From the Mailbag (1/3/2008)

On your repentance page quiz, everything you said about mormonism was correct and redundant. As a mormon I agree with everthing you said, your argument isn’t an argument, it’s barely even anti-mormon. It’s basically mormon. Thanks for getting your facts right and not saying crazy stuff, except you interperted the quote from The Miracle of Forgiveness wrong. You took it out of context and you know it, don’t lead your readers astray. Please fix it.

P.S. I’m not complementing you, I just want you to know that it was weird, you’re trying to be against mormons but when I read your page, as a mormon I was like “ya, that’s right on, how is that weird?”

Thank you for your email to Mormonism Research Ministry. I’m glad you found The LDS Repentance Quiz to correctly reflect the teachings of Mormonism. I appreciate your concern over the quote you believe has been interpreted incorrectly; however, the Quiz quotes The Miracle of Forgiveness 6 different times. I’m afraid I don’t know which quote you believe to be taken out of context. I’ve looked up each quote from The Miracle of Forgiveness and don’t see anything amiss. Please let me know which quote you believe has been misused and we can discuss it further.

I’m sorry that you were confused when you read The LDS Repentance Quiz. Mormonism Research Ministry is not “trying to be against Mormons” as you have said. Rather, our purpose, as stated on our web site, is this:

Mormonism Research Ministry is a missionary/apologetics organization that was organized to propagate the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to critically evaluate the differences between Mormonism and biblical Christianity…

We at Mormonism Research Ministry resolve to accomplish the above in a manner that honors the Lord Jesus Christ. Our goal is not just to give compelling arguments that show Mormonism to be in error, but to be used by the Holy Spirit to see lives changed for God’s glory.

To that end, The LDS Repentance Quiz is not intended as an “argument,” but rather as a demonstration of the impossibility of a person being deemed truly repentant according to LDS requirements, which in turn results in the impossibility of a person receiving forgiveness of her sins — and salvation.Mormonism presents an “impossible gospel.” If I must rely on achieving sinlessness in order to be forgiven of past sins, if I must prove my repentance is sincere by never repeating my sin again (I can never “repent again”), if I can be reconciled to God only after all I can do (as stated in 1 Nephi 25:23) — and all I can do includes achieving perfection — it’s hopeless. Nobody ever reaches a point in their life when sin is no longer a problem. If the Apostle Paul couldn’t do it (Romans 7:13-24), who can? As the Quiz asks, “Why would you want to hold on to a system that only guarantees failure?”

The Bible presents a different Gospel than that found in Mormonism. The Gospel presented in the Bible says perfect righteousness is required by God; therefore, our hope for forgiveness cannot lie in our own inadequate, continually-in-need-of-repentance righteousness. Our hope for forgiveness lies in the mercy and faithfulness of Christ alone, which He offers freely to the unrighteous who approach Him in full awareness of their shame and their neediness (Romans 3:21-26; Philippians 3:8-10).

The Bible teaches that salvation (eternity in the presence of God) is based on the works and righteousness of Christ.

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

This is a good news Gospel. Jesus can and did perfectly keep all the commandments. By His mercy, He has applied His righteousness to all who trust completely in Him. Those “in Christ” are forgiven–based on the love, mercy, and righteousness of Jesus.

So, to answer your question, The LDS Repentance Quiz doesn’t endeavor to highlight anything “weird.” It focuses on a crucial difference between Mormonism and biblical Christianity (the Gospel) and invites readers to

“experience the ‘peace that passes all understanding’ by knowing all of your sins are forgiven! If you would like to have the assurance of forgiveness that has been enjoyed by millions of Christians for centuries, we would like to talk with you.”

Please let me know if you would like to talk about it.

In Christ,


About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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66 Responses to From the Mailbag (1/3/2008)

  1. Nathan16 says:

    Couldn’t have put it better, Sharon.

    To this person, the Mormon gospel (as far as I understand it, and I hope I understand it well) is simply impossible. We can’t earn our way to heaven, and I hope you learn this too. My challenge to you (if you wish for one) is to honestly examine your life according to God’s Word and seeing if you really are well on your way to perfection. Pay close attention to Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Consider the death that Jesus died for you, and honestly ask yourself, “Can I really pay Jesus back?” I pray that the Holy Ghost will guide you in this.

  2. falcon says:

    I think what the Mormon writer needs to understand is that Ev. Christians are very interested in getting it right as far as Mormon doctrine is concerned. We have no vested interest in getting Mormon doctrine wrong. When it comes to the doctrine of salvation there are distinct differences between what Mormons and Christians believe. If there is any mischaraterization of doctrine I think it’s on the Mormon side when we hear the mantra that “Christians believe you can do whatever you want and still go to heaven”. I believe that’s a deliberate misrepresentation of the Gospel of Salvation by grace through faith.

  3. fistfullofsteel says:

    And once again, we approach a misunderstanding about the church. It seems you guys are bent on the idea that LDS believe it is by our works that we are saved. THIS IS NOT TRUE. We can never do enough of ourselves to be saved, no matter what we do, we need the Savior. If it weren’t for his suffering in Gethsemane, his death and resurrection, there would be no hope for any of us. Now does this mean all I have to do is recite a simple prayer, and I am saved?
    Matthew 7:21-24

    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”

    We believe the bible when it speaks plainly to us. Take heed, and give an ear to this precept, for it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do.

  4. falcon says:

    OK so here we have the “we believe the same as you” explanation from one of our Mormon friends. But right at the end of the explanation I read “after all we can do”. We’ve been down this road before with our Mormon friends. What is it you plan to “do” anyway to get saved. I believed and got saved. My good works aren’t going to get me saved. My works are a result of my salvation not a cause for my salvation.

    Just for clarification, the price for our sins wasn’t paid in the Garden of Gethsemane. And by the way, saying a prayer to get saved won’t be effective unless the person has faith.

