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Rob Osborn

Altering Moses To Understand "Agency"

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As some of you know I have a different approach to "agency" and the role it played/plays in the war between good and bad. Here is this verse-

3Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; (Moses 4:3)

Now what if we were to change it to this-

3Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to lead men captive down into h***, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

This is just my theory here but this is how I interpret this verse. In doing so it greatly modifies how I view agency and what the war in heaven was really about. Leading into verse 3 we are not told of much specifics other than just waht Satan said at the council. Of course we knew he was lying about wanting to save everyone- that wasn't his motive or interest.

What do you think? Am I onto something or am I way off?

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As some of you know I have a different approach to "agency" and the role it played/plays in the war between good and bad. Here is this verse-

3Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; (Moses 4:3)

Now what if we were to change it to this-

3Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to lead men captive down into h***, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

This is just my theory here but this is how I interpret this verse. In doing so it greatly modifies how I view agency and what the war in heaven was really about. Leading into verse 3 we are not told of much specifics other than just waht Satan said at the council. Of course we knew he was lying about wanting to save everyone- that wasn't his motive or interest.

What do you think? Am I onto something or am I way off?

I don't understand this.

If the Book of Moses is inspired scripture (translated under inspiration), on what basis can you change "destroy the agency of man" to "lead men captive down into h***"?

Edited by inquiringmind

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If the Book of Abraham is inspired scripture (translated under inspiration), on what basis can you change "destroy the agency of man" to "lead men captive down into h***"?

It's Moses, not Abraham. That nit aside, it would qualify under the aegis of "likening the scriptures unto ourselves". I don't see Rob's trying to force this change into the Standard Works, he's using a synonym (dubious, but it's his choice) to get a better grasp on the underlying message of the passage.

I disagree with the alteration, but this kind of thing is helpful in understanding the meaning of scripture. What is "agency"? The question is like an ogre: it has layers.

Lehi

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It's Moses, not Abraham.

Thank you Lehi.

I edited my post to correct that.

'That nit aside, it would qualify under the aegis of "likening the scriptures unto ourselves". I don't see Rob's trying to force this change into the Standard Works, he's using a synonym (dubious, but it's his choice) to get a better grasp on the underlying message of the passage.

I disagree with the alteration, but this kind of thing is helpful in understanding the meaning of scripture. What is "agency"? The question is like an ogre: it has layers.

Lehi

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I thought synonyms were words with the same (or similar) meaning?

How is "lead captive down to h***" (at least three words) a snonym for "destroy the agency of man, which I gave him" (at least five words)?

I don't understand what either of you are saying (and I'm really confussed here.)

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To Rob,

The thought expressed in your alteration makes more sense to me than the original (but it still seems an arbitrary and unjustified alteration of the text, unless I'm missing something?)

Edited by inquiringmind

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Maybe I'm missing something here, but I thought synonyms were words with the same (or similar) meaning?

How is "lead captive down to h***" (at least three words) a snonym for "destroy the agency of man, which I gave him" (at least five words)?

"Synonyms" need not be single words. For instance, "grandfather" is a synonym for "father of my father (or mother)".

As to the reason for choosing one, "lead captive down to he1l", over another, "destroy the agency of man", I agree. I do not accept his choice, and do not pretend to understand it; it is not my calling to defend it.

I don't understand what either of you are saying (and I'm really confussed here.)

My point is that the study of scripture is not a trivial thing. One is forced to "study it out in [his] mind" before getting a reasonable grasp of a meaning for any passage. This can take many forms, one of which is substituting words or phrases for each other and seeing how it fits.

We do the same thing in mathematics, for example. In a certain proof, we might choose to use "sin2θ + cos2θ" as a substitute for "e0". They are equal to each other (that is, to "1"), but the form of the first is better suited for some things than that of the second.

In this case, the idea of Satan's wanting to have his own personal kingdom with us as subjects over whom to rule may have been accomplished by destroying the agency of man, without which one is unable to create himself in the image of God (meaning the man would not have mastered the physical self, and gained control over his appetites and passions, thus being unfit for exaltation).

As I said, I do not know the reason for Rob's deciding to make this particular substitution: he'll have to explain that for himself. I was saying that this is one legitimate method we might use to progress in our understanding of the word of God.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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To further clarify my position-

Agency is the ability to "act for ourselves". Of course this implys some deeper thought because one just cannot do anything he wishes be it both good and evil and still remain free to act for themselves in the end. Thus, agency is a condition given and expressed only in works and acts of righteousness- within eternal law. As long as we make good choices we can continue to make good choices unhampered. Thus by doing so we preserve our eternal right to agency and are thus free to "act for ourselves". Agency can thus be expressed as being free from the captive chains of h*** (chains of sin). So, if one is held captive by the chains of h***, he is not free to act for himself. Instead he can only "be acted upon" by both eternal law and the captive nature of sin. So, if we thus understand that agency is only enjoyed and enabled through acts of choosing righteous decisions, we can thus say that it can be destroyed by making bad decisions which lead to sin and eventually are bound captive in the chains of h***.

