The promise to Abraham came by grace through faith, not by personal righteousness

“Because of Abraham’s righteousness, the Lord made a covenant with him and his descendants.” (Gospel Principles, ch. 15)

Paul disagrees:

“For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith… That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring” (Romans 4:13, 16)

If the promise was given because of Abraham’s personal righteousness, even grace-assisted faith-driven personal righteousness, then the whole point of Romans 4 is lost. Rather, we enter into the promise by trusting the God who justifies the ungodly. If the promise/covenant was given via law-keeping, then there is no hope. Paul made that abundantly clear in Romans 3:19-20. Law brings knowledge of sin. It cannot provide what it demands. It brings wrath. “For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression” (4:15). Bilateral covenants predicated upon our commandment-keeping bring wrath.

Let that sink in: going to the temple to make bilateral covenants predicated upon your grace-assisted faith-driven commandment-keeping obedience brings wrath.

But there is hope. Not in faith-driven works or in grace-assisted meritocracy, but in the promise that “will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord” (Romans 4:24). In the grace that counts the ungodly as godly:

“And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:5; may the JST be accursed)

The point of “righteousness of faith” is that it isn’t our righteousness. It is Christ’s righteousness *counted* as our righteousness—by faith, not by commandment-keeping. Not by personal worthiness. Not by personal righteousness. Not by merit.

The whole point of Romans 4 is that we can receive justification and God’s covenant-favor and rock-solid enduring promises the same way Abraham did: by faith apart from works. Faith that finds its hope not in grace-assisted personal righteousness, but “in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (24-25)


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88 Responses to The promise to Abraham came by grace through faith, not by personal righteousness

  1. Janet says:

    “Faith without works is dead” so what is it, can we have it both ways or is one right and the other wrong, what shall we do?

    I believe in the restored Gospel as was correctly given to JS, which he taught that without grace there is no salvation.

    “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). “Mercy cometh because of the atonement” (Alma 42:23).

    Who performed the atonement, the same Jesus Christ that Evangelicals believe in and the Bible preaches to us about, that it is Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Savior.

    “every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God” (D&C 93:38).

    Question being, is repentance a necessary step in ones act of faith and redemption of our sins, or does the grace of God cover our sins by the mere vocalization of faith in God as our Redeemer. This is a good question, and must be considered if one understands repentance can be a form of works. Justice needs be satisfied, and because of the sacrifice of God, Jesus Christ our Savior met that demand. Now for us to be washed and cleaned, we need the saving blood of Christ, and by accepting his sacrifice we admit we are sinners and need to be forgiven, otherwise it is for naught because repentance is a necessary condition of salvation.

    Once we are forgiven, then we must be sanctified or to be born again through the works of Baptism another necessary condition of Salvation preached and taught in the NT along with receiving the Holy Ghost.


  2. Janet,

    I cannot speak for Aaron but I am fairly sure you are not hearing him correctly or that you are misrepresenting him (probably the former).

    This notion:

    “mere vocalization of faith in God as our Redeemer”

    is wrong, and borders on heresy. It was even condemned as the Council of Orange.

    The tension is over whether Christ’s righteousness is sufficient or is it merely a necessary component. Both sides say it is necessary, but one says that it is not sufficient.

  3. Janet, you might be helped by this, something I wrote awhile back. Grace and peace in Christ.

  4. gundeck says:


    “Question being, is repentance a necessary step in ones act of faith and redemption of our sins, or does the grace of God cover our sins by the mere vocalization of faith in God as our Redeemer. This is a good question, and must be considered if one understands repentance can be a form of works.”

    If you understand that true repentance unto life is given by the grace of the Gospel then you understand that the Gospel gives what it demands and that Gods grace is truly unmerited favor.

    Only in Christ can we see our sin (Acts 26:17-18). Only in Christ are we sorrowful for our sin (Zech 12:10). Only in Christ do we have shame for our sin (Ezek 43:10). Only in Christ do we hate our sin (Ezek. 36:31). Only in Christ do we turn from our sin (Acts 3:26).

    I think that each of these actions is necessary for true repentance unto God and I know that I am incapable of them without the unmerited favor that allows me to see, have sorrow for, feel shame, hate, and with Grace to turn from my sinful rebellion against God in thought and deed. I take no credit and deserve no merit for obedience to God.

  5. rvales says:

    We can only do ‘works’ because of the Grace of God working in our lives. Living, saving faith produces works (God working thru our hands) Not our works producing living saving faith. If you having a saving faith the repentance and works are going to flow out of you because God is working thru you. And that is how you know the difference between someone who just claims faith and someone who lives it. But it is not a checklist that we work thru to get to salvation it comes only after you are saved. I don’t work to be saved, I can’t help but work because I’m ALREADY saved.

  6. Janet says:

    “If you understand that true repentance unto life is given by the grace of the Gospel then you understand that the Gospel gives what it demands and that Gods grace is truly unmerited favor.”

