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Rob Bowman

Earning Salvation

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Do Mormons believe they must earn their salvation? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Mormons you ask, and it depends on what you mean by salvation.

LDS Church doctrine distinguishes general salvation from individual salvation. General salvation means that everyone will be resurrected from the dead and given

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a person must have both faith and good works

that pesky bible always supporting the mormon teachings

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Do Mormons believe they must earn their salvation? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Mormons you ask, and it depends on what you mean by salvation.

LDS Church doctrine distinguishes general salvation from individual salvation. General salvation means that everyone will be resurrected from the dead and given

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The vast majority of your quotes involve quite notable leaders before they ever became president - the first one being George Albert Smith in 1950. It's been 60 years...

Wouldn't matter if those quotes are found in Church publications which are the standard for doctrine. Btw, didn't Paul essentially imply salvation is earned when he said he hadn't "apprehended" it yet in Philippians 3:11-14?

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Wouldn't matter if those quotes are found in Church publications which are the standard for doctrine. Btw, didn't Paul essentially imply salvation is earned when he said he hadn't "apprehended" it yet in Philippians 3:11-14?

Should we go over the whole Correlation story again?

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Do Mormons believe they must earn their salvation? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Mormons you ask, and it depends on what you mean by salvation.

So what?

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Do Mormons believe they must earn their salvation? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Mormons you ask, and it depends on what you mean by salvation.

Rob, it is true that LDS believe that faith is only present when accompanied by good works. We also believe that each individual will be judged by our works. Those works or lack thereof will be part of the manner in which we are judged and will assist in designating what mansion or glory we will attain. Jesus said in my Father's house are many mansions; LDS agree with Jesus that there are many mansions and each with their own glory. If there are no works, there is no faith. When there is a change of heart at the last hour, it is work enough to attain some degree of glory. These are all biblical teachings. Why would anyone believe differently?

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Do Mormons believe {doctrine}? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Mormons you ask, and it depends on what you mean by {doctrine}.

In my experience, associating with a given religion doesn't guarantee a fixed set of beliefs. Although there is a certain form of statistical uniformity (normal distribution?) in beliefs amongst LDS, there is also a definite standard deviation. Variations in doctrinal sources alone do not account for all this variation, and in fact I would wager that they account for far less variation than do individual differences.

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Really, what is the big deal? The scriptures state that all that believe are saved, but then they also say all will be judged by their works.

I have heard Evangelicals say that there are stages of salvation, and rewards will be different for different people in heaven.

Really, what is the difference?

You use the term "salvation" in the EV world, but it does not translate well into the LDS world.

The simple fact is: that we can do nothing of ourselves to "earn" salvation. It is only through the atonement of Christ that our actions or works have any value. All blessings that are given are predicated on obedience to the laws they are based on.

Very simply put, if we can abide the Celestial law we can enter the Celestial Kingdom. If we can only abide by the Terrestial law , then it is the Terrestial kingdom. And if we can abide by neither of those laws, then it is the Telestial kingdom.

We rise as high as we allow ourselves under the laws of heaven, but then again, it is only because Christ has given us a way to do so.

Whether or not we can abide by a certain law means obedience to it.

All this fuss about LDS earning our way into heaven, is something those that don't understand LDS doctrine try to prove, and all it does is show they really don't understand.

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The issue here is what is meant by "earn salvation".

The traditional meaning, the meaning used by the scribes and Pharasees, is that we are saved solely by our own works absent the grace of God, and the atonement of Christ. We clearly do not accept that doctrine, as you well know, that we alone are able to work our way into salvation (for our purposes, let's use salvation to mean exaltation).

"Nobody can buy or give us salvation in our Father

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I had been engaging Rob specifically on this topic in the other thread, but (most likelyand quite understandably because of his recent health issues and time commitment concerns) he did not continue. I'll repost the moat relevant parts of the latest response I gave him in that thread. ( In addition, I also appreciated it, Rob, if you would be able to respond to the part omitted here back in the other thread, inquiring if my modified laying out of beliefs was accurate.)

