Jameschildren, Devil, eternity, families, God, LDS, Mormon, Mormons, plan of salvation, spiritual progression, theology 19 Comments

Satan wanted God’s glory and power. His plan was to force every soul to choose good by taking away our agency. But that would have defeated God’s purpose- to test us.

“And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan… 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.

“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.” 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… I caused that he should be cast down” (Moses 4:1-3.)

Many of us are non-starters: we just can’t do something unless were pushed.

Here are some comments made on STEAKS OF ZION blog about letting your children choose:

I think even though children hate to be forced to do things, on the flip side I know personally that children/youth do like to be told what to do to an extent.

A friend and I have had a couple chats about parents forcing us to do things that we don’t want to do and it made me realise that even though we often hate our parents forcing us to do things, that having that gives you a real sense of security (although the person it’s happening to doesn’t feel it at the time). If we have our role models authorising us then I think we are more settled and stable we see that there is someone there for us and even though at the time it might seem crap, in most cases I think in the long run we are a lot happier. (house of the poor)

Our perceptions are funny things. There are many occasions where I ‘do not feel’ like doing something but then really enjoy doing it when I do. Fundamentally I don’t think we are very good at knowing what is best for us. (wellabletoovercome)

I think there really is a fine line to giving your child agency. (houseofthepoor)

I agree, this is further complicated by the idea that there is no general rule, that individual differences may change the approach. (wellabletoovercome)

I know we can choose to have a life coach or a personal trainer, but we are really doing this in many ways to take our free agency away – so we’re not responsible to have to get up in the morning and run or lift weights – or so we can have someone push us to make a doctors appointment, fill in our tax forms and do all those things that we know we should do but can’t push our selves to do on our own.

I feel like the child they are describing in steaks of zion. I would love a coach to force me to do all the things in my life that would make me be happier. I would hate it during the process some of the time but would ultimately feel its worth it in the end.


Wouldn’t I or we have the same attributes of procrastination after this life – maybe forgetting to charge up the sun for a planet?

Don’t we often in our lives put our futures and our spirits in the hands of others, because we would rather them do the thinking for us?

I’ve had some pretty tough bosses. I wonder how tough Beelzebub would have been, and, after it was all over, if I would have thought it worth it in the end?


Comments 19

  1. This might be off the point a little. But i have wondered about the how satan taking away agency thing. I wonder if his plan actually involved this, the scripture cited does not say it explicitly.

    I was listening to a presentation by Blake Ostler this morning where he noted that agency does not exist in a vacuum, meaning it always has a context. There are always forces or influences that seem to be pushing or pulling us to do this or that. I think I can recall some statements about being enticed by God or Satan in the scriptures, maybe by Lehi(??). Then this would suggest that agency is not really about being free to choose, but about making a choice of life-coach. Perhaps the agency you refer to this is kind of idealised agency in a vacuum where we are rational and make the right choices because we have all the facts (long-term and short-term) but it does seem to me that God wanted this life to be that way, or perhaps he could not create a mortality that was any different?

    So yes, i guess there will be a few unchanged suns and yes we can’t avoid putting our lives in others hands and maybe we would have thought satan’s plan was worth it (but God didn’t so maybe we have missed that choice)…

  2. I agree with Rico that I don’t think Satan’s “taking away our agency” means forcing us to choose good.

    Based on our scant scriptural record, I believe it means Satan was offering to take Christ’s place as our savior and forgive everyone’s sins without preconditions, i.e. no suffering/repentence necessary.

    I wrote a little more about it here: http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dd9fzdth_28228tg6g4

  3. In the immortal words of Rush,

    “You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

    This post also really reminds me of Hamlet–facing the horror of existence and the burden of choice, for instance. I suppose a big part of our satisfaction has to do with whether or not we are self-aware in this life (i.e., do we *know* we have free will, or is it more like interactive TV?).

    Subversively, maybe Satan *did* win, and he *wants* you to think that you have free will and can coherently, independently discuss this (tongue-in-cheek).

  4. I disagree that using a personal trainer or people to assist or remind us is giving up our free agency. There’s a difference between taking no responsibility for yourself (victim mentality) and realizing you need help to get things done and taking responsibility to get the help you need. Surely that’s better than just sitting on the couch with one’s face in a trough of cake. Discipline and self-mastery were advocated by the Savior (and by Eastern religions, too). They are not equivalent with giving up free agency, but are about choosing your direction.

  5. I think, as humans, we like to know that someone cares about us enough to keep “tabs” on us. A great motivator for humans is being accountable to someone who cares about us. It all makes sense when you think about the most important focus we are to have here and in the next life…the family relationship, particularly the marital relationship. An important part of being a God is the eternal relationship between a man and a woman. When a person is lacking in a fulfilling relationship it generally affects their performance in everything they do. They may not care for themselves as well as they do when they have someone they love and that loves them. I think it is a natural part of our very being to want to put our lives into the hands of others because we have an innate need to be loved and to love. Coming together and caring for one another is part of the plan for us to be able to return to our Father in heaven….He wants us to work on it together. Our agency comes into play when we decide if we are willing to work together with others and sacrifice to make it all work.