    This is what I’m concerned about with Evangelical Christian Doctrine, the answer of true repentance was not given here. What I’m asking? is it necessary to humble one self, repent with all your might mind and soul, with real intent and purpose to seek forgiveness and repeat the sin no more? versus whatever the above is trying to articulate? Please explain in detail the above for me.


  7. rvales says:

    What the above is trying to articulate (or so it seems to me) is that understanding repentance and repentance only comes from God’s grace because we are sinful creatures and without God’s grace we wouldn’t even know to turn from our sin. God demands repentance and his grace provides us with the ability to repent (and by repent I mean turning from our sinful earthly understandings and ways to the one true God not to another sinful earthly way) True repentance isn’t possible without the Holy Spirit working in you.

  8. liv4jc says:

    According to LDS theology Christ’s death redeemed all men from their sins. All people will be resurrected as a result of that sacrifice. In order to receive what the Christian sees as salvation the Mormon must do more than just repent and be baptized. The Mormon must also partake of temple rituals, live all the gospel principles, and obey all the commandments, including commandments found nowhere in the Bible, BoM, PoGP, etc., such as the Word of Wisdom. To say that belief in Jesus, repentance, and baptism are the essentials of salvation is the bait given by Mormon Missionaries, and wholly false.
    Furthermore, the justification spoken of in James 2 is justification of the profession of one’s Christianity that is proven by works stemming from one’s conversion, not works leading to one’s salvation (conversion). It is not the soteriological justification spoken of by Paul in Romans 3. The question James asks in 2:14 is, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works?” What works are listed as proof of that faith? Giving food and clothing to those who are hungry and naked (vs. 15,16). If one says he has faith, sees a brother naked and hungry, and does nothing about it but say, “be warm and filled”, then one’s true conversion could be questioned. The same would be true of a Christian seen routinely committing un-Christian acts. Certainly nobody would say salvation is gained by performing the other examples James gives: almost sacrificing a child in verse 21 (Incidentally James agrees with Paul in verse 23 where he also says, “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.”), or being a prostitute that hides Israeli spies (v. 25).
    So we see that it is outwardly visible works stemming from conversion, not works of laws and ordinances that James is speaking about. This is why exegesis, and not eisegesis, is so important in the interpretation of scripture. We let scripture define our theology, not vice-versa

  9. Janet says:

    Not exactly true, “according to LDS theology Christ’s death redeemed all men from their sins”, when in fact we teach one must come to accept that Christ died for our sins, and can only be redeemed, Eternal Life, by applying the cleansing blood through Faith and Repentance. All have been given the gift of having our bodies restored or resurrected, even those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost. Our Doctrine does not teach we are redeemed from our sins, unless we show faith, and true repentance, then baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost follow. Correct me if you find something I missed.


  10. Janet says:

    “What the above is trying to articulate (or so it seems to me) is that understanding repentance and repentance only comes from God’s grace”.

    Really, as I understand the word it means first to show regret and a change of conduct, true Godly sorrow, restitution, and striving to not commit the sin ever again. Seems works are involved in the preparation, and putting away of evil doings, I don’t see where Grace can come into play when the individual is responsible for his or her own acts, how can repentance come from Gods Grace if we don’t first recognize that we cannot pay the debt alone, but need a mediator and a infinite sacrifice to satisfy justice. Works comes into play when we show forth Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Works, one must cast away all transgressions, repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    16 ¶ Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
    17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the fwidow.
    18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
    19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
    20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.


  11. liv4jc says:

    Janet, if all people were not redeemed by the blood of Christ according to LDS theology, what happens to someone when they stand before Him with unforgiven sins still on their account? If He didn’t redeem them then they are still liable to pay the penalty for those sins. Do they go to the lake of fire like the Bible says, or do they go to the telestial or terestrial kingdom (each of which is infinitely better than life here on earth)? What about justice? If only those who have repented and placed their faith in Christ are redeemed from the penalty of sin (an evangelical teaching based upon substitutionary atonement), what happens to those who have not done that? If your sins have been paid for by Jesus Christ, why do you still need to go to the temple, receive your endowments, get married in the temple, be sealed, give 10%, not drink hot drinks, eat meat only in times of famine, don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol, take sacrament every Sunday, fulfill your callings, obey the priesthood, obey the Sabbath, obey every one of the commandments without fail, etc. Either Christ’s death was sufficient or it wasn’t. Remember, trying is not good enough. God’s standard is perfection. Either perfection in Christ, or perfection based upon your own merits. I’ll choose perfection in Christ because the day I was born I had already failed at the other option.

    When you cast away all of your transgressions and turn from all of them let me know how you did it. I’ve been praying and trying to do that since the day I was saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. Just like the apostle Paul related to us in Romans 7:25-26, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” And the good news (gospel) gets even better in Romans 8, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh…”

  12. bfwjr says:

    The Falcon has flown the barn? I Hope all is well with him.

  13. Janet says:

    We will continue to go our own ways regarding works and faith, and in the end, meaning beyond the veil of death, all will come to knell before our God and Saviour, and acknowledge that He is the Christ.

