President Thomas S. Monson has often taught, “Decisions determine destiny.” Because of the atonement of Christ, each of us possesses the freedom to choose where our lives will lead.
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:27)
@MarkOOakes: The content of your character is YOUR choice – what you choose, think and do, you become.
“We are responsible to use our agency in a world of choices. It will not do to pretend that our agency has been taken away when we are not free to exercise it without unwelcome consequences.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks: Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, quoted in “Moral Agency,” Ensign, Jun 2009, 46-53.
Elder 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.
“We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of his freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.