Moral Agency Is Your Right To Choose (But Not The Consequences of Your Choices) and Freedom Is Your Ability To Act On Your Choices
Without Freedom, Agency Would Be Pointless And Life Would Be Meaningless
Agency and freedom are interrelated and are unique in their own meaning. As you will see in this article you need both to produce the maximum growth.
President Howard W. Hunter described the difference between the two when he said,
"In short, we may say free agency is the right, ability, and opportunity to choose between possible alternatives, while freedom is the right, ability, and opportunity to do things that have been chosen." (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, page 77)
Howard W. Hunter also said, "Man's free agency and individual freedom is God-given and is an eternal principle." (Ibid) He goes on to say that any government that takes away your free agency and places you in bondage is wrong.
President David O. Mckay said, "Individual freedom is innate in the human soul. God has given us our free agency, and next to life itself that is our greatest gift from heaven."
Other apostles have defined free agency as your ability to choose, specifically to choose your own thoughts. Joseph Smith said agency is the "free independence of mind."
So, technically even under the worse possible conditions that limit your freedom such as being tortured as a prisoner you still have your agency to choose what you will think. As hard as people try, even going to the extent of intentionally causing illiteracy in a nation or a powerful propaganda campaign, no one can make you think what they want you to think.
It is obvious that you need freedom to apply free agency. Based on President Hunters definition of freedom, it is your power to put into practice or apply your choices, i.e. agency.
And then there is moral agency. Many say free agency is really moral agency. Moral agency is being accountable for your own sins. You will be punished for your own transgressions not Adam's.
As much as society and governments desire to change laws regarding moral principles, no matter how powerful the president, nation or organization is they have zero power over the consequences and results of their decisions.
God sets all the moral laws and the consequences for breaking of such laws. He allows us to choose if we will keep the universal moral laws, but He doesn't give us the agency or the right to choose the consequences for breaking those laws.
Moral agency dates back to the pre-existence. We lived with Heavenly Father in the pre-existence. Heavenly Father allowed us to choose if we would follow Him. The scriptures talk about a war in heaven when Satan rebelled and wanted to take away our agency. He wanted to replace God as God and take all the glory upon himself.
Jeffrey M. Bradshaw summarized moral agency and freedom with this quote, "There is no agency without choice; there is no choice without freedom; there is no freedom without risk; nor true freedom without responsibility." In God's Image And Likeness; Ancient And Modern Perspectives On The Book Of Moses.
Certainly, we would have had our moral agency from the moment we were spiritually conceived by God. God is the same yesterday, today and forever; therefore our agency is an inalienable right.
It is a huge lie to believe that Satan can make you do anything.
Satan is extremely powerful, just ask anyone who is shackled by the chains and fetters of any addiction; and they will tell you that overcoming it is more than difficult. Those afflicted with addictions will feel like their free agency is lost, but even then they can regain their freedom.
There are different kinds of freedom, and we need them all to be truly free and to be agents unto ourselves, which are;
Financial/Economical: You can't be an agent unto yourself and act and not be acted upon if you are in heavy debt. Governments who levy heavy taxes on their citizens are placing them in bondage. Socialist and Communist governments or organizations are not ordained of God.
The most effective economic system that brings the most individual and collective economic freedom is the free market system. Governments who have the most involvement in the economy create the greatest financial bondage for the citizens.
Political: God raised up the founders of the United States of America specifically to establish The U.S. Constitution, which is the only government on earth that God Himself has in scripture ratified.
The prophets have said that the founding fathers of the United States of America were the best souls alive during that period of time. The U.S. Constitution was the first of its kind and much of the free world has adopted their constitution off the U.S. Constitution. The scriptures say that the U.S. Constitution was built up for the protection of ALL flesh.
Any government entity that physically binds people such as the tyrannies and dictatorships of the world are not ordained of God.
Spiritual: I am amazed at how Satan has been successful in confusing American's in this basic right. America's founding fathers were deeply spiritual and intended that religion be a central part of society and government.
They knew full well that God Himself built up the United States. There is no possible way that a bunch of farm boys could take on and conquer the most professional and powerful military in the world at the time without God fighting their battles with them. It was supremely important to God that America be free, which meant winning the Revolutionary war.
When the founding fathers separated the church from the state, they didn't want an official sanctioned national religion. They didn't say, "The United States of America's church is such and such"; and they certainly never intended that prayers be taken out of government or public schools which are unconstitutional.
The founding fathers were adamant that for the American government to succeed required religious devotion, which was founded on Christian principles. It was meant for people to govern themselves without having burdensome laws, which is best accomplished through religious devotion not law makers.
The Book of Mormon whose origins are in the United States and other countries in the American continent are clear that for America to prosper we must follow and obey Jesus Christ or be destroyed. The Lord has said many times that if we keep His commandments as a country and I believe as individuals the country will prosper; otherwise we will experience His judgments.
The Book of Mormon has said multiple times that America is a "choice land" and God intends to keep it that way. The U.S. is where the Lord chose to restore His church and He intends it to play a key role in the building up of His kingdom and preparing the world for Christ's Second Coming. This of course gives no excuse for American's to become egotistical or prideful, but not apologize for its role in in the world.
The Colonizing of America and the American Revolutionary war was seen by a Book of Mormon prophet approximately 600 B.C.
1 Nephi 13:16 - 19
16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.
17 And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.
18 And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.
19 And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.
Here is what the Lord said in modern day revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith
Doctrine and Covenants; Section 101:77 - 80
77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.