Having a tough time discussing grace with Mormons? EMPP is my imaginary energy drink, as well as my corny acronym for making some helpful distinctions:

Evidence. Are works necessary to show the evidence of faith? Yes. James 2:14-26, Matthew 7:21-23?

Merit. Are works necessary to earn or merit eternal life or forgiveness? No. Romans 4:1-8, 6:23.

Purpose. Are works necessary to fulfill my life’s purpose to glorify God? Yes. Matthew 5:16, Ephesians 2:10.

Prerequisite. Are works necessary as a prerequisite or precondition to receive eternal life or forgiveness? No. Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5-8.

Biblical Christianity says yes-no-yes-no to EMPP.

Traditional Mormonism says yes-yes-yes-yes.

Neo-orthodox Mormonism says yes-no-yes-maybe (depending on the person).

Jesus gives immediate adoption, forgiveness, and eternal life to anyone who, with a broken heart, trusts him for it — even before baptism, laying on of hands, church membership, completing a “repentance process”, etc. That isn’t something one clearly learns from, say, the LDS Gospel Principles, much less Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness in the Church Distribution Centers, or in the new LDS youth manuals (that I can tell, so far).

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58 Responses to EMPP

  1. grindael says:

    Old Man,

    Well said.

  2. faithoffathers says:


    You place yourself on the judges throne in declaring what my motives are. How do you know the motives behind my actions? How in the world do you know that I do things so that I can lift myself above other people? I suggest some care and humility in these things. You don’t know my heart anymore than I know yours. Easy there trigger.

    Also- you cannot read my mind- just like last time you claimed to know what I was thinking. I had no specific passage of scripture in mind when I asked that question. It is a question which demonstrates the role of obedience and works. Yes- hearing the word can place the seed of faith in a person’s soul. But it does not end there. Like Christ said, “whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will like him unto a wise man who built his house upon a rock…..And whosoever heareth these saying of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man who built his house upon the sand.” He said this at the end of the sermon on the mount. There were many actions and works discussed and taught by Christ in that sermon. He said that we need to hear and DO those things to be likened unto the wise man. If we hear and do not DO, it ends there.

    He also said, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:16

    Your reference of Christ’s teaching when the apostles could not heal the afflicted person actually supports my argument. If you include the whole statement, it reads, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Hmm. “Prayer and fasting.” Are those not actions and works? Do they not require effort? Yes. The faith of the apostles was not great enough to cast out devils. What did they need to do to strengthen their faith? According to Christ- “prayer and fasting.” They had to DO something to have their faith strengthened.

    There is an argument that the phrase “and fasting” was added to the original text. Two points on this- 1- so much for biblical innerancy; 2- it really doesn’t change the point- there is something the apostles needed to DO to have more faith- pray- either pray more or pray more earnestly. Either way, the apostles had faith to do something that would have resulted in increased faith- enough to cast out devils.

  3. falcon says:

    I’m back to the bottom line for me and that is Joseph Smith was not a prophet, his revelation was not true, the “church” he founded is not true and the current prophet is nothing more than a man who happened to move up through the corporate LDS system.

    So anything a Mormon has to say regarding “grace”, “faith” and “works” is a reflection of the lie that is Mormonism. Why would I engage a Mormon in these matters and, in a way, legitimize the religion as just another form of the Christian family? These things are not open for debate. They have been settled.

    The Christian faith is consistent among the various denominations regarding these matters. There’s no need for a prophet to speak new doctrine. If someone within the Christian family has the gift of prophesy as described in First Corinthians 12 and 14, it is to reinforce God’s revelation and encourage believers through exhortation.

    There is nothing that a Mormon can add to the discussion regarding “grace”, “works” and “faith”. It is because the doctrine of Mormonism, besides being false, changes about every time the Mormon prophet changes his magic underwear.

