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Salvation in Mormonism

The True Meaning of Salvation

The Bible teaches a completely different kind of salvation than that which is taught by the Mormon Church and written of in the Mormon Scriptures.  The Bible teaches salvation by faith, while the Latter Day Saints teach two kinds of salvation.  One that is automatic and will be received by all, and one that must be earned through good works.

The Bible teaches that there are two groups of people on this earth; those who are saved now, and those who are perishing now.  Luke 19:10 tells us that "the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."  Whether or not someone is saved relates to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I Corinthians 1:18 says that for the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of god, meaning those who have not heard the message or do not believe are said to be perishing, while those who do believe and are saved now need not go through life wondering if they are saved.  Our faith keeps us saved, works do not.  The Bible also teaches that salvation is not automatic, nor is it universal, for it is only received by those who exercise faith.  Ephesians 2:8 and 9 says that grace is a gift from God, not to be earned through works.  Works alone only brings boasting.  God instructs us to do his work, and works will bring you reward both on Earth and in Heaven, but only faith will bring eternal life.

The Mormon church teaches two kinds of salvation, neither of which can be found in the Bible.  One of these kinds of salvation is an unconditional or general salvation which comes by grace alone without any obedience to gospel law and consists in the mere fact of being resurrected after death.  The Latter Day Saint believes that all people will automatically be resurrected from the grave.  This convenient belief down plays the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  They choose to believe in different levels of heaven or glory rather than in the existence of a hell, therefore the savior would seem to be of no real importance.

The second kind of salvation taught by the Mormon Church is a conditional or individual salvation.  This salvation also comes by grace, but requires gospel obedience, is based on works and consists of reaching a higher level of heaven, the highest being the Celestial Kingdom of God.

The Bible contains many verses on the subject of salvation, yet not one of them speaks of the two kinds of salvation taught by the Mormon church.  Luke 7:50 says, "And he said to the woman, thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace".  This verse could in no way refer to an "unconditional salvation", because it was received by faith.  Neither could it be a reference to "conditional salvation", for it was spoken to a woman who had just repented of a sinful life.  Another example comes from Acts.  In the sixteenth chapter verse thirty-one, we are told by Paul to "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."  H could not have been referring to "unconditional salvation" because that kind of salvation comes to even those who do not believe.  And, he could not have been speaking of conditional salvation, because that requires much more than just believing.  Romans 10:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved".  This verse rules out the Mormon definition of salvation, because "unconditional salvation" is received without being requested, and "conditional salvation" certainly is not based on the simple asking in faith.  So, you can see that the Bible teachers one kind of salvation.  One that is given freely to those who ask, and given by a God of grace who sent his son for the very important purpose of covering our sins with his shed blood.

Even the Book of Mormon itself contradicts this false teaching on salvation in Alma 11:40, which reads, "And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else."  This verse from their own book equates eternal life with the kind of salvation that comes by believing; the same kind of salvation taught in the Bible.

The Mormon Church puts far too much emphasis on works.  They believe that faith alone will result in spending an eternity in a lower level of heaven, while works will take you to the highest level and to Godhood.  However, the Bible calls this way of belief foolishness in Galatians when Paul asks, "Are you so foolish?  Having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"  Again I would point out the importance of the cross.  If works were the only way to receive true salvation then what would be the purpose of the sacrifice that was made on the cross.  The Bible teaches that good works will follow true salvation, not the other way around.  "For we are his workmanship, created in Jesus Christ unto good works."

Often times in talking to Mormons, James 2:20 will come up and the question will be asked, "How can you believe faith alone will save you when this verse says faith without works is dead?".  In this piece of scripture, James is simply instructing the Christian as to how he should act in front of  a non-believer.  A Christian performs his works not for his own illumination, but so that others may see Christ in him, and be convinced that he is real.  II Corinthians 5:17 says that if any man be in Christ he is a new creature and old things are passed away.  Genuine Christians do not want to continue to live in sin.  They have died to sin and all things become new.  This is not to say that Christians won't sin.  God knew that because of our human nature we would.  That was his purpose for sending his son to die for those sins we commit.  We are not mice on a wheel running and working to get to heaven.  If we ask forgiveness for our sins, God forgives; if we have trusted our souls to the Lords keeping, then god takes the responsibility to get them to heaven.  We are promised this in Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Joseph Fielding Smith says one obtains salvation by following laws and ordinances, but Paul has this to say about laws in Romans 3:20, "For by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin."  The Bible also says that Jesus Christ came to make peace by abolishing the law and blotting out ordinances.  Ephesians 2:14 and 15 says, "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, event he law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace.  In Colossians Paul tells us that ordinance were blotted out and taken out of the way by nailing them to the cross.

It is commonly believed by Mormons that Christ's death was only an atonement for Adam's sins, thus supporting their belief that works are needed to be truly saved.  However, the Bible teaches that Christ is a propitiation for all who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24).  The Bible describes those who are saved as people who have confidence in Christ's finished work, rather than in their own works.  The sacrifice of Christ in our behalf is sufficient to save us.  Salvation is not a debt, but is given to us by a forgiving and loving God.  We don't have to be worthy of heaven as the Mormon Church teaches.  We only have to have faith.  Good works will follow as the fruits of the spirit become evident in our lives.