  5. Jacob5 says:

    First of all, can we all agree that religion is there because people sin. And can we also agree that Christ was the only perfect person. That being said, doesn’t Christ admonish us to perfect as God is(Matt. 5:48). This does not say that we are to be completely sinless. Only one Man has ever accomplished that. So then, why say “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” if the fact is we are far from it.
    One might say that the LDS view of salvation is an imposibility. But remember this that we always teach that repentance as a standard principle of our faith. Do we say that being sinless is the only way to enter into the Kingdom of God. Yes we do. But that is to say that we must be incapable of sin to accomplish this. This is a part of our existence. We sin, and it was because of this our Heavenly Father gave His only begotten Son to make the ultimate and eternal sacrifice.
    The type of perfection we can achieve in this life is that of a progressive perfection. That in all things we may not be perfect, but we can be perfect in part. When we follow the steps of repentance for our sin, then, even after we may yet sin again, we again repent, we must make an effort to stop the cycle, and yes we must have an eventual success, a defeat of that temptation that brings the sin in the first place. But it is when we stop making the effort, that is when we fall out of the proper course of perfection.
    So for all of you who doubt the true meaning of this teaching in the LDS church, remember that Heavenly Father created us all so we can become perfect, eventually, through constant effort, but that even with all that, we would have gotten no where if it weren’t for the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. So on the one hand our works alone will not save us, but on the other hand the One that will save us still says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

  6. Nathan16 says:

    I’m sorry. I’m afraid you’re missing the point of “Be ye perfect.” There’s no progression implied in this at all. When a mother says to her child, “Be good,” does she mean, “Become progressively better until I find your behavior satisfactory”? No, she means “Be good now”. When a businessman says, “Be on time,” does he mean, “Become progressively more punctual until you are on time”? No. He means, “Be on time from now on.” Same with “Be ye perfect”. God is demanding perfection now. Are Christians perfect? They are made perfect: Hebrews 10:14: “For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Jesus perfects us, we don’t perfect ourselves. So when you think of progressive perfection, remember that Jesus demands instant perfection.

  7. falcon says:

    If I have my Church history correct, Martin Luther made his break-through when he began to understand what the righteousness of God was all about. He came to understand Romans 1:17, “the righteous shall live by faith”, didn’t mean that he had to be righteous in order to live by faith. In his own mind, he could never measure-up, on his own, to such a standard of righteousness. He finally understood that God gives us righteousness. Luther saw this in Psalm 72; it is the righteousness or strength or wisdom of God, it is that with which we are wise, just, and humble, or by which we are judged. Luther said “At last, meditating day and night and by the mercy of God, I…began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith….Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through gates that had been flung open.”

    Let it be known that you too can have this righteousness based on who God is. God loves us so much that He imparts His righteousness to us as a free gift through His Son Jesus Christ.

  8. fistfullofsteel,

    Let’s just say for the sake of argument that the LDS Church does teach that you are saved by your works. What would that look like?

  9. fistfullofsteel says:

    EvidenceMinistries, I have a feeling you are setting me up for something :), what have you read concerning the LDS church and being saved by works? Tell me what you’ve read or heard and I will be happy to explain. Otherwise I am not going to speculate on that subject because it’s not true.

    I will restate again what I’ve already said, LDS DO NOT BELIEVE THEIR WORKS WILL SAVE THEM. I believe in simply doing my best to follow Christ’s teachings and he will make up the difference. Don’t ever accuse me or any other LDS that their works alone will save them. It’s simply not true, and shouldn’t even be an issue. I am not trying to be a conformist, but am telling you how it is. Our articles of faith explain that we believe faith is the first principle of the gospel which leads us to repentance. Faith comes first, then repentance. If we have faith in Christ then we will obviously trust in his teachings, and show our faith by living his teachings. How is this so hard to understand? What’s wrong with living after the manner that Christ would have us live?

    “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is farm from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” Mosiah 5:13

    To come to know Christ we must live after the manner he has taught us. If I don’t live Christ’s teachings, I can’t expect to come to know him. For instance when Christ tells me to pray for my enemies, and I don’t pray for my enemies, then how will I ever know if that actually helps? I will never know unless I try to do as he has taught. But if I do pray for my enemies, then I start to see why he has given us that teaching, and furthermore, I understand the words of Christ more fully.

  10. falcon says:

    “I believe in simply doing my best to follow Christ’s teachings and He will make up the difference.”

    There’s where you have it wrong. Christ doesn’t make-up the difference. If you violate one law, you’ve violated them all, Paul states this so eloquently in Romans. We are dead in our sin. Not a little bit sick. Flat out dead. My understanding from what you’ve wrote is that you’re going to work and work to purify yourself and then if you get to about 3/4 righteousness Jesus makes up the 1/4 difference. After you’ve done all that you can, then Jesus finishes the job.
    Your system, as I understand it, is performance based in the hope of achieving righteousness. In Christianity we are declared righteous as a means of God’s grace through faith and acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Jesus’ sacrifice satisfied the requirements of the law. What I read from exMormons is a sense of relief when they come to understand this concept. It frees them from this constantly falling short of the mark and brings them peace and joy.

  11. jer1414 says:

    Fistfull said “LDS DO NOT BELIEVE THEIR WORKS WILL SAVE THEM”. Please clarify your terms and specify that the words “saved” or “salvation” in Mormonism mean “resurrection” to judgment of ALL mankind. So we are ALL “saved”, EVERY person, regardless of a persons faith (or lack thereof). Further, Mormonism teaches “eternal life” / progression to godhood are based on our works. So in Mormonism (as opposed to Christianity) they are vastly different ideas that need clarification to avoid misunderstanding. This may be why the phrase “saved by grace” in Mormonism can lead to misunderstandings. That is another topic – “grace” given “after all we can do” is an oxymoron. Grace is unmerited or unearned favor in the sight of God, which is explained in some of the above posts.

