Agency

August 05, 2020 10:49 PM MDT
If you have read or had a lesson on the New Testament, chances are you encountered something related to the Pharisees and their rigid adherence to 600+ rules based on the Law of Moses. We often talk about the religious leaders’ unwillingness to accept a higher law and how their litany of laws interfered with their ability to truly live the gospel. But as emeritus General Authority and former Sunday School General President Tad R. Callister points out in a recent article for Church News, Pharisees didn’t just exist in the time of the Savior. Even today, we are at risk of becoming Pharisee-like in our lives and especially in our parenting, when we become too focused on rules instead of principles and don’t give others an opportunity to exercise agency first.
1 Min Read
April 27, 2019 11:00 AM MDT
I love words. Like, seriously love them. You know the person who starts off their sacrament meeting talk by saying, “Webster’s defines ‘prayer’ as…”? That’s me. I’m that guy. I read the dictionary for fun, you guys.
9 Min Read
April 23, 2019 01:35 PM MDT
“Angels above us are silent notes taking of ev’ry action; then do what is right!” As a child, I took those hymn lyrics to heart, imagining that someone somewhere was watching my every action and taking note.
9 Min Read
March 30, 2019 12:00 PM MDT
The great misconception of "free" agency is that one can have the privilege of choice and somehow avoid the responsibility of consequences. Someone has said that a Statue of Responsibility should be erected on the west coast to balance the Statue of Liberty that stands on the east coast. Young people, especially, have an asymmetric view of agency; they tend to focus on the positive outcomes they associate with making their own choices and ignore the potential negative outcomes.
8 Min Read
March 21, 2019 09:58 AM MDT
The end of the Book of Mormon contains one of the most gruesome scenes in all of recorded scripture. If you think I’m talking about the events at Cumorah where about a quarter-million Nephites are massacred, think again.
7 Min Read
February 18, 2019 10:41 PM MST
Apples to Apples is no fun and games; Apples to Apples is serious business. At least, that’s what it feels like when I play against my competitive family. Though my husband is equally competitive, he still lost Apples to Apples every time we played with my family.
5 Min Read
February 10, 2019 10:08 PM MST
“I just want to get it right.”
4 Min Read
January 11, 2019 01:35 PM MST
For daily gospel-based relationship insights, join Jonathan’s Facebook group. To submit a question for Jonathan, click here.
5 Min Read
December 14, 2018 10:00 PM MST
Submission has a bad reputation. As Elder Jeffery R. Holland has said, “You can be certain that with some in this world, it is not fashionable nor flattering to speak of submitting—to anybody or anything . . . It sounds wrong on the face of it. It sounds feeble and wimpish.”
5 Min Read
By  Jon Cooper
December 08, 2018 03:00 PM MST
I saw a post a while ago that has stuck with me for months. This post referenced a choice someone had made—a choice contrary to the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which they claim membership. After explaining their choice and their feelings surrounding it, they shared that they found peace in their choice by focusing on Heavenly Father’s love for them. They had determined that God’s love and their own happiness was the most important part of this situation.
5 Min Read
October 30, 2018 09:00 AM MDT
A few months ago, I received a strong impression to write on a specific topic. It was a welcome revelation, because as far as my writing has gone, it has seemed that God has had no strong feelings on what I should write. I know He cares about my hobbies and interests, of course, but as I’ve prayed about what to write in recent years, passing ideas by Him or asking for direction, it’s almost been as though His answer has been, “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. You could do that. Whatever you feel you want to do is fine with me.”
7 Min Read
September 26, 2018 09:15 AM MDT
We all want to follow Heavenly Father's plan for us. But sometimes Satan takes advantage of our righteous desires to prevent us from progressing.
6 Min Read
August 30, 2018 09:15 AM MDT
Everyone who believes in God at all believes that He knows what you and I are going to do tomorrow. But if He knows I am going to do so-and-so, how can I be free to do otherwise?
5 Min Read
August 21, 2018 05:04 PM MDT
“I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is our Heavenly Father’s practical guide for happy living,” Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, said at a devotional held at BYU Education Week.
