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What Salvation Means to a Mormon


This document explains how Latter-day Saints help to reconcile what they consider to be opposing views by Paul and James in regards to whether a person is saved by faith alone or faith + works.

Basically, in LDS theology, there are two definitions of salvation.

Salvation is the free gift of resurrection that Christ's atonement provides to everyone (whether atheist or faithful believer in Christ) so that they may have their spirits and bodies reunited after death to appear before God for judgment.

Another definition is salvation by grace (synonymous with exaltation to godhood). This is the context of the Mormon prophet in 2 Nephi 25:23 -

"For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do".

Tying together other LDS Church teachings from her teaching manuals reveal that the LDS version of Heavenly Father and Mother also had to progress from being a non-god/non-goddess into deity.

"Through a continual course of progression, our Heavenly Father has received exaltation and glory; and He points us out the same path ... we shall eventually come in possession ... of everything that heart can desire" (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, 3-4). See page 92 of "Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual - Religion 430-431.

"It will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave. This is the way our Heavenly Father became God" (Gospel Principles, page 305).

The Mormon version of Heavenly Father became God.

Achieving a "fulness of joy" is equating to reaching exaltation to godhood.

"We learned that if we placed our faith in him, obeying his word and following his example, we would be exalted and become like our heavenly parents. We would receive a fulness of joy" (Gospel Principles, page15).

"If we passed our tests, we would receive the fulness of joy that our heavenly parents have received. (See D&C 93:30-34)" (Gospel Principles, page 14).

The Mormon version of Heavenly Father and Mother received their fulness of joy through their parents (this would make them Jesus' grandparents for lack of a better term).

It is unclear from LDS theology who atoned for the sins of Heavenly Mother before she became a goddess.

In light of the two LDS teachings of what salvation means, it clearly changes the teaching of the following:

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved".

The LDS version of salvation has no one perishing but rather being delegated to the telestial, terrestrial, or two lesser heavens of the celestial kingdom.

The LDS version of eternal life is not for those who only believe in Jesus but to those who also work for exaltation to godhood. Eternal life is defined by the LDS Church as "the kind of life God lives" (Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, page 8).

This kind of life involves living in the highest division of the celestial kingdom, creating worlds, and procreating spirit children.

I find such a topic useful in my witnessing to Latter-day Saints for many new members do not know their church's teaching about God.



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