  12. Ralph says:

    OK, honest question to try and understand your way of thinking – If someone has accepted Jesus as their Saviour and said the sinners’ prayer (or what ever you need to do to accept Jesus), if they go out to parties and get drunk, or if they decide to move in and live with their girl/boy friend (in a married way, not flatmates) are they actually saved and can go to heaven?

    If that is what you believe how do you reconcile it with the scriptures –

    1 Cor 9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
    Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
    Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

    Just to clarify – fornication is sex before marriage.

    I do know quite a few “Christians” who believe that they can get drunk frequently and fornicate and still be saved. With the fornication, just as long as they are in a committed relationship they believe they are fine.

    So if you believe that these people are not saved then you do believe that some works are required to get into heaven whether you do it because you are saved (Ev) or if you do it because of your faith (LDS). If you believe that these people are saved because they believe in Jesus then you are contradicting the Bible. That’s how I see it, so can you please explain how you see it.

  13. fistfullofsteel says:


    Lets consider two dudes, Chuck and Bob. Chuck lives his life in complete sin, comitting adultery, murdering, lying, cheating, stealing, backbiting, etc. Bob on the other hand spends his days in the service of his fellow man, giving to the poor, taking care of the sick, etc.

    At the end of their days, Chuck has heard of Christ’s teachings before but never gave him much heed, but when death approaches, he proclaims his faith in Christ and his death on the cross. Bob on the other hand never proclaims his faith in this life having never been heard the gospel because he grew up in some third world small village. Tell me who has a better chance at the day of judgement? My answer is Bob, but I am curious what your answer will be. And I am not comparing Chuck and Bob to anyone, it’s simply a hypothetical question.

    For your information, I do not have a constant nagging feeling of falling short of the mark, but feel peace in my life when I am striving to live as I feel God would have me live. Mind you, I do not believe that makes me better than another, God is no respecter of persons.

    If you feel you are righteous I am happy for you. It seems you are done then falcon? Nothing left to do because you have declared Christ as your savior? I am troubled if you believe your work is now done, and you can live it up for the rest of your days in sin because you have faithfully declared Christ is your savior. On the other hand, if you declared Christ as your savior, and then strive to follow his teachings you are showing that you truly have faith in him(James 2:14-26), then you are doing the same thing I am trying to do. If that is the case, then maybe we are not so different after all. But if you believe you are righteous because of a confession of Christ, then you and I are very different, and also you do not understand the scriptures.

  14. Rick B says:

    LDS here claim their works do not save them, but then they turn around and say, people on their death bed cannot be saved since they denied Christ all of their lives then at the last minute believe in Christ. So it seems you then are saying, unless you did works you cannot be saved. Is that a correct view? Rick b

  15. Ralph says:

    RickB, the point to emphasise that you said is denied Christ all of their lives. I have answered this question a few blogs ago. The LDS believe that everyone will get at least one true chance to learn about and accept the truth about Jesus and His church. This chance can happen in this life or in the next (ie in the Spirit world before judgment day). If someone has had the chance to learn about Jesus and His church, decided that yes it was true but they were happy at the moment living their life the way they were and did not join the church, then they are fooling themselves if they think they can turn around on their death bed and repent. They knew earlier what they were supposed to do, but rebelled willingly against it.
    As for the thief on the cross which you always bring up, since I was not around at that time (despite what my children think) I don’t know his circumstances so I cannot judge him – but Jesus could. Maybe the thief did not have that chance to hear about Jesus before he committed his crime (remember Jesus started His ministry only 3 years earlier), but during his internment before crucifixion he learned about Jesus which is why he defended Jesus to the other thief and Jesus then said what He did. If this was the case, then it was not a procrastinated ‘death bed repentance’ but an actual conversion that occurred.
    So actually, “death bed conversion” is a possibility in the LDS church, and “after-death bed conversion” is also available. But procrastinated death bed repentance after willingly rebelling against God is not possible.
    Are you able to answer my question a few posts earlier?

  16. Nathan16 says:


    I know you adressed your question/analogy to falcon, but I think I (along with any Christian) can answer it. If “Chuck” truly repented of his sins, and wished they all had never happened, and looked to Christ for forgiveness, Chuck would be saved, regardless of what he did. Is Christ’s sacrifice not large enough to cover every sin that is truly repented?

    With Bob, it’s a lot harder to say. The Bible isn’t clear on this point (at least, not from how I’ve read it). I personally believe that if he believed and worshiped a Creator, and not any manmade/natural god, he would be saved. I don’t know.

    Now, with a person who lives a “righteous” life, but outright rejects the gospel, there’s no question. Isaiah says, “Your righteousness is as filthy rags”. If we stand in the rags of our own righteousness, we can never be saved. If we cover ourselves with the righteousness of Christ, and repent our sins, then we have eternal life, no questions asked.

    But let me put it another way. Say a man named David was on death row for a capital crime. Hours before his death, he converts, and his conversion is sincere. Would you say that he would go to the celestial kingdom? Then read Luke 23:39-43 and answer again. It’s the Thief on the Cross argument, if that already hasn’t been put forth.

  17. Danielle says:

    Good evening everyone,
    I am a Mormon woman (well I am not sure what I am at the moment.) I left the church aprox. 7 years ago. Then recently I started going again. Then I came across these websites…….
    I just wanted to say that I get both sides of the story. I believe that no matter what you do… Jesus died for you for a reason.
    Why is there an issue with the “good works” thing? I really just want to better understand what the confusion is about.
    To me all “churchy” people are trying to do good things for their churches, for their families, for the communities……… Because these things are good things (good works).
    I am new to this posting thing so please be patient with me.
    Thank you

  18. fistfullofsteel says:

    HankSaint I came to the same conclusion 🙂 Maybe I should have used some fancier names for my story, then he would have respected it more.. hah

    Nathan16, look at Ralph’s post, I feel pretty much the same as what he said.

