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Radio Free Mormon: 179: The Illusion of Agency

How do LDS Church leaders get the members to do what they are told, while at the same time telling them they are free to choose?  RFM digs into the heart of this fascinating subject!


9 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 179: The Illusion of Agency”

  1. Wow RFM, well postulated as usual, you may have to leave your day job and do podcasting full time instead. My goodness.

    If I wanted to start an argument and play the devil’s advocate I could make some points in favor of the spirit of the restored gospel… with the end in mind that if we turn away from Godly things we are certainly condemning only ourselves through our own choices by stunting our spiritual and even economical growth no matter what religion or path you choose in life. This is the spirit of the prosperity gospel.

    Bad boy oh boy you make some very compelling arguments that I would like the leaders of the church to answer to.

    1. Thanks, David!

      What I typically hear is people saying that you can choose to step off a cliff, but you can’t choose the consequence of falling.

      Which is true as far as it goes.

      On the other hand, if you want to give a person a free choice about whether they want to step off a cliff, you have to remove the “falling” aspect.

      (I think God would know this.)

      Especially when what we are told is that if we step off a cliff now, we won’t fall now, but we will fall sometime after we are dead.

      You know, after we can’t prove that you will actually fall or anything.

      That is the part I have a problem with.

  2. Good episode RFM!

    I was reminded about how clearly explained and enumerated beforehand are all the covenants one is expected to make when one takes out their temple endowments.

    Oh-oh! My bad! Yep that one is sprung upon the unsuspecting — while pressure from the supporting family and on-looking friends is thick enough to cut with a knife.

    Blind-sided for sure. And we are talking about ETERNAL covenants witnessed by God and angels! as well as the session witnesses.

    But of course most ordinary people are fine with, and accustomed to, making consequential oaths without prior knowledge. Silly me for feeling duped!!

    1. I completely feel duped with the temple. It is coercion and per-pressure. Often in my conversations I am told that all the covenants in the temple are in the scriptures and I knew that before going in. Maybe it was but for some reason I’m supposed to intuit that. Not to say the lease it where in the scriptures is the penalties and then where is the revelation that they get taken out.
      Maybe you could also hit on the idea that we don’t really have a choice – we get duped into the garment so-called-re-framed-covenant. No doctrine for it. No scripture for it. No where do we get presented the requirement to always where it. Then 2 years later the questions do you always where them as you covenanted in the temple – wait what?

      Speaking of choices – binary reward / consequence is not a choice. Do you want to wear the Red Shirt or the Blue Shirt – that is a choice. Then the child says – the Green Shirt. then religion send the kid to hell for breaking the rules.

  3. Just an additional thought on agency: If something is so wonderful – something which will improve our lives spiritually and emotionally – why do we need to be tricked into trying it or accepting it?

    When was anyone ever deviously enticed into trying a warm cinnamon bun fresh out of the oven? The aroma alone should at least pique our curiosity.

    If something is good, shouldn’t that attractiveness be evident with just a smidgen of investigation?

    Why then must we be deceived in order to make commitments with eternal consequences?

  4. It’s only OK to Surrender your agency to God? WTF? That’s Satan’s Plan… But, that’s OK, cuz now Satan’s Plan has been rewritten by the modern church to be… “disobedience to god” (AKA, disobedience to Leaders, AKA Satan’s Plan…).

    So, either way you slice it, the church has declared itself and Leaders as Saintn’s Plan.

  5. In the podcast when you discuss the idea of the “sustaining vote” I’ve wondered if there should be a measure of culpability to each person who raised their hand in the affirmative for the sustaining, when it is discovered later that while in that position that church leader performed some type of abuse on children or women.

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