    “They have cradled you in custom. They have primed you with their teaching. They have soaked you with convention through and through. They have put you in a showcase. You’re a credit to their teaching. But don’t you hear the truth? It’s calling you.”

    Author Unknown.

  14. grindael says:

    They have lied about their ‘prophets’. They have given you a false god to worship. They have steeped you in faithless works & taken away the Redeeming Blood of Christ. They have made you believe in bogus scriptures… You’re a temple recommended pre-programed Mormon drone. But there is hope, if you act now and call on the name of Jesus & ask Him to forgive you of your sins and accept Him in your heart. He will do the rest. Won’t you call on His name. He is waiting to hear from you.

  15. Janet says:

    I would never have called you a drone, is that in the spirit of:

    1 Peter 3:15


  16. grindael says:

    Being a ‘showcase’ for false teachings soaked in convention and a credit to others false teachings might be your opinion of Christians, & mine is that only drones would follow prophets blindly even though they are accused of teaching false doctrines by other prophets (of their own church). As this statement of yours from another thread attests:

    ” I stand by BY, to think otherwise would be to admit that God did not call him to this high calling of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator.”

    You have been witnessed to adequately Janet, & know that Young has been unmasked for what he was. That you continue to follow him blindly & call his teachings ‘snippets’ is your choice, but I definitely am not a showcase for custom & convention. I worship the One and ONLY true God & invite you to do the same. If you want to continue to laud evil men such as BY, then be prepared for others to call it what it is.

  17. grindael says:

    Here is the True Mormon ‘spirit’ of 1 Peter 3:15:

    “Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth.” (Brigham Young, JD 6:176)

    “Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the “whore of Babylon” whom the lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness.” (Pratt, The Seer, p.255)

    “Evil spirits control much of the so-called religious worship in the world; for instance, the great creeds of Christendom were formulated so as to conform to their whispered promptings.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.246)

    “You may hear the divines of the day extol the character of the Saviour, undertake to exhibit his true character before the people, and give an account of his origin…I have frequently thought of mules, which you know are half horse and half ass, when reflecting upon the representations made by those divines. I have heard sectarian priests undertake to tell the character of the Son of God, and they make him half of one species and half of another, and I could not avoid thinking at once of the mule, which is the most hateful creature that ever was made, I believe. You will excuse me, but I have thus thought many a time” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:217).

    “…orthodox Christian views of God are Pagan rather than Christian.” (Mormon Doctrine of Deity by B.H. Roberts, p.116)

    Wow. Maybe if some Mormons would investigate what some of their leaders say, they would question such statements & not blindly follow those that made them.

  18. setfree says:

    grindael, your stack of quotes (and the persistence and dedication on your part implied by having such a stack) is so impressive.
    i’d love to do some collaborative work with you. what do you think?

  19. grindael says:

    I sent you my e-mail address setfree.

  20. Janet says:

    One Evangelical states that he is here to witness, wherein I thought that this forum was a place of debating our differences. I surly did not come here to convince anyone that my Religion, LDS, is true for you or anyone else and that if you don’t accept my rebuttals or questions does not reflect on any disappointment that I might have not convinced you. The Gospel of Christ is missionary work, and we need to share our beliefs but not expect me or others to witness that this is the only true Church, convince me that I’m wrong, but please don’t expect that witnessing to me will change me because you just say I’m a drone or I’m part of cult, prove it first.


  21. Janet,

    In Mormon circles, sometimes the argument is made that Paul contrasts faith with works of the law, but he does not speak about just works in general. Do know that Paul says in Titus 3:5 that “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit”.

    Only one who suppresses the truth cannot see that man is horrible at keeping the rules. We are supposed to, God commands it, but we fail with great intensity and frequency; we even brake our own rules that we make for ourselves – “I promised myself I would never” . . .

    You must be as righteous as Christ, by having His righteousness, to ever escape the wrath of God.

  22. liv4jc says:

    Janet, God never calls anyone to follow blindly. When told by God that Abraham would have a son of his own to give his inheritance Abraham asked how he could know that it was true. God put him to sleep and made a covenant with him. He then made good on the promise to give Abraham a son by Sarah even though she was well past child bearing age. God never said, “Don’t question me! Just believe!” (although it was his belief in God’s promise that was accounted to him as righteousness). In Exodus 3 when Moses is called by God from the bush and sent to the children of Israel Moses says that the Israelites will not believe that God actually sent him. God does not say, “Tell them to believe by faith alone or I’m through with them.” He tells Moses to speak to them on behalf of I AM, the name they would recognize. If they still would not believe he gave Moses three signs to show them: Turning his staff into a serpent, producing a leprous hand and then having it healed, and turning the water of the Nile into blood. These signs were to show a doubting people that He had actually sent Moses. In Isaiah 40-49 God declares Himself to be the only true God and asks the people to compare him with the Gods made of wood and metal. He asks, “Can these God’s do anything for you? Did they speak and create the universe? Can they predict the future and explain the purpose for the things of the past? The answer of course is no. In modern times we believe based upon the experience of the past. The Bible speaks of real people, real places, and actual historical events that we can prove. It predicted the coming of the Messiah, and Jesus came. We have the words of those who knew Him personally, and we know those words have been preserved through overwhelming manuscript evidence and the writings of Christians very close to Jesus’ time. We have the proof of what has happened in each of our lives. Christians don’t believe based upon blind faith. We believe by faith backed up by evidence.

