Joe, had been unemployed for several years now. He didn’t have any disabilities-just
didn’t feel the need to work. Joe kept busy driving the children to dance, soccer, basketball, piano lessons etc etc. He was a counselor in the Elder’s Quorum presidency. His wife was working part time at a local restaurant and attending counseling at LDS Family Services for depression. The bishop was paying for her counseling. They just had their 6th kid. She was breastfeeding so they qualified for WIC. They had an EBT payment card, like a credit card, so the WIC monies along with their SNAP, cash and food stamp benefits were automatically deposited onto their card for use at their convenience. The bishop and extended family from time-to-time also helped the family with money and food. Nevertheless, Joe’s family seemed to have all the necessities of life-cell phones, a place to live, etc etc
From the outside appearance Joe’s family seemed to have everything their neighbors had next door -where the father worked two jobs and the wife worked part time. (Satan and his Special Forces have successfully engineered our society to “temporarily” remove consequences from certain choices.)
Does Joe have “Agency?”
AGENCY HAS SEVERAL COMPONENTS
You thought “agency” just meant “choice.” But its much more…
Victor Ludlow says: “the seven essential elements of agency: identity, knowledge, freedom, action, law, efficacy, and preservation.” (Principles of Practices of the Gospel Restored, pg. 157).
LDS psychologist Allen E. Bergin in “Toward a Theory of Human Agency” wrote: “The concept of agency may be subdivided into numerous dimensions such as: The initiation of behavior or the originating of ideas. This may be termed the domain of creation. The processes of decision-making or choosing, that is, the domain of reason. The processes of self-regulation or the domain of will. These and related topics provide enough substance for several books.” (BYU Studies, vol. 16, 1975-1976).
Adam and Eve an example
God told Adam and Eve they had a “choice” (an essential element of agency). He followed up by saying they could freely eat of every tree in the garden except one, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Of that tree God said, “thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Moses 3:17). After giving Adam and Eve choice he gave them “knowledge about consequences” of their choice a “choice between good and evil” (another essential element of agency). Finally, he held them accountable for the choice they made. You can read about the consequences for their choice in Genesis 3:16-17. It was here in the Garden of Eden God gave Adam and Eve “Agency” (Moses 7:32). Accountability was an essential element.
(The single best LDS source for agency can be found here: What the Church Teaches About Agency. )
I’m getting old so let’s keep “agency” plain and simple. Personal accountability consistently shows up in definitions of agency.
Satan’s plan-DECREASING a person’s ACCOUNTABILITY
In addition to Accountability I view Choice and Knowledge of Consequences as essential pieces of the “Agency Puzzle.”
Simple concept… Satan needs only to eliminate one of the puzzle pieces that makeup agency to remove one’s agency. Let’s take accountability for example, when Satan creates an environment in which a person’s accountability is minimized, agency is also minimized. The belief that I can have want I want without effort, something for nothing…. is sufficient to eliminate one’s agency-freedom to act.
HOW WE ARE DECEIVED
See blog: Satan Exposed
Of course Satan could never really destroy God’s gift of agency- That’s impossible. But he can deceive us…
….by convincing us self-reliance and personal accountability are not that big of deal and have nothing to do with agency.
….by having us focus only on our right to choose (Choice being one element of agency) a partial truth and not also emphasizing the consequence of the choice (Consequence being another element of agency).
EXAMPLES OF “LOST” AGENCY
EXAMPLE 1-Seagulls starving to death
In this story seagulls lose their ability “to fish” by Marion G. Romney:
… In our friendly neighbor city of St. Augustine, great flocks of sea gulls are starving amid plenty. Fishing is still good, but the gulls don’t know how to fish. For generations they have depended on the shrimp fleet to toss them scraps from the nets. Now the fleet has moved. …
“The shrimpers had created a Welfare State for the … sea gulls. The big birds never bothered to learn how to fish for themselves and they never taught their children to fish. Instead they led their little ones to the shrimp nets.
“Now the sea gulls, …, are starving to death because they gave in to the ‘something for nothing’ lure! They sacrificed their independence (agency) for a hand-out.“A lot of people are like that, too. They see nothing wrong in picking delectable scraps from the tax nets of the U.S. Government’s ‘shrimp fleet.’ But what will happen when the Government runs out of goods? What about our children of generations to come? (The First Presidency Message; The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance, Ensign June 1984)
EXAMPLE 2-Stuck on an escalator
In this story two people get stuck on a broken escalator and lose their ability to “get off“ on their own – shared by a popular YouTube video People Stuck On An Escalator.
(How does being stuck on an escalator relate to addiction?)
EXAMPLE 3-Joe “…failing to provide…”
In this story above, “Joe” loses his ability to “provide the necessities of life” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World.) by depending on others to care for him and his family.
As in the war in the pre-existence, Satan’s political platform has once again successfully influenced millions to surrender their agency and follow him. (Even though they go to church every Sunday.)
In the examples above there is a reduction in personal accountability for decisions as a dependency on others increases. This process reduces one’s ability to choose and to do. (See: The Gift-Between God and I ; Counselitis)
Can you get off an escalator?
dr rick’s blog index