Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

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log
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Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby log » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:31 am

Agency: Not Free Will and Choice

The traditional view of the war in heaven has Lucifer proposing to force us all to be righteous, preventing us from sinning, and thus ensuring our worthiness to inherit the kingdom of God. This notion of compelling us to be righteous feeds the traditional understanding of what is termed "agency," which is used within the culture of the Church to mean "free will and choice." People have written paeans to, and built entire theological structures based on, this understanding of "agency."

However, it appears the traditional account of the war in heaven lacks foundation in both scripture and the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Moses 4
1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.

3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.


It is of note that Satan offered to be the Son of God, and to redeem all mankind, that one soul should not be lost. As we know from the example of Adam and Eve, if there were to be no fall, there could be no seed; if there is no sin, there can be no redemption. Therefore, Satan was not offering to compel us to be righteous, but was offering universal redemption, regardless of the nature of the sins we would commit.

Joseph Smith gave an explanation of this event.

George Laub Journal
April the 6th, 1843 By Joseph Smith our Prophet

Now concerning Spirits First of all, or in the beginning, the great Eloheam in the Hebrew meaning the god of all Gods called a grand council &[c] and the[y] counseled to form this planet on which we are now or do dwell at present. The[y] spoke and earth from cayos [chaos] sprang by their workmanship Cayos [Chaos] being there matered mater element The[y] saw till time should be no more and the[y] spoke concerning the redemption of this world and formed limited sircumstances concerning the redemption Jesus Christ being the greater light or of more intelligence for he loved rituousness and hated iniquity he being the Elder Brother Presented himself for to come and redeem this world as it was his right by inheritance he stated he could save all those who did not sin against the holy ghost & the[y] would obey the code of laws that was given But their sircumstances ware that all who would sin against the Holy ghost should have no forgiveness neither in this world nor in the world to come, for they had strove aganst light and knowledg after the[y] had tasted of the good things of the world to come the[y] should not have any pardon in the world to come because the[y] had a knowledg of the world to come and ware not willing to abide the law therefore the[y] can have no forgiveness there but must be most miserable of all and never can be renewed again referred to 6 chapter of Hebrews

But Satan or Lucifer being the next heir and had alloted to him great power and authority even prince of power of the eir He spake emediatey and boasted of himself saying send me I can save all [he] even those who sined against the holy ghost and he accused his brethren and was herld [hurled] from the council for striving to breake the law emediatly and there was a warfare with Satan and the gods and the[y] hurld Satan out of his place and all them that would not keep the law of the councill But he himself being one of the council would not keep his or their first estate for he was one of the Sons of perdition and concequently all the Sons of perdition become devils &[c].


Thus we see that Satan's offer differed from God's on one point only – Satan offered to save even those who sinned against the Holy Ghost.

This lays to rest the notion that Satan offered to compel us to be righteous. The traditional view is just that: a tradition.

But it also opens the question of what "agency" means – how would saving those who sinned against the Holy Ghost deny the agency of mankind? Clearly, agency cannot mean "free will and choice," since one cannot sin without free will and choice; without sin, there would be no need for redemption; without a need for redemption, there would be no need for the Son of God to atone for us.

Luckily, we have other scriptural sources of knowledge concerning agency – the quality of being an agent.

D&C 29
35 Behold, I gave unto him [Adam] that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.

36 And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;

37 And they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels;

38 And, behold, there is a place prepared for them from the beginning, which place is hell.

39 And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet—

40 Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook of the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation.

41 Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death, even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say: Depart, ye cursed.

42 But, behold, I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.

43 And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;

44 And they that believe not unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;

45 For they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey.

46 But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;

47 Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me;

48 For it is given unto them even as I will, according to mine own pleasure, that great things may be required at the hand of their fathers.

49 And, again, I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent?


Thus we see that being tempted by the devil after having been given commandments by God is an essential part of our being agents unto ourselves, and that small children – while certainly possessing free will and choice – cannot be tempted by the devil, and therefore cannot yield themselves to him, and therefore have not got agency.

