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"Our accountability to God, as our Father and Creator, is one of the most basic lessons of the gospel. Likewise, the assumption of responsibility for our own actions is one of the strongest indicators that we are becoming more like Him. We cannot develop ourselves spiritually by blaming another for our condition. To do so would be to deny the Atonement of Christ, which purchased our spiritual independence from the effects of Adam’s transgression. In this light, it is only through the Atonement that we can truly stand accountable before God for our actions, thoughts, and deeds. Were it not for the Atonement, as Jacob teaches, 'the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration' (2 Ne. 9:7)." — Dennis B. Neuenschwander, "The Path of Growth," "Ensign," Dec. 1999, p. 15
"All of us influence one another by doing good or evil. We can be a good example or a poor one. Ultimately we must all answer to the Lord." — Robert D. Hales, "Return with Honor," "Ensign," June 1999, p. 12–13
"So many of the poor decisions we make we want to blame on others. Some of us come from backgrounds of difficult circumstances, but we can do our utmost to learn from these experiences and determine not to repeat them in our own families. We must strengthen ourselves so we will not give in to impulsive behaviors and then blame others. Ultimately, we must come to the conclusion that we are responsible for our actions regardless of what circumstances we find ourselves in." — Robert D. Hales, "Return with Honor," "Ensign," June 1999, p. 13
"No matter how many stocks and bonds or how much land and other properties we possess, they are not wholly ours. They are the Lord’s. He further says that he owns and gives to us all the blessings we have and that he makes us stewards over them, responsible to him. He makes it clear that it is his purpose to provide for his Saints, but he requires that it be done in his way, which way, he explains, is for those who have to contribute to those who have not. Having made us stewards, he gives us our agency, however, and then lays down the condition that if we accept these blessings and refuse to contribute our share for the care of the poor, we shall go to—well, he tells us where we shall go." — Marion G. Romney, "Fundamental Welfare Services," "Ensign," May 1979, p. 95–96
"Spiritual maturity is understanding that we cannot blame anybody else for our actions. Some factors may make it harder for us to perform according to God’s plan for us, but being accountable for how we use our agency means being answerable for our own behavior." — Elaine Cannon, "Agency and Accountability," "Ensign," Nov. 1983, p. 88–89
"Confession helps us take responsibility. Confession is a statement of personal responsibility for our actions. The battle over responsibility is a familiar one, and it reaches back far into the past even before our mortal existence. To Moses, the Lord revealed that Satan 'sought to destroy the agency of man' (Moses 4:3). What is the agency of man but the right to make choices within a framework of opposition and the assumption of responsibility for those choices? The Lord has made it clear that through the Atonement of Christ, 'the children of men... have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon' (2 Ne. 2:26)." - Dennis B. Neuenschwander, "The Path of Growth," Ensign, December 1999, p. 15
"If righteousness is judged primarily by the degree to which one responds to programmed activity, then a condition develops within which opportunities for progress decline. The resulting tragedy affects the mortal potential of man and has a profound effect on his eternal possibilities as well.
"Programmed behavior cannot produce the level of spiritual development required to qualify one for eternal life. A necessary range of freedom and self-determination is essential to one's spiritual development. With an understanding of correct principles and an intrinsic desire to apply them, one must be motivated within himself to do many good things of his own free will; for, as the revelation says, the power is in him wherein he is an agent unto himself (see D&C 58:27-28)." - Dean L. Larsen, "Self-Accountability and Human Progress," Ensign, May 1980, p. 77
"From a careful review of the Lord's own methods in teaching and influencing others, it appears that he has always been greatly concerned about helping people to become accountable. His teaching is designed to give both knowledge and understanding. He has set a perfect example. And he has always honored the agency of men. When it has been necessary for him to reprove and correct, he has done so openly and directly, but always with the intent to help and to lift—never to bring honor or attention to himself, nor to bring lock-step, blind obedience to his will. The Lord does not exercise unrighteous dominion.
"Following this pattern, it would seem that we must use every opportunity that comes to us to share with others the truths we have about life and its purpose. The Lord's charge to Ezekiel that we referred to earlier is evidence of this. Additionally, we must continue to encourage and guide and assist with patience and meekness, not to serve our own needs nor our own objectives, but with an eye single to the glory of the Lord and the blessing of his children." - Dean L. Larsen, "Let Your Light So Shine," Ensign, Sept. 1981, 24
"Just as each individual is accountable for his choices and actions in spiritual matters, so also is he accountable in temporal matters. It is through our own efforts and decisions that we earn our way in this life. While the Lord will magnify us in both subtle and dramatic ways, he can only guide our footsteps when we move our feet. Ultimately, our own actions determine our blessings or lack of them. It is a direct consequence of both agency and accountability." - Marion G. Romney, "The Basic Principles of Church Welfare," Ensign (CR), May 1981, p.90
"We are all accountable for our actions. My experience as a lawyer taught me that those who follow a life of crime frequently blame their father or mother or society when they are imprisoned. Yet they willfully chose to act 'contrary to the nature of God' and consequently are 'in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.' (Alma 41:11.) Some of them even claim, 'The devil made me do it!' The truth in that statement is that the devil entices us to do evil.(See Moroni 7:12.) The falsehood is because we have agency. The devil can't make us do anything we choose not to do. (See James 1:12–15; 4:7.)
"Snares and pitfalls can come to all of us, whether in our youth, middle age, or old age. As someone once observed, 'In youth we run into difficulties; in old age difficulties run into us.' (Josh Billings, in Evan Esar, ed., Dictionary of Humorous Quotations (1962), 36.) The increased permissiveness of our society will require us to hold very tightly to the iron rod of righteousness in order to receive the blessings and protection of the Lord. There is great danger in trifling with Satan's temptations. We will need to guard against all forms of evil all of the days of our lives." - James E. Faust, "Message to My Grandsons," General Conference, April 2007
I have come to appreciate the Prophet Joseph Smith more than ever before because of his monumental accomplishments as the founding prophet of this dispensation.
Of all the things I’ve come to treasure, I think the most important is the conviction that if we’re honest in heart and desire to know God, we can come to know Him and feel accountable to Him. We have the example of the Prophet Joseph Smith to thank for that. He modeled it, he taught it, and he held out the promise that we can come to know Christ also. That’s priceless to me. - Marlin K. Jensen, "There Shall Be a Record Kept among You," Liahona, December 2007
Whenever we willingly act with faith in Jesus Christ and take another step, especially an uncomfortable step requiring change or repentance, we are blessed with strength.
I testify that the Lord will guide us to—and through —our next steps. He will more than match our efforts with His power if we are willing to keep trying, repenting, and moving forward with faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. – Randall K. Bennett, “Your Next Step,” Ensign (CR) November 2015
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