Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Elder David A. Bednar on acting as agents in our own progress

Elder David A. Bednar (born June 15, 1952) was serving as the president of BYU–Idaho when he was called and sustained as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2004.
“Worldly influences would hinder use of our agency afforded through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  But we are agents who can act, and that affects everything in terms of how we live the gospel in our daily lives. It affects how we pray, how we study the scriptures, how we worship at church. There is a difference when one goes to a sacrament meeting essentially as an object waiting to be acted upon—‘Feed me, give me something’—as opposed to worshiping in sacrament meeting as an agent where you are acting—asking, seeking, and knocking."
- David A. Bednar, training shared with Church members in Europe, September 2011
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Elder Bednar provides an interesting insight into the world's influence on our lives and actions: the world strives to hinder or limit our agency. As we are "caught up" in the philosophies and activities of the world, we gradually lose ability to act as agents to ourselves. We must always resist that limiting influence and strive to retain our agency to the fullest possible, as we act according to God's plan for us:

So much depends on how we approach the opportunities and settings in our lives! Specifically, Elder Bednar suggests that we will be blessed as we actively seek to take control of our own growth and learning, "asking, seeking, and knocking" as we attend meetings or in any other setting. Good reminder!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)


  1. Counsel here has yet to translate into local practices, in most wards and stakes in Utah, Idaho, etc., especially in Orem. Much more rhetoric than practices, people are expected to meet the social criteria of their neighbors , if they want to be included and supported, especially if there’s any on the ground help needed, very telestial perspectives and habits and the delusions of celestial behavior, it’s mind boggling. Talking the talk but not walking the walk.

    1. Especially in Orem? That is not my experience in Orem, where I have found many humble and faithful saints, striving to serve and minister faithfully.

      The main point of Elder Bednar's comment is that we are all individual agents, responsible for our own decisions and directions. That agency allows all of us to fall short. But the real question Elder Bednar would have us ask is not how the people around us are doing in this effort (we are all falling short), but how *I* am doing in the effort. Each of us is responsible for our own progress along the path of discipleship, and that is what matters most.


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