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Free Agency

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A person I know recently wrote a study on the principle of Free Agency.

It brings to our attention the ways and means the Adversary is using to deceive the whole world without most people even being aware of the deceit.

Read and weep:

http://www.lds-awakening.info/Publications/Issue5.pdf

Is the adversary deceiving the whole world?

Richard

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"Nothing is easier than to identify one's own favorite political, economic, historical, and moral convictions with the gospel. That gives one a neat, convenient, but altogether too easy advantage over one's fellows. If my ideas are the true ones - and I certainly will not entertain them if I suspect for a moment that they are false! - then, all truth being one, they are also the gospel, and to oppose them is to play the role of Satan. This is simply insisting that our way is God's way and therefore, the only way. It is the height of impertinence."

- Hugh Nibley

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This is why all religions and philosophies are equally valid paradigms for their believers. "What is it for?" is the question attached to anything. And religion has to mold people into better people, or it is worthless. As religion and non religion can do that, or fail to do that, it seems obvious to me that "my truth" is the same as any other as far as purpose goes. "Don't **** with my reality" is the most true position to defend.

The better term, imho, is "free will", not agency....

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A person I know recently wrote a study on the principle of Free Agency.

It brings to our attention the ways and means the Adversary is using to deceive the whole world without most people even being aware of the deceit.

Read and weep:

http://www.lds-awake...ions/Issue5.pdf

Is the adversary deceiving the whole world?

Richard

Generally speaking, yes, he is deceiving the whole world.

There are many of us who are aware of his antics and the way he operates, though, and then there are those of us who are aware of only some of his influence, so it wouldn't be true to state that every individual upon the face of this planet is being deceived beyond recognition.

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"Nothing is easier than to identify one's own favorite political, economic, historical, and moral convictions with the gospel. That gives one a neat, convenient, but altogether too easy advantage over one's fellows. If my ideas are the true ones - and I certainly will not entertain them if I suspect for a moment that they are false! - then, all truth being one, they are also the gospel, and to oppose them is to play the role of Satan. This is simply insisting that our way is God's way and therefore, the only way. It is the height of impertinence."

- Hugh Nibley

God's way can become our own way, though, so the impertinence applies only to those who believe their way is God's way when in truth it really isn't.

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QB:

"The better term, imho, is "free will", not agency....".

I don't understand this statement. Would you please explain.

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Hmmm. I'm an avid supporter of the Constitution and limited government, but I found the paper a bit...odd. Here is an excerpt from my own blog on the subject of "free agency" and "freedom" and their etymological evolutions:

A term well-known to Mormons is that of free agency or simply agency. [13] Most interpretations understand this simply as the power to choose. Once again, when we turn back time a couple centuries, we realize that this understanding is incomplete. Given Joseph Smith's early leanings to Methodism and the 19th century Methodist culture that Mormonism shared, it is worth noting that Methodists from this time "defined agency not as freedom to do what one wants but as the freedom to do what is right." It carried with it the notion of "obedience and ethical responsibility as well as freedom to make choices and act upon them." As historian Phyllis Mack explains, "The goal of the individual's religious discipline was to shape her personal desires and narrow self-interest until they became identical with God's desire, with absolute goodness. The sanctified Christian wants what God wants; she is God's agent in the world."[14] Agency seems closely related to stewardship; the handling of which we will ultimately be judged for.

Finally, the concept of freedom (a favorite among Americans in particular) has changed over time. Its evolution is similar to that of the word agency. While ancient pagan and Christian philosophers recognized freedom as the ability to realize and embrace "the Good" (understood as God: the ultimate end to which we are driven by nature), modern notions tend to twist the definition of freedom to mean free from all moral constraints without consequence (a form of liberationism). As Eastern Orthodox philosopher David B. Hart writes,

True freedom...is the freedom of a thing to flourish, to become ever more fully what it is...To be fully free is to be joined to that end for which our natures were originally framed, and for which — in the deepest reaches of our souls — we ceaselessly yearn. And whatever separates us from that end — even if it be our own power of choice within us — is a form of bondage. We are free not because we can choose, but only when we have chosen well.[15]

