Agency Quotes

Return to Main Margie's Messages Home Page (Full List of Topics)

Quotes on Agency / Accountability:

"Agency is the power to think, choose, and act for ourselves.  It comes with endless opportunities, accompanied by responsibility and consequences.  It is a blessing and a burden.  Using this gift of agency wisely is critical today because never in the world's history have God's children been so blessed or so blatantly confronted with so many choices."

Sharon G. Larsen,  Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency 

"Agency--a Blessing and a Burden", Oct. Gen. Conf. 1999 -  Sharon G. Larsen   (link to talk)


President Joseph F. Smith:

"God has given to all men an agency, and has granted to us the privilege to serve Him or serve Him not, to do that which is right or that which is wrong, and this privilege is given to all men irrespective of creed, color or condition.  The wealthy have this agency, the poor have this agency, and no man is deprived by any power of God from exercising it in the fullest and in the freest manner.  This agency has been given to all.  This is a blessing that God has bestowed upon the world of mankind, upon all His children alike."

(Journal of Discourses 24:175) Quoted in Michael D. Christensen's book: Just Be Yourself, That's Hard Enough!, p. 142


"Because our purpose here on earth has not changed, nor will it ever, our Father steadily and regularly supplies additional gifts to make our world safe and strengthen our wise use of agency.  Think about the gift of prayer--opportunities to be heard and understood.  Think about the gift of the Holy Ghost, who will show us all the things that we should do (see 2 Ne. 32:5).  Think about sacred covenants we have made, the scriptures, priesthood and patriarchal blessings. Think about the ultimate gift of the Atonement and its reminder in the sacrament that blankets us with love and hope and grace. These gifts help us use our agency wisely to return back to our heavenly home, where "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Cor. 2:9). "

Sharon G. Larsen ,  Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, 

"Agency--a Blessing and a Burden", Oct. Gen. Conf. 1999 -  Sharon G. Larsen   (link to talk)


"To fully understand this gift of agency and its inestimable worth, it is imperative that we understand that God's chief way of acting is by persuasion and patience and long-suffering, not by coercion and stark confrontation.  He acts by gentle solicitation and by sweet enticement.  He always acts with unfailing respect for the freedom and independence that we possess.  He wants to help us and pleads for the chance to assist us, but he will not do so in violation of our agency.  He loves us too much to do that, and doing so would run counter to his divine character."

Howard W. Hunter, "The Golden Thread of Choice," General Conference  - October 1989


President Joseph F. Smith:

"Obedience must be voluntary; it must not be forced; there must be no coercion.  Men must not be constrained against their will to obey the will of God; they must obey it because they know it to be right, because they desire to do it, and because it is their pleasure to do it.  God delights in the willing heart."

(Journal of Discourses, 25:59) Quoted in Michael D. Christensen's book: Just Be Yourself, That's Hard Enough!, p. 146


President Boyd K. Packer:

"Perhaps the greatest discovery of my life, without question the greatest commitment, came when finally I had the confidence in God that I would loan or yield my agency to him--without compulsion or pressure, without any duress, as a single individual alone, by myself, no counterfeiting, nothing expected other than the privilege.  In a sense, speaking figuratively, to take one's agency, that precious gift which the scriptures make plain is essential to life itself, and say, 'I will do as you direct,' is afterward to learn that in so doing you possess it all the more."

("Obedience," BYU Speeches of the Year, 1971-1972, , p. 4  --  given Dec. 7, 1971) Quoted in Michael D. Christensen's book: Just Be Yourself, That's Hard Enough!,  p. 151


Elder Russell M. Nelson warned:

"While we are free to choose, once we have made those choices, we are tied to the consequences of those choices."

("Addiction or Freedom,"  Ensign, Nov. 1988, p. 7) 

Quoted in Michael D. Christensen's book: Just Be Yourself, That's Hard Enough!, p. 154


President Spencer W. Kimball:

"Every person has his free agency.  He may steal or curse or drink; he may defile himself with pornographic material: he may lazy away his life, fail to do his duty, commit sexual sins, or even take life.  There is no force, but he must know that sin brings its proper punishment, sooner or later and in total, so that one is stupid indeed to choose to do the wrong things.

"Every person can fail to attend his meetings fail to pay his tithing, fail to fill a mission, ignore his temple obligations and privileges, but if he is smart, he must know that he is the deprived one."

"Planning for a Full and Abundant Life", April 1974 Gen. Conf. address


"Our freedom to choose our course of conduct does not provide personal freedom from the consequences of our performances.  God's love for us is constant and will not diminish, but he cannot rescue us from the painful results that are caused by wrong choices."

Marvin J. Ashton (Ensign, November 1990, page 20)


"God loves us and believes in us and has done and will do anything he can to help us, but he will not impose on our free agency."

Marion D. Hanks, "Agency and Love", Gen. Conf. Oct. 1983



"Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God's greatest gift to man.... Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give.  It is inherent in the spirit of man.  It is a divine gift to every normal being.... Everyone has this most precious of all life's endowments--the gift of free agency--man's inherited and inalienable right."

David O. McKay  "Improvement Era," Feb. 1962, p. 86


"It is the parents' duty to intervene when they see wrong choices being made.  That doesn't mean parents take from children the precious gift of agency.  Because agency is a God-given gift, ultimately the choice of what they will do, how they will behave, and what they will believe will always be theirs. But as parents we need to make sure they understand appropriate behavior and the consequences to them if they pursue their wrongful course."

M. Russell Ballard ("Like a Flame Unquenchable,","Ensign," May 1999, p. 87)


Topic: 2 Nephi 2:27

"The Lord has given us the gift of agency (see Moses 7:32) and instructed us sufficiently to know good from evil (see 2 Nephi 2:5). We are free to choose (see 2 Nephi 2:27) and are permitted to act (see 2 Nephi 10:23; Helaman 14:30), but we are not free to choose the consequences. With absolute certainty, choices of good and right lead to happiness and peace, while choices of sin and evil eventually lead to unhappiness, sorrow, and misery."

Joseph B. Wirthlin  - "Finding Peace in Our Lives," [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], p. 152


Topic: 2 Nephi 2:27

"Next to life itself, free agency is God's greatest gift to mankind, providing thereby the greatest opportunity for the children of God to advance in this second estate of mortality."

Harold B. Lee - "Stand Ye in Holy Places," [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], p. 235


"God's chief way of acting is by persuasion and patience and long-suffering, not by coercion and stark confrontation. He acts by gentle solicitation and by sweet enticement. He always acts with unfailing respect for the freedom and independence that we possess."

Howard W. Hunter, ("The Golden Thread of Choice," Ensign, Nov. 1989, 18)


  
"You cannot exercise agency and escape accountability and responsibility for each choice."

Elder Russell M. Nelson  -  General Conference, October 2003


        
"Those who insist that a Church program exist for every contingency and need are as much in error as their counterparts who demand that government intervene in every aspect of our lives. In both instances the ideal balance is destroyed with a resultant detriment to human progress."

Dean L. Larsen, ("Self-Accountability and Human Progress," Ensign,May 1980, 76)