soul’s progress. It is the purpose of the Lord that4. The power to overcome Satan and his evil man become like him. In order for man to achieve influence comes from God (see 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Peter 2:9; 3 Nephi 18:18–19; D&C 62:1; this it was necessary for the Creator first to make Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17). him free” (David O. McKay, in Conference Report, Apr. 1950, 32).C. We are accountable to God for the use of our ■ “Man’s greatest endowment in mortal life is theagency. power of choice—the divine gift of free agency. No1. Every individual must make an accounting of his true character was ever developed without a sense thoughts, his words, and his actions (see Ezekiel of soul freedom” (David O. McKay, Man May Know 18:30; Matthew 12:36; Romans 2:5–8; 14:12; for Himself: Teachings of President David O. Revelation 20:12; Mosiah 4:30; Alma 11:43–44; 12:14–15). McKay, 80). ■ “The Church teaches as a strictly scriptural2. Those who have no law are not accountable to doctrine, that man has inherited among the the law (see 2 Nephi 9:25–26; Moroni 8:22). inalienable rights conferred upon him by his divine3. Sinners bear their own iniquities and not those of Father, freedom to choose the good or the evil in another (see Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Articles of Faith 1:2; life, to obey or disobey the Lord’s commands, as he Galatians 6:5). may elect. This right cannot be guarded with moreD. Our eternal destiny is determined by the use or jealous care than is bestowed upon it by Godmisuse of our agency. Himself; for in all His dealings with man He has1. Every individual is free to choose liberty and left the mortal creature free to choose and to act” eternal life or captivity and spiritual death (see (James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, 52). 2 Nephi 2:27; Helaman 14:30).30
  2. 2. Chapter 11B. Satan seeks to destroy our agency. C. We are accountable to God for the use of our■ “We learn from the revealed word that Satan agency.was once an angel of light, then known as Lucifer, ■ “Every one of us will have to give an account fora Son of the Morning; but his selfish ambition led the deeds we do in the flesh, and that every manhim to aspire to the glory and power of the Father, will be rewarded according to his works, whetherto secure which he made the pernicious proposition they be good or evil. Thank God for that principle;to redeem the human family by compulsion; and, for it is a just principle; it is Godlike. For such afailing in this purpose, he headed an open rebellion principle to be omitted from the work of the Lordagainst the Father and the Son, drawing a third of would be an omission too serious to contemplate.the hosts of heaven into his impious league. These . . . You and I and every one of us will have torebellious spirits were expelled from heaven, and answer for the deeds we do, and will be rewardedhave since followed the impulses of their wicked according to our works, whether they be good ornatures by seeking to lead human souls into their evil” (Joseph F. Smith, “Principles of Government inown condition of darkness. They are the devil and the Church,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1917, 10–11).his angels. The right of free agency, maintained and ■ “Men not unfrequently forget that they arevindicated by the war in heaven, prevents the dependent upon heaven for every blessing whichpossibility of compulsion being employed in this they are permitted to enjoy, and that for everyfiendish work of degradation; but the powers of opportunity granted them they are to give anthese malignant spirits to tempt and persuade are account. . . . Our Master is absent only for a littleused to the utmost. . . . season, and at the end of it He will call each to “Satan exerts a mastery over the spirits that render an account; and where the five talents werehave been corrupted by his practises; he is the bestowed, ten will be required; and he that hasforemost of the angels who were thrust down, and made no improvement will be cast out as anthe instigator of the ruin of those who fall in this unprofitable servant, while the faithful will enjoylife; he seeks to molest and hinder mankind in everlasting honors” (Smith, Teachings, 68).good efforts. . . . Yet in all these malignant doings, D. Our eternal destiny is determined by the use orhe can go no farther than the transgressions of the misuse of our agency.victim may enable him, or the wisdom of God may ■ “Are we not the framers of our own destiny?permit; and at any time he may be checked by the Are we not the arbitrators of our fate? This issuperior power” (Talmage, Articles of Faith, 62–63). another part of my text, and I argue from it that it■ “[Joseph Smith] then observed that Satan was is our privilege to determine our own exaltation orgenerally blamed for the evils which we did, but if degradation. It is our privilege to determine ourhe was the cause of all our wickedness, men could own happiness or misery in the world to come.not be condemned. The devil could not compel What is it that brings happiness now—that makesmankind to do evil; all was voluntary. Those who us so joyous in our assembling together? It is notresisted the Spirit of God, would be liable to be led wealth; for you may pour wealth, honor, influence,into temptation, and then the association of heaven and all the luxuries of this world into the lap ofwould be withdrawn from those who refused to be man; and, destitute of the Spirit of God, he will notmade partakers of such great glory. God would not be happy, for that is the only source from whichexert any compulsory means, and the devil could true happiness and comfort can come” (Johnnot; and such ideas as were entertained [on these Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom, 341).subjects] by many were absurd” (in Joseph Smith, ■ “The volition of the creature is free; this is aTeachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 187). law of their existence and the Lord cannot violate■ “Everything that God gives us is lawful and his own law; were he to do that, he would ceaseright; and it is proper that we should enjoy His to be God. He has placed life and death beforegifts and blessings whenever and wherever He is his children, and it is for them to choose. If theydisposed to bestow; but if we should seize upon choose life, they receive the blessing of life; if theythose same blessings and enjoyments without law, choose death, they must abide the penalty. This iswithout revelation, without commandment, those a law which has always existed from all eternity,blessings and enjoyments would prove cursings and will continue to exist throughout all theand vexations in the end, and we should have to lie eternities to come. Every intelligent being mustdown in sorrow and wailings of everlasting regret. have the power of choice, and God brings forthBut in obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, the results of the acts of his creatures to promoteunalloyed; and as God has designed our his Kingdom and subserve his purposes in thehappiness—and the happiness of all His creatures, salvation and exaltation of his children” (Brighamhe never has—He never will institute an ordinance Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 62).or give a commandment to His people that is notcalculated in its nature to promote that happinesswhich He has designed” (Smith, Teachings, 256). 31

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