In his book The Infinite Atonement, Tad Callister declares that "the lives of gods are driven internally, rather than externally...Gods do not live oblivious of laws, but through obedience have masterd the laws so that they might use them to accomplish their purposes. Freedom is achieved through a step-by-step process of obedient compliance to God's will. Consequently the more we become like God, the freer we become. Freedom and godhood are parallel paths; in fact the are the same road."[16] As Nephi wrote, "Because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever" (2 Nephi 2:26). Callister's concept falls in line with the classical understanding: "Some might contend that freedom comes when there are no laws or restraints. They conent that freedom in its purest form is the right to do anything, anytime, anywhere, without consequence...[This freedom] is illusory."[17] In summary, Callister writes, "Obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel brings increased knowledge, a multiplicity of choices, and an enhanced power to execute, all of which result in added freedom."[18]

13. See Kevin Barney's recent discussion of these terms.

14. As quoted in Christopher C. Jones, "Mormonism and Agency: A Historical Inquiry," Juvenile Instructor (May 16, 2011).

15. For a more extensive discussion of this subject, see Hart's Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (Yale University Press, 2009).

16. Tad R. Callister, The Infinite Atonement (Deseret Book, 2000), 251.

17. Ibid., 257.

18. Ibid., 261.

Full post found here: http://theslowhunch.blogspot.com/2011/07/scientism-and-etymological-evolutions.html

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Is the adversary deceiving the whole world?

Yes. The article fairly accurate. What the article doesn't do is name the groups and philosophies which are in collusion with the Adversary in this deception. However, by process of elimination we can know who these are by comparing with LDS doctrine. For example, we know that Socialism and the welfare state fit the description in the article about governments and that they are in direct conflict with the principles governing the United Order and the foundational principle of Agency which is the main issue in the war in heaven which continues today. Other moral issues which speak to the the slavery of sin or opposition to the family such as homosexuality and third wave and higher feminism also qualify as tools of the Adversay which enslave us.

Edited by BCSpace

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QB:

"The better term, imho, is "free will", not agency....".

I don't understand this statement. Would you please explain.

I don't get it either.

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WalkerW:

"modern notions tend to twist the definition of freedom to mean free from all moral constraints without consequence (a form of liberationism). As Eastern Orthodox philosopher David B. Hart writes.

I'll disagree here. Agency is not the ability to be free of all constraints. Be they moral or physical constraintes. I believe agency is the right to choose our actions, but agency does not in anyway free us of the consequences(constraints) of those actions.

IE. My agency allows me to lie, to cheat, and to steal, etc., etc... However my agency doesn't allow me to avoid the legal, and sometimes physical consequences of those actions.

Just as my Agency allows me the freedom to jump off of a high cliff without a parachute. My agency doesn't allow me to escape the consequences of my foolish actions.

But of course that is just my liberal position. :)

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But of course that is just my liberal position. :)

Happy 22,222 post.

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WalkerW:

"modern notions tend to twist the definition of freedom to mean free from all moral constraints without consequence (a form of liberationism). As Eastern Orthodox philosopher David B. Hart writes.

I'll disagree here. Agency is not the ability to be free of all constraints. Be they moral or physical constraintes. I believe agency is the right to choose our actions, but agency does not in anyway free us of the consequences(constraints) of those actions.

IE. My agency allows me to lie, to cheat, and to steal, etc., etc... However my agency doesn't allow me to avoid the legal, and sometimes physical consequences of those actions.

Just as my Agency allows me the freedom to jump off of a high cliff without a parachute. My agency doesn't allow me to escape the consequences of my foolish actions.

But of course that is just my liberal position. :)

You quoted the part about "freedom" and then spoke of "agency," so I'm not quite sure how to respond, but I'll do my best. I recommend the linked Hart article as well as his book Atheist Delusions (which discusses the philosophical development of freedom). The classical concept of "freedom" was associated largely with natural law and its teleological ends. But over the centuries, it has become associated with something closer to the Nietzschian will to power.