    As far as forgetting to charge up the sun for a planet in the next life….I think that forgetfulness is only a part of this life and it will not exist in the next. As far as procrastination, I’m assuming we will be living in the ever present so that shouldn’t be a problem anymore either! 🙂

  6. A few more thoughts on our shortcomings, there are many unanswered questions: 1) are we going to have access to more brainpower (humans are said to only use less than 10% right now)?, 2) do we somehow have access to a collective intelligence?, 3) can’t a lot of stuff like turning on the sun be automated through natural science? (vs. the Dunkin Donuts guy getting up every day mumbling “Time to make the donuts,” and “I made the donuts.”), 4) surely God must have help from others. What about a personal assistant? Moses had Aaron, JS had OC (for a while). Maybe it’s the HG. Who knows?

  7. Having read some of the experiences that others have had who have passed on and returned it sounds like communication is much easier there than we experience here. I am sure some men and women will appreciate that! 🙂

  8. If we’re going to take the scripture about how “charity never faileth” seriously, then I’m thinking that we’re making “being a God” WAY more complex than it needs to be.

    Think of it: if all the miracles (which turning on the sun, moving mountains, et. al. are) fail while charity doesn’t, what’s the moving force? “The first cause” if you will? Perfect love. Perfect patience. These attributes in perfection are the kinds of things that makes the universe function.

    Provided we take that scripture as being in anyway related to the physical universe (and the LDS in me says that we should, given our refusal to accept the mind-matter dichotomy).

  9. Lisa… You say you are happy with three kids and one house. Just imagine one hundred thousand million of years for the same Mother giving birth to children (as Orson Pratt said). Doesn’t sound like heaven (for a woman or a man) to me.

    “…I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father, also my Saviour Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh, and there was nothing unnatural about it.” (Journal of Discourses, 8:211)

    The Apostle Orson Pratt said this in The Seer, pg. 37-38;
    “Each God, through his wife or wives, raises up a numerous family of sons and daughters…each father and mother will be in a condition to multiply forever and ever. As soon as each God has begotten many millions of male and female spirits, and his Heavenly inheritance becomes too small, to comfortably accommodate his great family, he, in connection with his sons, organizes a new world… where he sends both the male and female spirits to inhabit tabernacles of flesh and bones…. The inhabitants of each world are required to reverence, adore, and worship their own personal father who dwells in the Heaven which they formerly inhabited…If we admit that one personage was the Father of all this great family and that they were all born of the same Mother, the period of time intervening between the birth of the oldest and the youngest spirit must have been immense. If we suppose, as an average, that only one year intervened between each birth, then it would have required over one hundred thousand million of years for the same Mother to have given birth to this vast family…”

  10. Joe, we can go the rounds forever quoting particualr apostles who weren’t even “mainstream” in their own time. It’s a never-ending merry-fo-round, and it only devoles into your standard, “Well, if they really were prophets, every word they ever uttered would be 100% true.”

    For the sake of civility and sanity, let’s limit that discussion and approach to the MANY threads that deal with it directly, ok? 🙂

  11. #4: Sorry I have been busy the last few days. I was listening on my iPod, I am in the UK. The presentation is called the fallacy of fundamentalist assumptions. Its on his website and I think it was given at FAIR.

    #7: Ironically, that presentation speaks about the mormon concept of being god. So maybe listen to it. Perhaps when speaking of becoming like gods we got a little ahead of ourselves when leaders spoke about going to a corner of the cosmos and just getting busy creating stuff.

    8#: I always thought the 10% of the brain idea was a bit of a fallacy. However, I have the suggestion that at the moment we can’t think of more than one thing at a time, whereas perhaps we will have the ability after this life to think of more than one thing. Also I do think some sort of collective intelligence is a possibility and is perhaps more part of being a god than is than is creating lots of kingdoms and having millions of kids and yeah i agree that God has help.

  12. i don’t want to command worlds, or desire glory from lots of my “children”. which brings up another point…how come God wants glory to him? this is something i puzzle over.

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    15 how come God wants glory to him

    It’s an ego thing- only joking if he is reading this 🙂

    Couldn’t find a thing on it actually. It does seem like a self esteem problem which Im sure its not but we just don’t understand its interpretation of it.

  14. Pingback: If I were God, what would I think? « Irresistible (Dis)Grace

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    “I disagree that using a personal trainer or people to assist or remind us is giving up our free agency. There’s a difference between taking no responsibility for yourself (victim mentality) and realizing you need help to get things done and taking responsibility to get the help you need. Surely that’s better than just sitting on the couch with one’s face in a trough of cake.”

    Its kind of like giving a bunch of money to humanitarian aid – it does a lot of good and you never have to get your hands dirty- BRILLIANT!!

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