Saturday, November 27, 2010

Agency and Consequences


I LOVE this picture. I laughed out loud when I first stumbled across it. To me, this cartoon is so completely ironic and 100% exemplifies the overall attitude of today's society. Before I continue, keep in mind that this post is not about the moral issues of abortion although for the record I oppose abortion except for rare circumstances that can be discussed at another time.

Society would teach you that you can act as you will and then also choose your own consequences. If someone opposes that mentality, he or she is being "ignorant," "intolerant," "narrow-minded," or "judgmental," and is acting with little or no regard to others' rights and feelings (see Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life.)

The reason this picture is so ironic is because the focus is completely off. The artist would have the viewers believe that a pregnant girl has no choice but to have her baby even if she doesn't want it because the "pro-life" advocates won't let her exercise her agency and choose to have an abortion. "NO CHOICE: You're having that baby!" No choice? What about her choice to engage in activities that got her pregnant in the first place? If she didn't want a baby and he didn't want to pay child support, why did they get together and make the choices that put them in that unfortunate predicament? If you don't want to harvest the crop, don't plant the seeds! Everyone absolutely has a choice whether or not to have a baby in less-than-ideal conditions: don't do the things that put you in those situations! The choice is as simple and as black and white as the cartoon heading this post.

Do not get caught up in the details irrelevant to the principle at hand. My understanding is that abortion during the first two trimesters of pregnancy is legal in all states including South Dakota. All of that is irrelevant. The real point is, the consequences for our actions are set and often well-defined whether or not we choose to learn about them beforehand. If you do not want to deal with a specific consequence such as bearing a child, then choose not to act in a manner in which such an outcome is possible. And if you make a decision with adverse consequences, own up to your actions--don't play the victim and blame another party.

On a different note, if you make a wrong decision, there is a way back. There is always a way back. Yes, you will have to endure some suffering--the road to repentance is not easy and always means work, but it is always worth it. The Savior of the world is your personal Savior. He loves you and desires your happiness. He does not forsake us when we sin and forsake Him. He is always there to welcome us back with arms outstretched. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught this of repentance:

Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance. Do you understand the consummate cleansing power of the Atonement made by the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer? He said, “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent” (D&C 19:16). In that supernal act of love, the Savior paid the penalties for our sins so that we might not have to pay. "Cleansing the Inner Vessel," Ensign, Nov 2010, 76.

We are instructed sufficiently, we are free to choose, and all things are given us which are expedient unto man to make good decisions. We are, "free according to the flesh to choose liberty and eternal life, . . . or to choose captivity and death" (see 2 Nephi 2:5,27). The way is clear, the path strait and narrow. Some choices we make enable us to use our agency more freely and some choices we make inhibit our use of our agency. Repentance is open for all who desire to return to God. Ours is always the choice to come back. You are never too far gone.

I love the Savior and am so very grateful for His Atonement.

Jeremy