Thus, when it stated that Satan sought to destroy our agency, it may mean that Satan sought to bring us under his rule by bringing us the life of sin- into spiritual and physical bondage. The book of Mormon speaks of this condition as being held captive in the chains of h***. I find it interesting that in the very next verse in Moses that it states that all those who choose to follow Satan's plans are thus led down into captivity (destruction of agency). My adjusting the scripture is for my own understanding and in explaining to others how and what exactly the war in heaven was originally/still is, fought over. My hope is to graduate from some indescernable doctrine of Satan wanting to force everyone into obedience into what it really states- that he wanted to bring God's children down into spiritual bondage (sin)- just exactly what he is still trying to do to this day..

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My hope is to graduate from some indescernable doctrine of Satan wanting to force everyone into obedience into what it really states- that he wanted to bring God's children down into spiritual bondage (sin)- just exactly what he is still trying to do to this day..

But, as I sad in response to inquiringmind's query, forcing people to do what is right is tantamount to denying them the opportunity to "create" themselves in the image of God, and thus to become ineligible for exaltation. The two things are not exclusive or opposites: they are the same thing.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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To further clarify my position-

Agency is the ability to "act for ourselves". Of course this implys some deeper thought because one just cannot do anything he wishes be it both good and evil and still remain free to act for themselves in the end. Thus, agency is a condition given and expressed only in works and acts of righteousness- within eternal law. As long as we make good choices we can continue to make good choices unhampered. Thus by doing so we preserve our eternal right to agency and are thus free to "act for ourselves". Agency can thus be expressed as being free from the captive chains of h*** (chains of sin). So, if one is held captive by the chains of h***, he is not free to act for himself. Instead he can only "be acted upon" by both eternal law and the captive nature of sin. So, if we thus understand that agency is only enjoyed and enabled through acts of choosing righteous decisions, we can thus say that it can be destroyed by making bad decisions which lead to sin and eventually are bound captive in the chains of h***.

Thus, when it stated that Satan sought to destroy our agency, it may mean that Satan sought to bring us under his rule by bringing us the life of sin- into spiritual and physical bondage. The book of Mormon speaks of this condition as being held captive in the chains of h***. I find it interesting that in the very next verse in Moses that it states that all those who choose to follow Satan's plans are thus led down into captivity (destruction of agency). My adjusting the scripture is for my own understanding and in explaining to others how and what exactly the war in heaven was originally/still is, fought over. My hope is to graduate from some indescernable doctrine of Satan wanting to force everyone into obedience into what it really states- that he wanted to bring God's children down into spiritual bondage (sin)- just exactly what he is still trying to do to this day..

That is interesting.

Thank you.

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Agency has a real definition in the dictionary which we should use. An agent (as defined in the dictionary) is not someone who acts for himself. He legally represents another (the principal), acting in his behalf, and for his benefit, and the actions of the agent are attributed to, and are legally binding upon the principal.

In the D&C and Moses, it is said that men are "agents unto themselves", thereby defining who our principal is--it is ourselves. The special (and unusual) way in which the word is used in our scriptures is what ties the concept of agency to our being able to act for ourselves--our being able to legally represent ourselves and to be legally bound to the consequences of our actions. The idea of agency in our scriptures is that we can legally represent ourselves and are thereby held accountable for our actions. Agency is the foundation of accountability, the ability to legally enter into binding covenants, and to be bound to consequences.

I believe that if agency were removed from the plan, Satan could suggest that no one would be lost, since none would be accountable. Justice could not condemn anyone who was unaccountable.

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Agency has a real definition in the dictionary which we should use. An agent (as defined in the dictionary) is not someone who acts for himself. He legally represents another (the principal), acting in his behalf, and for his benefit, and the actions of the agent are attributed to, and are legally binding upon the principal.

In the D&C and Moses, it is said that men are "agents unto themselves", thereby defining who our principal is--it is ourselves. The special (and unusual) way in which the word is used in our scriptures is what ties the concept of agency to our being able to act for ourselves--our being able to legally represent ourselves and to be legally bound to the consequences of our actions. The idea of agency in our scriptures is that we can legally represent ourselves and are thereby held accountable for our actions. Agency is the foundation of accountability, the ability to legally enter into binding covenants, and to be bound to consequences.

