Mormons Believe in the Freedom to Choose

Mormons believe that agency is eternal principle.  Agency is the right to choose between good and evil and to act for ourselves.  We believe that this was very important even before we were born. In the premortal life we had the ability to choose and we chose that we would follow Christ.

“What is the purpose of life?”  Life on earth is a period of testing to see if we will follow Christ and do the things that our Heavenly Father has commanded us.  Because we are able to choose, we are responsible for our actions. (see Helaman 14:30-31

One verse that I really like is 2 Nephi 2:27.

“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; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”

The choices that we make here on earth are important.  When we choose to follow Christ, it will lead us to happiness and eternal life.  When we follow the temptations of the devil, we will find that we become captive in sin and miserable.   Though his temptations may seem fun and will make you happy, the consequences will be further separation from God and captivity to the devil.  

Heavenly Father has told us in the scriptures how to escape the captivity of Satan.   We must watch and pray always, asking God to help us withstand the temptations that we face. (3 Nephi 18:15)   We will never be allowed to be tempted beyond our powers to resist, our Heavenly Father won’t allow it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

As we choose to follow the Savior, Jesus Christ, we will be happy and have eternal life.

Why do bad things happen?

Our life on Earth is just a small part of God’s plan for the happiness and eternal salvation of us, His children.  He wants us to be happy and to succeed, but He will never force us to do so.  We have been given agency, or the ability to choose, how to live our lives.  This is one of the greatest gifts God has given us.  Unfortunately, that also means that bad things might happen to us because of others’ poor choices.  That doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us, though.  We are held accountable for our actions and expected to repent when we do something wrong.  God sent His Son to perform the great atonement so that we can be forgiven and live with Him and our families again after we die.

Related Articles and Links:

Why do bad things happen to good people?
Our Life On Earth
Agency in the Eternities
What Do Mormons Believe? – Choices – Freedom to Choose – God’s Plan of Happiness

Can Mormons View Pornography?

I was asked to write a response to the question: “Can Mormons view pornography?” Sadly the answer to this is yes they can. (That brings up the agency issue, which is a subject for another time.) But to the question, “Should Mormons view pornography?” I would answer NO! It is seen as sinful behavior that is demeaning to both the viewer and the objectified person in the picture.

An excerpt from the LDS Pamphlet For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, pretty much sums up what Mormon’s believe regarding viewing pornography.

“Pornography in all its forms is especially dangerous and addictive. What may begin as a curious indulgence can become a destructive habit that takes control of your life. It can lead you to sexual transgression and even criminal behavior. Pornography is a poison that weakens your self-control, changes the way you see others, causes you to lose the guidance of the Spirit, and can even affect your ability to have a normal relationship with your future spouse. If you encounter pornography, turn away from it immediately.”

That sums up the church’s attitude toward pornography. There are some policy issues regarding those who indulge. Generally if a person tells their bishop that they are viewing pornography they will be denied access to holy temples and given all the help they are willing to accept to overcome the habit.

They can learn from their bishops how to repent and regain access to the atonement of Jesus Christ, which enables them to fully recover.

The Second Article of Faith

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

In line with divine justice, all men and women must be held accountable for their personal actions, and not the actions of other individuals, including Adam. That isn’t to say we are not affected by the actions of others. People are indeed blessed or made to suffer, to certain degrees, by the actions of others. Our standing before God, however, is independent of outside forces and is based on what we have done with our circumstances. The spirit of God withdraws when we turn away from Him and our access to the atonement is cut off. Without the atonement, we cannot progress toward God. That is a natural consequence of our actions, and such consequences were ones that God wished for us to avoid.

See also:

The Fall of Adam and Eve

The Original Sin