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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Agency, somewhat a farce » Agency, somewhat a farce

Agency, somewhat a farce

Don - February 3, 2005

Our agency certainly is a good thing, right? It just ticks me off sometimes how we are left to use it.

I see a big dilemma. Example: I have a choice to make, I’m told to study it out in my own mind then pray and I’ll either feel good or I’ll have a stupor of thought. Sounds easy. My choices each day can vary from choosing which can a veggies to buy at the store to whether I should invest several thousand dollars to open another theater. Dallin Oaks made it clear in a talk that choosing which grocery items to buy was probably not a good use of prayer.

Frist question, where going up the difficulty chart does it become appropriate to pray about something? Veggies – no, go to work today – no, family needs – probably, specific family needs – yes, new business – yes, yes, yes.

Since we are here on earth to gain experience, and God gave us a brain to use then should I involve God with all of my choices? If I do rely on God to always give me the answer that is best for me, because He loves me, then I’ll grow the most no mater what the answer is, as long as it is God’s answer.

I have no doubt that God answers my prayers. I also know that He can use inspiration, subtle thought implants, my scripture reading, direct revelation and much more to the point where I can’t miss the message/answer. In fact that answer can be so overwhelming that if I’m in tune with the spirit I can’t miss it and unless I’m spirtually dead or brain dead I would only have one choice and that’s to follow the inspiration.

Since He knows me and loves me so much, and knows what will be best for me, then why doesn’t he do that every time? Why does he leave me to my own choices?

If one of the goals of this life is learning to turn our lives over to God, and subjecting our will to the will of the Father then why doesn’t He give me direction when I ask?

1 Comment »

  1. I admit to being torn on the issue of agency. I’ve landed (at least for now) in position where everyone doesn’t have complete agency; but that we are engaged in expanding our agency. It is hard to argue that newborns have agency. I think that there is good evidence for agency being emergent. We can than designate God is being the supreme agent.

    In order to approach God’s agency, we need to slough off our animalism, biases, and habits. Maybe God’s reticence to answer everything indicates something about the process of finding answers. Maybe it is the process that brings us closer to God.
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 2:02 pm | #

    I like your view – expanding our agency. I get confused however when we are told to pray over our flocks etc., turn our lives etc. over to God and His will and getting answers.

    Maybe this whole confusing process is in fact as you point out the thing that brings us closer to Him.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 4:07 pm | #

    Maybe I’m just a minimalist when it comes to prayer, but I’m even uncomfortable with praying over, say, a new business or an investment opportunity. I think we sink or swim on these things strictly on our own, whether we pray or not.

    If that sounds harsh, consider the thousands of faithful and prayerful people whose businesses have failed, or the thousands of godless weasels who nevertheless manage to operate thriving businesses. Objectively, it’s hard to see that God is involved in the success or failure of the vast majority of our temporal affairs. Joseph Smith went bankrupt, for instance.
    Dave | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 4:32 pm | #

    I tend to agree with what has been mentioned.

    A few years ago I ran for an office in the municipal government. It was a big decision, so I prayed about it. I felt I had received a confirmation o go ahead with it. It ended up with me placing 30th out of 35 people running for eight positions.

    Did I get a wrong answer? Did I need to pray in the first place?
    Kim Siever | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 5:14 pm | #

    I think that praying that the flock increases is a manifestation of or hope. Why not ask God if he says we can? There may even be a point where we have the faith to actually get something we ask for (this is rare in my case – the faith that is not the blessings).

    As for our old friend “confirmation”…that is little bit different. Even if the result is not positive from our perspective, God could easily be telling us that the result would not be all that consequential. I know I have received confirmation for courses of actions that I didn’t have the faith to bring about (think mission goals, baby), or where the ends were not what I expected. Does it mean that the action taken as a result of confirmation was wrong – I don’t think so.
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 6:51 pm | #

    I went to my stake president (since he was my quorum leader) and asked about a specific business situation. He told me that in most cases God doesn’t really care what you do for a living, as long as you are honest in what you do.

    I’ve had confirmations where businesses have failed.

    Confirmation is a pesky little devil. You can always justify getting it, even when things turn out “wrong”, based on God’s will and what we learn from it.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 8:53 pm | #

    I don’t think I’d learn as much if God confirmed everything I did. Anyway, He’s not going to be there making all our decisions when we’re creating worlds, right? So we better start doing some things on our own right now.
    You think business decisions are hard. At least you’re done with that all important “most important decision of your life” decision!! Considering that it’s “THE MOST IMORTANT” I find it ironic that God is so indifferent on what the decision ends up being.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 11:44 pm | #

    Kim, just think, if you wouldn’t have prayed you would have been LAST!!!! Now THAT would have been embarrassing!!

    I’m glad the Lord doesn’t answer everyone every time. It’s bad enough with all the people out there that claim God told them to do some of the wacky things they do.

    No matter the outcome of our prayers, we are still blessed by God. So your business failed, big deal. You still have a house and food and good kids. Isn’t prayer (among that which has been said above) an excersise in gratitude? I can ask the Lord for a blessing or an answer or whatever, I may get it (which is a blessing) or I may not, which then I should still be grateful for all that which He’s given me.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 11:58 pm | #

    If God is so inconsistent in giving the “confirmation” then how do we develop faith that He does answer prayers. Random, dumb luck would get the job done too then.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 02.04.05 – 1:23 pm | #

    I don’t think God is inconsistent. It just seems that way to us because we are in the everlasting mortal struggle of finding out what kinds of things God will answer and what He doesn’t care about. Part of the whole earth-life test I think to fugure out where we still need help and where we can do things on our own.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 02.04.05 – 1:46 pm | #

    how do we develop faith that He does answer prayers.

    I don’t think we do. I think we develop a belief that he answers prayers. Then we can develop faith to have our prayers answered (and pray for the right thing to begin with).
    J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 02.04.05 – 3:22 pm | #

    Nice post, Don. My comment here got too long on Saturday so I just wrote an offspring post of my own based on the questions brought up of righteouness and wealth. (I gave you credit for the idea, of course.)

    PS — The Archilpelago is working. I found the post from the link on Splendid Sun.
    Geoff Johnston | Email | Homepage | 02.07.05 – 1:06 pm | #



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