The First Argument Against Free Choice
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe in the Pre-Existence: the concept that we existed as spirits living with Heavenly Father before we had bodies here on Earth, and that we chose to come here (to Earth) while we were still in the Pre-Existence. Heavenly Father desired that we would be able to progress, but because we lived with Him and had no challenges, we had no way to learn and grow. We were stagnant. Therefore, two plans were presented. The Savior’s Plan (the Plan of Happiness, the Plan of Salvation), was the plan Jesus Christ presented to Heavenly Father before a great Council in Heaven. His plan was that He would, at the Father’s will, form a world where we (the spirits in Heaven) would come to obtain physical bodies. This world would be susceptible to entropy, and therefore would exhibit all kinds of disorder, and present us with all kinds of choices that we could make. If we so chose, we would be able to return to Heavenly Father. Because none of us would be able to be perfect in such a fallen world, we would need a Savior…which would be Christ the Lord.
Lucifer presented another plan. He thought the Plan of Salvation to be a ridiculous plan. I can imagine the argument now…
Lucifer, in a grandiose manner and in the most persuasive language imaginable, presents his case before the spirits in Heaven (all of us). He argues vehemently, “Brothers and Sisters, this Plan of so-called “Happiness” is preposterous! Do you realize that this plan would mean that only SOME of you would be saved? Only *some* of you would end up choosing to return to Father! This is UNFAIR! Do you really think that some of you are less EQUAL than others? That you should be allowed to make such a terrible choice? It wouldn’t be your fault, of course! You would be subject to a lifetime of trials and tribulations! Some of your lives would be absolutely miserable!
Take this man, for instance,” picking one out of a crowd, “he would be born addicted to crack. He would never know his father. His mother would die when he was twelve. He would live in a slum with meager rations of food and drink, and because of malnutrition and lead poisoning, and being ignored for all of his youth, his brain would be underdeveloped. He would never amount to anything, living off of charity and welfare his entire life. He would become addicted to drugs and live in a cardboard box under a bridge, until he died of exposure on a cold winter night, at thirty-two years old. Do you *really* expect *this man* to choose this plan of “happiness”?? And even if he did–do you *really* expect, once he was down there in *those* conditions, that he would actually choose to follow the Lord? The Lord who put him down in these conditions? The Lord who allows some people–like this man,” he picks another out of the crowd, “to live in a high-rise apartment in Manhattan, making $4 million a year, while others, like this poor man, die in filth and despair?” He would implore the crowd again, “Brothers and Sisters, I have an alternative! Send *me* down to this Earth. I will guarantee *every single one of you* will be able to return to the Father.” And then he would turn to the Lord and say, “And because of this, I would be exalted far above the Most High, considering that my plan is FAIR, and treats everyone EQUALLY, and guarantees success!”
Quite an Argument
Lucifer’s argument won over 1/3 of the Host of Heaven. A great war ensued, and the 3rd who chose Lucifer’s “guarantee” over the Father’s “choice” were cast down, never to inherit a body, never to get the experience of life, but instead to accompany Lucifer (who was now Satan) as demons, to torment and tempt mankind to do bad things. Lucifer thinks in doing so that he’s recruiting souls to his side for a great battle that will occur when Jesus Christ comes again, and banishes Satan for good. And to some extent, he is–those who choose to follow Satan instead of the Lord are under his command. But that is only true for those who choose to follow him. All others are tempted and tried by him, but are not controlled by him, and these temptations and trials are the exact thing that we came down to this Earth to experience in the first place, so we could learn and grow. So Satan doesn’t even realize he’s being used.
But Lucifer’s argument is quite an argument, to win over 1/3 of the Host of Heaven, who KNEW Heavenly Father was the Most High, and that none could be above him. And this same argument is repeated even to this day, eons later. You’ve heard it. It’s the same argument Progressive politicians make when they try to tell you that you’re not capable enough to choose your own future. You can’t choose that soda–it’s too big. You can’t choose that salary–it’s too small. You can’t choose that healthcare, it doesn’t cover enough. You can’t make your own way without us–we’re the only reason why you’re able to succeed. And you can’t get through challenges in life–they’re too hard. Let us take them away from you. It’s not fair that he makes more than you. It’s not fair that he had more when he was born than you had. Let us make it fair.
A very enticing offer. And one as old as time itself (literally). Security in exchange for liberty.
The Lord is Destined to Win
The Adversary is stronger than ever in our day. He has had eons to strengthen his arguments, and they sound more enticing than ever. He has utilized our own compassion in a sick way to pull at our heartstrings, and willingly give up our freedoms in exchange for–not even our own, but *others’* security! He has twisted charity from its beautiful original meaning of willingly giving of oneself to help others, to mean the compulsory theft of goods from someone deemed “more fortunate” and redistribution to someone deemed “less fortunate.” He has twisted faith from its original definition of the evidence of things unseen to a harmful, silly, illogical leaping before looking. He has twisted hope from its original meaning of knowledge that the Lord lives and loves us, to the concept of “bigger clingers” who look forward to the imminent destruction of the Second Coming while clinging to guns and religion in the face of hard times.
The Adversary’s will for us is that we will be miserable like he is. That we will lose the opportunity to live with Father forever in Heaven, like he did. He will do anything to make that a reality for us. He is smart and cunning and has no love for you, and no care for how much he may hurt you and your eternal progression.
But he will lose. He’s destined to lose, and he has lost at every turn in history. He seems to win here and there, like the King of Babylon won when he went up against Israel and raped and pillaged and destroyed all that was precious to them. But the Lord let him know very clearly that he was only able to do what he did because the Lord lifted his finger of protection from Israel, due to their iniquities, and that when that finger was replaced, the King of Babylon was going to be squished like a bug. And he was. Charity never faileth. Good always prevails. Even if it takes till the end of time, as the Scriptures repeatedly tell us, when the Savior comes and conquers Satan for good.
A Warning for Our Time
The Scriptures are filled with examples of the Adversary’s instruments (like the King of Babylon) being crushed by the Lord, and those who trust in the arm of flesh being destroyed. Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Beware of the ways he will entice you to give up your freedom with things that seem to bring temporary happiness. Remember that the Lord is the Most High, and although His path is difficult, it will be worth it in the end.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, Amen.