I believe that if agency were removed from the plan, Satan could suggest that no one would be lost, since none would be accountable. Justice could not condemn anyone who was unaccountable.

Agency as defined in the dictionary is "the power and freedom of operation/ instrumentality". A person bound in chains does not exersize this power. A person in prison does not enjoy this power. A person in h*** does not exersize this power.

The ultimate question is "How did Satan seek to destroy our agency?". If we assume that he wanted to really save everyone by removing accountability then why would it be required that he come into the world to save "fallen" man? It was known that man would fall into sin and that a savior would be needed. Satan said he would go and do it. Do what? Save fallen man. But, if man had fallen then it was obvious that consequences were already in place. So, we can thus assume that wasn't the deal at all. Besides that, Satan had no power to go around eternal law already in place. This meant that there was no escape from sin without a true savior and obedience to eternal law already in place.

From this we can know that Satan thus lied about saving everyone.

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Agency as defined in the dictionary is "the power and freedom of operation/ instrumentality".

Ok, let's look at agency as "instrumentality" for instance. If mankind were promised some sort of salvation without any conditions, then the agency (i.e., instrumentality) of man would, in fact, be destroyed, because men would not be instrumental in their own salvation--they would have no power (another synonym for agency) over their own salvation--it would be completely out of their control.

I don't mind using the primary definition of agency (i.e., action, acting, operation, power, instrumentality) to understand the scriptures, but the scriptures themselves seem to indicate that the secondary definition of agency (i.e., where an agent acts in someone's behalf) is actually being used since they consistently define either Adam as an "agent unto himself," or men as "agents unto themselves." The keyword "unto" is always used in our scriptures to denote the agent's principal--five places in a doctrinal context and five places in a secular context. The phrase, "agents unto themselves," implies that we act as our own agents--we legally represent ourselves and act in our own behalf, and therefore, are accountable for our actions, just as a principal is bound by the actions of his agent.

Agency as defined in the dictionary is "the power and freedom of operation/ instrumentality". A person bound in chains does not exersize this power. A person in prison does not enjoy this power. A person in h*** does not exersize this power.

Don't confuse agency with freedom. The dictionary and thesaurus don't.

By the way, I did a bing search, a google search, and a google books search on the phrase, "the power and freedom of operation", and got no results. I was very surprised. Could you please tell me in which dictionary you found that definition?

The ultimate question is "How did Satan seek to destroy our agency?"

By taking away our instrumentality in the plan, by seeking to take away the consequences of our actions, by telling us we could still act without being held accountable. All of which was a lie, granted--he just wanted to convince others that he could do it. Apparently the lie was pretty good since he got a third to fall for it (pun intended).

If we assume that he wanted to really save everyone by removing accountability then why would it be required that he come into the world to save "fallen" man?

That's really quite easy. Even little, innocent children need a saviour. Without Christ, little children, although innocent, would be damned, and their innocence could do nothing about it. If we have to leave God's presence to gain experience, or whatever, then we're going to need a saviour to make it back. A lack of accountability does not save little children from this fallen world--the Saviour does.

But, if man had fallen then it was obvious that consequences were already in place.

There were consequences in Eden--true, but not all consequences come from accountability. I believe Adam and Eve fell while they were still innocent, before they gained the knowledge of good and evil.

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Ok, let's look at agency as "instrumentality" for instance. If mankind were promised some sort of salvation without any conditions, then the agency (i.e., instrumentality) of man would, in fact, be destroyed, because men would not be instrumental in their own salvation--they would have no power (another synonym for agency) over their own salvation--it would be completely out of their control.

The big question here is whether or not Satan was telling the truth regarding his statement or telling a lie regarding his statement. That statement of course being that he would save all mankind. I am assuming it was a lie because the Lord is speaking to Moses and tells him that even as he came before him and told him the lie that he indeed was the savior- the only begotten and that Moses should worship him, he was also that same individual in the beginning who came before the Lord and said he would save everyone (lie). The only truth we have regarding the events of this statement or of Satan's "true intentions" are that he sought to destroy the agency of man. So I ask- is it still Satans intentions to destroy the agency of man? And if so, how is he doing this? I believe it is still the intentions of Satan to destroy the agency of man. He does this by leading us into spiritual bondage where agency is not to be had. This tells me that nothing has changed with Satan and what his true intentions were indeed about. Satan was not about salvation of any sorts. His plans were about leading mankind down into spiritual bondage where he could reign over them in unrighteousness in his own dark kingdom.

