Agency and Accountability

Paths in life

Doctrinal Study

Agency and Accountability


What Is Agency?

Agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves. Agency is essential in the plan of salvation. Without agency, we would not be able to learn or progress or follow the Savior. With it, we 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” (2 Nephi 2:27).

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. Also, we are happier doing things when we have made our own choices.

Agency was one of the principal 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.

The Lord has said that all people are responsible for their own motives, attitudes, desires, and actions. Even though we are free to choose our course of action, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. The consequences, whether good or bad, follow as a natural result of any choice we make (see Galatians 6:7; Revelation 22:12).

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Scripture References

Scripture Study Resources

Messages from Church Leaders

Additional Messages: Accountability, Agency


“Highlight: Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom”

“Individual Agency”

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Tabernacle Choir Videos

Do What Is Right

Let Us All Press On

Learning Resources

Church Magazines

Carlisa Cramer and Margaret Willden, “What God Wanted for Me,” New Era, February 2017

Julie Cornelius-Huang, “Don’t Forget to Pray for Erik,” Friend or Liahona, January 2017

Our Space,” Liahona, December 2010

Marcos Fernando dos Santos, “Helping Children Exercise Their Agency,” Ensign, December 2010

Agency Is Essential to Our Eternal Progress,” Ensign, June 2010

Torsten König, “I Chose Not to Drink,” Ensign, June 2010

My Garden Dream,” Ensign, March 2010

Questions and Answers,” Ensign, February 2010

Questions and Answers: What’s the harm in trying alcohol or tobacco just once?Ensign, June 2008

Unforgettable Family Home Evenings,” Ensign, September 2006

Greg Burgoyne, “Surfing the No-Swim Zone,” Liahona, August 2006

The Fulness of the Gospel: Agency,” Ensign, March 2006

Questions and Answers,” Ensign, August 2003

Questions and Answers,” Ensign, June 2003

Questions and Answers,” Ensign, February 2001

Study Manuals

In the News

Robert D. Hales: Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom,” Church News

Teachings of Presidents of the Church


Teaching Resources

Teaching Outlines

Stories and Activities for Teaching Children

Agency,” Lesson Helps for Teaching Children