Agency is an essential doctrine that's been spoken on widely by Church leaders across decades of General Conference talks. But have you ever wondered what women have specifically said on the topic? Here are seven quotes from female Church leaders about agency:
1) Sister Elaine Cannon, former Young Women general president, spoke in the October 1983 General Conference about how agency relates to spiritual maturity:
"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."
2) Sister Aileen H. Clyde, former second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, spoke in the October 1992 General Conference on how making choices builds confidence:
"My whole hope in speaking to you about gospel knowledge of our individual importance to our Heavenly Father and our Savior is that it will build our confidence in our own ability to make good decisions that will help us grow spiritually. Some people want a strong authoritative voice to say, 'Do this' or 'Do that.' Some want God to tell them exactly what to do before they risk anything. … When we are converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ we become both humble and courageous. Our conversion strengthens us greatly in our decision making."
3) Sister Patricia P. Pinegar, former Primary general president, spoke in the April 1994 General Conference about the importance of choosing to believe:
"Choosing to believe is an important step in increasing our faith in the Savior. It has to be our choice. No one can make that choice for you."
4. Sister Sharon G. Larsen, former second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, spoke in the October 1999 General Conference on how agency is both a blessing and a burden:
"Agency is the power to think, choose and act for ourselves. It comes with endless opportunities, accompanied by responsibility and consequences. It is a blessing and a burden. Using this gift of agency wisely is critical today because never in the world's history have God's children been so blessed or so blatantly confronted with so many choices."
5. Sister Anne C. Pingree, former second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, spoke in the October 2003 General Conference about choosing to put the Savior first:
"It is a glorious doctrine to me that we can choose to give Christ all our heart — that we can choose to put our Savior and Redeemer at the center of our heart. In each of us, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ can be 'written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.' We chose to follow Christ in our first estate. What joyful news it is that we can choose Him each day during our sojourn on earth."
6. Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, former Relief Society general president, spoke in the October 2003 General Conference on the topic of choosing between many good things:
"Like all of you, I have to choose. We all are trying to choose the good part which cannot be taken from us, to balance the spiritual and the temporal in our lives. Wouldn't it be easy if we were choosing between visiting teaching or robbing a bank? Instead, our choices are often more subtle. We must choose between many worthy options."
7. Sister Elaine S. Dalton, former Young Women general president, spoke in the April 2013 General Conference about how agency is part of the plan of happiness:
"In these latter days, there are no small decisions. The choices you are making right now are of critical importance. Agency, or the ability to choose, is one of God's greatest gifts to His children. It is part of the plan of happiness you and I chose and defended in our premortal existence. Live your lives in such a way that you can listen to and hear the Holy Ghost, and He will help you make correct decisions."