Gospel Principles Chapter 4: Freedom to Choose

Testing the words of LDS leaders with Biblical Truth:

February 2010

Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society

* Agency is our right to choose between good and evil which was necessary to prove ourselves worthy (pages 17 & 19):

The right to choose between good and evil and to act for ourselves is called agency. In our premortal life we had moral agency. One purpose of earth life is to show what choices we will make (see 2 Nephi 2:15–16). If we were forced to choose the right, we would not be able to show what we would choose for ourselves…
Agency Is a Necessary Part of the Plan of Salvation. Agency makes our life on earth a period of testing. When planning the mortal creation of His children, God said, “We will prove [test] them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:25). Without the gift of agency, we would have been unable to show our Heavenly Father whether we would do all that He commanded us. Because we are able to choose, we are responsible for our actions (see Helaman 14:30–31).

Test these LDS Words with Biblical Truth:

Amazingly, God has given us the freedom to direct our lives as we choose. Unfortunately, all of mankind has chosen to do evil!

To read more about man’s inability to make God-pleasing choices, read this blog Post: “Are Fathers Evil?” written November 13, 2009; or, Click here:

* Our right choices increase our power, wisdom, strength and faith (page 19):

When we choose to live according to God’s plan for us, our agency is strengthened. Right choices increase our power to make more right choices. As we obey each of our Father’s commandments, we grow in wisdom and strength of character. Our faith increases. We find it easier to make right choices. We began to make choices as spirit children in our Heavenly Father’s presence. Our choices there made us worthy to come to earth. Our Heavenly Father wants us to grow in faith, power, knowledge, wisdom, and all other good things. If we keep His commandments and make right choices, we will learn and understand. We will become like Him. (See D&C 93:28.)

Test these LDS Words with Biblical Truth:

If you believe you are growing in power, wisdom and strength because of your obedience to God, you are in error because you do not know scripture. According to Jesus, no one is even good: “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.” (Luke 18:19)

The prophets and apostles of the Bible are emphatic about man’s inability to obey God’s commands:

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:9-18

Anyone who believes that through their own obedience they are becoming more powerful and wise are only fooling themselves. In fact, believing in this facade of worthiness actually leads you away from your Savior. The truth is that Jesus came to save those who are weak and full of sin:

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

If you would like to read more on this, go to this blog Page “Do You Have An Eternal Family?” written on April 24, 2009; or, Click here:

Also, here is an amazing article showing the false thinking of those who think that “God helps those who help themselves”. The article is called “God Helps Those Who Cry Out for Help.Click here:

* Satan uses many disguises and does all he can to thwart our efforts. We can escape his captivity (pages 19-20):

“And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice” (Moses 4:3–4). Satan does all he can to destroy God’s work. He seeks “the misery of all mankind. … He seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:18, 27). He does not love us. He does not want any good thing for us (see Moroni 7:17). He does not want us to be happy. He wants to make us his slaves. He uses many disguises to enslave us. When we follow the temptations of Satan, we limit our choices.

Test these LDS Words with Biblical Truth:

Satan’s favorite disguise, is when he is “transformed into an angel of light”:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Satan loves to twist God’s Word to try and deceive us. This is what he did when he tempted Jesus in the desert:

“And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” Luke 4:1-13

Satan wants you to believe that you can increase in power and wisdom by being obedient to God. He wants you to look at the all the “good” things you do and compare yourself to your neighbor who smokes and drinks. He knows that if you do, you will fall prey to one of his favorite tactics–trusting in yourself, that through your own obedience you can be righteous:

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14

The amazing truth that Satan does not want you to know, is that true believers know that they are weak and helpless. They know that they are sinful through and through. They know this about themselves and yet, they turn to their Savior and rejoice! In gratitude, they feed their faith by reading God’s Word. In gratitude they serve God, knowing that every single good thing that they do is really God working through them. As the Prophet Isaiah declared:

“LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.” (Isaiah 26:12)

Our Savior rescued us and sustains us and in return, we love Him and give Him our all. It’s all God’s doing–everything! Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith:

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

To read more about trusting in Jesus for righteousness, go to this blog Post: “Is feeling “Unworthy” a Blessing?” written January 10, 2009; or, Click here:

Link to LDS Lesson:

2009 Gospel Principles revisions (changes from 1997 edition):

* Added concept that it is a right to “act for ourselves”:

Page 17—2009 edition; page 21—1997 edition:
The right to choose between good and evil {and to act for ourselves} is called agency.

*Taken out concept that in the premortal life, we had power to act for ourselves:

Page 17—2009 edition; page 21—1997 edition:
In the {our} premortal life we were free agents {had moral agency}. That means we had power to act for ourselves (see D&C 93:29–30). One purpose of earth life is to show what choices we will make (see 2 Nephi 2:15–16).

* Added concept that Satan sought to destroy the agency of man:

Page 17—2009 edition; page 21—1997 edition:
Agency may have been {was} one of the first {principle} issues to arise in the premortal council in heaven. It was one of the main causes of the conflict between the followers of Christ and the followers of Satan. Satan said, he would bring all of us back to our Father’s presence, but he would have taken away our agency. When “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1). In saying this, he “rebelled against [God] and sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3). His offer was rejected, he rebelled and was cast out of heaven with his followers (see D&C 29:36–37).

Link to LDS.org Chapter 4, 1997 edition of Gospel Principles:

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