How can I grow in my ability to use my free agency?
previous next

“How can I grow in my ability to use my free agency?” New Era, Nov. 1983, 11

“How can I grow and develop confidence in my ability to use my free agency if I’m supposed to get to the point where the Holy Ghost guides my every decision—or am I misunderstanding something?”

Answer/George W. Pace

When we realize the Lord wants us to have his Spirit with us always (see promise of sacrament prayer, Moro. 4:3), that we should look to him in every thought (see D&C 6:36), that he wants to give us what we should say and do on a daily basis (see 2 Ne. 32:3), and yet at the same time that he wants us to develop confidence in our ability to use our free agency, it is most natural to ask the question you have asked. However, the answer to whether or not you can grow in your ability to use your free agency and at the same time enjoy the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost is, I believe, an unequivocal yes—in fact, I would say further that our free agency cannot deliver the full intensity of God’s power into our lives unless we seek for and obtain the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Let me explain.

The Lord, through the Spirit, wants to bestow upon us a knowledge of the correct decisions we should make. Because we have our free agency, we can accept or reject the promptings that come. However, if we accept the promptings of the Spirit, our correct decisions will enable us to draw closer to the Lord. Because we are closer to the Lord, he will give us more and more promptings of the Spirit until in time, again with the help of the Lord, we will become free from all sin and ignorance. In a very real sense, the purpose of our free agency is to enable us to become totally free! We can’t become free unless we choose to accept the option that what the Spirit is telling us is right.

As we make more and more correct decisions, our confidence increases in our ability to use our free agency wisely. We will come to prize our free agency above life itself.

  • Professor of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University