According to Mormonism, can Mormons be saved?

Do Mormons have forgiveness?  I mean as a Mormon following the Mormon scriptures–assuming for the sake of argument, they are true.  Mormonism is a works based faith, requiring obedience to a divine law in addition to a faith in the God which it claims. The answer is an astounding…doesn’t look like it.  According to the LDS own literature, it appears the members of the LDS cannot be saved.  I am not examining it as an outsider looking in claiming the religion is false; but taking what Mormon’s would claim is true it turns out no one qualifies for forgiveness.

Moroni 10:32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. (emphasis mine)

Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, p.164: “Trying is not sufficient. Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon sin.”

2 Nephi 25:23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do(emphasis mine)

2 Nephi tells us that we are saved by grace only after all we can do.  Mormon readers, have you done all you can do.  Have you really done all you can do?  Assuredly, you have tried very hard.  However if there was ever a sinful moment where you knew you were doing wrong, or for that matter committing any sin that is avoidable is not doing all you can.  2 Nephi tells us we are only saved after all we can do, so if you have not done everything in your power to refrain from sin you are not saved with the grace of God. The Book of Mormon does not say ‘after you try as best you can’ it says after all you can do then God’s grace is sufficient.  I am not sure I have tried all I could do in any endeavor, there was always more I could have done.

Alma 11:37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.  (emphasis mine)

From the Book of Mormon, Alma states we are not saved while we continue to commit sins.  Anyone continuing in any sin not completely conquered will be kept from inheriting the kingdom of heaven.  That should be a scary thought to any Mormon.   Mormon, is there any sin you are still battling, any sin whatsoever? If you are honest you will have to answer yes. (If you are an honest man I should be guaranteed a yes)  This passage alone should be enough to concern a Mormon about their position with God.

1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.  (emphasis mine)

This is the passage which ought to put the nail in the coffin the previous passages led up to.  This passage tells us God does not command anything you cannot do. If He commands it you have the ability to obey, He will prepare a way which enables you to keep His commandments.  If God tells you do not lie, this passage affirms you are able to keep from lying.  If you lie, even seemingly insignificant lies, you are still in sin, and cannot be saved. A Mormon telling you he is trying and having difficulties is in opposition to his own scripture which tells him he can refrain from sin, any sin.  If he is sinning, then he must not be doing all he can do.

Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 1: 31-33 For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven; And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.  (emphasis mine)

D&C teaches if you do not repent, the Lord will take from you the light you have. You will be turned over to the darkness you were once in if there are sins of which you have not repented.

Pearl of Great Price: Moses 6:57 “Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for No unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence.”

This passage explicitly states if you have not repented you will not be saved.

Sealing the fate of the Mormon is the words of Spencer Kimball, former president of the LDS.  Kimball’s teachings are more than mere suggestions. Like the Pope speaking Ex Cathedra, a President’s teachings cannot simply be dismissed.

Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, p.164: “Trying is not sufficient. Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon sin.”  And from p.8: “The Lord will not translate one’s good hopes and desires and intentions into works. Each of us must do that for himself.”

Spencer W. Kimball, Repentance Brings Forgiveness (tract): “The forsaking of sin must be a permanent one. True repentance does not permit making the same mistake again.”

Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, p.16: “And let us not suppose that in calling people to repentance the prophets are concerned only with the more grievous sins such as murder, adultery, stealing, and so on, nor only with those persons who have not accepted the gospel ordinances. All transgressions must be cleansed, all weaknesses must be overcome, before a person can attain perfection and godhood.”

Spencer W. Kimball, Repentance Brings Forgiveness (tract): “If the sinner neglects his tithing, misses his meetings, breaks the Sabbath, or fails in his prayers and other responsibilities, he is not completely repentant.”

