At general conference in April, 2015, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the LDS First Presidency, gave a message called “The Gift of Grace.” In it he said “salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience.” How is one to understand this in light of all the many comments made by other leaders and manuals that emphasize the need for complete obedience by members? After all, it was only two years ago when President Thomas S. Monson, citing Gordon B. Hinckley, said, “eternal salvation and exaltation of this people lie in walking in obedience” to the counsels of God (“Obedience Brings Blessings,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2013, p. 90).
Mormonism indeed includes a doctrine of grace in its theology, however this concept of grace does not at all resemble the New Testament grace that is unmerited and undeserved. If God’s best must be gained by works, it is not a gift in the true sense of the word. If it is not a true gift, it is not biblical grace.
In Uchtdorf’s conference talk, he said Mormons do good works “out of love” for God. No doubt, many Mormons have that motivation, but this does not erase all of the many times Mormons have been told that the grace that forgives the Mormon of sins comes after meeting a long list of performance requirements.
In making a reference to 2 Nephi 25:23, Uchtdorf said, “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’ve expended every effort before He will intervene in our lives with His saving grace?” Uchtdorf may trifle with the word “all” in this passage, but he never denied the fact that in Mormonism, grace enables the Mormon to keep the commandments, and as stated by Doctrine and Covenants 76:52, it is by “keeping the commandments,” a Mormon “might be washed and cleansed from all their sins.”
While general salvation (resurrection) is not dependent on works of any kind, exaltation or eternal life most certainly is. Personal performance and commandment keeping is essential to complete a Mormon’s journey to exaltation. According to the manual, True to the Faith, “The phrase ‘after all we can do’ teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fulness of the Lord’s grace and be made worthy to dwell with him” (p.77).
In the March, 2013 issue of Ensign magazine, members were told, “What do Latter-day Saints believe about grace? We believe that God’s grace is what ultimately saves us; yet it does not save us without our doing all that we can to live God’s commandments and follow Jesus Christ’s teachings. We do not believe salvation comes by simply confessing belief in Christ as our Savior. Faith, works, ordinances, and grace are all necessary” (Ensign, March 2013, p. 21).
The day after Uchtdorf gave the above message, Kevin W. Pearson, a seventy, told members, “Once we enter into covenants with God, there is no going back.” Covenants are promises made by members to keep all of the commandments. Mormons are told that God is not bound to keep his end of the agreement if a member fails to live up to the covenants made (D&C 82:9-10).
Mormons who have participated in the temple are also fully aware of the threat made by the character portraying Lucifer. In the endowment ceremony Lucifer addresses the crowd and tells “Peter,” “if they do not walk up to every covenant they make at these altars in this temple this day, they will be in my power!” Since it is highly unlikely that Dieter F. Uchtdorf was implying that members need not live up to every covenant to achieve exaltation, it’s highly unlikely that the LDS Church is moving toward a biblical view of grace.
This article is reprinted from the May—June 2015 issue of Mormonism Researched.
One of the things that I noted when I first got involved on this blog some years ago, was that a discussion of “grace” with a Mormon was a totally futile undertaking.
It was then that I discovered that quite often what we have when discussing such a topic with Mormons is an exercise in cross cultural communication. We may as well be talking with a Hindu about “grace” for all that Christianity has in common with Mormonism. LDS are perfectly aware of the fact that they have to “earn” their reward which is to become a god. No deity is going to grant them that status without extracting a heavy price. LDS have to pay their dues and go through the pledge period, including hell week, if they want to join the fraternity.
Is there any wonder that such a small number of active members ever bother with the temple program? I’m assuming this anecdotally. My friend Andy Watson use to run into some Mormon over-the-road truckers who were Mormons; up at a truck stop in Utah. As they sat drinking their coffee they’d tell Andy that they were going to “do the work” in the next world. What’s that about?
The LDS are, by design, kept guessing as to whether or not they’ve done enough to warrant the Celestial Kingdom and godhood. Funny though, there is a class of LDS who have been deemed to having done enough and have partaken in a ceremony designating them for this eternal reward. Joe and Jane Schmuck, sitting in the pew will never be considered for this honor because they obviously aren’t doing enough.
In the words of the 70s. Keep trucking!
Mormons should be commended for their enviable reputation, and they’ve earned that reputation. Over the years they’ve demonstrated love of family, honesty, clean lifestyles, loyalty, and hard work. That’s quite a record. Employers love them. Neighbors appreciate them. Their families respect them. They join together to help each other in time of need. In the last Presidential campaign, the LDS fielded two worthy candidates: Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. That’s quite an organization.