Agency, as used in the scriptures, therefore, seems to be what Elder Eyring has said it was:
[M]oral agency... is the inalienable right to submit ourselves to whichever of those powers we choose. - Henry B. Eyring


I would phrase it a bit differently – your agency is the right to represent yourself in binding negotiations with other parties. Thus, we see that Satan's offer in the divine council would have denied your agency by making it impossible to sell yourself permanently to the devil.

There is no reward without risk.
No man’s opinion is worth a straw. - Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (The Official Position Of The Church On The Subject)

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby davedan » Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:33 am

I agree. Agency does not equal "do whatever you want". Lehi teaches we "could not act for ourselves" (agents) unless we are enticed by one or the other. It is Satan's doctrine "do as you will" and the Lord's doctrine "not as I will but as thou wilt".

In reality, man only becomes free by submitting to the will of God in all things. That is the great paradox. We become free by submission because only God can bestow His creative powers on others. Satan has no creative powers and can only steal, corrupt and enslave. God's people can rule over their own creation.

Since the appetites and passions of the flesh never take a vacation, man would have been a slave to the natural savage nature without the commandments of God. This is how the commandments of God make us free. Without God's commandments we would just be left slaves to our own carnal nature and to Satan.

Even in the garden, the commandments given to Adam is what made Adam free. Before that he would have just hung out with no choices for good or bad. But this life is meant for us to show and to prove to ourselves who we will serve, who we will choose to love and what we are made of.

In life we choose to whom we will serve. Some will serve the devil. Some will serve the flesh and their own hedonistic appetites. And some will choose to serve God.

Thanks to the commandments of God, man has a choice and now knows what to do to demonstrate his choosing God.

Satan's plan was given by Korihor. Korihor reveled that it was Satan's plan to do away with right and wrong and live under the law of the jungle where "every man faired according to the management of the creature" and "conquered according to his strength".

Under Satan's system there is only room for one at the top who could possibly do as they will in all things where they rule by fear, lies, deceit, force, leverage, intimidation, ruthlessness and coercion etc.

In the animal kingdom there is no sin for an animal to behave like an animal. But animals are not agents and are controlled by their appetites and passions.

Mankind is above the animals. What makes man human is we have power over the flesh. We can choose to fast when hungry. We can choose to forgive when offended.

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby davedan » Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:54 am

Submitting to the will of God = Charity. Doing whatever you want = Pride. Pride is the opposite of Charity. Christ was good and did good more than any other man because He loved the Father and submitted Himself to the Father more than any man. The pure love of Christ was His love for and submission to the will of the Father. The Father then empowered and magnified Christ's ability to be good and to do good.

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby Simon » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:41 am

D&C 93:30-31
"All truth is independent in that sphere in which God placed it, to act for itselfe, as all intelligence also;otherwise there is no existence
Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man"


All truth and intelligence is independent and to act for itselfe. In the end it's really just about choosing between light and darkness, good and evil, God and Satan.

The way it should be is well explained in

D&C 88:40
For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence;...truth ebraceth truth;..... light cleaveth unto light;


We have to cleave unto God, the source of all truth and light, and only obeying this truth will set us free. All decisions will only lead in one or the other direction, we do not have agency in that sense that we have a third option, we only have two options. Understanding this the statement that we are to be "hot" or "cold", but not inbetween makes more sense, for there is noin between.
I desire to know the truth above all lies, though these lies may be my present truth

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby Jules » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:07 pm

This guy explains my understanding of agency:

http://vimeo.com/22860841
If I haven't offended you, scroll through my posts. It's in there.

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby Amonhi » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:50 am

log wrote:But it also opens the question of what "agency" means – how would saving those who sinned against the Holy Ghost deny the agency of mankind?

Because we do not have agency if we are prevented from experiencing the consequences of our actions, good or bad. I am quoting Elliaison who said,
There is another reason in which the consequences of our actions must fall upon us. That is our agency. There are four requirements for an individual to truly make a choice or have agency. They are:
  • Opposition or at least 2 choices – 2 Nephi 2:11-13 - “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.”
  • Consequences must also vary according to the choices. – 2 Nephi 2:10 - “the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed”
  • Man must have a desire toward one of the choices. – 2 Nephi 2:16 - “Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.”
  • Man must have the ability to chose for themselves. – 2 Nephi 2:27 - “Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil.”
These four things are necessary for man to have agency, without agency there can be no justice. If we were to remove the consequences of our actions, then we have removed our agency.

