Selected Teachings on
Agency and Consequences

Dallin H. Oaks (Quorum of the Twelve)

According to eternal law, the consequences that follow from the justice of God are severe and permanent. When a commandment is broken, a commensurate penalty is imposed. This happens automatically. Punishments prescribed by the laws of man only follow the judge's action, but under the laws of God the consequences and penalties of sin are inherent in the act. "There is a law given, and a punishment affixed," the prophet Alma taught, and "justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment" (Alma 42:22). "And thus we see," Alma explained, "that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence" (v. 14). Abinadi taught that the Lord himself "cannot deny justice when it has its claim" (Mosiah 15:27). By itself, justice is uncompromising.

The justice of God holds each of us responsible for our own transgressions and automatically imposes the penalty. This reality should permeate our understanding, and it should influence all our teachings about the commandments of God and the effect of individual transgressions. ("Sins, Crimes, and Atonement," An Address given to CES religious educators, 7 February 1992, Temple Square Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah, pp. 1-2).

Boyd K. Packer (Quorum of the Twelve)

Natural and spiritual laws which govern life were instituted from before the foundation of the world [see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 308, 367]. They are eternal, as are the consequences for either obeying or disobeying them. They are not based on social or political considerations. They cannot be changed. No pressure, no protest, no legislation can alter them. ( "For Time and All Eternity," Ensign, Nov. 1993, p. 22)

Dallin H. Oaks (Quorum of the Twelve)

For every sin there is "a punishment affixed." (Alma 42:18; see also Amos 3:1-2.) [ "Sin and Suffering," Ensign, July 1992, 70]

Gordon B. Hinckley (First Presidency)

I repeat, each of us has a choice between right and wrong. But with that choice there inevitably will follow consequences. ("Reverence and Morality," Ensign, May 1987, p. 47)

Boyd K. Packer (Quorum of the Twelve)

In mortality men are free to choose, and each choice begets a consequence. ("Atonement, Agency, Accountability," Ensign, May 1988, p.71)

Richard G. Scott (Quorum of the Twelve)

Yes, moral agency allows you to choose what you will, but you cannot control the outcome of those choices. Unlike the false creations of man, our Father in Heaven determines the consequences of your choices. Obedience will yhield happiness, while ciolation of His commandments will not. ("How To Live Well Amid Increasing Evil," Ensign, May 2004, pp. 100-103)

Spencer W. Kimball (President)

Of course we can choose; the free agency is ours, but we cannot escape the consequences of our choice. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.195)


Men have free agency, as the Lord has made clear. They may do right or wrong but they cannot escape the responsibility of answering for their errors if they are normal individuals. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.159)