A Widespread Misunderstanding About Satan’s War on Agency



Having been raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was taught the key doctrines of the faith—along with various teachings that were not necessarily true, though I accepted them as such in my youth. This was the case with one of the most central issues in our theology—the catalyst for choosing Christ over Satan. I’m referring to the “war on agency” waged by Lucifer, God’s fallen son.

Other quotes from church leaders exist suggesting disagreement on this position. Questioning “whether the intelligence of man can be compelled,” President J. Reuben Clark said, “As I read the scriptures, Satan’s plan required one of two things: either the compulsion of the mind, the spirit, the intelligence of man, or else saving men in sin” (emphasis added). Questioning the former, it’s clear he was suggesting a stronger case for the latter.

The Church’s own approved literature suggests a diverging view of the common “force” narrative; one Institute manual notes, “Most people think that [Satan] would have forced us to do right, but that is only one possibility. Certain conditions are necessary if we are to have agency… Satan might have destroyed our agency by eliminating any one of those [conditions] and he is still trying to destroy our agency using the same techniques of deception and lies” (emphasis added).

What are those conditions?

Read the rest of this post at Connor’s Condundrums

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One Reply to “A Widespread Misunderstanding About Satan’s War on Agency”

  1. The conditions are:
    1. Choice (i.e. opposites)
    2. Laws
    3. Knowledge (i.e. accountability)
    4. Temptation

    I completely agree with this premise. I think the most compelling argument that exists, is to look around and ask yourself what “Plan” is currently being used to destroy agency? It’s certainly not using force, but rather using moral relativism.

    If any of the 4 items listed above are missing, agency is destroyed. Now ask yourself this question – many were in favor of this other plan. Is it really all that appealing to think that you’ll be forced to do something? Is that something lots of people would get behind?

    BUT look around you today and ask if you ever hear the narrative “If God really loves us then he’ll want all of his children to return”. “Yea he will beat us with a few stripes and at last we will be saved in the kingdom of God…” (paraphrased).

    Finally, look at what Lucifer was after. Another widely misunderstood doctrine is that Lucifer wanted the Glory. We misunderstand this because in the very next verse in Abraham 3, Christ speaks up and mentions that he will go down, and the Glory will be God the Father’s.

    Ok, great, but re-read the verse about Lucifer. He doesn’t mention Glory. He specifically says he wants God’s Honor. This might seem like semantics until you read D&C 29:36 where it is explained that God’s Honor is his power. To understand the difference between honor and glory, consider the commandment to Honor thy mother and father. That’s very different than Glory, which we are taught in the scriptures is intelligence.

    Lucifer, in my opinion, sought to destroy agency not on purpose – but out of carelessness and a desire for power (Honor). It’s also my opinion that he continues this same agenda today, teaching that there is no right or wrong except what is right or wrong for YOU, and that certainly if there is a God he loves all his children, and will not punish them according to a set of “arbitrary” rules.

    So, in summary, I think the war on agency was whether it was necessary for there to be any rules/consequences for our choices.

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