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Everything posted by Webster

  1. Was the garden of Eden necessary? What was its purpose? Why did God put Adam and Eve there? Interested in your point of view. Short replies best.
  2. I have no doubt you can make your view fit, because I can do that as well, and so can everyone else on LDS.net, nevertheless, it will be entertaining and interesting, so here you go. This one has the word 'agency' as per your request: D&C 93 29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. 30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. 31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. Here is one that uses the word 'agent' as well: D&C 58 28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. Since you and I are biased, we'll have to let each reader of this forum decide for themselves whether your meaning is correct and fits the actual context of the revelation, or it you're doing a little 'wresting' of the scriptures.
  3. As best as I can gather from your response, you are referring to the concept of agents and agency in a general sense and then applying those principles to the gospel. It seems like you are drawing analogies based on the general (or even symbolic) concept of agency, rather than attempting to look at specifics and context. Very well. Like I've said, I understand the general principle of agency as it applies to the gospel as well. I just didn't want the actual and the symbolic to be mingled. Now that I understand where you're coming from, go ahead and continue.
  4. Thank you for bringing this up. I am aware of this verse and even the quote to which you refer. The following is my understanding of this verse, and is not offered as a criticism. D&C 64:29 is often used to suggest that men are agents of the Lord and should therefore seek to do His will, but the original revelation had a more limited context. Verse 26 shows that the agents referred to are actually Newel K. Whitney and Sidney Gilbert, and verse 30 goes on to mention the assignment these two men were given. Verse 29 is specifically directed to these two men who were actually appointed and ordained as agents unto the church and given specific duties to perform (See D&C 57:1,3-6 and D&C 63:42-46 respectively). This scripture demonstrates that the Lord both understood and used the concept of agents exactly as defined by the dictionary. This verse is almost always taken out of context. In fact, I can't recall ever hearing anyone mention that this revelation is directed to actual men who were called to serve specifically as agents for the Church. It's almost always used as an example that priesthood holders or Church members in general are agents of the Lord. I do agree that when priesthood holders or members of the Church act according to God's will, they are like agents and they are doing His business. It's just that sometimes in the Church we're good at picking out general principles from the scriptures, but we often lack an understanding of what the scriptures actually say. I guess I'd rather understand the original meaning of a revelation and then draw an appropriate analogy from it, instead of pulling a verse out of context just to get the general idea. I think when we do that, we become too casual with the scriptures.
  5. I have for over 20 years, so be careful what you say. Now that that's out of the way, I'd like to understand what you know. In all that you've said, are you referring to the concept of agents and agency in a general sense and then applying those principles to the gospel, or are you referring to the specific way in which our scriptures use those words and not going beyond what is actually said?
  6. I definitely agree that the general principle of agency (acting for another) is at work in the atonement. Jesus acts vicariously on our behalf and pays the price of our sins--He acts as our Agent. The baptismal covenant basically makes us His agents--we [should] act on His behalf when we take His name upon ourselves, remember Him, and [strive to] keep His commandments. The general principle of agency is found all over the gospel. I have no problem with that. I'm just pointing out that the way the scriptures use the words agent and agency is something different from the type of agency where we represent God or vice-versa. The scriptures never explicitly say that we are agents unto God, even though that principle does exist within them. The only time that men are called agents in the scriptures is when they are called, "agents unto themselves." That's a different thing and a very unique phrase. If we start to confuse the general idea of agents and agency with the specific way the scriptures explicitly use the words, we're going to cause confusion.
  7. I like the concept of Agency used above (the legal ability to act for someone). I agree in principle that we do become agents for God or Satan, and we can use the idea of agency to describe that idea. But here's the problem with saying that that's what Agency means: our scriptures never actually use the words agent or agency in that way. The revelations use agents and agency in the legal sense of acting for someone, but they never say that man is an agent for God. (But they do consistently declare the principal in the agency relationship.)
  8. Without the birth of Jesus Christ, what good would 'another testament' of Him be? I vote the baby Jesus is more important than the Book of Mormon (although I'm glad we have both).
  9. Speaking for myself, I'm trying to understand what the word agency meant as it existed at the time the Lord used it, not how we've come to define it after we mixed in philosophical 'free agency' ideas (which we've tweaked as well). The Lord said He spoke according to our language for our understanding. He chose that word for a reason, and our revelations use the word as is, without redefining it.
  10. I've read it several times, and I'd recommend it as well. It's fairly close to some of the ideas I've held for the last 20 years, although there are some differences. For instance, he arrives at his conclusions from a completely different angle, but over-all I like his message.