    If a Mormon wants to know what they need to “do” in order to be saved/have eternal life, they need to look no further than the NT. Our need for a Savior is plainly presented (in the NT) as is the type of life we are to lead after we repent and come to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith.
    If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is in us, then though our bodies are dead because of sin, our spirits are alive because of righteousness. This righteousness is imputed to us through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We can’t add anything to our account because God cancelled the debt. When Jesus spoke out from the cross, “It is finished” the word He used is a Greek term that means “the debt is paid”. If the debt is paid, we can’t pay it again. The debt no longer exists. The paid up account is accessed through faith as God extends His grace to us. We are justified! We are then sanctified through the Spirit as we walk in a manner that is consistent with our profession of faith.
    That’s really the end of the story.

  4. falcon says:

    I thought Tom had really hit the nail on the head earlier when he alluded to the process by which we come to Christ in faith.
    Faith is a gift. We don’t work it up on our own. The Book of Ephesians, first chapter explains this very well about God’s choice and election. Many have tried to explain this over the centuries, in regards to the theology, however the fact is that none of us comes to God without the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
    Mormons, with their works/righteousness program, want to get themselves into the formula. And that’s Mormonism and why Mormonism isn’t Christianity.
    God is sovereign. Can anyone resist God’s grace? Good question but all I know is that when I look back at the night that I prayed to receive Christ as my Savior, it seemed that the burden was so heavy upon me that I had to give up or, metaphorically speaking, die.
    God wasn’t going to let me up. He had me pinned, spiritually speaking although it did seem like my body and emotions were under stress.
    It’s not funny although in a way I find it sort of; but Jonathan Edwards use to preach his sermon, “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God” and some listening would grab a hold of the church pillars for fear they’d slip into hell. The interesting thing is that Edwards wasn’t a hell, fire and brimstone type of preacher. He’d just read his sermon but the conviction of the Spirit was so strong, people were over-come and came to Christ in faith.
    I can sense a revival coming for Mormons. An Enlightenment is for believers. A revival is for unbelievers. Mormons are unbelievers because they don’t know God. When the Spirit moves, Mormons will not have a chance. They will come to Christ or God will burden them until they give-up.

  5. falcon says:

    Excuse me I flipped my terms in my above post.
    Revival is for believers. Spiritually dead people can’t be revived but those in a spiritual slumber can be. Enlightenment comes to unbelievers because they need to hear the Word of God and being enlightened, come to Christ in faith.
    Sorry about that. I’m hungry. I need to go and eat!

  6. MJP says:


    You replied to my question with this answer: “I think you simply do not like my answer to your question. Yes- Christ is completely, 100%, the author of my salvation. But I must do something to be saved.”

    First, you’re right: I do not like your answer. And second, the last sentence is where you don’t get my question. So, I’ll ask it yet another way: are you uncomfortable with the idea that you cannot do anything to earn your salvation and the idea that ALL of the saving power is in Christ alone?

    The reason for the question is that last sentence. Your answer is great until you say that you must do something to be saved. If you have to do something, you are the author of those acts, not Christ. Christ may have written the instructions, but you are the one doing the saving acts (even if it is Christ who allows you to be saved once you have done the acts). See, under your idea, Christ’s saving power is worth nothing until you do what you are supposed to do, which necessarily includes the idea that you are in control of at least some portion of your salvation.

    With that in mind, I will ask again about giving up all control of your salvation. Why can’t you accept that concept?