  23. mobaby says:

    God has redeemed His people by His great mercy through the cross of Christ. Salvation from beginning to end is accomplished by the cross as evidenced by Christ overcoming death by His resurrection. God has even planted faith in the hearts of His people. How does this occur? By hearing the good news of Christ crucified for sinners proclaimed – God uses this to create faith in the hearts of His people. That’s why this message never grows old. The law or the ten commandments reveals our sins and what miserable sinners we are. We cannot fulfill the law, as sinners we are completely incapable of doing one thing to please God. As Scripture says, the law is a curse. There is no life in the law, only death. When we hear the good news of Christ crucified for our sins, that is how God creates faith in our hearts and redeems His people. Salvation completely belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ – any attempt to take credit for what He alone has accomplished is to undermine the proper understanding of God’s perfect sacrifice for our sins. What an awesome God – who loves us while we are yet sinners and redeems the ungodly.

    The Law (summarized in the 10 commandments and by Jesus as loving God and others) – convicts us of sin and forces us to repent and turn to Christ for salvation. Completely powerless to save.

    The Gospel – the good news of forgiveness through Christ crucified. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Powerful to save.

  24. liv4jc says:

    Do you want proof that you are a drone? Mormons on the other hand believe despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Mormons believe by blind faith alone and see it as being super spiritual. God gave all of us a mind to reason with, but some Mormons refuse to use their God-given powers of reason to prove their prophets were no such things. There is absolutely no evidence for the Book of Mormon. There is no manuscript evidence. There is absolutely no archaeological evidence of any Jewish culture living anywhere in North or South America. When properly translated the Book of Abraham manuscript says nothing even close what Joseph claimed it said, and is full of errors. Your prophets contradict one another and the Mormonism of today is a mere shadow of the Mormonism of JS and BY’s time.

    You are so proud of your belief despite the evidence to the contrary. This will sound harsh, and I suppose it is, but your eternal soul is at stake. Believing despite the evidence does not make you faithful to anyone but the LDS church. Certainly not to God who proclaims He is the exact opposite of what the LDS claim. He is unique in the universe, not one of an infinite number of other gods. God is showing you through the Christians on this board that there are mountains of problems with LDS origins, history, doctrine, and theology. But the great thing is that you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. You can use the mind God gave you to find all of this stuff out for yourself. Check the claims we make. Track down the statements grindael posts. Read the links on or If you don’t believe what you read track it down for yourself. The LDS church is its own worst enemy. They have recorded most of their history and made much of it available online for all to see. If you are truly intent on believing despite all of the evidence to the contrary then you are not using the same standard of reason that you use to make decisions in the rest of your life.

  25. Janet says:

    “Do know that Paul says in Titus 3:5 that “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit”.

    C. S. Lewis wrote that this dispute “does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary”. And in one way or another almost all Christian denominations ultimately accept the need for both grace and works, but the differences in meaning and emphasis among the various doctrinal traditions remain substantial.

    That is exactly my way of thinking also, not saved by any of my deeds is biblical and also Christian Mormon. I believe we preach that the plan of salvation is stated principles, powers, and ordinances, and they are necessary for all of us to be able to return to Gods presence, Celestial Glory, and no unclean thing can enter there in unless they abide by these principles and ordinances that even Christ himself acknowledged and did as an example.

    What do the standard works show?

    Book of Mormon — that without grace there is no salvation: “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). The source of this grace is the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ: “Mercy cometh because of the atonement” (Alma 42:23).

    1). Christ’s grace has atoned for original sin and has assured the resurrection of all humankind: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

    2). Second, the Savior has also atoned conditionally for personal sins.

    Difference as I see it, grace is conditional on the principles and ordinances of the Gospel. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and Gift of the Holy Ghost. The above is a demand or a form of works. Obendience is necessary to “retain a remission of your sins” (Mosiah 4:12).


  26. Olsen Jim says:


    You are either not understanding our doctrine correctly or you are misrepresenting it intentionally when you said:

    “In order to receive what the Christian sees as salvation the Mormon must do more than just repent and be baptized. The Mormon must also partake of temple rituals, live all the gospel principles, and obey all the commandments, including commandments found nowhere in the Bible, BoM, PoGP, etc., such as the Word of Wisdom. To say that belief in Jesus, repentance, and baptism are the essentials of salvation is the bait given by Mormon Missionaries, and wholly false.”

