I often find myself in conversations with people who advocate against legislating morality in an attempt to “preserve the agency” of others. They say, “I would never do [xyz wicked things], but it’s not my place to make it illegal for others to do it. We should preserve their ‘agency’ and let them choose on their own whether to indulge in those acts.” I understand the logic of the argument, but through my studies I have come to strongly favor legislating morality.
In summary, I’ve learned that agency is the power God has given us over the bodies that He created, owns, and maintains by His priesthood power. Agency could be compared to keys to someone else’s car. We’ve been given the keys but we are in no way free to do whatever we want with that car, although once we have the keys we have complete control over how it will be used. God hasn’t given us the rights or permission to sin, but He gave us the power to do so. If God gave us the right to sin and then punished us for sinning, he would be unjust and would cease to be God.
A much more comprehensive discussion on this topic will soon be posted and linked here. In the meantime, here are some great quotes that have helped me to come to this position. (Update: I have found so many incredible quotes on this subject its overwhelming to try to either use all of them in an essay or to neglect to use any of them, so here’s the link to my archive of quotes while I work on the essay.)
LDS General Authorities
President Boyd K. Packer
“Life is meant to be a test to see if we will keep the commandments of God. (See 2 Ne. 2:5.) We are free to obey or to ignore the spirit and the letter of the law. But the agency granted to man is a moral agency. (See D&C 101:78.) We are not free to break our covenants and escape the consequences.”