Friday, April 8, 2011

Young Women's Values—Choice & Accountability

One of the most essential doctrines of the LDS Church is that of agency. We believe that we chose to come here to earth, and that we have full ability to choose whether or not and to what extent we will follow God. I used to think that the choice part of the equation was good, and the accountability not so much.

A prevailing opinion seems to be developing that we, as humans, deserve choice without accountability. I believe that this is one of Satan's most powerful mockeries of the eternal principle. Being able to choose and taking responsibility for the effects of our choices—good and bad—are two sides of the same coin. You can't lose one without losing the other. This has been a painful lesson for me, as I have had to learn to stop taking responsibility for things I did not choose, at the same time that I learned to take responsibility for the things that were my choice. However, as I've come to understand agency better, I have also come to see that taking responsibility is just as liberating as choosing.

It took an indescribable amount of soul-searching to come to the decision to divorce. And a great deal of pain came to me and to others for that decision. Yet, as I exercised my ability to choose, I also came to accept the responsibility for the effects of that choice. If I had not realized that the good effects of my choice far outweighed the bad, it would have been impossible to make. Yet, I sacrificed others' good opinions of me, my good opinion of myself, my personal comfort and feelings of safety, and in some measure, my daughters' comfort and safety, so that I could protect myself and my children in the long run. And, unexpectedly, my good opinion of myself as a daughter of God has returned tenfold. My children are happier and I am far happier than would have been possible had I not trusted the promptings of the Spirit to make that hard choice.

And I know that I am right in the sight of God, and that is priceless.

When we use our own judgment and the input of others to make our own decisions, and when we own the effects (foreseen and unforeseen) of those choices, we become a little more like God.

This also applies to conference talks and other things that are sometimes taught in the Church. LDS doctrine makes it very clear, for example, that divorce is not the ideal. Yet, because of the power and love of God, I was able to hear the Spirit and know when it was time to make the exception in my life. Though it was painful, it was empowering. And it has helped me believe even more strongly in the doctrines of the Church. I believe in eternal marriage and marital fidelity even more than I did before, and now I believe with a full heart and clearer vision of what marriage should be.

As we come to accept the doctrine of agency, and learn to choose wisely and take responsibility for the choices we make, we progress even closer to God and to understanding His doctrines.


  1. "When we use our own judgment and the input of others to make our own decisions, and when we own the effects (foreseen and unforeseen) of those choices, we become a little more like God."

    AMEN, and amen.

  2. That was beautiful, thank you


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