You quoted a 2006 conference talk by Elder Richard G. Scott, but I think you missed something. Scott, like numerous other LDS leaders, affirms that we must earn our salvation. Immediately after the paragraph you quoted, Scott has this to say:

"The demands of justice for broken law can be satisfied through mercy, earned by your continual repentance and obedience to the laws of God. Such repentance and obedience are absolutely essential for the Atonement to work its complete miracle in your life. The Redeemer can settle your individual account with justice and grant forgiveness through the merciful path of your repentance. Through the Atonement you can live in a world where justice assures that you will retain what you earn by obedience. Through His mercy you can resolve the consequences of broken laws."

Please note the part I underlined. That is the substance of my point! Please read that in connection with my statements.

Scott goes on to argue, again as so many other LDS leaders have affirmed, that the grace of God simply makes up for our failings, as long as we have put forth our "best efforts" and done everything we can possibly do in the way of obedience:

"His mercy pays our debt to justice when we repent and obey Him. Since with even our best efforts to obey His teachings we will still fall short, because of His grace we will be 'saved, after all we can do'" (citing 2 Ne. 25:23).

I don't seem him saying that it 'simply' (which in context, I read you as intending 'merely' and 'only') makes up for our failings'. It does, however, further illustrate the effects of such grace.

You also quoted D&C 84:41, "But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come." You interpreted this to mean that as long as a person desires to obey Christ, he will attain individual salvation. However, I don't think this is quite correct. The point seems to be that those who break the covenant have no chance of restoration. You can argue from this text that those who simply fall into sin can be restored, in contrast to those who deliberately break the covenant and turn away from it, but that doesn't mean that all the priesthood-holder has to do to attain individual salvation is not deliberately walk away from his covenant. Rather, the standard LDS position seems to be that he must do everything he can, work as hard as he can, and be as obedient as he can, if he is to attain individual salvation.

Which is generally a manifestation of the desire. If one has a sincere desire, they do do all that they can, and each individual's capacity and visible manifestation thereon if different, based on their own unique circumstances. My best is not the same as someone's else's best. The covenants and ordinances are tools that empower us with the ability to increase the capacity of the nature of 'our best', and thus not only have greater joy in this life, but be of greater use to bettering the lives of our fellow man.

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For additional context, the above was a response to his response of this post earlier on:

I respect your right as an individual to believe whatever you believe, and to interpret LDS scripture any way you choose. However, I have to say that I don't agree that you have interpreted D&C 130 correctly, and I don't think most LDS leaders or teachers would agree with you, either. As I understand it, and as I see most LDS teachers explaining it, D&C 130:18-21 is a law to which everyone remains subject and has to do with how far each individual advances spiritually. The passage leaves no room, so far as I can see, for the explanation that Christ keeps that law on our behalf. That is a nice, evangelical-sounding way of explaining it, but it is not the customary LDS way of explaining it, and it doesn't fit the passage.

I was taking the principle of D&C 130, and applying it to the principles of Salvation. It appears the rest of my post, which explained what was meant by this, was un-addressed or misunderstood. It explains how the Atonement of Christ is what gives our actions value as 'merit'. the latter portion of the post is reproduced here with additional underlined emphases.:

Under Justification in the Covenant of Christ, our faults do not count against us as they would through the Raw Law of Justice. But through the Mercy of the Justification of Christ, the obedience that we do based on the grace given us in His name is counted to us as righteousness due to the grace of the merits of Christ working within us. Christ allows us to reap the benefits of our obedience that otherwise we would not deserve.

I will reference a 2006 conference talk by Elder Richard G. Scott, which I believe does a good job of placing this into context.

Each of us makes mistakes in life. They result in broken eternal laws. Justice is that part of Father in Heaven

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Quote mining at it's finest.

If you go back and give us the paragraphs surrounding all these, it would be very enlightening to this discussion.

I'm sure as Paul told the Philippians to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.", you'd appreciate the full context, eh? :P

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Rob Bowman produces a great list of quotes on half of the salvation issue by these people. I will not take the time this morning to get quotes on the exclusive ability of Jesus Christ to work the atonement which is the only way to even have a chance to "earn" one's salvation. But I have read from almost all of the authors on the list, and they believe that Jesus Christ's atonement was essential to our salvation. In other words, "earn" is a relative term when discussing our works, since salvation is impossible in the absence of the Atonement of Jesus.

