Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him .. And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies.

Moses 4:3-4.

Ezra Taft Benson:

The central issue in that pre-mortal council was: Shall the children of God have untrammeled agency to choose the course they should follow, whether good or evil, or shall they be coerced and forced to be obedient? Christ and all who followed Him stood for the former proposition—freedom of choice Satan stood for the latter—coercion and force. The war that began in heaven over this issue is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer’s primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments.

BYU devotional, Tuesday, 16 September 1986.

David O. McKay

I come with another theme this morning – Two Contending Forces. Those forces are known and have been designated by different terms throughout the ages. ‘In the beginning’ they were known as Satan on the one hand, and Christ on the other. In Joshua’s time they were called ‘gods of the Amorites,’ for one, and ‘the Lord,’ on the other. Paul spoke of ‘the works of the flesh’ on the one hand, ‘fruits of the spirit’ on the other. They are often spoken of as ‘selfishness’ for one, ‘life of service,’ the other. In these days, they are called ‘domination by the state,’ on one hand, ‘personal liberty,’ on the other.

H. Verlan Andersen. Many are Called But Few Are Chosen, Chapt. VIII – BYU Devotional, May 18 1960.

Ezra Taft Benson:

It has been fundamental to our way of life that charity must be voluntary if it is to be charity. Compulsory benevolence is not charity. Today’s egalitarian are using the federal government to redistribute wealth in our society, not as a matter of voluntary charity, but as a matter of right.

This nation shall Endure p.91.

Howard W. Hunter:

We know from both ancient and modern revelation that Satan wished to deny us our independence and agency in that now forgotten moment long ago, even as he wishes to deny them this very hour. Indeed, Satan violently opposed the freedom of choice offered by the other, so violently that John in the Revelation described “war in heaven” over the matter. (Rev. 12:7) Satan would have coerced us, and he would have robbed us of that most precious of gifts if he could: our freedom to choose a divine future and the exaltation we all hope to obtain .. To fully understand this gift of agency and its inestimable worth, it is imperative that we understand that God’s chief way of acting is by persuasion and patience and long-suffering, not by coercion and stark confrontation.

That We Might Have Joy, pp. 77-78.

Lorenzo Snow:

In things that pertain to celestial glory there can be no forced operations. We must do according as the Spirit of the Lord operates upon our understandings and feelings. We cannot be crowded into matters, however great might be the blessing attending such procedure. We cannot be forced into living a celestial law we must do this ourselves, of our own free will. And whatever we do in regard to the principle of the United Order, we must do it because we desire to do it .. The United Order is not French Communism.

Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, p. 346, 349-350.

Henry Grady Weaver:

Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of man kind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own… The harm dome by ordinary criminals, murderers, gangsters, and thieves is negligible in comparison with the agony inflicted upon human beings by the professional ‘do-gooder,’ who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others—with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means.

Cited by Ezra Taft Benson. Conference Report, October 1968. The Proper Role of Government.
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