So in essence, you can only be saved if you deny yourself all ungodliness, trying is not enough.  Neither a stray thought, nor an errant deed is acceptable.  God will only save you after all you can do.  If you have not done it all to the 100% best of your ability, you are not saved by God’s grace.  God cannot save you if you are still in sin.  God gives you the ability to obey any commandment He gives, therefore if you are not in obedience for any reason it is your shortfall, and thus you have not done all you can do, likewise you are still in sin and thus cannot be saved. 

Every sin counts, trying and good intentions are not enough; additionally by committing the same sin after repenting you prove you are not repentant; if you neglect anything you should be doing, you are unrepentant, and thus you will not enter the kingdom.  Mormonism does not allow any room for error, I often wonder how many members of the Church of Latter Day Saints have pieced together the requirements for salvation according to their system.  I do not know anyone who can fulfill the rigors of the Mormon scheme of salvation.

Comments

  1. But what if a mormon repents at the last moment? Few hours before he/she dies or even days? How can one sin during last waking hours? Would that not redeem a mormon? Is it actually not a rather far stretching christian tradition to save the remorse to the last moments of christian life, to be pure at the momet of death in order to reach Heaven? Basicly this just goes to show how unlogical all religions are at heart. Most have a lot of “mumbo jumbo” in them, because most of the religions are so old they have had time to collect contradicting doctrines along centuries. Like for example the New Testament contradicts much of the Old Testament, yet those parts of Old testament that are overruled in the New Testament are commonly used as a basis for christian moral values. Mormon faith is relatively new, and even it has allready managed to reach a state where one chapter of scriptures overrules another. (As pointed out in the article.) Are we pharisees even to discus such minor details?

    • Unfortunately the Mormon Scriptures say that if you keep sinning after repenting you were never truly repentant. By extension if someone repented on their death bed, they have obviously been living in continual sin (hence the need for repentence) and their repentence is not genuine. Also by committing the same sin after repenting, all your sins come back, it really places a Mormon in a no-win situation.

      • I am not wery well informed about mormons, altough I have met their missionaries on the street and did have an interresting conversation with them. Why do you think, mormon religion is built like the way you asses it? Why do you think anyone would want to believe in a religion that does not offer heaven? Why would anyone choose it from all the religions of the world? Or is it just the case, that they do not know their religion well enough?

        It is interresting how many religions are based on the idea that a person should choose from among religions and be saved by choosing right. Yet, how many people in the world actually have any idea of all the religions or how many even know the fundaments of their own faith.The system is somewhat unfair towards all those people who did not happen to be born to the right lot or even cultural niche. For choosing right seems all the more harder for them, while those guys born to the right sect get more or less a free ride. How do people know, if they have made the right desicision between all the thousands and thousands of religions anyway?

        • I don’t think Mormons put it all together, its not like the passages are all right in a row. This kind of thing happens when it is purely an invention of man. If I am not mistaken, Mormonism requires tithing, if its not required, it is highly “suggested”. So in this case any Mormon not tithing is sinning. Its all just a way to keep them “in line” with the church. All works based religions tend to suffer from this.

          • Which religions then are not inventions of men? How, can that be determined? They all seem like that to me. I mean that gods may exist, but do they require religions to back them up, if they are actually gods? How many religions have been based on a god actually presenting itself and creating a religion? I have never heard of any. It is always some men, who claim to be divinely inspired and soposedly to have had encounters with the supernatural.

            • Man made religions tend to be either self contradictory making them impossible to be true, such as polytheistic or pantheistic religions. Or those like Mormonism which bring sex, money, and or power. Mormonism has all three + being henotheistic (a form of polytheism). Religions which demand obedience to a leader or head of the organization.

              Christianity is based on God presenting Himself and fulfilling the requirements of Judaism. But all religion is, is an organized articulated set of beliefs, rites, and rituals. People have some aversion of religion, there is nothing wrong with it per se.

