By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


As we learn the gospel, we learn about agency. Agency is the gift our Heavenly Father gave us from the beginning. The question of whether or not we were to have agency, the ability to choose for ourselves, played a central role in the pre-mortal council. There Lucifer, or Satan, offered to be our savior, but his plan included no agency, no choice for us. Jesus, however, offered to be our Savior and included our having the agency to choose for ourselves. Naturally, God chose Jesus for the role of Savior to the world because it was essential to us to be able to make choices. That was the only way our lives could have meaning and the only way that we could progress and grow and learn.

Agency brings consequences, both good and bad, and there is always the risk of making mistakes. The Atonement of Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to repent of any mistakes we make and to reconcile ourselves to God. The plan of salvation makes possible both the possession of agency and the ability to return to our Heavenly Father, through the Atonement.

Mortal life is complicated by myriads of choices, some small, some medium, and some large. We choose what clothes to wear, what books to read, what career to pursue, whom to marry, and whether or not we will have faith in God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We choose whether to obey God or to obey Satan. The latter choice is usually disguised as freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want, without regard to consequences, either to ourselves or to others. It is, nevertheless, choosing to follow Satan.

Our lives are the messy mix of the choices we have made through the years. Repentance and the Atonement allow us to clean up the mess and make progress toward a clean and orderly eternal life. Bringing a wholeness or a completeness to our lives is necessary. We cannot live exemplary lives on the surface and secretly rob banks. If we are to develop any virtue, it must touch every area of our lives.

In our efforts to reconcile every aspect of our lives and create a wholeness, we need some point on which to base our decisions. So do we choose to base our wholly integrated selves on the gospel, or on some philosophy of men? Our choice will have eternal consequences.

We can know, through our study of the gospel and the growth of our faith and testimony, that the correct choice is to base our lives on the gospel. Everything good comes from God. His gospel contains the truth. Therefore, if we base our lives on truth, we will be making the choice that will allow us to become whole and healed and to return to our God.

As we go through the world and live our lives, we learn many things and come in contact with many ideas and theories. Some of these are good and some are bad--some are even evil. How do we know which is which? We turn to the gospel for guidance. Thus we can choose the good and eshew the bad or the evil.

People are going to have some basis for making their choices, even if that base is subconcious. Sometimes we take a liking to some mortal philosophy and accept or reject other things based on whether it fits with that philosophy or not. Is it not better to choose as our basis something we know to be true, something that will lead us toward more truth and goodness and light and knowledge?

Of course, it isn't easy to do this. We want to do the right things and make the right choices, but we can get mixed up and make mistakes. Some of our mistakes come because we don't understand the teachings of the gospel thoroughly. It takes a lifetime to learn it all--an eternal lifetime. We don't always get complete explanations. We have to trust our God, trust that He knows what He is doing. We have to take some things on faith, not knowing the whys and wherefores until later, perhaps not until the next life. The philosophies of men don't give us all the answers, either, but they also do not have the promise that someday they will have the answers.

The gospel teaches us how to make right choices and how to correct our mistakes through repentance and the Atonement. What can the philosophies of men do?

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Blogger T. F. Stern said...

I know we make choices all the time; but going over my life there are only a handfull of critical choices that stand out. First on that list would have to be my life with Lucy; we celebrated 36 years yesterday. Without Lucy nothing else would matter. The eternal nature of our marraige from the get go set me up to find the Gospel; kind of a reverse for those who already knew the Gospel and then found an eternal mate. These two choices have made all the difference and the rest are tied to them inseparably.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

T.F., congrats to you and Lucy! What a good choice you made with her and with the Gospel. You are right that there are a few critical choices that make all the difference and that influence our smaller choices for the good. Thanks for your comment.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous barb said...

Mary, I think what we do with what is in our control help make us what we are now and what we will become. We all fall short and need the atonement constantly. As we seek to do right though, we do grow and show love to our Father in Love. If we did not have a choice, we could not show them our love like we can now. I like to think about what makes us "real". I think our choices in the framework of there being opposition in all things make us real.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Barb, I think you are right. The ability to make choices make us real and allow us to show (and see) what we are truly like and what we truly believe in. If we had no choices, our lives would be meaningless.

2:54 PM  

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