    It would be extremely unfair if Bob never had the chance to hear the gospel, but all those who are in Bob’s situation will hear the gospel, and they will be given the chance. As I said earlier God is no respecter of persons, for we are all his children, and should be given equal opportunity to hear the gospel. 1 Pet 4:6

  19. Danielle,

    Thanks for participating. I hope you won’t mind the rough and tumble nature of these discussion threads. The “grace of permanent and immediate forgiveness received by faith, not by worthiness” vs. “proving one’s worthiness with gracious assistance” issue is important for Christians like me because of passages like Romans 4:1-8, Titus 3:5, Galatians 1:6-9, and Ephesians 2:8-10. Paul seemed to think that this issue was hugely important, even one that divided Christians from non-Christians. Please take a special look at Romans 4:1-8, as it was the particular passage God used to win over my heart to his gospel. We evangelicals love to encourage Mormons to read Spencer W. Kimball’s The Miracle of Forgiveness and compare/contrast it to the letter to the Romans that Paul wrote.

    Grace and peace in Christ, who justifies the ungodly like me by faith apart from works (Romans 4:1-8),



    I would like to see you answer the question by EvidenceMinistries. I don’t think you adequately addressed it.



  20. I just removed some comments by Mormons and non-Mormons. Please folks, let’s keep this conversation constructive and civil to the degree that others can benefit from it.

  21. Rick B says:

    Ralph, Besides the thief on the cross, you cannot find one verse or person ever saying you cannot repent on your death bed and be denied. Many places in scripture clearly state, Believe in/upon Jesus, confess with your mouth and you will be saved. No time frame is ever given. We do not read, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord then do many years of service to God to prove your saved.

    Jesus said,

    John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

    John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

    Only work we MUST DO to be saved is believe, no time frame given upon beliefe.

    Then when you said

    This chance can happen in this life or in the next (ie in the Spirit world before judgment day).

    Did you ever read the story of the Rich man in hell? Father Abrahm does not say he has another Chance to repent.

    Luke 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence.
    Luke 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
    Luke 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
    Luke 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
    Luke 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
    Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    The Bible also says,

    Hbr 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

    Rick b

  22. fistfullofsteel,

    I’m just asking your opinion. For the sake of argument, *If* the LDS Church *did* teach that we are saved by our works, how would we know that, what would it look like?

  23. fistfullofsteel says:

    I don’t know EvidenceM. You tell me 🙂 I am very curious what that would look like, please explain yourself, be forthright with me and I will be forthright with you. Also you never clarified what you meant by saved. LDS believe all persons will be saved in that they will be resurrected, but some will be ‘saved’ to different degrees of glory, taught in the D&C 76, and also in the Bible(1 Cor. 15:40-42, 2 Cor. 12:2, Matt 13:8, 23)

  24. Jacob5 says:

    I think the one mistake we make is that we try to set up hypotheticals here and then come up with our hypothetical judgement.
    The main belief is this. It is through Christ that we receive salvation. It was also Christ who set up the particulars for what we need to do to receive that salvation. Doesn’t he tell Nicodemus, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Doesn’t he also say, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Don’t we also have the beatitudes. I mean isn’t the whole point of Christ’s teachings is that there are things we need to do. Doesn’t Christ himself get baptized to “fulfill all righteousness”
    Salvation is not just a mincing of words. Mormons do not believe that a) only our works can save us or b) Christ’s sacrifice alone is sufficient. To reduce it to either of those is to take a very naive point of view of what it is to be a faithful member of the LDS church. We believe that Christ is the only way to ultimately receive salvation as we believe that we must follow the commandments.
    It was an ancient prophet that said that even if we are in Christ’s debt, and that even if we do everything we are told to do, we are still in his debt because it is only through him that the blessings and salvation come. So, do our works equal the work of Christ. Not by a long shot. Mankind does gravely err when he asumes his work will ever be enough. Nevertheless that is not excuse to say, “Well, I obviously can’t do it myself, so I might as well give up because I believe in Christ and that is enough.”
    As far as the final judgement for our lives. 1) That is between each individual and the Lord. 2) We will only be judged upon our own understanding, and 3) No man will be saved in ignorance of the Lord and his teachings. But if you say that you just have to believe in Christ, I guess it comes down to what is mean by believing in Christ.

  25. Lautensack says:

    I hate that people so misrepresent the doctrine of preservation of the saints or say that Christians have no such doctrine. Too often it is said that Christians believe once you say a prayer it is ok to go out and kill someone because they are under grace. While yes Jesus will forgive those sins if we seek Him in true repentance, to truly be born again is to see sinfulness of sin and by the Spirit’s work in us become more like Christ. Or did God not say through His prophet Ezekiel “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Sanctification is the work of God, not man, we due to our nature will often fight because we love the old man. Does this mean we wont ever sin again? No John clearly tells us that any who say they are without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. So Jacob5 your statement b) is false, because it is Christ’s sacrifice alone that we are sufficient, because He took our place, our death, God made Him who knew no sin to become sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. It is Him in us who works, because it is no longer the Christian who lives but Christ who lives in us. All we do is fall down and by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the flesh. If it was our own doing then we would be prideful and thus sinful because pride is the mother of all sins. This is why it is the work of God and not man that saves and sanctifies and glorifies.


