“Men Should Use Their Agency to Do Good; the Lord Commands and Revokes”

Doctrine and Covenants 58:26–33

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.
30 Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments?
31 Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?
32 I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.
33 Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above.

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

“Today, as in the day when this revelation [Doctrine and Covenants 58] was given [on August 1, 1831,] for the government of Zion, men are expected to bring to pass much righteousness without being commanded in all things. The Lord has given us the great gift of agency, but He expects us to use this gift in His service. If we do good, we shall receive the reward; if we obey the covenants we make, the promised blessings are assured. If, however, we break these covenants and do not abide in the law of God, then we have no promise and the blessings shall be withdrawn. The fact that covenants are sealed upon our heads does not entitle us to the blessings except we abide by the law upon which these blessings are based [see D&C 130:20–21]. There may be many disappointments to those who have not, in faithfulness, kept the law.”

(Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 1:213–14.)

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