It’s like an April Fools joke, but nobody’s laughing. Instead, people are scratching their heads.
During the April 2015 Sunday morning General Conference session, Mormon Apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the First Presidency) gave a talk that just a few decades ago would have been described by LDS Church leaders as one of “such utter nonsense and so palpably false that to believe it is to lose one’s salvation” (“What the Mormons Think of Christ,” pamphlet published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982, 19).
In the talk titled, “The Gift of Grace,” Mr. Uchtdorf presented what sounded for all the world like a Christian gospel message. As one blogger noted, “It’s like someone snuck an Evangelical pastor into General Conference.”
“…Jesus the Christ brought salvation to all those who shall believe in His name… We cannot earn our way into heaven. The demands of justice stand as a barrier which we are powerless to overcome on our own. But all is not lost. The grace of God is our great and everlasting hope.” (2:46-5:44)
“Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased with the blood of the Son of God…If grace is a gift of God, why then is obedience to God’s commandments so important?…We obey the commandments of God out of love for Him…our obedience to God’s commandments comes as a natural outgrowth of our endless love and gratitude for the goodness of God.” (12:20-14:24)
Mr. Uchtdorf appeared to be teaching salvation by grace, though faith, not of works (see Ephesians 2:8-10) – a doctrine labeled by at least three LDS Church leaders (9th Mormon President David O. McKay, 10th Mormon President Joseph Fielding Smith, and Mormon Apostle James Talmage) as “pernicious.”
“FAITH, GRACE, AND WORKS. The fallacy that Jesus has done all for us, and live as we may, if on our deathbed, we only believe, we shall be saved in his glorious presence, is most pernicious. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, has given us the means whereby man may obtain eternal happiness and peace in the kingdom of our Father, but man must work out his own salvation through obedience to the eternal principles and ordinances of the gospel. For centuries men have been blinded by the false teaching of ‘belief alone sufficient’; and today there is manifest on every hand the sorry plight into which this and other perverse doctrines have thrown the pseudo-Christian sects. The world is in sore need at the present time of the gospel of individual effort—the gospel of faith and works. He who will not grasp this means provided him, will sink beneath the waves of sin and falsehood.” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, 8)
“One of the most pernicious doctrines ever advocated by man, is the doctrine of ‘justification by faith alone,’ which has entered into, the hearts of millions since the days of the so-called ‘reformation..’” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Restoration of All Things, 1964, 192)
“The Sectarian Dogma of Justification by Faith Alone has exercised an influence for evil. The idea upon which this pernicious doctrine was founded was at first associated with that of an absolute predestination, by which man was foredoomed to destruction, or to an undeserved salvation.” (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, 1984, 432).
Another Mormon leader insisted,
“One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, 206. See also The Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122, 1989, 36).
And another did not mince words when he said salvation by grace alone is a “false doctrine” and “the second greatest heresy in Christendom.” (Mormon apostle Bruce McConkie, respectively, The Joseph Smith Translation, 13; The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, 77)
Mr. Uchtdorf went on in his talk to explain,
“ ‘…for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.’ However, I wonder if sometimes we misinterpret the phrase ‘after all we can do.’ We must understand that ‘after’ does not equal ‘because.’ We are not saved ‘because’ of all that we can do. Have any of us done all that we can do? Does God wait until we have expended every effort before he will intervene in our lives with His saving grace?… Nephi labored so diligently to persuade his children and brethren ‘to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God.’ After all, that is what we can do. And that is our task in mortality.” (15:55-17:36)
Here, again, this current Mormon apostle’s General Conference teaching was at odds with the teachings of other Church leaders. Consider the words of the 11th President of the Mormon Church, Harold B. Lee:
“The Lord will bless us to the degree to which we keep His commandments. Nephi put this principle in a tremendous orbit when he said: ‘For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.’ (2 Nephi 25:23.) The Savior’s blood, His atonement, will save us, but only after we have done all we can to save ourselves by keeping His commandments.” (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in the Holy Places, 246. See also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 24).
