Agency, or the ability to choose given to each of us by our Father in Heaven, is an incredible blessing and gift. It has also become one of my very most favorite gospel principles to study and learn more about over the last two years. This past week while studying more about the creation and our first parents, Adam and Eve, in class at BYU I have been struck yet again by the importance of this fundamental doctrine of the gospel and how our Heavenly Father understands its importance as well. Agency has been a part of God’s plan from the beginning and played a huge role in the Garden of Eden. In Moses 3:17-18 we read, “And I, the Lord God, commanded the man [Adam], saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”. God laid out the commandment and the consequences exactly and explicitly and clearly so that there would be no misunderstanding; NEVERTHELESS, God also explained very clearly that it would be their choice whether or not to partake of the fruit. They were given their agency. That is what put the whole plan into motion. Our Heavenly Father had enough trust in Adam and Eve to let them make that choice. He loves all of us as His children to allow us to do the same thing.
Oftentimes, that is incredibly difficult for us to do- allow those we love to make decisions out of a desire to protect them rather than give them those opportunities of growth and personal progression. Elder Richard G. Scott gives wonderful counsel in a General Conference session of April 2014, “The children of Father in Heaven can do amazing things when they feel trusted. Every child of God chose the Savior’s plan. Trust that given the opportunity, they will do so again.” When speaking of his wife, he said, “She loved me enough to share her conviction and then give me the opportunity to work out the direction of my own life”. Part of showing our love for others is protecting their agency. Exercising faith through exercising agency is what sets forth the path of progression to becoming more like Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.