  7. Mike R says:

    F of F , you stated that you are sorry for not explaining better your beliefs about how works
    and faith relate to salvation ( when I say ” salvation”/ “saved ” I mean eternal life, i.e. the
    fullness of the blessing a person receives by being “saved ” , this is not mere resurrection ) .
    I respect your humility in saying that . Now you seem like a very knowledgeable Mormon who
    is usually very articulate about sharing your personal beliefs , but I think that you’re trying to
    superimpose Mormonism onto the N.T. picture of how a person is saved , and this will only
    produce a fuzzy picture . I’ve cited examples of this from some of your comments made here
    on this thread . Statements such as , ” we are not saved by works . But that does not mean we are
    not required to do those works .” ” Required” ? Why? Answer: to merit/earn eternal life by
    individual effort , i.e. works . That’s what Mormon leaders have taught . What about seeking
    to live in God’s house above ( Jn 14: 2) ? Seeking to live in His presence in heaven is a blessing
    that must be earned . How ? By strict obedience . What obedience ? Individual effort , works—
    observing the requirements of the Mormon system of rules , laws, regulations called the
    ” restored ” gospel of Jesus . But this is not the gospel of salvation that Jesus’ apostles preached .
    That’s why the “restored gospel ” of Mormonism is a imitation gospel , created 1700 years after
    the authentic one was taught by Jesus’ apostles . The N.T. message is clear :
    Eph 2:8-10 ; Rom 3:24-25 ; 6:23 ; 10 :9-13 ; Phil 3:9 ; Heb 7:25 . The love that flows out of
    the heart of a person who has been saved produces a desire to live a lifestyle that pleases their
    Savior’s requests , but this behavior is not to get saved , it’s because of already being saved .
    I’ll close with a comment from Bill McKeever on this issue : ” Sin most definitely must be dwelt
    with and while it is true that ‘ mercy cannot rob justice ‘ , justice was served and satisfied when
    Christ suffered and died to pay the penalty of sin on the cross of Calvary ! It has already been
    paid in full and has no need to wait for the efforts of men . By his sinless life , Jesus met the
    full requirements of the law . He did what we cannot ( and will not ) do . If a believer has any
    ‘merit’ at all it lies in the imputed righteousness given to him by faith in Christ’s behavior , not
    ours. The notion of earning salvation is anathema to the New Testament message , but is a fundamental teaching of Mormonism .”

  8. grindael says:

    You place yourself on the judges throne in declaring what my motives are. How do you know the motives behind my actions? How in the world do you know that I do things so that I can lift myself above other people? I suggest some care and humility in these things. You don’t know my heart anymore than I know yours. Easy there trigger.

    Ahem, read again my comment. I never said I could “read” your “mind”. I said I know you. I do. You are totally predictable. And tonto, you made my point by concluding the exact thing I was getting at. If you are going to be all snippy and such, then it might do you well not to agree with what I said you were going to say. Kinda hypocritical, don’t you think?

    Prayer a WORK? Hardly. You know, it might be a work for you, since you are so fixated on works. (No surprise there). So, talking with God is a work. Now I’ve heard everything! Mormonism is full of regulations. They regulate everything. You can generically apply “work” to anything. But your ludicrous rants don’t make it so. And again, it is obvious you don’t read the New Testament, and all you use it for is to cherry pick. The faith of the apostles WAS great enough to cast out devils. Do you want the quotes? Here is one,

    12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. (Mark 6:12-13)

    It was only that KIND of evil that possessed that certain boy that required more faith, according to Jesus. This also shoots your “priesthood” down. If one has the “priesthood”, what need to fast? Jo said it best:

    “I, the Lord, Am Bound When Ye Do What I Say, but when ye do not what I say you have no promise.” (D&C 82) Here is James Talmage explaining this:

    “‘Mormonism’ has taught me that God holds himself accountable to law even as he expects us to do. He has set us the example in obedience to law. I know that to say this would have been heresy a few decades ago. But we have the divine word for it: ‘I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.’ (Doc. and Cov. 82:10.) He operates by law and not by arbitrariness or caprice.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1930, p. 96.) (lds.org)

    What need for fasting or prayer then? Jesus sent them out to cast out demons. They were doing what he said. Why didn’t the Mormon “priesthood” (since Mormons say they had it) work for them? In this talk on the Power of the Priesthood by Boyd Packer, he never once mentions faith or fasting in connection with the “power of the priesthood”. He talks about “faith” in the future in his last paragraph. Instead, he says,

    The authority of the priesthood is with us. After all that we have correlated and organized, it is now our responsibility to activate the power of the priesthood in the Church. Authority in the priesthood comes by way of ordination; power in the priesthood comes through faithful and obedient living in honoring covenants. It is increased by exercising and using the priesthood in righteousness.

