Satan's War on Free Agency, by Greg Wright is a book that you must read. We have traditionally viewed Satan’s plan as an attempt to force others to be good, but this book examines additional ways that agency may be taken away, such as attempts to remove negative consequences. He explains well enough that you will find your view of agency and appreciation for agency greatly enhanced, and you will find yourself understanding the challenges of current events at a much deeper level and how the adversary is still working to try to take away our agency. This book was such a revelation to me that I think I was completely blind before I read it.
Parents will greatly appreciate the very practical examples that Wright includes of how to raise happy and successful children using an expanded understanding of the doctrine of agency. I feel that I grew up with wonderful parents who taught according to gospel principles, but I was exceptionally impressed with the examples that Wright shared. I am convinced his examples and stories will give a huge amount of hope and confidence to any parent who is trying to raise a child in this difficult world.
Let me see if I can summarize the main idea that he presented. In order for us to have agency, we must have four things:
1. Knowledge of right and wrong
2. At least two options from which to choose
3. The options must have different consequences
4. Ability to choose for ourselves
Traditionally we have believed that Satan’s plan was to force everyone to do the right thing so they could come back to Heavenly Father. Wright demonstrates in a startling manner that this traditional view is not scriptural! Wright explains with great clarity that another way Satan could have tried to destroy agency is if he could convince Heavenly Father to allow everyone back into heaven no matter what they did, in effect creating a “no fail” situation opportunity. (Amulek and Zeezrom debated about this “saved in your sins” versus “saved from your sins.”)
Wright describes how Satan continues his war on earth by tempting us to try to get rid of negative consequences for our actions. He says if both good actions and evil actions are rewarded the same way, then it doesn’t matter what we choose. If our choice doesn’t matter, then our agency has been destroyed, and our behavior will deteriorate every time. The examples and thought experiments Wright uses to illustrate his points are very helpful and illuminating.
I whole-heartedly recommend Greg Wright’s book, and I advise that you get a copy to read as soon as you can to prepare you for when your kids’ summer vacation begins.
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