Today in church, the sacrament talks were all about agency and were very good! I wanted to write a few words about agency here. Partly as a response to the anonymous comment on my previous post, because I feel like creating my detailed list of what I want in a partner is a supreme act of agency. Not a passive giving over to God my life's choices. It's absolutely my choice, applying principles of faith (action) and hope (belief) to make it happen.

My graduate program was application based, so luckily I didn't have to write a thesis. The closest I got was the final paper I wrote in my last semester. I titled it "Exploring Personal Agency". Here's an excerpt:

Agency has been defined as “the power to think, choose, and act for ourselves”. It is agency that sets humankind apart from the rest of the animal kingdom and is comprised of several elements. My religious education taught me that agency is a gift from God. Joseph Smith, the first president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, explained the preciousness of this gift when he said, “we are not disposed, had we the power, to deprived any one of exercising that free independence of mind which heaven has so graciously bestowed upon the human family as one of its choicest gifts." Ironically, we as a culture have taken for granted that we do not have the right to remove other people’s agency.
Another element of personal agency is knowledge. I was taught that knowledge is required in order for someone to truly realize personal agency. “For behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free” (Helaman 14:30). I believe that knowledge can mean several different things in the context of this scripture, one being awareness of circumstance.

No one will be able to fault me for making any decision blindly. Agency, the power to choose, is a concept I believe I fought for before the beginning of time and is embedded in my eternal identity. It's not something that I treat lightly.

1 comment:

Sara Jensen said...

It sounds like your ward in Utah is a little more enlightening than mine. I'll have to google the Thai massage place and see what comes up, for right now my favorite place is in Alhambra. Wish you were still here so we could grab lunch!