  11. Justice, I am interested to hear your thoughts about agency, particularly on the significance of D&C 64:18.
  12. I have provided you with scripture in the past, but then when I don't interpret it according to your liking, you discount it. Apparently you are the only one who can tell us what the scriptures say, and when I point out holes in your theory, you simply ignore them. I'm growing tired of playing with a boy who holds all the toys and tells me how I'm allowed to play with them. I've said what I've said, and I'll let anyone who reads this post decide between what I've said and what you've said. So far it seems like you haven't won many over to your theory (although I suspect you would disagree). To wrap this up, however, I need to cover two things: 1) I could talk on Sunday after 3:30pm MDT if you're still interested. If so, send me a PM, but if the phone call would be like this post, then don't bother. 2) In your original post (where you asked, "What is agency, exactly?") you said: I later included the verse you left out: To which you replied: So, I would appreciate it if you could address that sixth verse before you forget. Since this post began with a question about agency, please tell me what significance (if any) D&C 64:18 holds for the subject of agency.
  13. So with Adam still on the earth, God can't introduce another couple? Or He can't make another Eden?
  14. I don't know that anyone can take away law. I believe that eternal law is like justice. If God tried to remove either of them, He would cease to be God. In my scenario, Satan wouldn't be able to tampter with eternal law. I think he claimed he could remove accountability by preventing men from becoming agents unto themselves. I think he tried to convince others that he could suspend accountability and agency (in the legal sense you and I have been referring to) by preventing men from gaining an understanding of good and evil. Even under God's plan, those without this knowledge are unaccountable, and not agents unto themselves in the legal sense. Without accountability he could claim that we could have a mortal experience, make our own decisions, do whatever we wanted, but not be held accountable for anything we did. (I don't believe he could actually do this; he just had to be able to convince others that he could.) I see your point. In that way governments could screw up agency, but in this life only. I was referring to the idea of agency from an eternal perspective. Governments can limit choices, they can screw up consequences so evil is rewarded and good is punished, but from the eternal perspective, God will hold each person accountable for their actions, and all will be rewarded or punished with perfect justice.
  15. Thank you. I was hoping you'd bring up the other couple scenario. You claim that if Adam had partaken of the tree of life after taking of the tree of knowledge, that God's plan would have been frustrated. Really? To quote you, "...the only flaw to that is that there could have been another couple sent...."
  16. Sure he would. Adam still had the 'agency' to damn all men . . . simply refuse to have children. No children, no mortal probation, no Savior, no plan.
  17. Moses 3 16 And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. God said that he could. That's good enough for me. 2 Nephi 2 15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. Lehi said that it was. That's good enough for me. I imagine you'll focus on the word 'before' in your comments, saying that those statements of God and Lehi may have only applied to the time after Adam partook. I'm sorry the scriptures were not fool-proofed for you.
  18. Speaking for myself, I understand your point, but I still don't believe what you believe. Sorry, that's just the way it is. One way I see being expelled from Eden and the tree of life as a 'natural consequence' is that when Adam partook, he became subject to death (according to God's word); He became mortal and of a fallen, telestial nature. The Garden of Eden is a Terrestrial world, and as such I believe eternal law and the justice of God could not allow him to remain in Eden. I know you'll likely argue that the way I use certain words cannot make sense, but I'm not particularly fond of some of your logic either, so we're even. Regardless of what happened in Eden, why do you think God placed the cherubim? Can anyone show me the person who has ever found the Garden of Eden and tried to get at the tree of life? Has anyone been prevented from getting at the tree of life because of the cherubim? I would assume that God placed them there to teach men that they could not go backward. Alma teaches that even if we could go back, we would still not be fully redeemed. To me, Alma teaches that the way is forward, through the Atonement, and in that way alone can we be fully redeemed.
  19. I agree with what you've said, especially the parts I've underlined in the quote above. I did not specifically say those things in this post, however, so I'm not sure if you're attributing those ideas to me or not, but I have said similar things in other forums. The Book of Mormon says that men can act for themselves in five places, and the D&C and Moses say that men are agents unto themselves in five places. I began seeing this in college about 20 years ago. Using this meaning of agency (which seems to be indicated by the scriptural usage of the word agent), men legally represent themselves as an agent acts for and represents his principal, and are thereby bound to the consequences of their actions as the principal is legally bound by the actions of his agent. Just_A_Guy: Where did you come up with your understanding of agency? Was it from the manuscript you read several years ago, or have you added to that understanding since then? Because of my definition of agency, I have not participated in the original question of this post: I have a different view of Agency from most in the church. I understand the intent of the question, but since I view doctrinal agency as the legal foundation on which accountability rests, I do not believe that any external entity can touch it. Do I believe that governments can restrict freedom? Absolutely. But Freedom and Agency (using my definition) are not the same.
