Unless we know what matters most to us, we will spend much of our life doing things that don’t matter to us as much as the things we neglect. To use our agency wisely, we have to know what we want out of life. One question I often as myself when faced with a choice to make is this: Is what I’m getting worth more than what I’m giving up?” This question reminds me that each time I choose something, I am giving up the other options. The challenge is to choose the option that gives me what I really want from life—not right this moment, but for eternity. Read more
Filed under: Mormon Temples: Purposes and Promises, News, Public Issues, Saving Ordinances, Temples, Work for the Dead
The stories are circulating the internet that President Obama’s mother is now a Mormon according to Mormon records, because a posthumus baptism was done on her behalf. It’s important to understand how names come to be submitted and what it means when the work is done. It does not mean she is a Mormon; nor does it mean her name has been added to church membership records.
Mormons are instructed they must only submit names of direct ancestors and their immediate family (parents, siblings, etc.) unless they have permission from the family. Not every Mormon knows the rule, however, although it is written in the places where submissions are made, and many feel they are helping people they consider special by submitting their names. Therefore, when a name is inappropriately submitted, it is due to a misunderstanding of the rules by the member who submitted it. Since they can be submitted online, there is generally not a worker who can ask them about the names they’ve submitted. The church itself does not submit these names and does not give permission for the practice. Of course, as you go further back into a famous person’s genealogy, there are LDS church members who can legitimately submit the names because they are also descendants of the ancestors. Read more
Filed under: For the Strength of the Youth, Life Lessons, Making Decisions, Old Testament
In order to learn to make wise use of our eternal gift of agency, we must understand that each choice we make has consequences. These consequences can affect our entire lives and even our eternities. They also affect others. When we learn to evaluate the consequences of our choices, we are better able to make wise choices and get the most from our agency.
In the past, many Mormons used the term “free agency” to describe our God-given right to choose for ourselves. Today, church leaders discourage that term, because agency is not free, and they want us to understand this. Instead, they encourage the use of the term “moral agency.” Read more
Filed under: Becoming More Christlike, Relationships
In September of 1981, Gene R. Cook wrote an article that might well have struck fear in the hearts of some readers. He wrote of a group of Mormons summoned before church leadership because they were in danger of having their church
membership taken from them? Had they robbed a bank? Broken the law of chastity? Committed apostasy? No, not at all. They had done something most of them probably considered unimportant—they had gossiped. They had participated in a nasty whisper campaign about someone they believed had been immoral. The stories were lies and the damage was widespread. Church leaders found it necessary to take this drastic step to help their members understand that gossip is not entertainment or a minor sin. A reputation had been destroyed and it would be impossible to completely undo the damage, especially since the stories had spread outside the church. Read more
Filed under: Becoming More Christlike, Discovering Yourself, Finding joy within the gospel, For the Strength of the Youth, Living the Gospel, Making Decisions, Peer Pressure, Teens & Seminary
The teen years are filled with temptation. The media, peers, even teachers and other adults can try to convince a young person that sin is okay, natural, normal, and fun. For a teenager with high standards and an eye for eternity, it can be a challenge to stay on the right path, when so many people are determined to take her off that path. Fortunately, God and His servants have outlined effective ways for teens—and adults—to stay safe.
Staying safe is a matter of choices, and to make wise choices, we have to understand the concept of agency. This article will focus on agency, and future articles in this series will walk through the process of using that understanding to make eternally safe choices. Read more