              • How do you mean pantheistic religions are contradictory? Do you have an example? They seem to be mostly free from all doctrines. Doctrines usually produce contradictions like with your example of mormonism and in christian churches in general. Most christians in the world also belong to a sect, that demands obience to the leader of the sect (the pope or a pathriach or even an archbishop, or a president in case of mormons, a leader who defines the morals and correct behaviour of the faithfull) and churces also collect money to support a priesthood. So, in general terms christianity falls under your assession of a man made religion. Christianity is often rather restricting in moral issues of sexuality, but this behaviour has also led to so many cases of twisted abuse. Denying sexuality does not remove it from a person. So, how does certain kind of sexual behaviour define religion not to have been made by man?

                Christianity does not differ from other religions in the way a god has presented itself. There are scriptures of a son of god to have appeared among men and performed miracles in the same way as Heracles son of Zeus, or hindu avatars, or the ancient rulers of Egypt that were thought to be sons of gods. And among other examples Odin sacrificed himself just like Jesus did. So, what is the exact difference?

              • Youre right, Catholicism has a Pope to whom Cathilics are accountable, and the RCC system is set up to where Catholics are accountable to a local priest via confession. I put Catholicism, as it stands today, in the same catagory as Mormonism. The RCC, I believe, has apostacized to the point where official RCC teaching is contrary to the Bible they claim as authoritative. Also there is a difference between having a figure (the Pope or priest) to whom you are morally accountable, and having a belief system (or God alone) to which you are morally accountable. Christians will/should hold themself accountable to the moral teachings of Jesus/God, not their local pastor or leadership of their official denomination.

                Does Herecles’ appearence have a “lineage” of witnesses, such as the NT? In the NT Jesus appeared to the disciples as an actual man in history to actual men in history. These men in hostory can be traced back by people who knew them, they all had others who were taught by them, and so on. Herecles and other “gods” histories all start, “long ago in a far away place” for example. I also do not see from the couple resources I just looked up similarities between Odin and Jesus.

              • What is RCC? Do you see most christians actually as part of man made religions? Most christians in the world are part of either the roman catholic or orthodox churches. The anglican and lutheran churches to name but few larger “reformed” churches do have ecclecial organizations that define what is the official way of morals and worship to their members.

                Heracles is a mythical figure much like Jesus. Heracles is much more ancient than Jesus, and has more mythical attributes and less eyewitness stories, but no less than say Moses. The pharaos of Egypt are historical characters and many of them much more ancient than Moses. If having more historical evidence of a personified god makes a god incarnate more believable in religious terms, then the pharaos are much more believable than Jesus. If being historical character makes a son of god more believable, than is Satan a historical character, and if not why should anyone believe in him?

                Odin had himself nailed on a tree. Much like Jesus he made a sacrifice of himself. Both did know they were not going to actually die while committing themselves to the act. Odin had generations of mighty historical men descendant from him in a straight line. There are some sagas that tell common men meeting Odin. If you do not doubt the common men telling how they met Jesus the son of a god, why would you suspect the eyewitnes stories of much later sources, when commoners met Odin? In adition many historical warchiefs told Odin appeared to them. Similar stories are found in many panteistic religions and of several gods.

  2. In the dictionary, one of the meanings of the word “after” is “in spite of” which makes sense in the context of 2 Nephi. Nephi’s people needed to realize that the “law” cannot save them “in spite of” all of their efforts to serve Jesus Christ. The same is true for us. Our efforts will never be sufficient to save us without the Lord’s grace. But, if we conscienciously strive, Christ will be with us in our striving and ultimately, though His grace and our imperfect efforts, we can be saved.

    • Here’s the thing, we arent quibbling over some Greek or other foriegn language to be translated into english. Smith wrote the BoM in English, so had Smith meant “in spite of” that phrase was available. Another problem is the BoM is described as the most perfect book ever written (even with its 3000+ revisions). But unfortunately your suggested understanding of “in spite of” doesn’t work because the next two verses read:

      24And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we akeep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.