    According to our doctrine, there exist different levels within the Celestial Kingdom. If a person has faith in Jesus Christ, repents of their sins, is baptized, receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endures to the end of their lives, they will enter the celestial kingdom. To be exalted within the Celestial Kingdom requires the additional ordinances you mentioned.

    Living in the Celestial Kingdom and receiving exaltation are not equivalent.

    Please get the doctrine right.

  27. Janet says:

    Thank you Jim, very well stated, and according to that which some believe, as stated by Liv4jc, is not LDs doctrine, but what seems to be very misrepresented talking points.


  28. setfree says:

    I’m certain there are lots and lots of people who want to be the eternal Celestial Kingdom servants to the “exalted” Celestial Kingdom Kings and queens. lol. It that what you are hoping for, Janet and Jim? Or are you both thinking that you’ll make it to king/queen/godhood?

  29. @Olsen Jim and Janet,
    Brigham Young taught,

    “Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being able to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 416).

    Being eternally in the presence of the Lord is the bedrock of what a Christian sees as salvation. If the LDS temple endowment ceremony is one of the things that “enables” a person to “walk back to the presence of the Father,” which requires one to provide necessary key words (etc.) to the angels who guard the way, then wouldn’t the temple endowment be necessary for entering the celestial kingdom? If not, how do we understand Brigham Young’s teaching (which, by the way, is apparently echoed in the endowment ceremony itself — see )?

  30. bfwjr says:

    liv4jc said
    “God gave all of us a mind to reason with, but some Mormons refuse to use their God-given powers of reason to prove their prophets were no such things.” and “If you are truly intent on believing despite all of the evidence to the contrary then you are not using the same standard of reason that you use to make decisions in the rest of your life.”
    Growing up LDS, one statement I heard ad nauseam was: “The thing that separates us from animals is our G-d given ability to reason, the ability to choose.” They love that statement. An appeal to your power for rationality. The only problem was in order to buy into Mormonism you have to stomp on that gift and throw it into the trash and believe all kinds of nonsense about who G-d is and what he requires. When you questioned any of the nutty doctrines that makeup Mormonism, more often than not you were told “it’s a test” a test of your faith. In the end you were told the solution to your doubt was to stick the straw deeper into the septic tank of Mormon doctrine and draw back even harder. LURKERS:Put your beliefs to the test, read this board, it wouldn’t even be here if people used their ability reason. Christ’s message is simple and beautiful and it doesn’t take a whole lot of faith to believe. Mormonism doesn’t even pass a basic smell test.

  31. Olsen Jim says:


    Your lack of understanding on this doctrine is actually very revealling. A person can spend so much time on trivia and digging for dirt that they never get the most basic of doctrines.

    I Suggest you read the statement from BY again. He is talking about the requirements for gaining “your exaltation”- not equivalent to simply being in the Celestial Kingdom.

    All who inhabit the Celestial Kingdom will have the society of God the Father (to differing degrees). WITHIN that kingdom, there are those who are exalted- these are those who have eternal increase and will become as God.

    Not all who inhabit the Celestial Kingdom are exalted.

    It is truly surprising (sort of) that you have not understood this simple truth, yet claim expertise in our doctrine.

  32. rvales says:


    Can you get in the CK without going thru the temple endowment?

  33. Olsen Jim says:



    To enter the celestial kingdom, one must:

    1. Have faith in Jesus Christ
    2. Repent
    3. Be baptized
    4. Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
    5. Endure to the end.

    To be exalted, or become like God and have eternal families, one must:

    1-5 above

    and additionally:

    6. Receive the Melchizedek Priesthood if a male.
    7. Receive the temple ordinances including eternal marriage.

    AND be true to those covenants entered into with each of those ordinances.

    I don’t know what proportion of people in the Celestial Kingdom will be exalted vs. simply inhabit that Kingdom, but I believe the number of those who are not exalted is significant.

  34. rvales says:

    Ok now explain ‘endure to the end’ (I don’t want to espouse a definition to it that does not reflect what you understand)

  35. Olsen Jim, you may find this hard to believe, but I was asking a sincere question. Your discussion with live4jc regarding the requirements for getting into the celestial kingdom brought that Brigham Young quote to mind. I was trying to see how it fit in the framework of LDS doctrine as you have been presenting it. In the greater context of BY’s remarks I don’t see him making the distinction that he’s talking about exaltation. Rather, it sounds like he’s talking about gaining eternal access to the presence of Heavenly Father. Period. I appreciate your informed opinion on the matter (I mean this sincerely). As I continue to seek to better understand your faith, I wonder if you could provide any official Mormon sources that state authoritatively that one can enter the CK without meeting the standards for exaltation?

  36. setfree says:

    you called it, rvales.

    Jim said:
    “To enter the celestial kingdom, one must:

    1. Have faith in Jesus Christ
    2. Repent
    3. Be baptized
    4. Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
    5. Endure to the end.”

    Only, what exactly does “Enduring to the end” mean? And is there more involved with any of the 4 requirements?

