Have you ever met someone who smells everything? Maybe you are that person… It runs in the family because I can name three very specific people in my family who have, on multiple occasions, reminded us all of their very sensitive olfactory sense. 😉
One of them is my son, Isaac, age 5. (age 1 in the picture below)
Pretty much, he experiences life by smell. When he was little, when I was baking, he wouldl say, “Can I have some of what that smell is?” But when the smell is not so pleasant, it ruins his day.
Near our old house, part of our walk went by a smelly, swampy bog. Even I would gag a bit. Isaac called it the Mist of Stinkyness. Whenever we would go on a walk, he would request that we not go through the Mist of Stinkyness.
Sorry pal, I would respond. Its the only way to walk up to the playground. #meanmom
As we walked through the Mist of Stinkyness on one particularly hot day, Isaac almost fainted he was so disturbed by the smell. In his most frustrated voice, he gasped out, “I WISH I didn’t have a NOSE!!!!”
A few moments later, with the Mist behind us, Isaac and I had a great discussion about the wonderful things we would miss out on if we didn’t have a nose.
Lehi taught his children the same thing:
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.
Before we came to Earth, Satan tried to throw a wrench into the Plan by insisting we ALL return to God…which sounds great until you read the fine print. He gets the glory for the good idea and we lose agency.
(I do always wonder how a son of the Morning could have suggested a change that was so obviously against what God believes in… I mean, couldn’t he tell Agency is –and always has been–an eternal principle?)
A life without a nose- a life without choices– then you’d never have to smell the Mist of Stinkyness again. You wouldn’t have to experiences the terrible bogs of humanity’s worst moments. You wouldn’t have to be disgusted by the absolutely vile swamps of mortality….
However, remember what #meanmom said? You can’t make it up the hill to the playground unless you pass through the Mist of Stinkyness. The awful part allows you later on the feel a deeper appreciation for the delicious aroma of fresh baked muffins…
Is braving the Mist worth it for the joy of the Muffins?
Here is the accompanying smore to study. Remember to start with a prayer!
S: (Prayer/Ask) How will an appreciation of Agency help guide my choices?
M: (Study) (be sure to write down thoughts you have as you read these quotes and scriptures)
- 2 Nephi 2:26-27 (This is a well known scripture. Keep yourself from scanning it by reading it out loud and thinking about each sentence before moving on)
And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they 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; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
- President Uchtdorf: (As you read this quote, think about how knowing what the Savior has done for each of us helps us choose His Path)
You have agency, and you are free to choose. But there is actually no free agency. Agency has its price. You have to pay the consequences of your choices.
Human agency was purchased with the price of Christ’s suffering. The power of Christ’s Atonement overcomes the effect of sin on the condition of wholehearted repentance. Through and by the Savior’s universal and infinite Atonement, all have been redeemed from the Fall and have become free forever to act for themselves
To those who believe anything or everything could be true, the declaration of objective, fixed, and universal truth feels like coercion—“I shouldn’t be forced to believe something is true that I don’t like.” But that does not change reality. Resenting the law of gravity won’t keep a person from falling if he steps off a cliff. The same is true for eternal law and justice. Freedom comes not from resisting it but from applying it. That is fundamental to God’s own power. If it were not for the reality of fixed and immutable truths, the gift of agency would be meaningless since we would never be able to foresee and intend the consequences of our actions. As Lehi expressed it: “If ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.”
- Are you grateful for the poor choices you’ve made in your life? Why?
- Think of a person in the scriptures who, like Satan, tried to convince another person or people to forget about Agency. Find their account and read through it.
- Why must Agency bring responsibility with it?
R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: How will an appreciation of Agency help guide my choices?) Also consider writing down the following:
- It is the Savior’s gift that allows Agency to be a precious thing for us rather than only something that will damn us. Write your testimony of the Savior’s Atonement in your journal.
- Find your favorite quote on Agency and copy it into your journal.
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: When faced with a hard choice today, say a prayer of gratitude that you have agency.
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