To me, this is the tragedy of the EV attack on the LDS position. I wrote a brochure for my street "ministry" to anti-Mormons and critics many years ago outlining that the selective application of requirements for salvation by EV and others is highly inconsistent, to say the least. You cannot ignore the need for harmonization of identical terms (saved/salvation) being used in extremely diverse situations:

He who believes and is baptized, the same shall be saved (Mark 16:16)

He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matt 24:13, also Matt 10:22, Mark 13:13)

Jesus became the author of eternal salvation unto all them who obey him (Heb 5:9)

[Woman] shall be saved in child bearing, if [she]continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety (1 Tim 2:15)

[God] will have all men to be saved ( 1 Tim 2:4)

...he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:20)

"Moreover Brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain."(1 Cor 15:1-2)

10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Cor 7:10)

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.(Rom 10:9)

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: (Eph 2::P

5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)

18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1 Pet 4:18)

I think the point is easy to say. You can't logically maintain that you are saved solely by Grace, and ignore the need to endure, be holy, etc, which are given equal weight in scripture for the impact to salvation. Only a theology with embraces all of the elements which scripture requires for salvation could possibly be true, and even that could be in error if it is the work of man and not God.

It is easy to determine, however, which philosophies cannot be true based on what the measuring stick (scripture) defines as the elements contributing to salvation. Any philosophy which is "grace only", "faith only" or any other "only" is demonstrably false by simply appealing to the same source they attempt to cite for support. I however prefer to emphasize the positive, which is that only the LDS position embraces all elements of salvation taught in scripture, which is what I think you could easily demonstrate from the statements of these authors, if one were to actually read all of their writings. Funny no one accused them while they were living of not believing in Grace as essential to salvation. Well, not completely true, since when they were accused of such things (such as McConkie was), they did respond by teaching the essential role of Grace and the Atonement. It is just were are not an "only"-philosophy kind of Church, except about the Church.:-)

Peace,

Bob

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Wouldn't matter if those quotes are found in Church publications which are the standard for doctrine. Btw, didn't Paul essentially imply salvation is earned when he said he hadn't "apprehended" it yet in Philippians 3:11-14?
Should we go over the whole Correlation story again?

Why? It's not published by the Church. The article I link to in my siggy is though.

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Sevenbak,

I'm guessing that most Mormons here would have access to resources that will provide the context of these quotations. My post was quite lengthy as it was; providing larger amounts of context for each quotation would have made it much longer.

If you suspect that a particular quotation has been taken out of context, let me know which one, and I will provide the context. But I can assure you that none has been taken out of context.

Quote mining at it's finest.

If you go back and give us the paragraphs surrounding all these, it would be very enlightening to this discussion.

I'm sure as Paul told the Philippians to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.", you'd appreciate the full context, eh? :P

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a person must have both faith and good works

I would say it like this...

good works are a part of what faith is.

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Vanguard,

Not one man "speaking as a prophet" in the history of the LDS Church has ever denied that salvation must be earned. Most of the men who have served as prophet did their most extensive writing and speaking before they became the prophet; in several cases they held that office for just a few years. The fact that so many of the men who became the prophet taught that salvation must be earned, and that none who denies this teaching has ever become the prophet, is worth noting. So your point really doesn't have any relevance.

Thank you for the extensive list. As an aside, it has been some 60 years since anyone speaking as prophet actually made the claim that we can earn our salvation. The vast majority of your quotes involve quite notable leaders before they ever became president - the first one being George Albert Smith in 1950. It's been 60 years...

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Do Mormons believe they must earn their salvation? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Mormons you ask, and it depends on what you mean by salvation.

Do Evangelicals believe doctrine? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Evangelical you ask, and it depends on what you mean doctrine.

Do Methodists believe doctrine? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Methodist you ask, and it depends on what you mean doctrine.

Do Protestants believe doctrine? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Protestant you ask, and it depends on what you mean doctrine.

Do Catholics believe doctrine? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Catholic you ask, and it depends on what you mean doctrine.

Do Muslims believe doctrine? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Muslim you ask, and it depends on what you mean doctrine.

Do Buddhists believe doctrine? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Buddhist you ask, and it depends on what you mean doctrine.

