Updated on July 31, 2023
Doug Tales 129: Agency, Part Three
One way to understand the concept of agency is to look at cause and effect. What is one person’s motivation, reason for, and/or cause for the effect of stepping on the agency of another? What fear, false belief or negative issue is prompting him or her to seek to control others? What is the catalyst, and what is the result? Doug Mendenhall continues his exploration of many aspects of agency in Conquering Spiritual Evil, Volume Two (2020), pp. 88-91:
Taking agency from an individual amounts to theft. Natural law will require a recompense from the individual taking the agency; a price will be paid.
Denise and I actually allowed our agency to be taken years ago when a man approached us and said, “I’ve never worked on either of you. Why don’t you let me work on you today?” We were so weak willed, and I was so physically ill at the time, we acquiesced. Can you see where even this subtle form of “friendly” coercion is taking away another’s agency?
In this example both of us were at fault, his for asking and ours for giving up our agency to him. Was this man being prideful, filled with vain ambition? By stating, “I’ve never worked on either of you. Why don’t you let me work on you today,” is like bagging a “trophy” to get Denise on the table. I don’t know what his motivation was, but I do remember being on the table, and the entities would not leave. The man was getting quite frustrated. He went from calmly talking to them to yelling at them, trying to send them to hell. At that point I told him that I was the one that had sinned, and it would require sincere repentance from me to get rid of the problem. He told me no, that he would get the demons out of me. He never did. I repented for hours before the Lord Jesus Christ took them off.
There is such a thing as “overt coercion” and “covert coercion.”
Coercion: Use of physical or moral force to compel a person to do something, or to abstain from doing something, thereby depriving that person of the exercise of free will.
A good personal example is when I kept trying to use my daughter’s spiritual gifts for my benefit, ego, and to pay bills. All good things I thought at the time. Every time I tried to steal her agency, I kept digging myself a pit in hell, literally. If I had kept doing this, it would have become a blessing for the Savior to destroy the host, me, instead of allowing me to continue to dig that pit in hell deeper and deeper where I would have had to spend considerable time in order to “atone” for what I had done, especially if my heart was set in that direction. “Time for more classwork, Doug! Well, after you get out of hell first.”
God’s hands are tied unless repentance is done and the atonement applied. There is no Get Out of Jail, I mean “Hell”, free card. We are only made free by our Savior’s blood, and that requires hard work on our part.
“‘For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored…’ (Alma 41:15)
“It really is true that ‘what you send out shall return unto you again,’ to quote Alma. This is called ‘karma’ in another faith. It is a true principle. Perhaps it operates within a larger time frame than just this life, but it operates, nonetheless. Alma knew the truth and was teaching it to his son.” (“3 Nephi 12:7,” Oct. 5, 2010, in Denver Snuffer, Remembering the Covenant, Vol. 3, pp. 1030–1031)
Natural laws are no respecter of persons. They function the same in all parts of our Father’s kingdom, no matter what planet you find yourself on. They function equally for all people, good or evil because the law doesn’t know or care if the person is good or evil. The knowledge of these Universal moral laws allows us to take control over the effects we experience based on the actions we choose. We do have agency or freewill to choose our behavior, but we cannot be insulated from the consequences of our choices or behavior. Every behavioral choice carries consequences with it, good or bad. It is the law of cause and effect. The Lord Jesus Christ said it pretty simply in the Doctrine and Covenants:
“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” (D&C 130:20–21)
Pretty simple, isn’t it? Obey a law and be blessed. The corollary is also true—disobey a law, and a payment must be made. As has been taught previously, this karmic principle is real, we reap what we sow, and sometimes its effect can and will come in this life. If not, it will still come, the price will be paid, and Natural law declares it. What we do here determines where we will go, worlds without number and in many cycles of creation.
My high school teacher told us our rights ended where someone else’s nose began. Some behaviors are Rights because they don’t cause harm to others. Other behaviors are Wrongs because they do cause harm to others. There it is, as simple as can be. A Right is an action that does not cause harm to another human being. A Wrong is an action that causes harm to another human being. Taking agency violates one of the “biggies”, and the resultant consequences could be devastating to your eternal progression. Just ask Satan. Does it not make sense why this is the law he works so hard to get us to violate since he understands the consequences and probably desires your company or destruction?
Our Lord Jesus Christ came here to obey His Father in all things, which He did. In the following account it seems that He acted before He was asked.
“And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” (John 5:5–8)
We know from Joseph Smith that our Bible is corrupted and there have been many changes, additions, and deletions. So we may not have the full story. Is it possible that the man had asked God to heal him for those thirty-eight years he was laying at the side of the pool? Would our Savior go against anyone’s agency? No, He wouldn’t. Neither should we.