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Everything posted by Webster

  1. Bro. Rudick again brings in the example of little children. I think Little Children offer a good analogy of how Satan may have tried to sell the idea of option #2-- "Don't hold anyone accountable / Redeem all unconditionally" (assuming that was the one he went with). Little children do in fact have the ability to choose (as well as free will, freedom of choice, etc.). They do in fact make mistakes while they are young, mistakes that if made by an adult would be considered a sin. But because of the atonement of Jesus Christ they are not held accountable for those transgressions and they are redeemed by Him. Now, what if Satan convinced his followers that they could go to the earth, but he would withhold a sufficient knowledge of good and evil from them (that is one of McConkie's four necessary things for agency to exist)? Or what if he said that they would go to earth, and no one would ever define what good and evil were? He could then tell his followers that they would therefore remain like little children--no one would be held accountable because no one had a sufficient knowledge to become accountable. He would then step in and redeem them all (as he claimed he would do in Moses 4:1). This destroys the Agency of man (using the dictionary's definition of 'Instrumentality') since man has no instrumentality in his own salvation (it doesn't matter what he does; all will be saved regardless of their actions). It also destroys the Agency of man (using the legal definition of 'acting for or representing another') since man is not allowed to legally represent himself and thus become accountable (under the law) for his own actions.
  2. Here are some more quotes from various leaders who referred to Satan's proposal as something other than forcing men to be good or inhibiting their choice. Many include the idea of saving them in their 'sins', implying that men could do whatever they wanted (chose) but still be redeemed. I find the last two examples particularly interesting as they both refer to the idea of saving everyone "regardless of their own acts" and "without reference to their works". McConkie's quote above specifically says that denying men their agency would make it, "so they could not sin," but then he goes on to say that men would be allowed to choose evil things during their mortal life, after which they would be saved. That's why I included option #2 in the poll--it fits well with the above ideas. You can even say that people had their 'sins', but they were not held accountable for them, so they were redeemed unconditionally. Now don't get me wrong. I don't believe that any of the options for Satan's proposal could exalt anyone. The question is what to you think he was suggesting, not what would have worked. Now my view of Agency is admittedly different from the majority, that's why these other options don't cause me grief. I follow the various dictionary definitions of Agency, that's why I want you to try to find the 'freedom or ability to choose' definition in the dictionary. (I don't think it can be done). But I do think there are definitions which fit the scriptures and the plan of salvation and allow freedom of choice and are intrinsically connected to one's accountability.
  3. Justice: I think we all understand (more or less) where you're coming from since the idea that 'Agency means the ability to choose' is the most common definition in the church. I just question if that is the right definition. Again, look it up in the dictionary. Did the Lord make up a new definition for an existing word? If so, when did He define Agency as the ability or freedom to choose? Find me a reference, preferably from the time of Joseph Smith and the early church. One of the meanings of Agency (according to dictionaries and thesauruses) is "Instrumentality". If Satan said that he would "redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost" (Moses 4:1), wouldn't that destroy our "Instumentality"? And when modern revelation says that, "a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he [satan] away from me because of their agency" (D&C 29:36), wouldn't it make sense that 'because of their Instrumentality' those who followed Satan were turned away from God in the rebellion we call the war in heaven? That's just one way the dictionary definition can be understood.
  4. 1) Can you please find a dictionary with that definition in it? I've been searching for years and I cannot. (Here are more dictionary and thesaurus references. Please click on the references and see if you can find anything like freedom or ability to choose.) 2) When listing the, "Four great principles [which] must be in force if there is to be agency," Elder Bruce R. McConkie said that #4 was, "An unfettered power of choice must prevail." (See Mormon Doctrine, "Agency", p. 26) How can Agency be the "ability to choose" when an "unfettered power of choice" is only one of four principles needed for agency to exist? That makes no sense to me. 3) If Agency is so clearly the, "ability to choose," and Satan's proposal which would have destroyed agency would have taken away our ability to choose, then why did John Taylor in "Mediation and Atonement" (which I referred to in comment #50) think that Satan, "probably intended to make men atone for their own acts by an act of coercion?" Why did John Taylor have an alternate idea about Satan's proposal? 4) Why does Satan say, "I will redeem all mankind" in Moses 4:1 if, by removing our ability to choose, there would be no sin from which to be redeemed?
  5. I agree with what you said above. You almost sound like you could go for poll option #2 - "Don't hold anyone accountable / Redeem all unconditionally." That could be very appealing to the type of person who would not want to follow the plan, just give up, and let someone else to take over.