I don't mind using the primary definition of agency (i.e., action, acting, operation, power, instrumentality) to understand the scriptures, but the scriptures themselves seem to indicate that the secondary definition of agency (i.e., where an agent acts in someone's behalf) is actually being used since they consistently define either Adam as an "agent unto himself," or men as "agents unto themselves." The keyword "unto" is always used in our scriptures to denote the agent's principal--five places in a doctrinal context and five places in a secular context. The phrase, "agents unto themselves," implies that we act as our own agents--we legally represent ourselves and act in our own behalf, and therefore, are accountable for our actions, just as a principal is bound by the actions of his agent.

Being an "agent" and "agency" have different meaning here. Yes it is true that an "agent" can legally act in ones place or actually represent himself legally as an "agent". But "agency" is used differently to define the quality of ones actions. Agency as used in the scriptures defines a right given only to the righteous as a means to act upon according to righteous desires. In 2 Nephi, Lehi describes this action (agency) as "free to act". The opposite of this is "to be acted upon". The scriptures also speak of only those who are free from the chains of h*** as having the freedom to act for themselves. All those in the chains of h*** are acted upon.

Don't confuse agency with freedom. The dictionary and thesaurus don't.

Freedom and agency are similar terms. I like to think of it in this way- Freedom is not something granted to all individuals. Freedom in a normal society is only something accessed through obedience to law. In God's perspective and law, only those who follow Him have true freedom. Freedom is thus the medium whereby we can execute operation or "action". This is what describes "agency". Agency is the action part of "freedom". Agency is the actual operation or workings of ones actions while being "free" to do so. Some in the church think that agency is the "right" to do right or wrong. But, according to the laws of heaven, no one has the "right" to do that which is wrong, they only have the "right" to do that which is right. All wrong actions take away their ability to act (agency). Agency is thus very similar to a drivers license- as long as one acts according to law, he can have access to that priveledge and do as he pleases. But, if he chooses to disobey, then that priveledge or "right" is taken away. No one has the right to disobey.

By the way, I did a bing search, a google search, and a google books search on the phrase, "the power and freedom of operation", and got no results. I was very surprised. Could you please tell me in which dictionary you found that definition?

Well it is not word for word exact definitions but it still means the same exact thing. Here, this is from an online dictionary which means the same thing-

1. The condition of being in action; operation.

2. The means or mode of acting; instrumentality.

I only added the word "freedom" here, but if one wants he can remove it- it still means the same thing- "the power of operation".

By taking away our instrumentality in the plan, by seeking to take away the consequences of our actions, by telling us we could still act without being held accountable. All of which was a lie, granted--he just wanted to convince others that he could do it. Apparently the lie was pretty good since he got a third to fall for it (pun intended).

But even Lucifer had no power to go around the eternal nature of Gods laws. By leading them into sin, they are thus acted upon by Gods laws and therefore are no longer free to act for themselves. There is no escape from the nature of sin whatsoever. God's laws state that if man sins, then punishment comes down upon him. Punishment in this sense is torment and the inability to have access to the freedom that is granted to all the righteous. Destroying ones agency is not achievable by removing consequence for ones actions. It is wholly impossible to remove the consequences of ones actions. God's laws are not changable or mutable- they existed before Lucifer ever came about. What we do know is that Satan sought to destroy the agency of man. So, we know that it is possible to do so. What we also know is that it is impossible to take away the consequences of ones actions. Put these both together and the logic states that the destruction of ones agency is not achievable through removing consequences of actions. The destruction of agency (action word) always falls in line with God's eternal laws. Satan can't make or change any law in heaven. If man sins, then there is an exact consequnce to that sin.

That's really quite easy. Even little, innocent children need a saviour. Without Christ, little children, although innocent, would be damned, and their innocence could do nothing about it. If we have to leave God's presence to gain experience, or whatever, then we're going to need a saviour to make it back. A lack of accountability does not save little children from this fallen world--the Saviour does.

There were consequences in Eden--true, but not all consequences come from accountability. I believe Adam and Eve fell while they were still innocent, before they gained the knowledge of good and evil.

What must be understood is that Adam and Eve fell both physically and spiritually because they sinned. A sin, according to God is disobedience to his commands. Adam and Eve both broke that commandment by yielding to Satan and temptation and chose to disobey the Father by partaking fo the fruit. More importantly here, they chose at that moment to follow Satan and not God. That, by every definition is "sin". They knew at the moment they partook of the fruit that they were disobeying God. There was no innocence in what they did, they knowingly chose to sin and were thus punished because of that disobedience. The fall was necessary but at the same time we shouldn't sugar-coat it into some act of divine innocense of the which it was not.