    According the the official LDS church website, number 3, baptism, involves being baptized INTO THE CHURCH by a PRIESTHOOD HOLDER. It also includes MAKING A COVENANT to KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS. In return, you get forgiveness IF YOU KEEP YOUR COVENANTS (including the covenant to keep all of the commandments)

    And enduring to the end?

    Here’s a quote:

    “If you endure to the end of your life and stay true to your covenants, you will receive eternal life.”

    what covenants is this talking about?

  37. grindael says:

    In 1784 a man by the name of Emanuel Swedenborg wrote a book about his visions of the afterlife called ‘Heaven & Hell & It’s Wonders’. Swedenborg insisted: “There are three heavens,” described as “entirely distinct from each other.” He called the highest heaven “the Celestial Kingdom,” and stated that the inhabitants of the three heavens corresponded to the “sun, moon and stars.”

    By Smith’s own statements, he was familiar with Swedenborg’s writings. Smith told a convert by the name of Edward Hunter that “Emanuel Swedenborg had a view of the world to come, but for daily food he perished.” In other words, Smith liked Swedenborg’s concepts of the afterlife, but criticized him for not profiting from them. cf:

    But Jim is correct about those who can inherit the CK:

    “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood (meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage); and if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase” (D&C 131:1-4).

    There is no scriptural explanation of those who go to the two lower categories of the Celestial Kingdom except that they “are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever,” ministering servants who “remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity” (D&C 132:16-17).

    But what must one do to inherit ANY glory in the CK?

    President Joseph Fielding Smith also said that if you refused to comply with the provided laws, and ordinances during this lifetime, you will be “assigned, after the resurrection, to some inferior sphere.” (Doctrines of Salvation 1:69)

    “For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.” (D&C 88:22)

  38. grindael says:

    If you are going to reach exaltation, you must abide by the celestial law. “What exactly is celestial law?” you might ask. Apostle Orson Whitney said, “It does not mean any one thing; it means all things. It is the fullness of obedience: it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Conference Report, October 1910, p.53).

    It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God – a fearful thing to violate His laws. We have gathered here that we may learn those laws, the laws of God, the laws of life & prepare ourselves under His guidance for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God. But are all Latter-day Saints going into that Kingdom? No.How is that? It is just as Jesus declared. ‘It is not every one that sayeth Lord, Lord, that will enter into the Kingdom of God, but he that doeth the will of the Father who is in heaven”. Did Jesus come to do the will of His Father in heaven? He did, & He expects all who aim at Celestial glory to do the same, and if the do not they will not get there. (John Taylor, JOD25:306)

    Without this Priesthood, without it’s ordinances, without it’s powers, without it’s gifts, ‘no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.’ Therefore it is essential that, if a people should be exalted unto the presence of God, they should have this Melchisedek or greater Priesthood, and the ordinances thereof, by the means of which they are prepared, or they shall be prepared to enter into the presence of God the Father, and endure His presence.” – George Q. Cannon, JOD:25:292

    From these quotes it is obvious that one must obey ALL the laws and ordinances of Mormonism to even attain the Celestial Kingdom, and that not even ALL MORMONS would be able to do that. And what about the Priesthood? One cannot even ‘see’ God without it, and that is why the early Mormons referred to husbands as ‘gods’ to their wives.

  39. grindael says:

    They had the priesthood, the women did not & only through it can the women be saved & exalted is by their husbands, not by Jesus.

    “To enter the celestial and obtain exaltation it is necessary that the whole law be kept. . .Do you desire to enter the celestial Kingdom and receive eternal life? Then be willing to keep all of the commandments.” (J.F.Smith, The Way to Perfection, pg. 206).

    This doctrine also ties in with the one which states that those who die without the gospel and have it preached to them and have ordinances performed for them HERE ON EARTH & accept it in the ‘afterlife’ will be able to attain the CK. D&C 137:7” All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God “.

    How can they do so then, without living the full law after accepting it? Is there a full range of sin in the afterlife to ‘test’ those who accept the gospel there? Is murder and adultery & sin allowed in the afterlife? All of this MAKES NO SENSE. The argument that God knows their hearts & knows that they would have lived the law if they had the gospel here on earth is totally redundant. Why then, have a plan of salvation? Why did God not just skip all the fuss & go with Satan’s plan , judge us by his foreknowledge & assign us to Kingdoms? Why have Jesus come at all? God could just say ‘Hey, if Jesus would have come & you were living on earth then you would have believed in Him so hey: YOU GET THE CK!!!

  40. grindael says:

    If God foreknows, why did He not just have those spirits who he knew were righteous be born when the Gospel was on the earth? Also, what about all of those who lived and were taught adultery was ok, or murder, or who lived their life in accordance with these cultures that did such things? How about those who committed cannibalism, etc. because of culture or tribal law? How is it fair to those that have to live every bit of the law the gain the CK to see others who did not get the same reward? Is God going to give the worshippers of Greek & Roman Gods the CK because they ‘honored those gods & lived a good life in accordance with those laws?” Why did God not allow the Jews to do missionary work then? If they knew about Jesus back in Genesis(JST), why did they not carry the Gospel to the world back then?

