GCBC Week 8: Agency, Essential to the Plan of Life

“Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life”
Elder Robert D. Hales
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

As I listened to this talk, I thought about how much power we have been given by a trusting Heavenly Father.  Our ability to choose and put into effect the consequences of those choices is truly a great power with long-term, even eternal influence.  As I thought more about that power that we have, I felt a greater sense of responsibility, and a greater desire to be more deliberate in my choices.  Even the “small” ones.

“Throughout His life our Savior showed us how to use our agency. As a boy in Jerusalem, He deliberately chose to ‘be about [His] Father’s business.’ . . . And by His perfect life, He taught us that when we choose to do the will of our Heavenly Father, our agency is preserved, our opportunities increase, and we progress.”

How about you? What are your favorite principles or quotes from Elder Hales’s talk?  Is there anything you learned here that you had not considered before?  What stood out to you as you studied it?  And, most importantly, what did it make you feel or want to do?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  (If this is your first time to General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it.)

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4 thoughts on “GCBC Week 8: Agency, Essential to the Plan of Life

  1. I think I really started to understand agency better when I was a missionary. It was so hard to watch people making bad choices that drove them further away from Heavenly Father’s path. I wanted so badly to help them choose the right, but it was up to them. I understand it more now as a parent as I try to teach my kids gospel principles and hope they will see that happiness comes in choosing the right.

    I like how E. Hales pointed out that agency is being accountable for our choices and how the world is trying to make it seem like whatever we want to do is good. No one wants absolutes anymore. It’s scary to see these Book of Mormon prophecies coming to pass so literally.

  2. I started reading this talk holding my breath. Agency is a wonderful gift and yet the source of great pain for me as I watch somebody I love use his agency to make bad choices.

    I especially love the analogy Elder Hales used of painting himself into a corner. How very true that is. It is also true that walking out over the varnish is a real possibility. It may take more work and a lot of time, but thankfully nobody needs to stay trapped in the “corner”.

    Although we are blessed with the gift of agency, we are still accountable for our choices. There is either a positive or negative consequence.

    I also loved being reminded of Saul’s selective obedience. “…are we hearkening with exactness to the voice of the Lord and His prophets? Or, like Saul, are we practicing selective obedience and fearing the judgments of men?”

    Most of all, in my current life challenges, it was good to be reminded that even though I very much do not like how my loved one is using his agency, to desire to protect him by “controlling” his choices in any way is not Heavenly Father’s plan. Have faith and trust in the Atonement is His plan.

  3. In my semi-rebellious teenage years I remember telling my mom, I have my own agency, you don’t get to decide what I do. Well that statement had it’s own consequences, but I am grateful for a knowledge of the plan of salvation, and the gift of repentance, and especially a loving heavenly father who loves us enough to stand by and watch us drift away, but who lovingly is standing by with open arms waiting for our return. And for parents who lovingly waited up into the wee hours of the morning for me to return home. Agency is such a beautiful gift that we have been given, as well as an immense responsibility. I loved the analogy of being painted into a corner, and that there is always a way out, but it not easy, but so worth it.

  4. A blessing of this club is to read talks that you only heard bits and pieces of due to technical difficulties or kid distractions. I missed about half of this one so it was good to get to read it all this time!

    I really liked the different examples he used to illustrate the principle of agency. The example with his friend shows us how blessed we are to have the knowledge we have. It seems so clear a concept to us and so vitally important, yet many in the world do not understand its eternal meaning.

    I also liked the beautiful examples from the Savior’s life, starting with the war in heaven until his final words before dying on the cross. I hadn’t thought of how Heavenly Father had to leave Jesus alone to see if he would still use his agency to choose to be our Savior.

    I also liked the example of Saul and “selective obedience”. This is something I think we all struggle with in one way or another. The old justification and rationalization way of life is hard to avoid. I hope I can choose to be perfectly obedient more and selectively obedient less.

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