  26. Ralph says:

    Rick, from your comments, especially when you said Only work we MUST DO to be saved is believe, I take it to mean that once one has gained faith in Jesus and received the assurance/feeling that they are saved despite what they do. For example live with their partner before they are married (ie fornication), or go out and get drunk with their friends at parties. Does it also mean that one can murder and still be saved (a Presbyterian or Baptist minister bombed an abortion clinic a few years ago and killed someone)? If that is what you believe how do you explain the discrepancy between this and 1 Cor 6:9-10 and Gal 5:19-21? Both of these scriptures teach that fornication, drunkenness and murder (amongst other things like lying, adultery, etc) will keep a person out of the Kingdom of God. If you believe that one cannot do these things and gain the Kingdom of God, then you do believe that some works are necessary for salvation as well as faith. So which is it?

    Lautensack, when you said Too often it is said that Christians believe once you say a prayer it is ok to go out and kill someone because they are under grace. While yes Jesus will forgive those sins if we seek Him in true repentance, to truly be born again is to see sinfulness of sin and by the Spirit’s work in us become more like Christ. Seeking God in true repentance after committing a sin is a work. And since you said that it needs to be done to gain forgiveness from Jesus then does this not mean that it is necessary for salvation? And if a sin is involved that you need to repent for AFTER being saved, then does it not mean that something you did or didn’t do (ie a work) is keeping you from salvation – again showing that works and faith go hand in hand for salvation? Can you explain the above scriptures and faith only?

  27. amanda says:

    I think this website should have a guest mormon
    blogger who can start their own discussion/post. Because then I would have a place to state the following:

    My husband has an uncle and aunt who have two sons. They are wonderful people, and belong to an independent baptist church.

    Here is an observation I made that I found strange. They send their sons to private school, and attend church weekly. But they wore nicer clothes to school–and jeans to church…and there is more…

    We attended a Christmas service the Saturday before Christmas…and the pastor who introduced the annie moses band was cracking jokes about how the congregation better not answer their cell phones unless it’s Jesus.

    One word, Reverence???? I don’t know, this really rubbed me the wrong way.

    The Annie Moses band (they were very talented)…shared their testimonies of Christ…so did the pastor… But what made it all very irreverent and disingenuous was the simple fact that they were all being PAID to say it. I don’t find testimonies to be compelling when it is your occupation to share it. Any worship service where people get paid offends me to the core because it fundamentally questions sincerity. I am moved much more deeply when someone volunteers their testimony of Christ with no strings attached. It makes for a stronger witness.

    This leads me to the lesson LDS were taught this last sunday, about witnesses. The three witnesses to the Book of Mormon all left the church at some point, but NEVER recanted their testimony of the validity of the Book of Mormon and their visions of angels. This witness was given at great cost to them, they never received a pay check. You can find their witness in the introduction to the Book of Mormon for anyone interested.

  28. Danielle says:

    Aaron… Thank you for responding to me. I have read the Miracle of Forgiveness, twice. Very harsh reading. To me it talks all about the love of God and his forgiveness………. then it seems to say to my heart that some stuff just isn’t forgiven. UGH!!! Very frustrating.

    Amanda Hi!! 🙂 I totally understand what you mean about the “reverence” thing. It is wierd to be in church and not feel that “Mormon Vibe”. I do, however, appreciate the excitement you can get from other churches. The upbeat music that says to the world they are so happy to be Christian.

    I don’t believe that Mormons or Christians want to go out and sin just becuase they are already forgiven. I think we all need to have God give us direction. There seems to be rules to follow just like a child follows the rules of the home.

    Could someone please tell me how to keep up with ALL the topics on this site? 🙂 There must be a trick for us ‘newbies’ to get the hang of it????


  29. Lautensack says:

    Ralph, I appeal to 2 Tim 2:24-26 which shows us that repentance is something granted by God, not a work of our own merit but it too is a gift from God. As James 2:14ff shows us the natural affect and outpouring of saving faith is good works, however it is not the works that saves rather the faith that brought about the works. If you truly fall before the thrown of God and have true faith then repentance is not a work but an act of faith that your sins are forgiven by the Almighty, because Christ died on the cross for all sins of the regenerate man, past, present, and future. So no I reject your assumption that repentance is a work, unless you believe it is a work to fall down. Also once you have been saved, you cannot be “unsaved” to lose your salvation is to have never have been saved first place.
    As for the above scriptures, again I appeal to James 2:14ff, that walking in the ways of righteousness is the natural outpouring of faith, however it is the faith that saves, not the works. Why did Abraham offer Isaac, because he believed God, he had Faith in God, and the Faith was credited to Him as righteousness. Therefore through faith the true believer will by the Spirit seek after humility walking in the ways of Christ through faith.

    Amanda, the they are getting paid argument is pretty old, and unbiblical, as Paul also was paid for his services to the Churches he ministered to. They are not being paid to say I love Jesus. Most of the pastors I know preach the word of God for free, it is all the additional things that they are getting paid for, such as putting up with people who don’t like to hear the word of God preached because it is powerful and offensive, convicting people of sin with light though they love the darkness, also things like free marriage counseling, free life counseling, prison outreach, free family counseling, bible study leader, basically they are a full time biblical psychologist with a part time preaching position.


  30. Rick B says:

    Ralph, I really do not believe you understand Scripture. Works do not save us period. If A person says I believe Jesus as my Lord and Saviour but then lives in adultery or commits murder, or lies every day or whatever, they are most likely not saved and deceived themselves. Can we believe Jesus died and be saved, then fall into a sin here and their? Yes. why do you think Scripture tell us in 1st John 1:8-9 If we confess our Sins, He (Jesus) is faithful to forgive us our sins. the Bible tells us we all fall short of the glory of God.

    Amanda, I think the issue you have with “Reverence” is all wrong. Read the Story of Saul when David was called by God. Everyone looked at David and said, nope cannot be him, some sort of mistake, God said, I look at the heart, man looks at the outward apperance. Sharon can tell you guys as we have meet in person a few times. I had a mohawk with very long hair. Now many Christians that know me or read my posts will say, I have a good handle on the Word of God. But will my long hair with a mohawk keep God from using me? It would if God looked at the outward apperance, But God looks at the heart. You seem to look at the outward appearnce.

