May God bless us to live our lives so as to avoid entangling ourselves in sin and compromising our precious and unique gift of free agency. May we accept responsibility for our thoughts and our actions. May we use our free agency to make righteous choices and to act upon them as we have the freedom to do so.
I appreciate this opportunity to participate in BYU’s annual symposium on the Book of Mormon. This year you are focusing on the second book of Nephi. That book provides some of our most important doctrinal insights on the significance of free agency in the gospel plan. I have therefore chosen to speak about free agency and freedom.
The scriptural terms are agency and free. When we refer to agency, we usually combine the two words and say free agency. But we sometimes use this term to refer to freedom as
“It but remains for this council to command, and Tal Hajus must prove his fitness to rule.
“Chieftains,” continued Lorquas Ptomel, “shall the jeddak, Tal Hajus, prove his fitness to rule over Tars Tarkas?”
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Therefore, a prince, not being able to exercise this virtue of liberality in such a way that it is recognized, except to his cost, if he is wise he ought not to fear the reputation of being mean, for in time he will come to be more considered than if liberal, seeing that with his economy his revenues are enough, that he can defend himself against all attacks, and is able to engage in enterprises without burdening his people; thus it comes to pass that he exercises liberality towards all from whom he does not take, who are numberless, and meanness towards those to whom he does not give, who are few.
And there is nothing wastes so rapidly as liberality, for even whilst you exercise it you lose the power to do so, and so become either poor or despised, or else, in avoiding poverty, rapacious and hated.