Posted by: 2thdocbob | 9 December 2017

Freedom is not a lack of accountability

Some of the millennial generation have built a bad reputation for themselves[i]. It seems that they seek a world without labor or discomfort; a world with everything provided to them immediately, or sooner; a world without consequences, where they makeup the rules as they go along. In short, a world without progress. I believe that this is one of the definitions of Hell.

Through the teachings of latter-day prophets, we learn that we voted against such a world some time ago, in the premortal council in heaven[ii]. Satan rebelled against Heavenly Father and His Plan for our salvation, and sought to enforce his plan for our eternal enslavement. It is very evident that Satan has not given up on this plan: in fact, he has redoubled his efforts in my generation, with alarming success.

With that understanding, it is no wonder that we see so much unhappiness in the world. It can be very difficult to choose between a life of continuous effort to follow Christ and a life of seeming ease and following one’s inner desires. As young men and women of faith face this dreadful dichotomy, it is no wonder that so many people become distressed, disheartened, and discouraged. It is a challenge to maintain the long-term vision when the opposing short-term vision seems so simple and so easy.

In order to make sense of this, we must go back to the beginning. We lived in heaven as spirit children of our Heavenly Father. Paul wrote to the Romans: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.[iii]

Our hope and happiness lie in knowing who we are, where we came from, and where we can go. We are eternal beings, spirit children of an eternal God. God has provided a plan for our lives since the beginning—a plan that, if followed, provides comfort and guidance now, as well as salvation and eternal happiness in our postmortal life.[iv]

Understanding these six points can help us live a happier life now and in eternity.

  1. God is the Father of our spirits. We are created in His image. We have a divine nature and destiny.
  2. Before we were born, we lived with God, the Father of our spirits. All persons on earth are literally brothers and sisters in the family of God.
  3. Our life on earth has purpose. Coming to earth is part of God’s plan for us to gain a physical body and learn to choose between good and evil.
  4. Our Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior and show us the way to live according to God’s plan.
  5. Following God’s plan for us is the surest way to find happiness and endure life’s challenges.
  6. Our lives will not end when we die. Our future lives are determined by the way we live our lives now.[v]

This ongoing conflict hinges in large part on our agency and how we choose to exercise it. Agency is one of the greatest gifts God has given to us: the ability and the right to choose our own actions, with accountability required for those actions.

Of course, agency is not given without consequences. By natural law, there are outcomes associated with each choice we make: poor choices limit our agency, while good choices expand our agency. The choice is ours.

The Book of Mormon prophet Lehi taught his sons this truth:

“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
“And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
“Wherefore, [men] 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; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself[vi].”

This helps to make the picture much clearer. The choices we make will determine our destiny. “May we maintain the courage to defy the consensus. May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong[vii].”

As Christmas approaches, and we think about gifts, both given and received, I will be eternally thankful for God’s great gift of agency, which comes through the gift of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate.


[i] N.B.: I did not say all millennials, and we can certainly include members of other generations among this number.

[ii] If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a council in heaven, go to this link: https://www.lds.org/topics/council-in-heaven?lang=eng.

[iii] KJV, Romans 8:16.

[iv] https://www.lds.org/topics/plan-of-salvation?lang=eng&_r=1&old=true.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:25-27.

[vii] Monson, T. Choices. General Conference, April 2016. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/04/choices?lang=eng.

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