    Then I really think you would hate my Church, we meet in a rec center every sunday, and sit in folding chairs, the pastor even wears a tea shirt (Gasp). I wear a leather Jacket and jeans (Gasp again). How could God forgive that? I even as a follower of Christ practice forms of submission style fighting, (Judo) and (Ju-Jujitsu). But then I did meet Mormon Missionarys who claim to fight or are trained in the use of weapons, it made for a nice talk. Rick b

  31. amanda says:

    Hey Rick,

    I have a few cousins who are trained in Ju-Jujitsu (I’m glad you spelled it first because I wouldn’t have had the slightest clue).

    Listen, I don’t find people who wear jeans to church offensive and I also believe the spirit can be found in a clean place (as long as your jeans are clean?). I was more or less expressing a frustration I have with a whole generation of believers who take more pride in school, prom, fashion shows, bingo night…then they do when they worship…that was my only point. And honestly, I would love to hear your pastor preach sometime. I certainly didn’t mean to offend.


    I know there are lay preachers…My husbands grandparents in Virginia attend a very modest and humble church- and I wasn’t offended in the least because this preacher seemed a humble man, and I have no idea what he gets paid, nor do I care. I take serious issue with large churches who dumb down the message in the bible in order to draw large crowds.
    You can’t tell me that every large evangelical church has NOTHING to do with prosperity and gain through preaching? I can list a whole bunch of preachers who make BANK$$$ off of God’s word. God’s word is not for sale…it’s for everyone. I still stand by the sentiment that a testimony given for free through conviction is more powerful and convincing than a “testimony” given by a rock-star preacher with 5 homes, BMW–because it’s in his best interest monetarily to preach “god’s word”…I think this is a very honest and important point. I’m not speaking of all evangelical intention, but a generally accepted practice in the baptist religion.

  32. Ralph says:

    RickB and Lautensack, maybe I should rephrase my question.
    Lautensack, you said “ Also once you have been saved, you cannot be “unsaved” to lose your salvation is to have never have been saved first place.
    RickB you said “ A person says I believe Jesus as my Lord and Saviour but then lives in adultery or commits murder, or lies every day or whatever, they are most likely not saved and deceived themselves.
    What if a person commits themselves to God and becomes a ‘true believer’ according to your manner of belief. He lives this way for a while (a few years or so) but then deviates from the path to commit one or more of the acts described in 1 Cor 6:9-10 and Gal 5:19-21.
    According to Lautensack, one cannot become unsaved, so does that mean that this person is still saved even though the scriptures say that they cannot get into the Kingdom of God after doing what they did?
    According to both of you, this person was probably never saved to begin with, so all of their life during the period of time they believed in Jesus and said they were saved they were lying and/or deceived. So again to me this means that doing the works is still part of salvation whether it is because of one’s faith (LDS) or from being/feeling saved (Ev).
    I am trying to understand, not argue, so I am writing what I understand what you are trying to say and questioning so I can get more information. But from what you have said so far, if someone does not ‘do the works’ they are not/have not been saved and do not have true faith. But if they have been saved they will ‘do the works’ because of this. If this is what you are saying then what is wrong with saying that we are ‘doing the works’ because of our faith, as we LDS say, and that if we do not ‘do the works’ then we are not saved because we do not have true faith?

  33. Daniel says:

    Amanda, I also “…take serious issue with large churches who dumb down the message in the bible in order to draw large crowds,” and it wouldn’t surprise me if the vast majority of evangelicals here believe the same. Shoot, even the pastors of so-called “mega-churches” will probably agree with you. A couple of weeks ago, I read an article found at“confession”_from_willow_creek_community_church about Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek church, who realized that the watered down, seeker-friendly, easy-on-the-Bible approach wasn’t really doing much more than getting people through the doors. But I think the closing statement of the article sums it up best:

    What we should find encouraging, at least, in this “confession” coming from the highest ranks of the Willow Creek Association is that they are coming to realize that their existing “model” does not help people grow into mature followers of Jesus Christ. Given the massive influence this organization has on the American church today, let us pray that God would be pleased to put structures in place at Willow Creek that foster not mere numeric growth, but growth in grace.

  34. Rick B says:

    Amanda, I was not offended at all by what you said. As far as my pastor and the teachings go, here is the Church webdress,

    you can listen to sermons on line.

    Ralph, I am of the believe that for lack of a better term, you can lose your salvation. Jesus said if you abide in me I will abide in you, what about if you stop abiding in him. Also we read in the Book of Revelation, everyone who has their name in the lambs book of life will be let into heaven. so this implies you are saved, so then we go on to read this,

    Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.

    Since the Scripture says, God will remove your name, and the scripture says, everyone who is not found in the Book of life will be tossed into the lake of fire, Now why would a true believer do something to have his name removed is beyond me.

    The Bible tells us also,

    1Ti 4:1 ¶ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils

    Notice the SPIRIT SAYS, some will depart from the Faith. This is believers walking away, you cannot depart from something you never had. Ralph, this is my 3rd post, and I want to explain more. But I still do not believe in works, I understand your thinking, but works simply do not save us.

    Remember, the jailer in Acts said, what MUST I DO, To be saved. Paul only said, believe in Jesus, nothing else. Rick b

  35. Danielle says:

    Hello there everyone!!

    I have a question. I am not very good with words so bare with me. Saved by grace or works…… here is my question

    If we are saved just by believing………. Then why do churches excommunicate their members?

    I would think that a member, who is a sinner………. Doesn’t need proof that he or she is a sinner; there is deep sorrow that comes from sin. God already knows our hearts… so why does anyone need to be put on probation or excommunicated?