    He is actually saying that more power comes from more works! Wow. Then if you are obediently living, you should have power to raise the dead, cast out demons, etc. Where is all that in Mormonism today? Why don’t they speak in tongues today, like they did in the early church? Jesus and his apostles raised the dead openly in front of everyone. What Mormon “prophet” has done so? Why not? God is “bound” when you do what he says, right? (So says Packer in the talk above). Go ahead, tell me how undeserving your “prophets” are, of the power of God to raise the dead. Tell me how unworthy they are. They supposedly did it in the Book of Mormon (4 Ne. 1:5) How did those “imperfect men” do all that? What is the problem with Mormon “prophets” today? Here is Wilford Woodruff giving a great example of casting out demons:

    I came home in the Evening of the 16 & found Brother Edward Tullidge raving mad. He was at the City Hall in the hands of the poliece. He had been writing or Compiling my own Autobyography for nearly two years. Of late he had been drinking vary hard & writing Theatrical Plays. He now imagins himself the great Bridegroom & many other foolish things. 17 I spent the fore part of the day in the Endowment House. We gave Endowments to 29 persons. H. C. Kimball sealed 2 Couple, G Q Cannon 11, and W Woodruff 6 Couple. [p.279] I received a good letter from Ensign Stockings. He spent a week in London & spoke of the Corruption of the City & the wickedness of the people. In the Evening I Called at the City Hall to see Edward Tullidge who had became insane. I was left alone with him. I laid hands upon him & rebuke the devels & they Came out of him & he beged of me to take him home. He promised me faithfully to obey me in all things if I would take him to his family who were in my house. Upon this promise I took him by the arm & led him home in his right mind. I spent the Evening with him reading the news of the day. He went to bed with his Brother John, & slept untill about 1 oclok. Then the devil entered into him & he raged Badly. I arose & went to him & again laid hands upon him & Cast the Devel out of him in the name of Jesus Christ. And he remained quiet untill about day light when the Devil again Entered into him & he raged in a dredful manner. We gave him his breakfast & I took him by the arm & walked with him back to the City Hall & left him in the hands of the poliece. Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 6, p.279, March 13-16, 1866)

    What happened to the “power of the priesthood”? I guess the police were better able to handle the devil than Wilford Woodruff. More than likely this wasn’t the devil at all but only the DT’s. Such is the discernment of Mormon “prophets” and “apostles”.

    And only some manuscripts say “fasting”. Some don’t. So what? I’m not one of those guys that believe the Bible is perfect. I’ve never said so. It is as good as it can be coming through men. To disqualify sola scripture based on that is juvenile. We have what we have because God willed it to be so. Mormons on the other hand, haven’t added anything to the canon for YEARS and YEARS. And they “vote” on what they should add. So how is that different than what Christians did with the Bible? We just don’t believe there is anything more worthwhile to add. Oh gee, that sounds familiar. Gordon Hinkley said that about Mormon scripture a few years ago. “We don’t need much revelation”.

    DL: And this belief in contemporary revelation and prophecy? As the prophet, tell us how that works. How do you receive divine revelation? What does it feel like?

    GBH: Let me say first that we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don’t need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received.San Francisco Chroncile, 4/13/1997

    Like I said, everything we need is already there. WE DON’T NEED MORE REVELATION from Mormon “prophets”. What for? If we were to tolerate additions to the canon, we would have deal with people like Jo Smith trying to add in his pseudepigrapha. We all know where that leads. To racism, bigotry, and barbarism like polygamy and heresies like Adam-god. We have the Holy Spirit, which is direct access to God. We don’t need more David Koreshian type “revelations” and regulations to confuse everyone with.

    The whole problem with Mormon “doing” is that what you claim we should “do” is a whole lot of extra things to EARN your way into a greater reward. This is NOT what was needed in his apostles. What did the demon possessed person do, to have the evil spirit removed? NOTHING. What did the father do? BELIEVED. I suppose that that would be a “work” too? Jesus strengthened the man’s belief by performing the miracle. In turn reading that account strengthens ours.

    Fasting is also not a work. It was a regulation in Israel before the time of Jesus. Jesus did away with Israel’s regulations. Here is the same account from Matthew:

    14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” 17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:14-20)

    If the apostles had the Mormon “priesthood” they could have said, well, God is bound by law. We did what he said, so it has to work.

    Mormons have made fasting a regulation once again. You don’t “get paid” for your fasting with power of the Spirit. Work implies getting paid. This is (again) ludicrous. Fasting is for focus. To deny yourself so that you can focus on God’s will for you. Paul warned about the sort of thing that you are advocating:

    “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross … Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:8-16).

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