      25For, for this end was the alaw given; wherefore the law hath become bdead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

      And a few verses earlier in verse 20 Smith claims to have written this plainly: “And now, my brethren, I have spoken plainly that ye cannot err.”

      These are references to the Law and keeping the commandments. Mormons are kind of stuck on this one. Additionally, no Mormon Prophet has ever “clarified” this passage to mean anything other than grace after you try your best. So if Smith spoke plainly so that no one will make a mistake, it seems his choice of “after” to mean “in spite of” causes problems in itself”. In fact every time the issue is talked about, ie radio interviews and such with Mormon apologists, the passage is reiterated as meaning “grace after you try your best”

  3. No, verses 24 and 25 actually strengthen the interpretation of “after” as “in spite of.” What is being said is that the Law of Moses is unnecessary to salvation and, once you understand Christ and his mission, the Law is not even very useful, since it only existed to get people’s minds ready to accept Christ. However, even though they had an advanced understanding about Christ before he was even born, they chose to continue to follow the Mosaic Law until it was formally fulfilled in the Resurrection of Christ. I think this is much like Christ choosing to be baptized (because it was a commandment and he wanted to set a good example for those who were watching him), even though he didn’t need it for his own progression.

    As to your argument that using “after” to mean “in spite of” is an example of non-plainness, there is another instance in the Book of Mormon where “after” clearly means “in spite of”–Alma 10:5, which immediately follows Amulek’s description of his religious heritage, which had failed to make him a believer:

    “Nevertheless, after all this, I never have known much of the ways of the Lord, and his amysteries and marvelous power. I said I never had known much of these things; but behold, I mistake, for I have seen much of his mysteries and his marvelous power; yea, even in the preservation of the lives of this people.”

    Amulek is not saying that he knew about the ways of Lord in his early days and afterward did not–he’s saying that he has always resisted the Lord, IN SPITE OF having descended from righteous ancestors and seen God’s power manifest all around him.

    One could as easily argue that because the word “after” has at least two very different meanings, a book that is supposed to be very plain should never use the word at all–that it should use the phrase “subsequent to” to mean that something follows something chronologically or a cause and effect relationship, and “in spite of” in the other cases. However, the Book of Mormon states from the first page that it might well contain actual mistakes because of the imperfections of the humans involved in its writing or translation (“And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men”), so believing that the use of “after” in this scripture is not mistaken, but merely potentially ambiguous when taken out of context, is well within the Book of Mormon’s claims about itself.

    • @ Marie

      Thank you for your thoughts on the interpretation of “after”. Unfortunately, even if I made no argument around that verse, official Mormon literature and statements from authoritative Mormon officials make it clear, absolute moral perfection is required, and salvation is a combination of doing good and having faith. The forgiveness of sins is only possibly attainable if one does their best to obey.

  4. Yes, that has been said by “authoritative Mormon officials.” However, the interpretation of the scripture has changed over time–the current interpretation has only been put forward by Church leaders in the Church General Conference since 1956. Before that, the scripture was used in General Conference to support the doctrine that our efforts to serve God are nothing and that it is grace that saves us. Before 1956, 2 Nephi 25:23 was used as supporting scripture in talks that spoke of works as being evidence of grace working in our lives, and made more powerful by grace, but not as being what saves us.

    If the “in spite of” interpretation of “after” were to be returned to en masse by the General Authorities of the Church, it would not be the first time that leaders acknowledged error and changed course. They do not claim to be infallible, and given how uncommon the other meaning of “after” is in the modern age, it’s an entirely understandable misinterpretation to have crept in part way through the 20th Century. Also, Mormons are taught that they are accountable to see individual guidance and confirmation of the words of the Prophets. So if I am correct that the dominant interpretation of this scripture is incorrect, that doesn’t mean that Mormons have been betrayed by their faith. They have simply failed to use all the tools at their disposal in approaching truth.

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