  6. Johnny Rudick: Okay, I'm trying to understand why you chose option #2 in the poll, and I think by looking at a few of your comments I can figure it out, but tell me if I'm right. If you're going with the common idea that agency is basically the same thing as 'free will'/'freedom of choice', and it's an inalienable attribute of human nature, then you cannot choose option #3 - "Force everyone to be good or to comply with the rules", because that would be impossible. Some people take the position that God is God and can do anything He wants, including make up whatever rules He wants. I think what you're getting at is that God cannot simply change the laws of the universe, but that He is God because He understands all the laws and works within them. If that is your position, then option #4 - "Change the rules or laws so that nothing would be evil" is impossible. That leaves option #2 - "Don't hold anyone accountable / Redeem all unconditionally" as the most viable option. I think you lean that way with your following comments: Here you refer to the idea that the law is in place, but the child is outside it and therefore unaccountable. This seems to match well with option #2. Here again, your example shows those who are outside the law, and even do in fact choose evil of their own free will, but are either deemed unaccountable or pardoned in some sense, therefore they are saved because the sin is not imputed to them. Again, option #2 - "Don't hold anyone accountable / Redeem all unconditionally" sounds more like a possibility since God has the ability to redeem those who He deems unaccountable or who He pardons. The twist with Satan would be that he claimed he could make everyone unaccounable, or pardon every one no matter what they did. (I doubt he could do that, but it seems plausible enough that he could have deceived a third into believing that he could.) Is that a fairly good explanation? If not, where did I go wrong, and what would you like to add?
  7. "I have a bad feeling about this!" (Any of the Star Wars movies, and so much more. Check it out here.)
  8. By the way, for those who are interested, the first option in my poll above was inspired by the following from "Mediation and Atonement" by John Taylor: So even a major leader of the church can have a different view. I find it interresting that he says that this seems "probable." I wonder if the now common idea of 'forcing us to be good' was not around in his days or if he just didn't like it?
  9. I have to wonder, based on what you've said, if you think Lucifer was able to thwart God's plan (in a sense) by putting a third of God's children outside of His ability to save them, since the rebellion occurred before there was a "safety net" in place?
  10. I don't know what she knew in the Garden of Eden. I would suppose that she voluntarily made a conscientious choice with full knowledge to leave her paradise and enter into a fallen mortal sphere. But that may not have happened in Eden. I think it happened (as it may have with all of us) in the pre-mortal existence. I think she and Adam made a choice in the pre-mortal realm, similar to the choice Jesus made, to sacrifice themselves and be an integral part of God's plan. I think the real choice to partake of the fruit came long before they were placed in Eden.
  11. I think you chose correctly between #2 and #4 based on what you've said. If you don't think Satan could change the rules, then #4 is out. Maybe his withholding the knowledge of the law is a way in which he could make men unaccountable as in #2.
  12. I have no problem with the additional (maybe even tangential) comments that have arisen, but I want to restate for newcomers the original idea: How would Satan have implemented his proposal to save all? I ask this because I have seen various ideas on the internet and was wondering what others thought. Take the poll and briefly share your ideas (or ideas you may have heard of) if you wish. Feel free to refer to books, articles, or websites if you like. Please no arguments.
  13. I'm sorry I missed your point the first time, but in re-reading I see it now. Thanks. I wonder if the scripture you are looking for is 2 Nephi 2:13 or Alma 42:17 or verses around that area. These verses talk about the implications of there being "no law". I will have to read them again with what you've said in mind. Let me know if these are what you're referring to, and any other ideas they may bring back.
  14. Godless: Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie lists four things that are necessary for agency to exist: 1) Laws, 2) Opposites, 3) Knowledge of good and evil, 4) Free choice. It sounds like you're saying that Satan may have tried to prevent us from gaining a Knowledge of good and evil while Laws, Opposites, and Free choice would still remain. This would destroy agency according to McConkie. So the idea would be that if we remained innocent (like Adam and Eve prior to the Fall or like little children prior to becoming accountable) we could not be condemned, and all must be 'saved'. If you remember anything else, please feel free to add more.
  15. To me, they are opposites. If accountability is destroyed but laws still exist, you can do evil and be saved. If laws are destroyed then accountability is a moot point, since there is nothing you can do that is evil. In one, evil is possible but ignored; in the other, evil is impossible. One assumes law is eternal; the other assumes law is changeable. Just my opinion, but I still think I see what you're getting at. You seem to be saying that Satan would not force righteousness. Instead, (regardless of the mechanics) he would make it so there was no penalty involved.
  16. What you said sounds like #4 to me. How is it different from #4, or what is it about #2 that you liked better? (My comment #4 above tries to differentiate numbers 2 and 4, but you may agree with my description.)