Or 13th Mormon President Ezra Taft Benson:
“What is meant by ‘after all we can do’? ‘After all we can do’ includes extending our best effort. ‘After all we can do’ includes living His commandments. ‘After all we can do’ includes loving our fellowmen and praying for those who regard us as their adversary. ‘After all we can do’ means clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and giving ‘succor [to] those who stand in need of [our] succor’ (Mosiah 4:15)-remembering that what we do unto one of the least of God’s children, we do unto Him (see Matthew 25:34-40; D&C 42:38). ‘After all we can do’ means leading chaste, clean, pure lives, being scrupulously honest in all our dealings and treating others the way we would want to be treated.” (“After All We Can Do,” Christmas Devotional, Salt Lake City, Utah, 9 December 1982. Quoted in The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 354)
Or previous member of the LDS First Presidency Marion G. Romney:
“The truth is that we are saved by grace only after all we ourselves can do. (See 2 Ne. 25:23.) There will be no government dole which can get us through the pearly gates. Nor will anybody go into the celestial kingdom who wants to go there on the works of someone else. Every man must go through on his own merits. We might just as well learn this here and now.” (“In Mine Own Way,” Ensign, November 1976, 123)
Or current Mormon apostle Dallin Oaks:
“Because of what He accomplished by His atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ has the power to prescribe the conditions we must fulfill to qualify for the blessings of His Atonement. That is why we have commandments and ordinances. That is why we make covenants. That is how we qualify for the promised blessings. They all come through the mercy and grace of the Holy One of Israel, ‘after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23).” (“Two Lines of Communication,” Ensign, November 2010, 84)
Mormons will need to determine whether Mr. Uchtdorf’s teaching signals an about-face in Mormon doctrine, or is merely customary Mormon Church double-speak. While I want with all my heart to believe that LDS leaders have come to recognize the biblical truth of God’s grace and are now engaged in pouring this truth out and over parched and exhausted Mormons who thirst desperately for this Living Water, I fear that Mr. Uchtdorf has just repackaged and rephrased Mormonism’s grace-plus-works gospel.
As I listened to his talk, keeping in mind the different ways Mormonism defines biblical words (e.g., six different definitions for the words “saved” and “salvation”; three different “heavens”; six steps leading to “true repentance”; etc.), I became convinced that nothing has changed in Mormonism. The canonized Articles of Faith remain the same, teaching that “mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” (Article of Faith 3). The Book of Mormon still says, “…if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you…” (Moroni 10:32). And the living prophet of the Mormon Church has not recanted his teaching, “It is the celestial glory which we seek. It is in the presence of God we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership. Such blessings must be earned” (“An Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign, May 1988, 53).
In the end, it should be noted that Mr. Uchtdorf defined “grace” in keeping with the standard Mormon definition of “an enabling power” (LDS Bible Dictionary, “Grace”). He said God’s grace is “the divine assistance and endowment of strength by which we grow from the flawed and limited beings we are now, into exalted beings of truth and light.” (3:30). He explained that our gratitude resulting in obedience will “merge our works with God’s grace” (14:16). And perhaps most significantly, Mr. Uchtdorf said, “Jesus Christ has cleared the way for us to ascend to heights incomprehensible to mortal minds” (18:20).
Friends, Jesus hasn’t cleared the way, He is the way – the only way (John 14:6). Until this truth – this Savior — is fully embraced and proclaimed by the LDS Church, all the Church’s messengers have to offer is “smooth” speech by which “they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting” (Romans 16:18 NASB).
If you are interested in additional analyses related to Dieter Uchtdorf’s talk, check out “Sunday Morning Talk on Grace Review” by Bobby Gilpin and/or “The Ticket or The Airline: Salvation vs Exaltation in Mormon Soteriology” by Thinker of Thoughts.
Hey! I know I have been lurking for a while now; been busy. But I had to agree with Sharon, nothing has changed.
First, Uchtdorf claims that “It is a most wondrous thing, this grace of God. Yet it is often misunderstood.9 Even so, we should know about God’s grace if we intend to inherit what has been prepared for us in His eternal kingdom.” But read his whole talk, it’s confusing everywhere! Try to connect his statements about what grace is and what grace does and how it relates to us and our works and our salvation and exaltation. It’s all smoke and mirrors! Read it carefully and see if you can come out with a clear understanding of Mormon grace.
He never defines grace and the closest he gets to doing so – ” grace of God—the divine assistance and endowment of strength by which we grow from the flawed and limited beings we are now into exalted beings of “truth and light, until [we are] glorified in truth and [know] all things.” – doesn’t seem to make sense with his other (more Christian) statements.