As for agency, I provided the 19th century Methodist understanding of the term. This is why I conclude my blog post with,

The scientistic framework has robbed our culture of many beautiful truths: religion is not just about making supernatural claims, but interacting with the supernatural by means of a virtuous life. Having faith is not believing and obeying blindly, but developing trust and remaining committed to that which one trusts in. Agency is not simply about choice, but choice with consequences and the knowledge of whose agent one is. Freedom is not just about doing what one wants, but doing what one ought as well. The whole of life is not solely about what you think and why you think it (as important as those are). It is about who you are and what you do.

It seems we have little if any disagreement.

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A person I know recently wrote a study on the principle of Free Agency.

It brings to our attention the ways and means the Adversary is using to deceive the whole world without most people even being aware of the deceit.

Read and weep:

http://www.lds-awakening.info/Publications/Issue5.pdf

Is the adversary deceiving the whole world?

Richard

I disagree almost entirely with the analysis. Is Satan deceiving the whole world? Yes, but it isn't through food stamps or medicaid, or even through the world bank.

As was mentioned before by WalkerW, we have to have the right definition of "agency" and how it is used in the context of Lucifer and the war in heaven. Agency is the ability to freely act upon ones wishes in "righteousness". Taht is so paramount to the principle of agency. Without righteous acts- if our acts are evil, we lose the priveledge of agency and come under the condemnation from the almighty God. As the scriptures state- we are then "acted upon" by divine law. Ultimately, without repentance and the atonement to act through, our sins consign us under condemnation to the chains of h*** where agency is not excersized nor given freely to those inhabitants to freely act. A sentence to h*** is the ultimate loss of ones agency. If we realize that principle then the rest is easy to understand.

What we must realize first and foremost is that Satan is a deceiver- a liar! So, when he said he would save everyone, that not one soul should be lost, he was lying- deceiving those he could influence. We should have no reason to believe that he was telling the truth when he said he would save everyone. The scriptures certainly do not say he was telling the truth. The scriptures state the opposite- that even as he came before Moses and lied to him, that even before the world was (grand council) he was that same individual. He was kicked out of heaven for trying to deceive and lie amongst his basic rebellion against the Savior. So, if he really didn't want to save anyone, then what is meant with his seeking to destroy our "agency"?

This goes back to the very principle of the matter. He wants us to sin. As we sin, we lose that priveledge of agency (the ability to freely act for ourselves) and come under divine law where we can only be "acted upon". This is what is meant by the scriptures when it says that men are led "captive" down to h***- encircled by the chains of h***. A person in h*** is in the "chains of h***" where agency is not excersized. When Satan gets us to sin he destroys our agency. That same war is happeningf today as we speak- Satan is still seeking to destoy our agency by telling us his lie (in our hearts) that we will all be saved, we can do anything we want- sin a little or greatly. As we become convinced of his lies and committ sins, he craftily then leads us down into bondage both physically and spiritually. He ultimately wants to reign over us in his own kingdom (h***).

So, when we hear some foolish story about Satan using medicaid or food stamps, or even perhaps- commercialized food to destroy our agency, immediately know that it is a lie of men. Satan has no desire in feeding the hungary and alleviating the poor or sick and afflicated in society. Satan has no track record whatsoever of establishing organizations that cater towards the poor and needy in society!

Know that Satan destroys our agency by getting us to sin, and then he works on keeping us encircled with his chains (the same chains he is in BTW) by telling us lies and half-truths. That is the only way he can rule over us (what he always wanted BTW) is by entrapping us in the chains of h***.

Edited by Rob Osborn

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Too be clear, I'm very much against many of these programs because I see them as often having the opposite effect of what they intend. Markets reduce poverty much more efficiently than any state-imposed welfare program. They also foster moral traits of trust and cooperation.

This is why I support this economic system. Not because of the "war in heaven" or the principle of "free agency."

I think Satan's plan had more to do with eliminating the laws of righteousness altogether in order to make all choices equal. I don't think it had to do with the totalitarian attempt to force us to "be good." I could be wrong, but that's how I understand it. However, I will point out that micromanagement and heavy regulation do tend to crowd out ethical behavior.

