Upon looking at today's topic, I immediately thought of how our religion looks at the topic of being able to choose. Some people might call this "freedom of choice", but in our religion we refer to it as "free agency". A "free agent" is someone who is not a slave, and not bound to obey the rules of a master. God allows us this freedom to choose for ourselves, and does not force us to obey His commandments.
In addition to believing in the Bible, we believe that there can be additional scripture, and that there can also be on-going revelation, which also becomes scripture. We believe there have been many scriptures which have been lost, some of which were originally included in the Bible. We believe that other nations of people besides those in Bible lands were also commanded to keep a record like the Bible. In some of the additional scripture that we have in our church, we get this insightful information about what transpired in the Garden of Eden.
" And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat,
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Moses 3:16,17
The key part of this account is that Adam and Eve were given the choice of whether or not they would obey the commandment God had given them to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Today, we still have the choice about whether or not we will choose to obey God's commandments.
In fact, we believe that this life is a kind of test. We believe that we existed as spirit children of God before we were born. We were born to this Earth with no memory of our former existence, and no memory of God. In this way, we can truly be tested to see what we are made of. I like to liken this to training my dog. I have taught my dog that she isn't allowed on the furniture. When I am in the room, she does not get on the furniture. But the true test of character for her comes when I leave the room. Will she still obey when I am not around? In the same way, by sending us to earth with no memory of Him, God gives us an opportunity to be tested to see if we will choose to obey. He gives us that freedom of choice, and our life then becomes a proving ground to see what we will make of it.
It is interesting to note that Satan wanted things to work a different way. Instead of giving man freedom of choice, he wanted to force all men to obey. His plan would assure that not one soul would be lost. But that was not God's plan. Part of the reason for this earth life was to test us. If we were forced to obey, it would not be a true test. Freedom to choose was essential to not only this test, but to our progression. How could we grow and learn as people if we didn't have the freedom to make mistakes, and learn from them?
I hope this little "crash course" on our beliefs about the freedom to choose was not too condensed. I hope I was able to succinctly explain why choosing is so important in our religion beliefs. I'm so grateful that God puts that trust in us, and provided a Savior to help when we do choose the wrong path.
Now go and see what the other Consortium members have to say about this issue!
Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, Conrad, Padmum, Magpie11, and Akanksha,Will Knot, Maria the Silver Fox, Anki, Nema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and Rohit