- Jesus, who exercised His agency to sustain Heavenly Father’s plan, was identified and appointed by the Father as our Savior, foreordained to perform the atoning sacrifice for all. Similarly, our exercise of agency to keep the commandments enables us to fully understand who we are and receive all of the blessings our Heavenly Father has—including the opportunity to have a body, to progress, to experience joy, to have a family, and to inherit eternal life.
In order to exercise our agency, we need to make sure we have clear guidance on how to use that agency properly. Elder Hales encourages us know the doctrine of Christ that is taught in the church. This will keep us focused on the ultimate goal of following Christ in a world who's values change often.
- To keep the commandments, we need to know the official doctrine of the Church so we are not diverted from Christ’s leadership by the ever-changing whims of individuals.
Whatever your circumstances in life, it is not too late to return to following Christ. Don't give up. You can choose to follow Christ again.
- The blessings we enjoy now are because we made the choice to follow the Savior before this life. To everyone hearing or reading these words, whoever you are and whatever your past may be, remember this: it is not too late to make that same choice again and follow Him.
Elder Hales points out four things that we need to rely upon and protect as Latter-day Saints.
- There are four cornerstones of religious freedom that we as Latter-day Saints must rely upon and protect.
- The first is freedom to believe. No one should be criticized, persecuted, or attacked by individuals, or governments either, for what he or she believes about God. It is very personal and very important.
- The second cornerstone of religious liberty is the freedom to share our faith and our beliefs with others. As parents, full-time missionaries, and member missionaries, we rely on religious freedom in order to teach the Lord’s doctrine in our families and throughout the world.
- The third cornerstone of religious liberty is the freedom to form a religious organization, a church, to worship peacefully with others. The eleventh article of faith declares, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
- The fourth cornerstone of religious liberty is the freedom to live our faith—free exercise of faith not just in the home and chapel but also in public places. The Lord commands us not only to pray privately but also to go forth and “let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father which is in heaven.”
Elder Hales reminds us that we are responsible for preserving our religious freedom for ourselves and those who will follow us.
- We are responsible to safeguard these sacred freedoms and rights for ourselves and our posterity. What can you and I do?
- First, we can become informed. Be aware of issues in your community that could have an impact on religious liberty.
- Second, in your individual capacity, join with others who share our commitment to religious freedom. Work side by side to protect religious freedom.
- Third, live your life to be a good example of what you believe—in word and deed. How we live our religion is far more important than what we may say about our religion.
Elder Hales is a prophet of God. I may not understand all that is happening in the world to remove our religious freedoms but I know that as a seer, Elder Hales has more insight than I do. To me, helping to preserve our freedoms is an act of faith on my part. I need to become more informed and join with others to stand for our religious rights. I believe that God sees something bigger is happening in the world and is asking His apostles and prophets to stand up and fight for the basic eternal principles of agency. If the world reduces our freedom to follow Christ, we will miss out of may blessings that are ours today.