My point here with the fall is that If it were true that Satan was going to remove consequence as part of his plans, then there would have been no consequences for Adam and Eve's actions in the garden. Because there was no sin or ever could be (under such plan) then there could also be no fall and thus no need of a savior. But that is not what we understand we understand that there would be sin, that there would be consequences eternally, and thus the need of a savior. It is at this point Lucifer states to send him- he will do it- be the only begotten son (be granted immortality), and redeem all men from their sinful fallen natures. But, according to plan, the role of the savior is that only through compliance to "God's will" and His laws, can men be saved through the atonement. So, we can thus know that this was not satan's plans. Satan didn't seek to save anyone- that is paramount to the whole discussion. Satan wanted to destoy the kingdom, not save it. If we understand that principle then it is easy to also understand that Satan's plans haven't changed at all. Satan still seeks the destruction of our agency in the same and very means that he sought in the premortal life. Look around in the world, wherever we see men in chains of darkness, we see Satan at work. Those chains of darkness are what destroys men's agency, not according to any law of Satan, but because of the imutable laws of God executing punishment because of the misuse of ones actions.

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I think agency is one of the best teachings of Mormonism. If defined as the ability to act for oneself, D&C 93 states there can be no existence without it. In that vein, it's hard to see how Satan could destroy it without extinguishing the agent's existence. I don't think he can do that. Your substitution makes sense. Write a letter to Salt Lake.

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I have a few problems and differences of opinion with what's been said:

First, Lucifer never said that he would save all mankind. What he said was that not one soul would be lost. He could not grant anyone Eternal Life, so whatever type of 'salvation' he offered would have been something less. My guess is something like the Terrestrial Kingdom--middle ground--not Exalted, not Damned. Probably similar to the conditions that Adam and Eve experienced in Eden.

I find it hard to compare what Lucifer proposed to do as the redeemer with what Satan is currently trying to do now as the adversary. I don't think he is trying to destroy agency during our mortal existence--I think he is using it against us.

It's also hard to assume what Lucifer's seeking to destroy agency in the pre-mortal existence really means. Did he seek to destroy agency as a means to insure that no one would be lost, or would his plan of forcing some lesser type of salvation on everyone have the effect of destroying their agency? It's a chicken or egg thing; the statement can be read either way.

You said that being an "agent" and "agency" have different meanings (I presume you mean in the scriptures). I completely disagree. There's no indication that God redefined the word "agency." He's told us that he speaks to men in their own language so they can understand. I take Him at His word.

You said that "agency" is used differently to define the quality of one's actions and later talked about agency meaning only acting in righteousness, etc. This is Brother Joseph Fielding McConkie's (fairly new) idea. Again, there's no indication to that effect from the scriptures and the actual words used therein. I understand what you're saying, and I agree with many of the principles you've stated, but I disagree with saying that the concept of agency in the scriptures really means all this other stuff. I also agree in freedom of choice, free will, etc., but I don't thing the word "agency" means that either. It has its own meaning. God did not have to redefine an existing word to get His point across.

If agency did have some special meaning that only had to do with acting righteously, then D&C 29:36 becomes a problem, since Satan turned a third of the host of heaven away from God because of their agency.

The actual Book of Mormon text never uses the word "agency," so I find the appeal to Lehi a little strange, and just because some will be "acted upon" by the law at the last day does not necessarily mean that they will have lost their agency. It may be abridged or restricted in certain ways, but they will still be able to, "act for themselves," within their sphere of existence (that sphere may be less than the full agency allowed in the Celestial Kingdom) (see D&C 93:30, etc.).

I still prefer the dictionary's exact definitions over the loose ones you've offered.

"It is wholly impossible to remove the consequences of ones actions." Unless you are unaccountable, like little children, and then all bets are off.

You said, "What we do know is that Satan sought to destroy the agency of man. So, we know that it is possible to do so." Satan also sought to overthrow God, so I assume you will agree that overthrowing God is possible too? This is really just poor logic.

You said, "What must be understood is that Adam and Eve fell . . . because they sinned." (I completely disagree again.) "A sin, according to God is disobedience to his commands." (Correction. Technically, it's a known disobedience, even though the Atonement is broad enough to cover all transgressions, including those that are done ignorantly.) Adam and Eve did not sin by partaking of the fruit any more than little children sin by fighting with each other when they're three years old.

