Why is our stance so fixed on so many “social” issues? Why does the Church care what other people choose?

 

familyOne of the most basic doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that each woman and man and child on the planet is a literal spirit child of a loving Heavenly Father. Similar to the mortal pattern we understand of children growing to be like their parents, God provided a way for His children to become like Him.

 

In an earlier phase of existence, we lived in the presence of God as spirit children of Deity.

 

The word spirit is used in several ways in the scriptures. Probably the basic use has to do with the conscious intelligent individual entity that had an existence previous to mortality. That is, all forms of living things—man, beast, and vegetation—existed as individual spirits, before any form of life existed upon the earth. The spirit is in the likeness of the physical body, as demonstrated in Gen. 2:51 Ne. 11:11Ether 3:15–16D&C 77:2129Moses 3:4–7. Furthermore, all spirit is matter but is more refined and pure than mortal element (D&C 131:7).

The Gift of Agency

 

As conscious, intelligent individuals, we had and used agency.

 

God our Father and Jesus Christ act. They speak and worlds roll into existence. By their action, They redeem our fallen natures and offer salvation.

 

Choice Matters

 

Agency, a divine requisite to our lives, enabled mankind’s ability to choose. Each realm of existence, bound by eternal or mortal laws, provided that freedom to exercise agency. However, while we have the freedom to choose, we are not free from consequence.

 

And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.

 

He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you.

 

As we progressed during our premortal life, we exercised agency and began to choose. During a great council, Heavenly Father presented His plan for us to become like Him. God is an exalted, resurrected man. As such, He has a body.

 

The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also….

 

As spirit children, we lacked the corporeal form to become incorruptible. Father’s plan enabled us to come to Earth and receive a body through mortal parents, thus participating in His wonderful plan for our ultimate salvation.

 

Despite what seems like a glorious opportunity, many of Heavenly Father’s children rejected His plan. The consequence of their choice to reject this law was to be thrust out of God’s presence without the opportunity to progress.

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Mortal life provided a body. With a body came the opportunity, because of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice, to be resurrected to a celestial, heavenly state to live like God as exalted men and women. Resurrection to a body capable of comprehending and withstanding God’s presence requires using our agency to make choices compatible with God’s laws. If we choose not to follow God’s eternal laws, we qualify for a lesser glory when resurrected.

 

For notwithstanding they die, they also shall rise again, a spiritual body.

 

They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.

 

Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.

 

And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.

 

And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same.

 

That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.

 

All kingdoms have a law given;

 

And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.

 

All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified.

 

Because we are children of God with a divine potential to return to His presence and live like Him, we believe obeying eternal laws which have eternal consequences enable us, through the Savior’s grace, to live with God again. Because disobeying eternal laws impedes eternal progress and leaves us unable to live in God’s presence, the Church advocates for all to keep God’s laws and thus return to Him.

 

Our choice matters because this life’s journey is to an eternal shore.

About Delisa Hargrove
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.

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