    What a crazy silly idea Work for the Dead is. What about all those blacks who lived good lives here but were ‘standing on the sidelines in the pre-existance?’ Is that held against them? If they have the opportunity for the CK because of vicarious ordinance, why hold the priesthood from them in the first place? WHY EVEN LET THEM BE BORN if only to gain a Telestial Kingdom? No, the doctrine of ‘works’ or priesthood or of temples does not fly, it is acceptance of Jesus & belief in Him ONLY that saves, not works, ordinances & silly rituals & God has set things up to be the way they are for His own reasons. We were created BY HIM for HIS purpose, not for our own purpose, or that of Smith.

  41. grindael says:

    Here is the answer of Early Mormonism to violating covenants. They had no confidence in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, & to obtain ‘exaltation with the gods’ one had to have his blood shed to atone from the sin of murder, adultery, stealing etc. This is so diametrically opposed to the teachings of our Lord that it turns my stomach to even post this, but it gets to the heart of this post and the question of grace and works:

    “There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, YOUR OWN BLOOD must atone for it . . . “ (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 247; see also, vol. 4, p. 53-54, 219-220).

    “Now take a person in this congregation who has knowledge with regard to being saved… and suppose that he is overtaken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin that he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which he desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of his blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin and be saved and exalted with the Gods, is there a man or woman in this house but what would say, ‘shed my blood that I may be saved and exalted with the Gods?’

    “All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers and sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood? That is what Jesus Christ meant….

    “I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance… if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground

  42. grindael says:

    as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the Devil… I have known a great many men who have left this Church for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them….

    “This is loving our neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; & if he wants salvation & it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it….if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind.” – Brigham Young, February 18, 1857

    “Rasmos Anderson was a Danish man who came to Utah… He had married a widow lady somewhat older than himself… At one of the meetings during the reformation Anderson and his step-daughter confessed that they had committed adultery… they were rebaptized and received into full membership. They were then placed under covenant that if they again committed adultery, Anderson should suffer death. Soon after this a charge was laid against Anderson before the Council, accusing him of adultery with his step-daughter. This Council was composed of Klingensmith and his two counselors; it was the Bishop’s Council. Without giving Anderson any chance to defend himself or make a statement, the Council voted that Anderson must die for violating his covenants. Klingensmith went to Anderson and notified him that the orders were that he must die by having his throat cut, so that the running of his blood would atone for his sins. Anderson, being a firm believer in the doctrines and teachings of the Mormon Church, made no objections… His wife was ordered to prepare a suit of clean clothing, in which to have her husband buried… she being directed to tell those who should inquire after her husband that he had gone to California.

  43. grindael says:

    “Klingensmith, James Haslem, Daniel McFarland and John M. Higbee dug a grave in the field near Cedar City, and that night, about 12 o’clock, went to Anderson’s house and ordered him to make ready to obey Council. Anderson got up… and without a word of remonstrance accompanied those that he believed were carrying out the will of the “Almighty God.” They went to the place where the grave was prepared; Anderson knelt upon the side of the grave and prayed. Klingensmith and his company then cut Anderson’s throat from ear to ear and held him so that his blood ran into the grave..

    “As soon as he was dead they dressed him in his clean clothes, threw him into the grave and buried him. They then carried his bloody clothing back to his family, and gave them to his wife to wash… She obeyed their orders…. Anderson was killed just before the Mountain Meadows massacre. The killing of Anderson was then considered a religious duty and a just act. It was justified by all the people, for they were bound by the same covenants, and the least word of objection to thus treating the man who had broken his covenant would have brought the same fate upon the person who was so foolish as to raise his voce against any act committed by order of the Church authorities.” -Confessions of John D. Lee.

    “… I tell you the time is coming when that man uses the name of the Lord is used the penalty will be affixed and immediately be executed on the spot …” – Brigham Young, from the Journal of Hosea Stout, vol. 2, p.71; p.56 of the typed copy at Utah State Historical Society

    “It would have a tendency to place a terror on those who leave these parts, that may prove their salvation when they see the heads of thieves taken off, or shot down before the public … I believe it to be pleasing in the sight of heaven to sanctify ourselves and put these things from our midst” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p.73).

  44. grindael says:

    “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God is death on the spot. This will always be so” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p.110).

    Is there any doubt why the Mountain Meadows Massacre happened? I for one am thankful the State of Deseret was disbanded & the United States forced law & order on the Mormons. It is the only thing that stopped flagrant violations of the law like polygamy & blood atonement propagated by such self-proclaimed ‘prophet’ as Brigham Young. How then, are we to view this in the light of the teachings of Jesus? How are we to believe that these men are disciples of the Master of Peace, the one who died on Calvary for our sins, who never fought back & testified that He was the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law? How are we to believe that this is the ONLY TRUE & LIVING CHURCH ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, when it’s leaders propagate such violence and heartless cruelty? This is the ROOT of the MORMON TREE. It is evil & it is false.