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These long responses back and forth are too much for me. If you want we can pick one topic to focus on, and keep our writting brief. Or you could send me a Message, and we could arrange a time to communicate by phone, or something that is easier than all this typing.

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These long responses back and forth are too much for me. If you want we can pick one topic to focus on, and keep our writting brief. Or you could send me a Message, and we could arrange a time to communicate by phone, or something that is easier than all this typing.

Ok, fair enough. Let's take Moses 4:1. What do you think of Satan's statement that he would save everyone that not one soul would be lost? Do you think he was telling the truth or telling a lie?

Personally I think he was telling a lie because the Lord makes the point here to Moses that he was the same being then as he is now- namely, a liar.

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He's told us that he speaks to men in their own language so they can understand. I take Him at His word.

This question is not meant to derail, but could someone please tell me where the Lord said this?

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This question is not meant to derail, but could someone please tell me where the Lord said this?

In the preface to the Doctrine and Covenants (section 1), the Lord declared that the revelations were given using the language of his servants:

D&C 1:24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

The prophet Nephi similarly testified that, " . . . the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." (2 Nephi 31:3), and Moroni said that Jesus spoke with him face to face in his own language (Ether 12:39). The revelations were given of the Lord through his servant Joseph Smith and were presumably recorded using terms known to and used by Joseph, or at least using terms that were known to Joseph's contemporaries.

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Ok, fair enough. Let's take Moses 4:1. What do you think of Satan's statement that he would save everyone that not one soul would be lost? Do you think he was telling the truth or telling a lie?

Personally I think he was telling a lie because the Lord makes the point here to Moses that he was the same being then as he is now- namely, a liar.

I think Lucifer claimed that if he were chosen he would redeem all mankind that one soul would not be lost. Of course, any 'salvation' he offered would have been far less than the salvation and exaltation which is available under God's plan with Jesus as the Redeemer.

Did Lucifer believe he could do it? Maybe. Do I think he could have done it? Probably not. Definitely not the way we think of salvation. Definitely could not have offered exaltation and Eternal Life. He may have been able to do it if he were talking about some lower form of salvation, like all being saved in a lower kindom of glory--for instance. All could have been 'saved' in the Telestial Kingdom, and his claim would have been correct (since it's a kingdom of glory and none were 'lost' to outer darkness).

Lucifer may have known that what he was proposing was a lie, or he may have believed that his idea could work (even though it couldn't). Either way, what he was saying was untrue, but I don't know his intent. I find it interesting that whatever he proposed, it was plausible enough to convince a third of the host of heaven to follow him.

Satan has said true things from time to time, so I wouldn't go so far as to say that everything he's ever said is a lie. You can be a murderer and not kill everyone you meet (a murderer may even save someone's life). Similarly, you can be a liar, but that does not guarantee that everything you utter is a lie.

(In a funny way he was perfectly correct--one soul would not be lost--they ALL would be!)

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I think Lucifer claimed that if he were chosen he would redeem all mankind that one soul would not be lost. Of course, any 'salvation' he offered would have been far less than the salvation and exaltation which is available under God's plan with Jesus as the Redeemer.

Did Lucifer believe he could do it? Maybe. Do I think he could have done it? Probably not. Definitely not the way we think of salvation. Definitely could not have offered exaltation and Eternal Life. He may have been able to do it if he were talking about some lower form of salvation, like all being saved in a lower kindom of glory--for instance. All could have been 'saved' in the Telestial Kingdom, and his claim would have been correct (since it's a kingdom of glory and none were 'lost' to outer darkness).

Lucifer may have known that what he was proposing was a lie, or he may have believed that his idea could work (even though it couldn't). Either way, what he was saying was untrue, but I don't know his intent. I find it interesting that whatever he proposed, it was plausible enough to convince a third of the host of heaven to follow him.

Satan has said true things from time to time, so I wouldn't go so far as to say that everything he's ever said is a lie. You can be a murderer and not kill everyone you meet (a murderer may even save someone's life). Similarly, you can be a liar, but that does not guarantee that everything you utter is a lie.

(In a funny way he was perfectly correct--one soul would not be lost--they ALL would be!)

One of the things I have pondered over again and again is that Satan's general statement in Moses 4:1 was the common answer one would expect from a savior. The role of the savior is to save all that none should be lost. I am reminded of a scripture on this very thing-

38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

(New Testament | John 6:38 - 39)

It is at this point that I make no connection with Satan's statement in Moses 4:1 to 4:3 where it states that Satan sought to destroy the agency of man. By this I mean that I do not believe any of these scenerios-

1. Satan was going to force men into obedience/salvation and thus destroy his agency

2. Satan was going to save all men in their sins and thus circumvent agency altogether

3. Satan was going to save all into a lesser glory in their sins and thus destroy agency by not allowing them choice to be in higher kingdom.