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"Nothing is easier than to identify one's own favorite political, economic, historical, and moral convictions with the gospel. That gives one a neat, convenient, but altogether too easy advantage over one's fellows. If my ideas are the true ones - and I certainly will not entertain them if I suspect for a moment that they are false! - then, all truth being one, they are also the gospel, and to oppose them is to play the role of Satan. This is simply insisting that our way is God's way and therefore, the only way. It is the height of impertinence."

- Hugh Nibley

Thank you. Best answer so far.

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Too be clear, I'm very much against many of these programs because I see them as often having the opposite effect of what they intend. Markets reduce poverty much more efficiently than any state-imposed welfare program. They also foster moral traits of trust and cooperation.

This is why I support this economic system. Not because of the "war in heaven" or the principle of "free agency."

I think Satan's plan had more to do with eliminating the laws of righteousness altogether in order to make all choices equal. I don't think it had to do with the totalitarian attempt to force us to "be good." I could be wrong, but that's how I understand it. However, I will point out that micromanagement and heavy regulation do tend to crowd out ethical behavior.

I find it interesting that nowhere in scripture does it say that Satan was going to force us into obedience.

Government regulation in at least our country is due mainly to the fact that most buisnessmen would tend to enslave it's workers. We saw that heavily in this country during the industrial revolution. Regulation came into play to ensure the rights of workers and consumers alike. In a perfect society, regulation goes away. We have welfare systems in place because people are still generally too selfish or ignorant of the need and requirement of feeding the poor and afflicted. In a perfect society, even welfare vanishes.

The main problems we have in this country regarding both regulation and welfare is that we have not arisen above ourselves to do these things honestly on our own. So, at this time, we need the systems of government regulation and welfare in place to ensure a more equal society.

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Government regulation in at least our country is due mainly to the fact that most buisnessmen would tend to enslave it's workers. We saw that heavily in this country during the industrial revolution. Regulation came into play to ensure the rights of workers and consumers alike. In a perfect society, regulation goes away. We have welfare systems in place because people are still generally too selfish or ignorant of the need and requirement of feeding the poor and afflicted. In a perfect society, even welfare vanishes.

Actually, most of the regulations came from larger businesses advocating them in order to drive smaller competitors who could not afford the added regulations out of business (thus becoming profitable over time). As the research of Princeton economist Thomas C. Leonard demonstrates, a large amount of the "workers' rights" movements had little to do with fairness and more so to do with driving those that were considered "unfit" (e.g. blacks and immigrant groups) from the workforce in order to maintain the jobs of the "fit" (i.e. predominantly white union workers). It was basically economic eugenics. As for exploitation, I would recommend Ch. 6 "How Capitalism Enriched the Working Class" of economist Thomas DiLorenzo's How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, From the Pilgrims to the Present (Three Rivers Press, 2004).

It also turns out that those who favor free enterprise tend to privately give more than those who do not (along with those who are religious). Americans give multiples more in private charity than Europeans, per capita. See Arthur C. Brooks, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism - America's Charity Divide: Who Gives, Who Doesn't, and Why It Matters (Basic Books, 2006). Studies in neuroeconomics also find that those immersed in market-oriented cultures tend to be more charitable than those who are not. Economist Thomas Sowell has also documented in numerous books the detrimental effect the welfare system has had on the family, particularly black families.

Good intentions and actual outcomes are two very different things.

But all that is another topic.

Edited by WalkerW

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QB:

"The better term, imho, is "free will", not agency....".

I don't understand this statement. Would you please explain.

Well, the scriptures speak of the agency of man, but never "free agency". Modern exegesis has attached the word "free" to it. Yet "free will" has a venerable tradition. It is a philosophical term. "Free agency" calls the NFL to mind. It is also specifically associated only with LDS doctrine. Other denoms and religions do not use the term like we do....

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QB:

I really can't address how others consider Agency or Free Will. The LDS construct makes sense to me. I kinda like the idea that I get to choose what I do.

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