Second, I think this single sentence of Uchtdorf’s talk proves that nothing has changed:
“Grace is a gift of God, and our desire to be obedient to each of God’s commandments is the reaching out of our mortal hand to receive this sacred gift from our Heavenly Father.”
In other words, Grace is a gift and you “receive” it by obedience. But how does Uchtdorf say all the Christian-like things he says with this understanding? How does this statement even work with his previous definition of grace?
If Grace is the “divine assistance and strength” to obey in order “to be exalted”, then why (or HOW?) are we obeying in order to receive that grace in the first place?
I think Uchtdorf still has a chicken and egg problem.
So much for clarifying the issue of grace in Mormonism, Uchtdorf. Thanks…
So, President Uchtdorf, I guess this means the Mormon Church is now discarding that concept of salvation/exaltation into a Telestial Kingdom, a Terrestrial Kingdom, or into several glories of a Celestial Kingdom, depending on our righteousness here on Earth? After all, you said Mormons believe that “…Jesus the Christ brought salvation to all those who shall believe in His name… We cannot earn our way into heaven.”
If we can’t earn our way into heaven, then how could Mormons possibly earn their way into those different degrees of exaltation?
President Uchtdorf isn’t just engaging in the usual Mormon doublespeak. This time he’s altering the Mormon universe. Nowhere in the Mormon universe is there a place for people who have accepted Christ regardless of their works.
The “scriptural”, “revealed” Mormon Hereafter consists of only three stations:
1. Outer Darkness, or the kingdom of Satan, where only the most heinously evil reside, those who haven’t accepted Christ and whose works are unimaginably evil.
2. Salvation, which is a free gift to all of mankind from Jesus, regardless of whether or not they accept Him as their Savior and regardless of their behavior on Earth.
3. Exaltation, which consists of three kingdoms: Telestial, Terrestrial, and Celestial, which are awarded to people strictly according to their works. Accepting Christ as your Savior may be a requirement for the Celestial Kingdom, but not for the other two.
President Uchtdorf has evidently created an alternate Mormon universe where people are somehow saved by accepting Christ alone, and where “[w]e cannot earn our way into heaven.” That “kingdom” currently does not exist in Mormon theology, President Uchtdorf’s best efforts to the contrary notwithstanding. Unless, of course, Mormon leaders are about to reverse 185 years of revelations to their prophets.
part of me wants to think positively about Mr Uchtdorf’s statements : maybe Mormon leaders have been listening to God and are moving away from their false teachings about earning eternal life by works . The other part of me is skeptical , I’d like to hear a Mormon leader say explicitly that they are changing a long held doctrine .
One thing’s for sure , until we hear for sure Mormons will be using Mr Uchtdorf’s statements as a tactic in proselytizing those in Christian churches who believe in what the N.T. teaches about receiving salvation —Eph 2:8-9 .
Oh you guys……….come on! This is Mormonism, LDS style. It changes, but really doesn’t change. We have opinion, we have folk doctrine, we have stuff that’s negated because it happened a long time ago. This dude’s “sermon” is classic Mormonism tale spinning. So it’s spoken at General Conference so is it doctrine or would the attendees had to have voted on it? Now he goes a little too far with the idea that in Mormonism you can believe whatever you want but you just can’t teach it.
Maybe this guy has been watching some Billy Graham Classic episodes on Christian TV. Man this is going to come as a shock to LDS folks every where because they’re under the impression that they have to work like dogs in order to merit deity status. There goes the two levels of LDS salvation out-the-window if this sticks. I think they could probably dump men becoming gods as long as they promise the women that they can have forever families.
My money is on Elder Uchtdorf “clarifying” his Conference address by saying that he was merely explaining half of the concept of grace. The other half, of course, is earning your way into the Terrestrial and Celestial Kingdoms. He’ll point out that everyone, EVERYONE, is saved by God’s grace. After that, however, one must accept Christ and show good works to become exalted. So goes Mormon theology.
Does anyone know if these speakers at GC run their remarks by another authority before they give their presentation? What this guy said will keep the rank-and-file and LDS authorities spinning themselves into the ground. So what will their strategy be? Generally they tell us that the guy didn’t say what he clearly said. Perhaps they’ll tell us that what he said is consistent with Mormon doctrine. For the chapel Mormons, it really doesn’t matter.