Because I believe that "agency" is the "freedom to act according to ones own will in righteousness" I am led to believe that the easiets way to destroy this priveledge is to get one trapped into sin. This is what I believe Satan's true plans were. Moses 4:4 states quite plainly that those who chose to/choose to follow Satan are deceived and blinded by him and that he leads them captive according to his will. Now, if my idea and definition of "agency" is correct, then Satan effectively destroys the "agency" of all those who choose to follow after his plan.

The reason I do not buy into a belief that Satan wa sgoing to save anyone is that I wholly believe that Satan had slowly over time became corrupted in evilness in the pre-mortal life and that he had gotten to a point where he saw sin and evilness as the natural and only way to live. He also saw that he could have control over men if he was able to deceive and blind them into thinking like himself and living the same life of sin as himself. "Secret combinations" thus started in that realm I believe.

Did you read that talk I posted? If so, what did you think of his definition of "agency" and how Satan destroys it for us?

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I believe the Lord knew the meaning of the word agency, and so did his listeners, and that neither He, nor they, ever redefined the word during the early history of our church (say, the lifetime of Joseph Smith). The idea of agency being equated with free will or the freedom to choose comes from the philosophical term, "free agency," which is not what the Lord used in the revelations (although He could have). The term, "free agency," and it's specialized definition, gradually entered the vocabulary of the church, principally during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The even newer idea that "agency" really only has to do with choices or actions that are righteousness is yet another step away from it's real, historical definition.

Satan may have been lying. I don't know. Either way, it doesn't change the definition of the word agency.

I've read that talk by Elder Hales before. It's very much like many other talks on agency. I don't see your definition of agency in it, in fact, there are several examples of people using "agency" to make wrong choices. That talk for the most part uses the traditional, Mormon idea that agency is the freedom to choose (or, lately, the freedom to act) and the idea that wrong choices limit our ability to make right choices.

Elder Bednar and Elder Christofferson have had several talks lately where Agency is defined more in terms of Acting, not Choosing, showing that they're trying to work the actual definition of agency in there, but the main idea still seems to follow the traditional, Mormon definition (the one that's not in the dictionary). Here are three examples from Elder Bednar:

And Nothing Shall Offend Them, Ensign, Nov. 2006, Seek Learning by Faith, Ensign, Sept. 2007, Watching With All Perseverance, May 2010. (All three seem similar)

I also found Elder Hales recent talk on agency amusing (Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life, April, 2011 Conference). He was surprised that his non-member friend didn't understand the meaning of the word "agency", but when he looked in the dictionary, he couldn't find the Mormon definition (surprise!) He then seemingly brushes that aside and goes on with his talk. He also uses some language that gets agency more in line with the dictionary, so I applaud him for that.

Anyway, he did offer a definition of agency which is fairly close to what I've said about agency being the foundation of our accountability: "Agency is to act with accountability and responsibility for our actions." He simply stated the principal. I actually tied the concept of agency (using the scriptural definition that men are "agents unto themselves") to show how it causes us (as our own agents) to be legally responsible for the actions that we do (like the principal is accountable for the actions of his agent).

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I believe the Lord knew the meaning of the word agency, and so did his listeners, and that neither He, nor they, ever redefined the word during the early history of our church (say, the lifetime of Joseph Smith). The idea of agency being equated with free will or the freedom to choose comes from the philosophical term, "free agency," which is not what the Lord used in the revelations (although He could have). The term, "free agency," and it's specialized definition, gradually entered the vocabulary of the church, principally during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The even newer idea that "agency" really only has to do with choices or actions that are righteousness is yet another step away from it's real, historical definition.

Satan may have been lying. I don't know. Either way, it doesn't change the definition of the word agency.

I've read that talk by Elder Hales before. It's very much like many other talks on agency. I don't see your definition of agency in it, in fact, there are several examples of people using "agency" to make wrong choices. That talk for the most part uses the traditional, Mormon idea that agency is the freedom to choose (or, lately, the freedom to act) and the idea that wrong choices limit our ability to make right choices.

