Mormon youth are taught, from a young age, that restrictions can increase freedom. That some laws, ones that seem to decrease our freedom, actually increase our freedom.
Take the Word of Wisdom, for example. We are taught that living by the Word of Wisdom is a requirement. This requirement strictly limits us in certain areas: no alcohol, no drugs, no coffee or tea, no meat but for in times of famine, etc. But, we understand, those limitations actually increase our overall freedom. Even though our freedom is limited when it comes to alcohol (for example), our freedom is maximized in the sense that we are free from the negative effects of that alcohol. As one article in the Church's Ensign puts it:Read more
This is the fourth in our five-part series titled "Mormonism, Agency, and Politics." In the first post we discussed the importance of agency in Mormon doctrine. In the second we addressed Satan's strategy of limiting our agency. In the third, we addressed the view that agency can be restricted simply by restricting freedom. In the fourth, we will examine the idea that agency can be restricted by removing differences between good and evil and explore its political implications.
Like we've said before, we don't believe that force in any way restricts agency. As one person put it,
The way I understand agency, you could put me in a dungeon in a straightjacket and blindfold/gag me, and I'd still have agency. I wouldn't have a lot of freedom, but I would still be able to choose between good and evil.
So, if force doesn't limit or restrict our agency, how was Satan going to go about limiting our agency while here on earth? His plan was to remove agency by erasing the difference between good and evil: if we don't have moral alternatives, we don't have agency. There are certainly many ways to do this, but we'll just look at two possibilities:Read more