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).
“Agency and Accountability,” For the Strength of Youth
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
“Agency,” Lesson Helps for Teaching Children