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Agency and joy


In the next world, we will finally receive what we have persistently desired and chosen during mortality (Alma 29:4).  Individually, we will have made so many incontestable, on-the-record choices.  The final outcome, therefore, will be perfectly just, and all mortals will so acknowledge (Alma 29:4; Mosiah 27:31).  In effect, we will receive the degree of joy we have demonstrably chosen and which we have developed the capacity to receive…
Only in the framework of faith in God’s mercy and justice can we ponder the interplay of agency and joy so central to God’s plan.  Of necessity, God’s gift of agency operates in the context of genuine alternatives among which we choose.  This is a condition fully consistent with God’s plan of happiness.  Without the very important condition of agency amid alternatives, life would be an undifferentiated “compound in one” (2 Nephi 2:11).  God’s creations would then be without real purpose, and His plan would certainly not be worthy of being called the plan of happiness.
Sadly, many of us use the grand gift of agency to choose things in conflict with obeying the first commandment.  Hence, Peter tells us whatever overcomes us, we are in “bondage” thereto (2 Peter 2:19).  Only divine truth obeyed makes us eternally free, just as Jesus said (John 8:32). 
At the end of the “day of this life” (Alma 34:32), which includes our making choices in the spirit world awaiting the resurrection, God will have done all that He can to persuade us to chose maximum happiness and joy (D&C 138).  With the final and full chance to accept the gospel in the spirit world provided “to all the spirits of men,” the Lord of the Vineyard can ask the unanswerable question, “What could I have done more?” (D&C 138:30, Jacob 5:47).


Neal A. Maxwell, Whom the Lord Loveth—The Journey of Discipleship, pp. 123-25

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