  17. The above choices are not my own; they are various ideas that I've heard before. In my mind 3) and 4) are somewhat similar as it seems the intent of both is to make it so people do not sin, either by force or by changing the rules. The difference between 2) and 4) in my opinion, is that 4) changes the rules so people do not sin or are declared innocent while 2) implies that people would not be held accountable even when they do what's wrong, but they would be redeemed unconditionally anyway. By the way, these are just the major ideas I've come across. Any others, or variations, are welcome.
  18. How would Satan have implemented his proposal to save all? I ask this because I have seen various ideas on the internet and was wondering what others thought. Take the poll and briefly share your ideas (or ideas you may have heard of) if you wish. Feel free to refer to books, articles, or websites if you like. Please no arguments.
  19. Luke and Leia from Star Wars. (Um, before we found out they were brother and sister. Okay, I gotta go wash up. I feel so dirty now.)
  20. Has the United States of America become the Union of Socialist States of America? Please take the poll and leave additional comments if you wish. I am just wondering how people view what's been going on lately. Please no arguments (even though the subject is politics ).
  21. Take the poll and feel free to add more about your answer(s) if you like. I found LDS.net by searching the Web, it seems like a nice, friendly place full of regular people, and I also wanted to learn more about using this form of communication.
  22. Darn right I'm using semantics (definition: "the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text"). I'm trying to let the text speak for itself. In the preface to the Doctrine and Covenants (section 1), the Lord declared that the revelations were given using the language of his servants: D&C 1:24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding. The prophet Nephi similarly testified that, " . . . the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." (2 Nephi 31:3), and Moroni said that Jesus spoke with him face to face in his own language (Ether 12:39). The revelations were given of the Lord through his servant Joseph Smith and were presumably recorded using terms known to and used by Joseph, or at least using terms that were known to Joseph's contemporaries. The Book of Mormon uses English words translated by a prophet, through the gift of God. I don't think the words he used were chosen lightly. You can read anything you want into those words, but I'd prefer to try to understand them as they are. You basically say the same thing I said: So, here's the point of all of the above: We basically seem to be saying the same thing, although using different words. If by referrencing 'semantics', you meant that I should not study the meaning of the words that the Lord and his prophets have used, then I firmly disagree. If, however, your point is that we basically agree, and that I get there by seeking to understand the words of the revelations, while you get there by using a more fluid approach that still uses true principles, then I'm perfectly okay with that. I don't know what was in your heart when you wrote that, but I'm hoping the latter. As always, I invite newcomers to read my comment #1 to understand the idea behind this post. I'm looking to get different points of view about the meaning of Agency in the scriptures that maybe are different, or go deeper than the standard, "free to choose" definition. I have received quite a number of very good insights, and hope for more.
  23. This is just an interesting point I thought I'd throw out just for fun. I would say that the concept of Agency in the Book of Mormon would most likely be represented by the idea of acting for oneself. (Stay with me here; I know others would see it more in the idea of "free will" or "free to choose", but this is just my opinion.) The Book of Mormon speaks of choosing between good and evil in a number of places (2 Nephi 17:15; 26:10; Mosiah 2:32-33, 37; 29:25; Alma 3:26-27; 10:19; 13:3, 10; Helaman 13:29) so that concept was understood and spoken of among the Nephites. There are three passages which talk about acting for oneself where the idea of choosing is present nearby (see 2 Nephi 2:26-29, 2 Nephi 10:23, and Helaman 14:30-31). But get this, the choice is never between good and evil—it is always a choice between life and death! The choice between life and death is not equated with Agency, but rather the result of that agency. Three separate Book of Mormon prophets declared that we are 'free to act for yourselves---to choose eternal life or everlasting death' [that's a paraphrase of all three passages, but especially 2 Nephi 10:23 which is the most concise]. They did not equate Agency (acting for oneself) with everyday choices, but taught that by using the ability to act for oneself (and thus to do good or evil), man is able to choose the consequences of eternal life or everlasting death.
  24. Just_A_Guy: I find that idea very compelling as well. Can you tell me where I can find the piece you once read? It sounds very interesting.
  25. I'm sorry too. I really hate communication by typing; it's very problematic. It's too slow, prone to misunderstandings (I'm sure I misunderstood your intent as well -- sorry), and not easy to resolve issues quickly. If anyone wants to send a private message to me (click on my user name), I could send a phone number to them or give them a call to facilitate communication. I probably have offended some by comments. I guess I need to learn how to better communicate through typing. I really do appreciate the various views that have been expressed so far, even in spite of the difficulties associated with this form of communication.