  36. Daniel says:

    Danielle, I would suggest you read 1 Corinthians 5. Paul is writing to Corinth, and instructs them to “expel the immoral brother.” He says that anyone who calls himself a brother, and yet is sexually immoral, drunk, etc. should not be associated with, somewhat in the hopes that in being confronted with his sin and put out of the church, he will realize the error of his ways and repent.

    There’s kind of a similar principle in evangelism that I have heard, especially from Ray Comfort, a well known street evangelist. The basic principle is, “law to the proud, grace to the humble.” If a person is proud-hearted, they need to be confronted with their sin (by showing them the law (10 commandments is a good place to start)) to show them how they are sinners and need Christ. If a person is already humble and aware of their sin and it’s effects on their life, you show them the grace of God.

    I would say that not everyone who goes to church and “calls himself a brother” (as Paul put it), is entirely aware of their sin, and the effects it has on their life (by separating them from Christ). As the LDS on this site are so fond of saying, “by their fruit you will know them.” While no one can know the heart but God, you should be able to see the evidence of Christ in a believer’s heart. If someone is unrepentant, continues in sin, and calls himself a believer, I would have a hard time believing him. As 1 John 2:6 says, “whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

  37. falcon says:

    I don’ know of too many churches/denominations that excommunicate members based on behavior. Generally, I think, people get excommunicated based on heresy. I do remember a local church (I saw a report on) a few years ago that disfellowshiped a woman because she was cohabitating with her boyfriend. Of course she sued the elders. I think she won the law suit. Some Christians see one of the problems of the modern church is that it won’t address sin. An example of this is the very popular Joel Olsteen who preaches to about 16,000 people in his congregation and millions on television every week. He often says things like “we won’t judge you”. Which is fine to a degree. I’ve watched some Billy Graham Classic crusades on TV, some going back to the 1950s. I’ve often thought that people wouldn’t tolerate those sermons today. If people don’t start off seeing their hopeless condition in sin, I doubt if true repentance can take place. Anyway, to answer your question (again) I think people fear being labeled judgmental if they confront sin so excommunication isn’t really an option exercised.

  38. HankSaint says:

    Grace and peace in Christ, who justifies the ungodly like me by faith apart from works (Romans 4:1-8),


    Of course you believe this, you have to Aaron. Baptism being a work, is than non essential. Even though the scriptures state otherwise. 🙂

  39. Danielle says:

    Hello Daniel and Falcon….
    Thank you for responding to my question.
    When LDS are put on probation or excommunicated they are still part of the “church family”. The person is just not to participate in “callings” and they are to keep participation to a minimum, not to not give the closing prayer at the end of class and not the raising of the right hand and no sacrament (sp?). (which are part of the huge doctrine of “WORKS” that you must follow to go to the temple and stuff…. )
    I hear that some churches are not like that. That the person who is excommunicated are totally not apart of the “church family” anymore.
    How very sad it is to me that a church would feel that a loving Heavenly Father would want his children to feel rejection (which I totally do NOT believe he does, he wants us to know he loves us ALWAYS).
    I think it is wonderful when a disiplinary action is given to a person…. that they still feel loved in the church. I just don’t understand why it would be any other way.
    I was never told after I was on “Probation” years ago in the LDS church that I was FORGIVEN. Never…. Still to this day 8 years later I still don’t know for sure. Bummer huh? They took me off probation. But that was it. I should just know for sure after reading my scriptures all the time right? Anyway………….

  40. falcon says:

    I don’t know exactly what you did to be put on probation but back in my ancient history as a Catholic, (after going to confession) I’d at least get absolution, a penance (generally three Hail Marys and four Our Fathers)and then everything was cool. Of course nobody knew what I confessed, so there wasn’t any institutional sanction. I did, however, get an emotional release from my guilt. Often times groups will use sanctions as a means to excercise control over people rather than assist the person to rectify the situation. It can be all about control embedded in caring language. Pretty phoney stuff all around. Whether or not you’re reconciled to the group is secondary to knowing your reconciled to God.

  41. fistfullofsteel says:


    It is my understanding, that if you are put on probation or excommunicated than it is usually for your own good, I don’t mean this in a bad way. But if you take on covenants which you are not able to keep, then it is better to have your name taken off the records of the church so that you do not bring more condemnation upon yourself. If you make a promise to the Lord to do something and are unable to fulfill that promise, than it is better to not make the promise in the first place 🙂 That is my opinion, and I think in a way it is how the church feels about it. I hold no malice towards church members who have been put on probation, in fact I have a good friend who was on probation for awhile. And as it turns out I respect him a lot more than some members of the church who sometimes appear to place too much emphasis on commandments that are not so important, and forget to love their neighbour, etc. If you have been taken off probation, then it seems to me you have been forgiven of whatever it was, but perhaps haven’t forgiven yourself? I don’t know maybe you have.
    But I have always made it a point to not judge the church by some of it’s members. In general most of the mormons I know are pretty cool, and forgiving.

  42. fistfullofsteel,

    This is interesting. You have stated rather emphatically that Mormons do not believe that they are *saved* (your term, your definition) by their works. So in other words, you have an idea in your mind that you detest seeing applied to Mormonism. All I want to know is this. What is that idea and how would you describe it?

    It is kind of like this. If you were to say that the LDS Church does not believe in homosexuality, you should be able to describe what homosexuality is and what it is not. That is all I’m asking.

    What does it look like to be saved by works and what does it look like *not* being saved by your works?

  43. One more thing. If you do not know what it looks like to be saved by your works, then can’t say that Mormonism doesn’t fit that description. How can you label something you can’t identify?

