The Book of Mormon, like the Bible, is a testament that Jesus is the Messiah and the Heavenly Father has designed a grand plan for every single son and daughter to be reunited in Their eternal presence. The Book of Mormon defines and clarifies difficult principles mentioned across Christian denominations or biblical versions.
One of the eternal principles we need to understand is “Agency” or freedom to choose. In light of the teachings found in the Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 2:27, it states, “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 [satan] seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”
This “gift” has been with us even during our premortal life. It is the same gift that gave us our body on earth. During our existence on earth, Heavenly Father had a grand council, a meeting. During that time, we had to make a very important choice – a choice between good and evil or between Jesus Christ and Lucifer. Jesus Christ wanted us to keep our gift of agency for us to learn and understand fully the great plan of salvation. However, Lucifer wanted everyone to learn as what he dictates us to learn and to pass through life for the sake of fulfilling the plan – meaningless. The result of our choice then is having an earthly family and a physical temple for our spirit. We know that we chose the right through our physical body and our families.
Our agency affects our eternal progression “…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). However, as early as now, we can choose our courses to take – peace and eternal life or sin and heartache.
Here are some discussions from scriptures of old and latter-day scriptures to help us understand more the gift of agency:
1 Our mortal life is a period of testing to see how we will use our agency (see Abraham 3:25).
2 There must be “opposition in all things” so that we can see the differences between good and evil. This gives us the opportunity to choose. (See 2 Nephi 2:11–16; D&C 29:39.)
3 Our Heavenly Father gave each of us the Light of Christ so that we may know good from evil (see Moroni 7:12–17).
4 When we choose our course of action, whether good or bad, we also choose the consequences attached to our actions (see Deuteronomy 11:26–28; 30:15–20; Galatians 6:7; Revelation 22:12).
5 Because “[we] are permitted to act for [ourselves],” we are responsible for our actions (see Helaman 14:30–31).
6 When we choose to obey God’s commandments, our options increase, and we have more freedom (see 2 Nephi 2:27; D&C 58:26–28; 93:20).
7 When we choose to disobey God’s commandments, our options decrease, and we may become captive to wickedness (see 2 Nephi 2:29; John 8:34).
8 Our Heavenly Father “will not suffer [us] to be tempted above that [we] are able; but will … make a way to escape,” provided we choose to resist the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
9 We must humble ourselves and “pray continually” so that we can resist temptation (see Alma 13:28).