3 Min Read
August 18, 2018 03:26 PM MDT
I remember many years ago, long before I had children, attending a religious lecture by a prominent religious scholar who taught at BYU. The topic of the lecture was agency. During the lecture, this religious professor indicated that most LDS parents only want their kids to get to a level three in personal faith development and not a level five. As soon as he said this, there was a rumble of protest in the audience, implying, “Of course we want our kids to get to level five.” Then the presenter went on to explain what he meant by a level five: "Level five means that you have the faith to allow your kids to find their own paths, to find their own testimonies, to ask hard questions, to wonder what they feel, struggle with personal beliefs, and on some occasions even choose to believe differently than you do.”
3 Min Read
August 18, 2018 12:00 PM MDT
When it comes to making big decisions, finding answers to questions, or searching for solutions, we know that seeking revelation is vital. But sometimes as we are pondering and seeking, we find that instead we are overthinking and worrying. Our fears and anxieties dominate our thoughts, and worries spiral to the point that we are unable to receive the heavenly direction we need.
7 Min Read
June 23, 2018 12:22 PM MDT
It's been said that the most dangerous thing is to have no dream at all. But how does one come up with the right kind of dream? It’s a good question, one that I had when I was preparing for college. My dad helped me answer it. He taught me that your guess about a dream career should take into account what you think about when you’re not required to think about anything.
3 Min Read
June 09, 2018 01:40 PM MDT
Several months ago, I received one of those phone calls most parents hope they never receive. This phone call arrived at three in the morning and began with, “Mom, I need to tell you something, and I need you to promise me you won’t get mad.” To such a statement I grabbed hold of the bed, said a quick prayer, and said, “Okay . . . what do you need to tell me?” My son then proceeded to tell me the mistake he had made.
4 Min Read
June 02, 2018 12:45 PM MDT
Most of us are probably familiar with the term "free agency" from Sunday School classes or children trying to assert their independence. But is agency really free?
4 Min Read
By  Yvonne Liu
May 29, 2018 03:58 PM MDT
After changing my major three times in college, I was sold on journalism as my career goal. However, while I was looking at the job salary for journalists, I realized that I would not be able to save much money in my newly chosen career. My anxiety rose and my mind started spinning. “Should I change my career goal? Is it too late to become a nurse or engineer?” While my brain was filled with fearful thoughts about the future, the advice I’d received from my therapist reminded me that I need to calm down and realize that it was my fear that was creating these doubts in my mind.
7 Min Read
May 08, 2018 03:00 PM MDT
When I was 17, I found my first job at an ice cream parlor, and I loved it. The employees got to eat as much free ice cream as they wanted—at least, that’s what my 19-year-old supervisor told me. So, of course, I ate it. A lot of it. I loved ice cream, and I still do. But there were some things about the job I didn’t love. Having to be there at a certain time and stay for the whole shift seemed suffocating to a free-spirited (and, arguably, lazy) teenager. I also didn’t love smelling like a sack of sour milk at the end of each workday. How something so right could smell so wrong was a complete mystery to me.
6 Min Read
February 23, 2018 06:22 PM MST
Tiana Swank shares how she learned that even amidst life's greatest trials, we are meant to have joy, and that happiness is something we have to choose.
1 Min Read
October 27, 2017 09:00 AM MDT
In virtually all of us, there is some sort of innate yearning to know what was before this life and how it affects us here.
11 Min Read
By  LDS Living
September 15, 2017 03:38 PM MDT
We live in a world of choices; from the clothes we wear to the language we use, everything is a choice. But there's one choice, one truth we should always seek.
1 Min Read
The following is adapted from the newly released book Answers Will Come: Trusting the Lord in the Meantimeby Shalissa Lindsay.
4 Min Read
May 27, 2017 04:00 PM MDT
Have you ever gone to your favorite restaurant and made your order from a secret menu, one that is not published or advertised, but that will be honored upon request?
5 Min Read
April 27, 2017 09:00 AM MDT
As a child, I counted down the days until I would turn 12 and graduate from Primary. The worst part of Primary for me was the singing. I hated to sing. The only exception to this rule was when we sang: “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.” I always knew I would be a missionary—only a few simple things stood in my way. I never imagined one of those barriers would be my parents.
5 Min Read
March 04, 2017 01:00 PM MST
When people tell you that you have some important lesson to learn from your suffering, politely tell them, “No, I have something important to teach.”
1 Min Read
December 30, 2016 11:40 AM MST
This lesson on Choice & Accountability is the first in an 8-part FHE series featuring the Young Women's values. Get the other 7 lessons here.