We must remember that this is just a game to these guys. Make it sound as much like the Gospel of Jesus Christ as they can, but hold back the real doctrines, teachings and practices of the LDS church. Let’s face it. It’s all a wink and a nod because they know better.
I can’t believe that the powers that be in the LDS church are doing a slow roll out of a re-definition of LDS doctrine regarding salvation. All dedicated LDS members know that they have to work to earn their place in the Celestial Kingdom. It’s not going to be granted to them on the basis of faith alone. The only ones who have been given a free ticket, are those who have been deemed worthy to have done enough and have gone through the super secret ritual in the temple and have received that designation. Even at that, they have earned it in the LDS system.
I wouldn’t put it past them to have had this conversation:
“Dieter, in your talk, say something about grace–make it sound VERY Christian. The faithful need something to point to when Christians point out that our concept of grace is totally different from theirs. We need to shut these Christians down. It’s getting harder to counter them on this.”
Seems the reaction across Mormonism has been mixed. I am not sure it will change much in the end, though. I do think a certain group of Mormons are thrilled by the talk…
So if this is the “new” position of the LDS church, they’ve got themselves a ton of unintended consequences. Why would someone get involved in temple work if it has no meaning in regards to earning godhood? If it’s granted on the basis of faith, apart from works, the LDS church may as well shut down the temples. Who’d do the rituals and rites if there is no identified outcome except to be in the LDS lodge. Forget the Mormon testimony or the BoM for that matter.
They could still hold on to the priesthood I guess, which is largely meaningless anyway. Who needs priesthood authority? If anyone, man, woman or child, has faith and prays in the name of Jesus, that’s where the power and authority comes from.
Based on your remark I decided to do a google search and see what I could find. Here’s an article:
The author and even those who comment are very thoughtful. I was going to comment, just to bring them back to reality, but I thought I would be identified as a nasty Christian troll. My comment would be, “So then, how does someone become a god?” The internet Mormons will hate comments like this because it’s not “intellectual” but simplistic in their personal universe. But isn’t that the point of Mormonism: becoming a god? If not, then why be a Mormon. Oh I forget. There are sects of Mormonism that don’t accept the Prophets Smith’s headlong fall into total nuttiness.
Over the years I’ve been in enough discussions about “grace” with Mormons on this blog to know it’s largely a waste of time. The reason it’s a waste of time is because we can talk all day about “grace” and it’s not getting at the primary questions or issues. The main issue for me isn’t what Mormons think about “grace” it’s who Mormons think God is, more specifically Jesus Christ.
What Mormons believe about grace, even if it’s entirely Biblical, is applied to a wrong premise. That premise is that they believe the faithful Mormon men will become gods and along with their goddess wife/wives, forever families, rule their own planetary system like the millions and billions of gods before them.
So while I was tempted to engage the Mormons on the blog I linked to above, in a discussion of grace, I wouldn’t have been doing them a favor.
Their problem isn’t understanding grace. Their problem is understanding God, His Christ and the plan of salvation revealed to us by Jesus, preached by the apostles and written about in the Bible.
Even if they out tomorrow and said that they only believe that a person can be justified by faith alone as a gift from God apart from any works except for the work of Jesus’ shed blood and that all men are born guilty of Adam’s sin and incapable of even desiring to come to Jesus without God’s will, it still would not make a difference and the followers of the whole religion would still be just as damned.
I’ve got a post in mod jail, but I supply a link to a website of an article that I think you’d find very interesting. I shouldn’t have done it, but I couldn’t help myself. I left a comment. Me and all those Mormons are probably going to have a fight.
I basically told them that their discussion was basically spiritual entertainment and they needed to find out who Jesus is.
Right. The form of what a Christian looks like should not impress us, it should only and always be the true Christ in a man that is of any consequence.
Hypothetically, even if moving towards a doctrine of grace, they still get Jesus wrong.
Think about this. In reading the article I linked to above, the author appeared happy that the LDS church was articulating a definition of “grace” more in line with Paul’s writings in the NT.
So what happens when the LDS church takes the Christian doctrine of grace and over-lays it on the LDS doctrine of God and salvation? Something to ponder, right?
