"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression."
Principle: Because we are responsible for our own behaviors, we can create the outcomes we want through faith and action.
Principle: Because of God’s Atonement we can take action knowing that if we make mistakes, God is still there for us.
Application: Take action today for your own righteousness! Write down one area of your life you would like to see improved. A relationship, a calling, a habit, etc.
Area for Improvement:
Now write down three actions you can take toward that improvement:
Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.
(Bible Dictionary, “Prayer”)
Agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves. Agency is essential in the plan of salvation. Without agency, we would not be able to learn or progress or follow the Savior. With it, we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” ( 2 Nephi 2:27).
In our premortal life we had moral agency. One purpose of earth life is to show what choices we will make (see 2 Nephi 2:15–16). If we were forced to choose the right, we would not be able to show what we would choose for ourselves. Also, we are happier doing things when we have made our own choices.
Agency was one of the principal issues to arise in the premortal Council in Heaven. It was one of the main causes of the conflict between the followers of Christ and the followers of Satan.
The Lord has said that all people are responsible for their own motives, attitudes, desires, and actions. Even though we are free to choose our course of action, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. The consequences, whether good or bad, follow as a natural result of any choice we make (see Galatians 6:7; Revelation 22:12).
Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, all people live in a fallen condition, separated from God and subject to physical death. However, we are not condemned by what many call the "original sin." In other words, we are not accountable for Adam's transgression in the Garden of Eden. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression" (Articles of Faith 1:2).
Through the Atonement, the Savior paid the price for the transgression in the Garden of Eden (see Moses 6:53). He has given us the assurance of resurrection and the promise that, based on our faithfulness, we can return to dwell in the presence of our Heavenly Father forever.
D. Todd Christofferson
We should (and we do) rejoice in the God-ordained plan that permits us to make choices to act for ourselves and experience the consequences, or as the scriptures express it, to “taste the bitter, that [we] may know to prize the good.” We are forever grateful that the Savior’s Atonement overcame original sin so that we can be born into this world yet not be punished for Adam’s transgression. Having been thus redeemed from the Fall, we begin life innocent before God and “become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for [ourselves] and not to be acted upon.” We can choose to become the kind of person that we will, and with God’s help, that can be even as He is.
The gospel of Jesus Christ opens the path to what we may become. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His grace, our failures to live the celestial law perfectly and consistently in mortality can be erased and we are enabled to develop a Christlike character. Justice demands, however, that none of this happen without our willing agreement and participation. It has ever been so. Our very presence on earth as physical beings is the consequence of a choice each of us made to participate in our Father’s plan. Thus, salvation is certainly not the result of divine whim, but neither does it happen by divine will alone.
(D. Todd Christofferson, “Free Forever, To Act for Themselves”, October 2014)
David A Bednar, “Things to Act and Things to Be Acted Upon”