1 Min Read
October 14, 2016 05:01 PM MDT
I recently read a fascinating article by Mette Harrison in Religion News Service. She described Latter-day Saint beliefs about the premortal existence—Heavenly Father and our Savior's plan versus Satan's plan, the war in heaven, and the role agency had to play in these events.
2 Min Read
June 30, 2016 07:37 PM MDT
As Latter-day Saints, we love the idea of agency and the ability to choose, except when we don't. When we have to buckle down and finally take responsibility after failure, so often we revert to other ideas that make it seem like the choice was out of our control.
4 Min Read
March 09, 2016 04:59 PM MST
At the beginning of this month, President Henry B. Eyring shared an unexpected story about a grandmother traveling to see her grandson in jail. While overwhelmed by heartbreak and wondering, this sweet woman received inspiration that teaches us about the reality of agency, the power of the atonement, and the overarching reach of God's infinite love.
1 Min Read
January 07, 2016 07:15 PM MST
What a great story and reminder that even the little decisions we make can make a difference in our lives.
1 Min Read
December 29, 2015 10:26 PM MST
My first encounter with pornography was when I was about 9 years old. I was visiting my best friend who lived on a dude ranch. She always had more information than I did about the mysterious things of the world, and she told me that she knew that one of the employees on the ranch had a stack of magazines with pictures of naked ladies in it.
7 Min Read
December 11, 2015 03:20 PM MST
Truth: One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I didn’t serve a full-time mission for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
2 Min Read
Fun
November 19, 2015 01:06 PM MST
Karen Petitt is a devoted Latter-day Saint, a proud mother, a photographer, and an artist at heart—not to mention an avid fan of ABC's Once Upon a Time. Until recently, all of these hobbies and roles represented different facets of Petitt's life. But, last year, Pettit found a way to weave them all together in one meaningful project: Value Quest.
3 Min Read
October 10, 2015 12:51 PM MDT
MR says: Where do you stand? Would you rather choose to believe or choose to doubt?
1 Min Read
By  LDS Living
April 26, 2015 04:23 AM MDT
On April 27, 1915, President Joseph F. Smith and the First Presidency urged members to create a “home evening,” where family members could gather together and learn gospel principles, read the scriptures, sing hymns, and learning about their duties to their families, the Church, society and the nation.
2 Min Read
April 07, 2015 05:15 PM MDT
Dear S.,
1 Min Read
February 09, 2015 05:56 PM MST
Understanding how agency works will help us understand how Satan sought—and seeks—to undermine it. Agency requires three things: options to choose from, freedom to choose, and consequence for the choice. Like a three-legged stool, agency can be weakened or destroyed (in theory) by attacking any one of the three.
1 Min Read
September 29, 2014 01:05 PM MDT
It happens unexpectedly.
6 Min Read
September 29, 2014 07:05 AM MDT
Conference Talk:
4 Min Read
August 07, 2014 05:43 PM MDT
As Mormons, we are very familiar with the pre-mortal “war in heaven.” We often teach the dramatic events from the pre-mortal world as follows: after gathering His spirit children together and proposing they come to an earth to progress and become more like Him, our Heavenly Father knew that we would fall from His grace and require a savior to make possible our improvement and eventual return to Him. The “firstborn” Jesus Christ offered to fulfill the Father’s plan and give Him the glory. Lucifer, “son of the morning” proposed an alternative to the Father’s plan—he would save all the Father’s children in return for the glory for himself.
1 Min Read
Fun
July 22, 2014 04:27 PM MDT
Dear Angela,
1 Min Read
January 07, 2014 04:24 PM MST
Personal progression isn't just for young women—we could all use a dose of faith, knowledge, and virtue. To help your family develop these qualities and more, use these 8 complete FHE lessons inspired by the Young Women's values from Faith to Integrity. And if you do have any young women in your family, you can encourage them to complete their personal progress value experiences starting in these 8 Family Home Evening lessons.
1 Min Read
January 25, 2012 05:06 AM MST
Preparation: Obtain a bean bag and two buckets or baskets. Label one bucket, “YES” and the other bucket, “NO.”
2 Min Read
January 25, 2012 05:05 AM MST
2 Nephi 1, 2
11 Min Read