Some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints support laws and court decisions that redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. A great portion of the LDS people I know who support this type of inclusivity state our God given agency as the reason everyone should be allowed to wed. When pushed further, these members state the well known doctrine of agency, its importance in the Pre-Earth Life, War in Heaven, and our current time on earth, as clear reason to allow the legalization of SSM. Their opinion is that those who prevent SSM from happening, are limiting the agency and possibility of choices for their gay brothers and sisters. Any freedom or right held back is seen as bondage to their agency.
While many LDS members are quick to say they don’t themselves believe it to be morally right, they believe it to be our responsibility to allow them full access to all choices, including the one to marry. In many ways this is a very noble and honorable position to take. Holding strict to a moral code, while holding enough charity to wish others to experience happiness through marriage, and protecting their agency in the process. While I believe many who think this way are sincere in their convictions, these beliefs do not hold with the LDS doctrine taught and expounded in these latter-days.
In the beginning, prior to our time on the earth, the children of God were gathered to hear the great plans of salvation. One plan, brought forward by Jehovah and endorsed by the Father, provided all men and women the experience or mortality, dominion over the earth, and use or their agency during the time allotted them. Another plan was provided by Lucifer that would allow the children of God to experience earth life, but would prevent them from exercising full agency, thus preventing sin and allowing all God’s children to return again. After hearing both plans, the Children of God counseled and chose their plan of salvation. One third of the hosts of heaven fell and followed Lucifer. They used their innate agency to follow the spirit who would have taken it from them. We see here in this instance the great price of agency, and can garner how important it was to our earthly existence (Moses 4).
Fast forwarding to our first parents, Adam and Eve, it is easily seen the part agency took in their lives. Both were created in God’s image, and endowed with their agency to choose. Along with their agency, in what is the great pattern of our existence, came the law. Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and multiply, and also to not partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Moses 3). This pattern of agency paired with law differentiates the sweet from the bitter, the pleasure from the pain, and the good from the evil. While our agency is essential to salvation, it becomes worthless without laws to govern its use. Without a law to transgress, Eve and Adam would have lived out eternity in innocence, not knowing each other, but with their agency intact.
In that continuing pattern, every prophet from Adam to Thomas S. Monson has provided the law for us to wisely use our agency. In Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, he details the path leading to the tree as straight and narrow. Around this path are fields, rivers, great and spacious buildings, and mists of darkness. The agency we posses allows us to walk in any of these areas, but it is the law that directs our path to the tree of life.
Our inspired prophet, his counselors, and the quorum of the twelve apostles released a document of pure doctrine in 1995. The Family: A Proclamation to the World states solemnly, but profoundly, the metaphysical realities of our existence and the clear doctrine of God’s family. It cannot be stated more clearly. “Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God…”.
The agency we have been given is from the same God that proclaims his eternal plans for the family. It is the purpose of these commandments and revelations to guide our human agency back to heavenly parents. The use of our agency has always been predicated on the laws give to us by the divine. We are free to disobey, but will pay the consequences for our sins and transgressions. When faithful Latter-day Saints use their moral agency to legalize what the Lord has deemed immoral, they are fundamentally using agency contrary to the laws given them. Fighting vigorously to allow others to choose immorality is fighting to allow those individuals’ agencies to lead them into bondage. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the gospel of Christ to be alive and well within their religion, and strive continually to let that knowledge and light shine to the world. Making legal what God has deemed immoral diminishes the light given to those saints who pursue it. It is the responsibility of these people to uphold righteousness wherever it is to be found. Agency can not be made a crutch for the justification of immorality. Latter-day Saints must support moral law at all times, and in all things, and in all places. Only then can our free agency help us find and take the strait and narrow path back home.