Elder Bednar and Elder Christofferson have had several talks lately where Agency is defined more in terms of Acting, not Choosing, showing that they're trying to work the actual definition of agency in there, but the main idea still seems to follow the traditional, Mormon definition (the one that's not in the dictionary). Here are three examples from Elder Bednar:

And Nothing Shall Offend Them, Ensign, Nov. 2006, Seek Learning by Faith, Ensign, Sept. 2007, Watching With All Perseverance, May 2010. (All three seem similar)

I also found Elder Hales recent talk on agency amusing (Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life, April, 2011 Conference). He was surprised that his non-member friend didn't understand the meaning of the word "agency", but when he looked in the dictionary, he couldn't find the Mormon definition (surprise!) He then seemingly brushes that aside and goes on with his talk. He also uses some language that gets agency more in line with the dictionary, so I applaud him for that.

Anyway, he did offer a definition of agency which is fairly close to what I've said about agency being the foundation of our accountability: "Agency is to act with accountability and responsibility for our actions." He simply stated the principal. I actually tied the concept of agency (using the scriptural definition that men are "agents unto themselves") to show how it causes us (as our own agents) to be legally responsible for the actions that we do (like the principal is accountable for the actions of his agent).

Let me pose a different approach here. I think we are very close to understanding each other. You posted this quote-

"Agency is to act with accountability and responsibility for our actions."

I agree with this statement but it still needs some explanation. Responsibility for actions is what agency is all about. But the important fact to realize here is that actions are tied directly into "freedom" to do such. A person who gets "bound" or "chained" is no longer in a position where they can be "free" to act. This is paramount because without the freedom to act and be responsible there is no active agency at all. In other words, without being free from the yoke of sin, our actions mean nothing according to "our own will". It is in these moments that we wish we could have other actions but cannot act upon them. This is what Lehi expounded upon in 2nd Nephi chapter 2. He explains that men can either act for themselves or be acted upon (by external forces). He ties freedom in here with obedience showing that men are only able to act for themselves if they are free. He explains that through the atonement, men can be free to act for themselves and not be acted upon.

Getting back to the definition you quoted, this all means that agency is tied in with moral responsibility. This entails that agency, as a priveledge, requires a certain level of moral responsibility to have access to. Given, with that agency one can choose bad choices, but with that choice, he must also surrender his agency. Agency is definatley tied in with resposibility, but at no point does it allow an individual any right to do that which is wrong. The gift of agency only allows one the right to make good choices. As long as he acts within those bounds, he can retain that divine gift- the freedom to act according to his own responsible and moral choice. But, once he abuses that gift and makes bad choices according to his moral judgment, he places himself with the binds or chains of h*** which chains are what limits the soul to act for himself.

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Let me pose a different approach here. I think we are very close to understanding each other. You posted this quote-

"Agency is to act with accountability and responsibility for our actions."

I agree with this statement but it still needs some explanation. Responsibility for actions is what agency is all about. But the important fact to realize here is that actions are tied directly into "freedom" to do such. A person who gets "bound" or "chained" is no longer in a position where they can be "free" to act. This is paramount because without the freedom to act and be responsible there is no active agency at all. In other words, without being free from the yoke of sin, our actions mean nothing according to "our own will". It is in these moments that we wish we could have other actions but cannot act upon them. This is what Lehi expounded upon in 2nd Nephi chapter 2. He explains that men can either act for themselves or be acted upon (by external forces). He ties freedom in here with obedience showing that men are only able to act for themselves if they are free. He explains that through the atonement, men can be free to act for themselves and not be acted upon.

Getting back to the definition you quoted, this all means that agency is tied in with moral responsibility. This entails that agency, as a priveledge, requires a certain level of moral responsibility to have access to. Given, with that agency one can choose bad choices, but with that choice, he must also surrender his agency. Agency is definatley tied in with resposibility, but at no point does it allow an individual any right to do that which is wrong. The gift of agency only allows one the right to make good choices. As long as he acts within those bounds, he can retain that divine gift- the freedom to act according to his own responsible and moral choice. But, once he abuses that gift and makes bad choices according to his moral judgment, he places himself with the binds or chains of h*** which chains are what limits the soul to act for himself.

I agree with your understanding of agency. But I do think Satan intentionally sought to destroy our agency directly when he volunteered to be the one who was sent. When this failed, he sought to destroy if by enticing us to make wrong choices thereby losing it bit by bit.

Before the war in heaven, destroying agency was inherent in his proposal that by arrangement and order of the Father, our agency would be denied (sidestepping Moses 7:32) so that not one should would be lost (so to speak, with Satan controlling our choices), meaning the Father would give Satan His own glory (intelligence, light, truth, culminating in perfect, eternal agency as you’ve defined it—in line with D&C 93:36; 29-31).

During the war in heaven and as it continues on earth, destroying man’s agency is by enticing men to give it up themselves by acting so as to be bound by the chains of h***.

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