Hummm. Strange how that is.

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There really is no need to argue with Rob on this, we really are in violent agreement, except that he wishes to paint a picture that makes it otherwise.

He creates something that he calls "general salvation" and another thing that he calls "individual salvation" when in fact we already have two words for this. We call it Salvation and Exaltation, and both are individual.

Because in Adam all die, even so in Christ all are made alive, This is individual physical death and individually being saved from death and resurrected. This isn't "general salvation it is individual and is called Salvation from death. Through sin all have died and through Christ all can be made alive. This is called Spiritual Death and Spiritual Salvation. We are not judged for Adam's transgression, but stand condemned because of our own sins. Through Christ we can put off our sins and be made pure before God. Eventually, "every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Lord" and all who obtain an inheritance in Heavenly Father's Kingdom will be purified and given that inheritance by Christ, whatever Kingdom of Glory they obtain.

Exaltation comes from following Jesus Christ who is our Redeemer and Judge. When we stand before Christ as He promised we will, we will be judged according to our works and given a reward by Him. This is attested in numerous parables and statements by the Lord.

Without Christ we could not obtain any Kingdom of Glory, we could not return to God at all. With Christ we can both return to God and become perfected, justified, and sanctified, and gain our exaltation as heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

- SlackTime

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Not one man "speaking as a prophet" in the history of the LDS Church has ever denied that salvation must be earned.

So?

Most of the men who have served as prophet did their most extensive writing and speaking before they became the prophet; in several cases they held that office for just a few years.

True, but irrelevant.

The fact that so many of the men who became the prophet taught that salvation must be earned, and that none who denies this teaching has ever become the prophet, is worth noting.

Not to me. It makes no difference as far as I am concerned.

So your point really doesn't have any relevance.

It did to me. :P

Can you show where that wording is used in LDS canon?

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It is easy to determine, however, which philosophies cannot be true based on what the measuring stick (scripture) defines as the elements contributing to salvation. Any philosophy which is "grace only", "faith only" or any other "only" is demonstrably false by simply appealing to the same source they attempt to cite for support. I however prefer to emphasize the positive, which is that only the LDS position embraces all elements of salvation taught in scripture, which is what I think you could easily demonstrate from the statements of these authors, if one were to actually read all of their writings. Funny no one accused them while they were living of not believing in Grace as essential to salvation. Well, not completely true, since when they were accused of such things (such as McConkie was), they did respond by teaching the essential role of Grace and the Atonement. It is just were are not an "only"-philosophy kind of Church, except about the Church.:-)

:P;)

The true gospel is like a beautiful musical piece. Which when played with all the notes properly, it inspires and lifts one to heaven.

It is not a single note monotonous din that quickly gets on your nerves.

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Without Christ we could not obtain any Kingdom of Glory, we could not return to God at all. With Christ we can both return to God and become perfected, justified, and sanctified, and gain our exaltation as heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

Not to derail but one Evangelical doctrine that doesn't make sense when compared with scripture is perfection.

According to the Evangelicals I've talked to... Christ has made those who are sanctified perfect forever. He did it all, and nothing can be added to his finished work by mans efforts.

This doesn't make sense...

If Christ already did it all... why have a clergy for the express purpose of doing something Christ has already done?

Eph 4

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Kind of redundent if you ask me. :P

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Do Mormons believe they must earn their salvation? The answer to this question is: It depends on which Mormons you ask, and it depends on what you mean by salvation.

LDS Church doctrine distinguishes general salvation from individual salvation. General salvation means that everyone will be resurrected from the dead and given

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SlackTime,

You wrote:

There really is no need to argue with Rob on this, we really are in violent agreement, except that he wishes to paint a picture that makes it otherwise.

How tiresome a claim this is. If we are in agreement, why on earth would I want to make it seem otherwise? For example, we both agree that Jesus rose physically from the grave and remains permanently embodied in his resurrected body of flesh and bones. I'm glad to note this point of agreement. I have no motive to manufacture disagreements where there are none.

You wrote:

He creates something that he calls "general salvation" and another thing that he calls "individual salvation" when in fact we already have two words for this. We call it Salvation and Exaltation, and both are individual.

The terminology was not mine; it was taken directly from LDS sources. For example:

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