Doesn’t Paul say something like, ” 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
This doesn’t work real well with “after all you can do” which has been standard LDS doctrine forever. We have to remember also that LDS salvation is in two parts. The first is granted to everyone who has ever lived. The second is the god-maker program and is based on an earned reward. Trying to fit the grace spoken of in the Bible into the Mormon god and plan of salvation is cognitive dissonance of which is standard practice in the LDS religion.
What is the common understanding among rank-and-file temple Mormons regarding how they become gods? Is it that the Mormon god grants them deity status based on grace that the god is extending to them? I’m pretty sure that the average LDS person, striving to become a god, thinks that his works play a significant part in the outcome. If the LDS Mormon sect is now unveiling a new doctrine of grace, making deification dependent on what the Mormon god is doing for the LDS believer, then there has to be some serious re-understanding of the entire program.
This description of grace that we now see, flows against the current of the LDS religious system. But there’s one thing we know, Mormon reason can be so convoluted that in their minds they can make all of this work. It’s like some folks who get into drawing dots to make up a conspiracy theory. They get so deep into the weeds that they can’t see that what they are proposing has no logic.
Yeah, I mean if they did adopt Paul’s teaching on grace that definitely would be counter intuitive to the whole Temple system. If the geriarchy taught that temple work in no way affects one’s standing before God, what then would determine the level of one’s exaltation into the three kingdoms? Temple work is the heart of the Utah LDS religion. It’s the carrot and stick for everything revolving around the life of the Mormon. It’s how Mormons gauge their worthiness in light of the heathen nations that surround them. If that goes away then so goes the entire authoritarian hierarchy ruled by shame and fear.
Christians view works as necessary for our neighbor not for our worthiness before God. If Mormons take that same view towards temple work as Christians do towards works then a fundamental problem still exists: temple work is secret and separated from the sight of the nonbelievers. What then becomes the point of temple work?
There is absolutely no way that the geriarchy can truly teach Pauline grace without an absolute overhaul of the theological system from the top down. The best they can do is pay lip service to Christian grace as a trojan horse to convince Christian to join their heresy. I don’t see that as being effective at all, but what other choice do they have?
I just read your second post. I think we both said the same thing in a different way.
I’ll repeat an old story.
Andy Watson, who at one time was a major contributor to this blog, used to visit Mormon chapels and sit in on the classes. They had this old fossil teaching with some support from some younger folks. At the end the guy asks if there are any questions. Andy raises his hand, is recognized and says, “I’m a born again Christian. I’ve received Jesus as my Lord and Savior and have secured eternal life through faith in Him. What can the LDS church do for someone like me?” The old man says, “Nothing”.
Now I wonder how the Mormons sitting in that class reacted to that response, that is if they could even process what was said. The old man was theologically correct in that “nothing” can be added to what Jesus did for us on the cross. Our works are like dirty rags in that regard, the Bible tells us.
I think most Mormons will just sort of move on and not even process the sermon on grace they heard at GC. What seems to be happening is that maybe some Mormons are beginning to question why they’re killing themselves within the LDS system. But that’s been a major problem for them in their view of Christians and Christianity. They think we’re all spiritually laying in hammocks; believing that faith in Christ is all that is necessary for salvation. Technically that’s absolutely true, but that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have expectations for us regarding moral living and service.
We do these things because we are new creatures in Christ. We behave differently now due to our faith.
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Sharon said , ” Mr Uchtdorf appeared to be teaching salvation by grace , through faith , not of works
( see Eph 2:8-10 ) ….”
Considering the nature of the content of the professional grade public advertising that the Mormon church has been doing the last a couple of decades to convince people to accept Mormonism as another bonafide Christian church , what Mr Uchtdorf said is not all that surprising to us who have studied Mormon doctrine and have kept abreast of what the Church has been up to in advertising .
To successfully proselytize from Christian churches Mormon leaders have to use tactics that works .
Polls have revealed that many non Mormons don’t have a favorable impression of Mormons —
Deseret News 8-7-2010 : ” Mormons need to work to increase favor ” and USA Today ,1-12-2012 ,
p. 3A : ” Mormons optimistic about fitting in ” ( as two examples ) . Therefore how do Mormon leaders persuade people to accept their message ? Well if non Mormons are going to be sold on Mormonism’s gospel of salvation then the right words and phrases must be used in such a way by Mormons that make their salvation message sound less ” Mormon” etc . Thus we have a Mormon top official speaking like he did in last weeks General Conference . No doubt some of what he said will be used in proselytizing efforts by Mormons to convince people that what Mormonism teaches about how a sinner receives salvation is similar to what non Mormon Christians believe i.e. salvation is not by works .
