Todd Christofferson: Moral Agency

Todd ChristoffersonElder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published an excellent article entitled Moral Agency in the June issue of the Ensign magazine. A few key excerpts:

When we use the term moral agency, we are appropriately emphasizing the accountability that is an essential part of the divine gift of agency. We are moral beings and agents unto ourselves, free to choose but also responsible for our choices. …

What, then, are the elements of moral agency? To me there are three.

  • There must be alternatives among which to choose.
  • For us to have agency, we must not only have alternatives, but we must also know what they are.
  • The next element of agency is the freedom to make choices. This freedom to act for ourselves in choosing among alternatives is often referred to in the scriptures as agency itself. …

Freedom of choice is the freedom to obey or disobey existing laws-not the freedom to alter their consequences. …

Remember that with His gift of moral agency, our Heavenly Father has graciously provided us help to exercise that agency in a way that will yield precious, positive fruit in our life here and hereafter.

In our modern world where philosophies of moral relativism is rampant, it is comforting to read clarifying words from an apostle of Christ that emphasize both the grandeur of moral agency and our individual responsibility to wisely act according to divine law within that God-given gift.

From a devotional address delivered January 31, 2006, at Brigham Young University.