Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Agency: Parable of the Piano Teacher

Agency is the power to act and not be acted upon. Humans are different than Animals. Animals are controlled by their appetites and instincts. Humans on the other hand can feel hungry but decide to fast, they can be offended but decide to forgive, and they can feel anger, but respond in kindness.

Without the commandments and Atonement of Jesus Christ man would be doomed to death, misery and captivity to Satan forever. However, the Book of Mormon teaches that thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ and His commandments, men have been empowered to choose life, happiness and freedom. Only through Christ can man can put off the natural man. Because of Christ men can "cheer up our hearts" because Christ makes us free to choose and gives us the choice. Death was the default setting.

The purpose of this life is like drivers lessons to learn how to have our spirits control and master our physical bodies. Instead, if we allow our passions control us, we are like an car out-of-control that can injure both ourselves and others. By choosing the right, we exercise and strengthen our agency and increase in power and freedom. However, by giving into our carnal natures, we limit and lose our agency and become enslaved to the insatiable appetites of the flesh. In this weakened state, Satan can easily enslave us. Satan cannot create so he can only enslave.

Why do people follow Satan? The Scriptures say Satan wanted to destroy the agency of man and promised that all would return with himself alone as God. Prophets have taught that Satan's plan was to force us to obey him (not force to be good). The Book of Mormon teaches that Satan persuadeth none to do good. Korihor taught how Satan was going to enslave us by getting rid of the rules. Korihor taught "whatever a man did was no sin but that all men faired according to the management of the creature and conquered according to his strength and genius."

Satan's lie is that if we follow him we can "do whatever we want". Satan says that "do as you will" is true freedom and that religion and the commandments of God serve only to restrict the freedom and enslave.

The truth is that without law a person "doing whatever they want" really don't have the power to do anything. Commandments are directions and not restrictions. If a man gives into the flesh, the flesh will control him and Satan will enslave him. Like playing the piano, you cannot create music if you don't learn and obey the rules of music. This applies to jazz as well. You just can't sit down at a piano, "do whatever you want" and have the power to create music. Only through obedience to Gods laws can we be empowered to create just like obeying the rules of music is required to create music.

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