Mormon Elder E.F. Parry claimed : ” The gospel of Jesus Christ is called the plan of salvation . It is a system of rules by complying with which , salvation may be obtained .”
As a faithful Mormon , Carolyn Sexaur accepted this belief , and taught that belief to other Mormon women . It was through a study of the Bible and comparing scriptures with what the Relief Society lessons taught that she began to see a problem with Mormon teaching. She was shocked . Long story short she placed her faith in Jesus alone and accepted Him as her Lord and Savior . She had been a Mormon for over 30 years before discovering that the Mormon gospel of salvation was a counterfeit . [ taken from the tract ” My Testimony of The Gospel of The Grace of God ” by Carolyn Sexaur ” , pub. by Utah Christian Tract Society ] .
So how do Mormons sell their gospel ? Considering it is a system of rules which LDS must comply with in order to EARN individual salvation ( eternal life ) how will non Mormons accept it as the real deal ? This is accomplished by making it appear a little less ” Mormon” , and using phrases like ” not by works ” from time to time . That way a Mormon can simply use a statement by one of their leaders (like Mormon apostle Uchtdorf ) to show non Mormons that Mormon teaching has much in common with them etc . This is the kind of proselytizing which Mormons have used , and sadly it has been effective .
Non Mormons: make no mistake about Mormonism’s gospel of salvation . To receive salvation / the gift of eternal life , is by climbing what Mormon leaders have called their ” gospel ladder” , each rung represents a rule , law , regulation — works that must be done because gaining salvation is by earning it through such works . That is Mormon teaching . What Mormon apostle Uchtdorf stated appeared to make Mormonism in line with New Testament teaching . However , Mormonism’s gospel ladder of works which all LDS must climb to get up to God’s personal home in heaven is still very much the heart of the Mormon gospel of salvation . Pertinent scriptures : Gal 1:8 ; 2Tim 4:3,4 .
1. “Whether he receives exaltation or condemnation, we are positively informed that it will be a reward based upon individual merit” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Progress of Man, p.65).
2. “Mormon Apostle Robert D. Hales stated, “Each of us has been sent to earth by our Heavenly Father to merit eternal life” (Ensign, November 2007, p.87).
3. “Many of the world think that eventually the Lord will be merciful and give to them unearned blessings. Mercy cannot rob justice. College professors will not give you a doctorate degree for a few weeks of cursory work in the university, nor can the Lord be merciful at the expense of justice. In this program, which is infinitely greater, we will each receive what we merit. Do not take any chances whatever.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.150)
You can read MRMs article in depth.
If President Uchtdorf is correct, then he has now contradicted former General Authorities or at best presented a state of utter confusion for the rank and pew LDS. If he’s incorrect, what’s a false prophet teaching wrong doctrine doing at General Conference?
Christ taught it simply, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:27-29, NASB)
And the so called (as per LDS) General Authority of the early church, Paul, the Apostle taught:
“But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness…” (Romans 4:5, NASB)
We receive grace freely and without work. Our works are a representation of the fruit that comes following our salvation. No one can earn their salvation. Jesus is the only way, the only answer, you cannot find salvation in any church, religion or denomination.
If Pres. Uchtdorf is become a Christian, then he should leave the LDS church and teach the correct gospel as seen in the Bible. If he isn’t then once again the LDS church has obfuscated the truth to contain the hemorrhaging of members that is occurring currently.
Sharon, thank you for such an interesting article. Is the speaker being genuine? He may be. Or possibly not. I don’t know. He is in charge of the LDS church. (If not on paper, certainly as a practical matter.) As an aside, he once said LDS leaders have sometimes taught things that were untrue. At the time this seemed significant to me. (Shortly following this the Topics section began at the LDS website.)
Like many here, I have LDS friends and family members. Often they are remembered in my prayers. As a Christian, I know God’s love, and grace, and salvation. That is my prayer for those who do not. Will LDS leaders someday embrace the Good News proclaimed in the Bible? I pray for such a day.