The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that we cannot fully use our God-given agency without religious freedom. Heavenly Father gave us our agency or the freedom to choose while we lived with Him in the pre-mortal world.
While we were in heaven with Heavenly Father, He told us about His plan for our salvation and our eternal happiness. He told us that our agency was an essential part of His plan and that we must use it wisely. Father asked for volunteers to be our Savior because He knew we would sin during our mortal lives. Lucifer volunteered, but he wanted to destroy our agency and have Father’s glory. Jesus Christ volunteered and said that the glory be Father’s. Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ.
Lucifer rebelled against Heavenly Father and drew a third-part of our Father’s spirit children after him. There was a great battle, and Lucifer and his followers were kicked out of heaven without the opportunity to gain physical bodies. Lucifer became known as Satan, and he and his followers continue to tempt men, women, and children to follow him in this life. He does not give his followers the opportunity to choose. He gradually wraps his silken threads around them until they are bound by chains, Satan’s chains.
On the other hand Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to use our agency to make correct choices. They know that we have to have the opportunity to choose in order to learn and grow. Our choices do not always come between good and evil; sometimes they come between good, better, and best.
While we were in heaven with Heavenly Father, He told us about His plan for our salvation and our eternal happiness. He told us that our agency was an essential part of His plan and that we must use it wisely. We know that we made the correct choice in heaven because we are here on earth with physical bodies.
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says, “Jesus, who exercised His agency to sustain Heavenly Father’s plan, was identified and appointed by the Father as our Savior, foreordained to perform the atoning sacrifice for all. Similarly, our exercise of agency to keep the commandments enables us to fully understand who we are and receive all of the blessings our Heavenly Father has – including the opportunity to have a body, to progress, to experience joy, to have a family, and to inherit eternal life.”
After reminding us that we enjoy blessings now because we chose to follow the Savior in our pre-mortal life, Elder Hales urged us to make the same choice now. “As we walk the path of spiritual liberty in these last days, we must understand that the faithful use of our agency depends upon our having religious freedom. We already know that Satan does not want this freedom to be ours. He attempted to destroy moral agency in heaven, and now on earth he is fiercely undermining, opposing, and spreading confusion about religious freedom – what it is and why it is essential to our spiritual life and our very salvation."
Elder Hales then gave us four cornerstones of religious freedom that we “must rely upon and protect.” Those four cornerstones are as follow: (1) The “freedom to believe,” (2) The “freedom to share our faith and our beliefs with others,” (3) The “freedom to form a religious organization, a church, to worship peacefully with others,” and (4) The “freedom to live our faith – free exercise of faith not just in the home and chapel but also in public places.”
As you can see from Elder Hales four cornerstones, moral agency or the freedom to choose is essential to religious freedom. Without the freedom to choose, we cannot enjoy any of the four freedom cornerstones.