Parents do this to their children by protecting them from the consequences of their actions. The child never learns from the consequences, (good or bad), and so never develops the desire toward one or the other. They don't get to experience the evil side of their actions and so can't be agents to themselves in deciding what to do based on the results...

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby log » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:13 am

Amonhi wrote:
log wrote:But it also opens the question of what "agency" means – how would saving those who sinned against the Holy Ghost deny the agency of mankind?

Because we do not have agency if we are prevented from experiencing the consequences of our actions, good or bad.

Yes, that is consistent with the OP.
No man’s opinion is worth a straw. - Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (The Official Position Of The Church On The Subject)

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby inquirringmind » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:09 pm

Log:

Do you have knowledge (personal revelation) on this topic, or are you offering opinion based on personal study and research?

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby log » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:12 pm

inquirringmind wrote:Log:

Do you have knowledge (personal revelation) on this topic, or are you offering opinion based on personal study and research?


Study and research.
No man’s opinion is worth a straw. - Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (The Official Position Of The Church On The Subject)

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby clarkkent14 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:27 pm

Jules wrote:This guy explains my understanding of agency:

http://vimeo.com/22860841

There is nothing better than this video on the matter... well the scriptures, but they are expounded here. Don't watch it unless you want your life changed for the better forever.
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"For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served..." (Mosiah 5:13) | Seek This Jesus | "By proving contraries, the truth is made manifest." - Joseph Smith

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby Benjamin_LK » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:06 pm

log wrote:Agency: Not Free Will and Choice

The traditional view of the war in heaven has Lucifer proposing to force us all to be righteous, preventing us from sinning, and thus ensuring our worthiness to inherit the kingdom of God. This notion of compelling us to be righteous feeds the traditional understanding of what is termed "agency," which is used within the culture of the Church to mean "free will and choice." People have written paeans to, and built entire theological structures based on, this understanding of "agency."

However, it appears the traditional account of the war in heaven lacks foundation in both scripture and the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Moses 4
1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.

3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.


It is of note that Satan offered to be the Son of God, and to redeem all mankind, that one soul should not be lost. As we know from the example of Adam and Eve, if there were to be no fall, there could be no seed; if there is no sin, there can be no redemption. Therefore, Satan was not offering to compel us to be righteous, but was offering universal redemption, regardless of the nature of the sins we would commit.

Joseph Smith gave an explanation of this event.

George Laub Journal
April the 6th, 1843 By Joseph Smith our Prophet

Now concerning Spirits First of all, or in the beginning, the great Eloheam in the Hebrew meaning the god of all Gods called a grand council &[c] and the[y] counseled to form this planet on which we are now or do dwell at present. The[y] spoke and earth from cayos [chaos] sprang by their workmanship Cayos [Chaos] being there matered mater element The[y] saw till time should be no more and the[y] spoke concerning the redemption of this world and formed limited sircumstances concerning the redemption Jesus Christ being the greater light or of more intelligence for he loved rituousness and hated iniquity he being the Elder Brother Presented himself for to come and redeem this world as it was his right by inheritance he stated he could save all those who did not sin against the holy ghost & the[y] would obey the code of laws that was given But their sircumstances ware that all who would sin against the Holy ghost should have no forgiveness neither in this world nor in the world to come, for they had strove aganst light and knowledg after the[y] had tasted of the good things of the world to come the[y] should not have any pardon in the world to come because the[y] had a knowledg of the world to come and ware not willing to abide the law therefore the[y] can have no forgiveness there but must be most miserable of all and never can be renewed again referred to 6 chapter of Hebrews

But Satan or Lucifer being the next heir and had alloted to him great power and authority even prince of power of the eir He spake emediatey and boasted of himself saying send me I can save all [he] even those who sined against the holy ghost and he accused his brethren and was herld [hurled] from the council for striving to breake the law emediatly and there was a warfare with Satan and the gods and the[y] hurld Satan out of his place and all them that would not keep the law of the councill But he himself being one of the council would not keep his or their first estate for he was one of the Sons of perdition and concequently all the Sons of perdition become devils &[c].