  45. Janet says:

    The three degrees of glory are not unique to Swedenborg. Theologians have had this discussion before and it goes back to the earliest centuries of Christendom.

    “Non-LDS scholar Emma Disley indicates that the primary sources for the idea of different degrees of glory are Matt. 5:; John 14:2 (“in my Father’s house are many mansions”); Matt 5; John 14.2 (‘many mansions’); 1 Corinithians 15:41 (stars differ in glory from one another); Matt. 20:1-4 (parable of the Vineyard).”

    It’s quiet a stretch to connect the two together, past the three degrees of Glory which is Biblical, there theology differs greatly. All one needs to do is compare there differences to see that what Mormons believe is quiet different from the ideas and thoughts of Swedenborg. The whole BOM in unique to any other book written, so to suggest that part of our doctrine started with concepts not uncommon to the thinking of scholars over many hundred of years prior to JS first vision, and then the doctrine of three degrees of Glory is simply foolish thinking.


  46. grindael says:


    You did not read Swedenborg’s book, I did. You are greatly mistaken AS USUAL. The BOM is not UNIQUE in the slightest, it plagiarizes from so many sources it would take a book to write them all down. You use nothing to back up your claims, except to deny deny deny. Smith himself ADMITTED he knew him, how is a stretch to put them together? He got the basic ideas from Swedenborg and your denying it can’t change the fact that there was someone out there who thought of it first, with the celestial kingdom being the highest kingdom. If you actually read the book, go ahead and knock yourself out quoting the BIG differences you describe. I’d love to hear it.

    Here’s a few to get you started:

    Furthermore, angels are called “gods” from the reception of the Divine from the Lord… (believed in many gods)

    I have repeatedly talked with angels about this matter (talked with angels)

    The celestial kingdom is called also the Lord’s priestly kingdom, and in the Word “His dwelling-place;” (celestial kingdom where the Lord dwells, his ‘priestly’ kingdom)

    There’s more, much more but I’m going to let Janet refute it if she can, But she can’t, only offer her usual lame excuses and dribble.

  47. grindael says:

    For an eye-opener on the Swedenborg connection, go here: Similarities

  48. Janet says:

    I can’t imagine a more incoherent argument. Claiming that JS actually read Swedenborg has never been proven, and also Swedenborg never used degrees of glory, but called them three heavens. Book of Mormon does not even talk about the three degrees of Glory, that is found in the Pearl of Great Price and D&C. Why even go to Swedenborug to get and idea of three heavens,or degrees of glory, when in 1 Corinthians is can be found, where in it is stated they are associated with the sun, the moon, and the stars. I find you argument nothing but speculative without facts or hard evidence.


  49. Janet says:

    From you own eye-opener of Swendeborg we find this at the end, a conclusion.

    “In the end our conclusion about whether Joseph was influenced by the Swedish mystic will be a personal one, illustrating the teaching of Swedenborg and the Book of Mormon which state that we are suspended at all times between opposing choices (Heaven and Hell 591, 2 Nephi 2:11). My own bias is that while Swedenborg may have influenced LDS teachings, that Joseph Smith was also the recipient of his own unique spiritual experience. Nevertheless, this information is not presented to persuade the reader, but rather to help illustrate the importance of a little known Servant of the Lord from a far off land in Northern Europe.”

  50. gundeck says:


    The conversation has moved on but I want to answer your original question, “is it necessary to humble one self, repent with all your might mind and soul, with real intent and purpose to seek forgiveness and repeat the sin no more?” Yes it is necessary but without grace it is impossible. The gospel promises what it demands.

    The verses that I quoted were presented to show how God is the source of true repentance unto life. In Acts 26:18 Christ sends His apostle Paul to “open their eyes” and to recognize sin. Before you can humble yourself you must be aware sin and without the revelation of God we would be INCAPABLE of this.

    In Zec 12:10 we see the promise of the Holy Spirit who will make it possible for us to “mourn for him” who was pierced for our sins. Without the promised Spirit it would be IMPOSSIBLE for us to truly grieve for our sin. This same Spirit makes us “ashamed of their iniquities” (Ezek 43:10). There is NO shame without the Spirit.
    This is made preciously plain in Ezek 36:21-32 ff. Read this passage closely. God used the phrase “I will” 13 times. God says “you will” only in Ezek 36:31 explaining what the outcome of His work will be. His people WILL “remember your evil ways” and WILL “loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations”. It is God’s work that WILL bring about repentance.

    Peter concludes his Solomon’s Portico sermon with this very promise (Acts 3:26). It is Christ who turns us from our wickedness. Over and over a careful reading of the revealed will of God shows us that He gives us not only our faith in Him for salvation from our sins, but He also gives us a mournful understanding of our sin and causes a hatred and loathing for our rebellion against Him. Faith and repentance are the twin sisters of the gospel.

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