  20. If agency is a stewardship, whose steward are we, and where do the scriptures teach about agency and being an agent in that way? I also thought stewardship was a specific type of agency and not the other way around.
  21. One more point I failed to make. The most that preventing Adam from partaking of the tree of life could do to Adam's agency would be to limit his ability to exercise it in a very specific area (partaking of that tree). It would do nothing to take away his agency. He would still be accountable as an agent for those actions which he performed in his own behalf.
  22. Was that your official definition of Agency? Is that what I've been waiting all this time for? "Preclude" means to make impossible, to exclude, prevent, prohibit, etc. Like I might say that partaking of the tree of knowledge precluded partaking of the tree of life. I would say that this is actually moral agency you are talking about here, but only when the choice is a moral choice. Dictionaries agree wholeheartedly about the ACT part, but they say nothing about CHOOSE, so I'm glad you at least got half of it. That's why I said that choice is not needed for Agency to exist. It's funny you said that I was describing moral agency, when it's moral agency that requires a choice between good and evil, hence it's called MORAL agency. (The word Moral pertains to things that are good or evil.) Here is Webster's 1828 Dictionary so we can get a better idea of what Agency meant at the time of the revelations: A'GENCY, n. [L. agens. See Act.] 1. The quality of moving or of exerting power; the state of being in action; action; operation; instrumentality; as, the agency of providence in the natural world. 2. The office of an agent, or factor; business of an agent entrusted with the concerns of another; as, the principal pays the charges of agency. A'GENT, a. Acting; opposed to patient, or sustaining action; as, the body agent. [Little used.] Bacon. A'GENT, n. An actor; one that exerts power, or has the power to act; as, a moral agent. 2. An active power or cause; that which has the power to produce an effect; as, heat is a powerful agent. 3. A substitute, deputy, or factor; one entrusted with the business of another; an attorney; a minister. A'GENTSHIP, n. The office of an agent. [Not used.] We now use agency. I believe in several places you've basically said that removing the option to partake of the tree of life would remove or take away Adam's agency (which I disagree with). In the above you are saying that options are needed to EXERCISE your agency. So, I'm glad you agree that it does not remove agency, only the ability to exercise it (but you still have it). I actually like the first sentence, but where you equate agency with the will is one of those 'many things' you say agency is, even though that's not supported by the dictionary. It's some of the philosophical baggage that entered Mormonism after we started talking about 'free agency'. I think it's too bad that we're using the philosophical definition of 'free agency', rather than the actual definition of the word the Lord chose to use.
  23. Let's focus on one of the basic foundations on which this discussion seems to be built, and also the original topic of this post: Agency. My view of agency does not match yours (But Traveler seemed to have a view similar to mine. Where did he go?). I strongly disagree with those who say you must have a choice or someone has taken your agency. If the law or the church says one cannot "marry" someone of the same sex, they will say their agency has been taken away, or that the church/law is preventing them from exercising their agency. To me, this is not what scriptural agency is all about. This type of definition is built on a false definition of agency, in my opinion. Find the dictionary that says that. God said that he spoke in the revelations using the manner of his servants' language so they could come to understanding. So what was the definition of agency used in the 1830s?
  24. So Eve doesn't think God can lie, and she KNEW God said they would die, yet Satan can tell her something that would make God a liar, and she believes it. Whatever. By the way, there is still so much you say that I disagree with. You state 'facts' and then ask a question based on those 'facts', but much of what you claim as 'fact' is in dispute amount most (if not all) others who have replied to this post.
  25. Justice, (I left you a PM by the way). I'm sorry about the post where I was getting upset, but you did make a factually untrue statement when you said: "They [i take this to mean the others involved in this discussion, of which I am one] agree God removed Adam's agency, but they feel it was OK since it was evil, or bad for man, to make the other choice. * * * Sorry, I thought we were all ['all' sounds like it includes me again] on the same page." It sounded to me like you were taking your opinions about others' beliefs (including mine) and stating that opinion as fact. As I stated before, I don't think others would agree with your assessment. That was my problem.