Agency makes life on earth a test period a time for people to show their Father in Heaven whether they will do all that He has commanded, said Elder Wolfgang H. Paul of the Seventy.
Today's society perpetuates the idea that freedom and happiness come when people do what they want, what is pleasing and fun, and what matches their individual desires.
"Our Heavenly Father has given us a better concept," Elder Paul said Saturday afternoon. "It is His great plan of happiness, which gives us real freedom and happiness."
The Book of Mormon teaches that men are free to choose liberty and eternal life or captivity and death, Elder Paul said. "When we came into this world, we brought with us from our heavenly home this God-given gift and privilege which we call our agency. It gives us the right and power to make decisions and to choose. Agency is an eternal law."
In order to use agency, the Lord's children must have a knowledge of good and evil and the freedom to make choices. Consequences follow our choices, Elder Paul said.
"I have learned that as we obey our Heavenly Father's commandments, our faith increases, we grow in wisdom and spiritual strength and it becomes easier for us to make right choices," he added.
Jesus Christ, said Elder Paul, is the perfect example of the usage of agency.
"In that council in heaven, when the plan of our Father was presented to us, that we would have the opportunity to come to this earth and receive a body, the Beloved Son, who was the Beloved and Chosen of the Father from the beginning, said to the Father: 'Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.' "
Church members can use the same criteria: Instead of saying, "I do what I want," a better motto is, "I do what the Father wants me to do."
"It may well be that we have to make some of these choices when it is not convenient for us," Elder Paul said. "I have learned, however, that although the time is sometimes not convenient for our schedule, nevertheless, if we make the right choice, the Lord will take care of us in His own way, which at that time is not yet known to us."