Thus we see that Satan's offer differed from God's on one point only – Satan offered to save even those who sinned against the Holy Ghost.

This lays to rest the notion that Satan offered to compel us to be righteous. The traditional view is just that: a tradition.

But it also opens the question of what "agency" means – how would saving those who sinned against the Holy Ghost deny the agency of mankind? Clearly, agency cannot mean "free will and choice," since one cannot sin without free will and choice; without sin, there would be no need for redemption; without a need for redemption, there would be no need for the Son of God to atone for us.

Luckily, we have other scriptural sources of knowledge concerning agency – the quality of being an agent.

D&C 29
35 Behold, I gave unto him [Adam] that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.

36 And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;

37 And they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels;

38 And, behold, there is a place prepared for them from the beginning, which place is hell.

39 And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet—

40 Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook of the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation.

41 Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death, even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say: Depart, ye cursed.

42 But, behold, I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.

43 And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;

44 And they that believe not unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;

45 For they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey.

46 But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;

47 Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me;

48 For it is given unto them even as I will, according to mine own pleasure, that great things may be required at the hand of their fathers.

49 And, again, I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent?


Thus we see that being tempted by the devil after having been given commandments by God is an essential part of our being agents unto ourselves, and that small children – while certainly possessing free will and choice – cannot be tempted by the devil, and therefore cannot yield themselves to him, and therefore have not got agency.

Agency, as used in the scriptures, therefore, seems to be what Elder Eyring has said it was:
[M]oral agency... is the inalienable right to submit ourselves to whichever of those powers we choose. - Henry B. Eyring


I would phrase it a bit differently – your agency is the right to represent yourself in binding negotiations with other parties. Thus, we see that Satan's offer in the divine council would have denied your agency by making it impossible to sell yourself permanently to the devil.

There is no reward without risk.


I think the big kicker here is that Satan's idea was untenable from the start. He was just being his usual demagogue, self, when he figured to interrupt Heavenly Father and throw forward something that sounded better. Politicians, media hosts, and schoolchildren do something similar in shouting over and shouting down at someone to show dominance. For that moment, because Satan looked, rather briefly, like the top dog, some people found him charming and followed. What's important here is that Satan lied about the price tag to carry out his plan, like he does when he offers temptation. The price tag to achieve that, given the natural price tag of sin, would be to pretty much force righteousness on people to achieve his plan, because the only way to eliminate the need for a Savior would be for everyone to never commit sin, which is why his idea was untenable.
Hebrews 11:1

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby TZONE » Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:58 pm

How did I miss this thread. Its awesome.

Thanks.
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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby AshleyB » Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:06 pm

Thanks for the video you shared Jules. It is full of light and truth.
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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby Cookies » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:26 pm

Amonhi wrote:Because we do not have agency if we are prevented from experiencing the consequences of our actions, good or bad. I am quoting Elliaison who said,
There is another reason in which the consequences of our actions must fall upon us. That is our agency. There are four requirements for an individual to truly make a choice or have agency. They are:
  • Opposition or at least 2 choices – 2 Nephi 2:11-13 - “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.”
  • Consequences must also vary according to the choices. – 2 Nephi 2:10 - “the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed”
  • Man must have a desire toward one of the choices. – 2 Nephi 2:16 - “Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.”
  • Man must have the ability to chose for themselves. – 2 Nephi 2:27 - “Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil.”
These four things are necessary for man to have agency, without agency there can be no justice. If we were to remove the consequences of our actions, then we have removed our agency.

So if somebody were to effectively removed one of those 4 options from me. My agency would be gone... :-?

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Re: Agency: You Seem To Like Using That Word

Postby Cookies » Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:44 am

Bump.


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