I have news for you: fate doesn’t exist. It can’t in any conceivable way, if you believe in the LDS account of things. So, if you believe in fate, you are worshipping a false god.
Now here is my evidence. I am going to use some specific philosophical terminology to illustrate how fate is not a thing other than a false god that we try to worship to account for things happening in our lives that we don’t want.
In the church we seem to have a paradox: we believe in free agency, but we believe in a God that directs us. In philosophy, free agency is libertarianism (not the political group): we have complete control over our choice making, we are the stewards of our ship. The opposite of libertarianism is hard determinism. This is the belief that their is nothing we control, we can’t make any decisions, because everything is already scripted. For hard determinists, if one could build a machine complicated enough, all actions would be predictable because we are nothing more than the results of our wiring, nature, and nurture.
Many religions believe in a hard determinist God. He knows all, so we have no control over our lives, because God’s Will will win the day, so our decisions don’t matter because ultimately it is going to be God’s Will. There are many Mormons that believe this also, but the conflict is real for us. We believe in a God that is omniscient, so how can that work with free agency? If God knows the decisions we make, how are we making decisions?
It is, actually, quite simple. We believe in a good God, a fatherly God, who is a God of law and covenants. He only wants what is best for us, and He knows what that best is. He will try to instruct us and guide us to choose the options that will bring us the best, but we, having free will, still have the choice to make. He knows ahead of time what we are going to choose, but if we didn’t have his input, we wouldn’t know what choices there are to make. He can’t force us to make those choices, but He does allow us to suffer the consequences of those choices.
“What about things outside our control?” you may ask. Life happens, but how we choose to deal with it is still our choice. We may have things happen to us that are the result of other’s choices; this isn’t God punishing us or inflicting life on us, it is the result of that person’s liberty. Natural disasters are just that – no one’s choice, but we still have a choice in how we respond to acts of nature that impact us.
Some of us just chalk it up to fate. But fate is a false God, so it can’t be that. Fate is nothing more than the statement “Things aren’t the way I want them to be.”
So what is fate, then? Fate is the word we ascribe to account for the things that we believe God either inflicts on us, allows to be inflicted on us, or happens to us out side our control. Fate is the catchall blame for things that aren’t what we want. And therein lies the rub.
There are two states in our lives: what we want and what Heavenly Father knows is best for us. When what we want doesn’t go our way, we blame God or figure that we are fated to misery. This is what your false god Fate wants you to believe. It is convenient and easier to blame than our own responsibility. Sometimes what we blame as Fate is actually Heavenly Father trying to help us see what He wants for us. There are plenty of times we can look at some experience and say to ourselves “This is not what I want! It is not what is best for me! I am fated to suffer for the rest of my life.” Then, on retrospect, and with the lens of time, we can see that had we not been “pushed” into a situation that we didn’t want, we never would have appreciated the result, grown from the experience, or been available for something that was so much better than we could have ever imagined for ourselves.
To say we are fated to misery and suffering because life doesn’t go our way is not only an affront to Heavenly Father, is not just a lack of gratitude for His participation in our life, but it is contrary to scripture and His nature. “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25) does not have an asterisk that points to a list of those this doesn’t apply to. Except, in verse 27, it does say that there is one who wants you to suffer: he is your adversary. If God wants you to have joy, and the adversary wants you to suffer, then who is the father of the false god Fate? You know the answer.
You could try and counter with “But the scripture says ‘might!’” Yes, it does. But it isn’t Heavenly Father saying you might have joy, it is “might” because of your choices, including those where you blame fate. Because of your insistence on telling God what your life should be. You will have joy, but it is only might because you have to choose to submit to His will, accept the life you have with gratitude, and try to hear His will for you. Then the “might” becomes a “will.”
I knew I needed to be in Austin, TX, and I didn’t know why. I have been here for over 5.5 years now, and NOTHING has gone right for me. Can’t get hired, can’t get my business going, can’t find stable income: no stability at all. I could blame fate that I am just never going to be stable, because I never have been, so I am fated to a life of misery. But then I have these pesky scriptures that tell me otherwise. So what is the deal? Well, what I want is to stay in Austin, but now I see the wisdom of the Lord. What is best for me is to be near my kids. Had anything gone right for me here, I would have put down roots and not thought about moving to Arizona so I could be nearer to my children who are now moving to Nevada this summer. I believed Austin was the best for me, God knew that it wasn’t, so I was frustrated in everything – EVERYTHING – I tried to accomplish, except two very important things. I am not fated to be miserable, I am blessed to have the freedom to move easily to a place where I can be closer to my children. Now I know why I needed to come to Austin – it was the only place that had the ward that I needed to get right with heavenly Father again. There is another reason as well, but that has yet to resolve, but for now, I have accomplished my mission here. I had the best experience I could have in Austin, and Heavenly Father knows this.
I have never had less, but I have never felt so much joy in my life, either!
And now it is time to go.
I still have my free agency, but now I have learned that sometimes what we call fate is actually heavenly Father trying to get our attention, trying to say “Hey, I know what’s best! Please listen!”
If you are blaming fate for where you are in life, you are probably focused on where you want to be and not where Heavenly Father knows will be best for you to be. All you have to do is choose to align your will with His, and you will have joy in your life. It isn’t easy, but wow, is it worth it.