  44. Rick B says:

    Fistfull, I could be wrong here, Evidence Ministries
    Correct me if I am wrong, but another way of asking your question would be like saying, if works save us/me, then exactly what works, please name them, and how many is enough?

    Again works do not save us, they do not even play a part in our salvation, I say that because, what if I live a good moral life, but do not believe in Jesus, then around the age of 30 I give my life to Christ, I follow Christ for about 6 months, but do not do any works, simply believe He saved me and loved me, then I die, does not matter how I die, murder, suicide, natural cause, etc. I did no works but I am saved because Jesus died for me. So works did not save me.

    Go back to the garden, Adam and Eve, Covered themselves with Fig leaves, (Fig leaves = works).
    Adam and Eve covered their sin by their works. God said that will not work, it is not Good enough. God killed a lamb and covered us. Gods work cleaned us not ours, God sent His son the (Lamb) to die and cover our Sins. No works on our part. the scripture is clear, we are saved by grace alone, and everyone who is under the law of works is under the curse. Were cursed if we try and follow works to save us.

    Look in the OT, If anyone removed the Mercy seat from the ark, Mercy covered the law, remove the mercy and look into the law, you died on the spot, the law brings death, we find life in the mercy God gave.

    The Bible tells us also, his yoke is easy, His burden is Light. the Works and laws LDS must follow are not an easy burden and they are not light. I meet many LDS who admit they fail at the law they must follow. Rick b

  45. Jacob5 says:

    Well, I am confused myself. I mean, what are other churches definitions of being saved?

    One thing. We only know for certain that we are saved when we have gone through the final judgement. After we are dead. Because this whole life is a time of being tested. From the time we are able to conceive what sin is to the time we die we are constantly pummeled by temptations. Satan will do whatever is necessary to keep us away from God. And, since we are mortal, flawed humans, we do committ sin. That is why we have repentence, following faith in Christ of course. Baptism is for the remission of our past sins to start a new life as we have made a new covenant to follow Christ and his commandments. But we still do sin. There for repentence is a continuing process. We strive, through the help of Christ, to overcome our sins, and there are people out there who have learned to overcome certain temptations. Because of life being a test and a trial, we are constantly having to be on quard of those choices we must make in our lives.
    So, our definition of being saved is something that happens after we have gone through our life and we will be judged. However, since none of us here are currently dead, I hope ;), it is impossible for us to know exactly what our final judgement will be. Because righteousness is not a zero to infinity thing, one day we may do very well, but the next day we may faulter a bit, and vice versa. So LDS members don’t see salvation as an immediate blanket that falls upon us by simply having faith on Christ. But we define our faith in Christ by following his commandments as well as repenting when have sinned again. And it does seem difficult to be constantly on guard of our mistakes, but enduring to the end is a factor of our faith. But we yet say that faith in Christ is the only way to do all this. It makes no difference to repent if you do not recognize He who suffered for the sins you committed.

  46. falcon says:

    What I’m reading from some of the contributors here basically is that Jesus died to make it possible for us to gain eternal life. So it’s really faith something. That something could be doing/performing rituals and/or living a righteous life. I believe the Bible says that a righteous man falls (sins) seven times a day. So that’s roughly 2,200 sins a year. If you factor in 70 years from the time someone reaches the age of accountablility, we have 154,000 sins in a life time. That’s from a righteous man. In one of John’s epistles he says “I write this to you that you may know you have eternal life.” If anyone is interested, take a look at Arminianism vs. Calvinism, the two basic viewpoints regarding salvation. A google search would probably suffice to get the basics.

  47. Lautensack says:

    Apologies for the late response, I explain those passages by saying that those passages are speaking of a lifestyle debauchery and not slipping and falling once or twice. One who is living a lifestyle such as defined in those passages is probably not saved.

    On the topic of once saved always saved, I turn to John 6:37 which reads:
    “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

    Notice that Christ will never cast out any that the Father gives, and whoever the Father gives will come to Christ. There are of course other passages that support my argument for once save always saved, such as Romans 8-10, Ephesians 1-2, Revelation 13, but I like the clearness of John 6. While Rick B and I may disagree on “once saved always saved,” we do agree that it is God who saves us apart from our works of righteousness. (Titus 3:3-8)


  48. Jacob5 says:

    James Chapter two. The words are as plain as the paper they are written on. Faith without works is dead. It even uses Abraham as an example. Please let me know if their is any ambiguity.

  49. falcon says:

    Faith without works IS dead. The works are a result of our faith. The works don’t get us saved. The works demonstrate that we are saved. A work is not a church ritual. A work would be, as James explains, taking care of those in need. It’s what Jesus expects of us as a result of placing our faith in Him and being His disciple. The doctrine is a “faith that works”. Calvin said “Faith alone saves, but a faith that saves is never alone.” James is really asking (as the Greek text suggests) “Can that faith save him.” In other words “saying” you have faith doesn’t prove much. In the end God decides who has saving faith and who doesn’t. But the point is “saving faith” results in sanctification. I think where people get miserable is when they get on this performance program where by they are never good enough no matter how hard they try. They just never measure up It’s can be more than discouraging. It can become tyranical and controlling especially within certain church systems and traditions. The result is legalism.

  50. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    James Chapter two. The words are as plain as the paper they are written on. Faith without works is dead. It even uses Abraham as an example.

    It also uses Rahab the harlot as an example. From an article at

    What did she do? She hid spies, lied and betrayed her countrymen. We do not normally think that lying and hiding spies makes a person righteous. Was she obeying God’s law? No, to the contrary she was breaking law by lying. Why then, did this act count as righteousness for Rahab?

    I submit James is telling us not that works is the operative here; it is faith. Both Abraham and Rahab acted on their faith, demonstrating that they truly trusted their God. And that trust, that faith that moved them to action, God “imputed unto [them] for righteousness” and they were called the Friends of God.

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