If you’re looking for a worthwhile organization to join, you can consider the Mormons. Or the Elks Club, Lions, or Rotary International, or the Red Cross, USO, or American Legion. There are lots of good service organizations out there and they all need your support.
If, however, you’re looking for God’s grace and Christ, and wish to follow in His footsteps, you’ll need to look further. You’ll need the truth. John 8: 32
Sadly, the LDS Church has a poor record on teaching the truth in the things of God. From Joseph Smith’s secret polygamy with 14-year-old girls — two of them — and the wives other men, to his admittedly false “translation” of the Book of Abraham, to his patently false revelations and scriptures, to the massive 150-year cover-up by Mormon leaders, the Mormon Church has finally had to concede repeatedly that Joseph Smith was a false prophet.
Recently, in the Church’s October General Conference, one of the LDS apostles even resorted to beseeching the LDS faithful to overlook Joseph Smith’s sins, false prophecies, and fabricated scriptures: “Give Brother Joseph a break.”
He might just as well have added, “And overlook the fact that your leaders have kept these truths from you for over 150 years.” Is that the way Christ would run a church? Elder Andersen did give wise counsel, though, when he urged the LDS membership to seek “…the Spirit of Truth.” Christ has counseled us to do the same thing. Perhaps we should do it.
Speaking of truth, Elder Uchtdorf of the LDS First Presidency has given us something to consider. EVERY Mormon leader from the 1840s onward has taught that grace must be accompanied by works. Yet Elder Uchtdorf goes on television and declares that that’s all wrong? Why would he do that, especially when other Mormon leaders are still teaching the traditional LDS doctrine?
Perhaps I’m being too cynical, but I think the operative word here is “television.” The Church is hoping to snag unwary Christians into believing that the Mormons believe in the Biblical teaching of grace. Some are concerned that the Mormons may attract naive Christians with this ploy; others are concerned that once again the Mormon leaders are lying to the public and this time on a grand scale. Sure, they justify it by claiming it’s for the good for the Church, but it’s the same bait-and-switch tactic they’ve used for over a century.
With the Internet out there it’s getting tougher and tougher for the Mormon Church to fabricate a Christian-friendly version of their doctrines and history. But they keep trying. And now they’ve resorted to lying on television and warning their members to stay away from the Internet.
It seems that the only Mormons who don’t care about all this deception are the ones who regard the Mormon Church as a social club and tithing as its dues. Thinking Mormons are faced with a choice: ask the inevitable questions or bury their heads in the sand. Of course, if you live in Utah or Idaho and hope to have friends or a social life (or a job), the choice can be a difficult one. Sometimes you just go to church and keep your mouth shut. But is that any way to live?
I am a broken record when I keep repeating that the LDS doctrine is true within the context of the LDS church.
Outside of that venue however, it isn’t true. And that’s where the LDS people have a load of trouble. While the LDS church may give them a feeling of belonging and security, the basis upon which the LDS church is built is totally false. The LDS brand of Mormonism is suppose to be a restoration of first century Christianity. Problem is there isn’t any proof of this. I could start a religion based on the same premise. But here’s the deal. The pressure would be on me to prove it and I couldn’t any more than the LDS church can.
So this idea of “grace” spoken of in the article is a total retool of what actually appears in the Word of God. The gospel message is repeated over and over that we are saved by grace through faith and not as the results of works that no one should boast. We do do works and obey the commandments because we love God and are grateful for what He has done for us through Christ Jesus Our Lord. So why do I do works and follow the dictates on behavior? I do these things because I’m saved. Anyone who comes to Christ in faith follows His commandments. But the Good News is that God has provided provision for us when we fail. If we walk in the Spirit as He is in the Spirit we have fellowship with one another and the Blood of Christ continually cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
The motivation for a born again Christian is to do as the Father expects because we are grateful for His love, mercy, kindness and benevolence. I cannot tell you how free I am in Christ knowing and understanding what this means on an everyday basis as I struggle through the challenges of life. God accepts me as I am not because of what I’ve done to deserve it but because I have received the Gift He offered to me by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
What in the name of all that’s Mormon is Elder Uchtdorf of the LDS First Presidency talking about when he says that grace is a gift freely given to all who confess Christ?!
Is he talking about the LDS concept of EXALTATION? No, that is clearly earned according to Mormon doctrine.
Is he talking about the Mormon doctrine of SALVATION, which Mormons consider to mean resurrection? No, the Mormons teach that salvation and resurrection are a free gift from God to ALL beings regardless of whether or not they accept Christ.
The fact is that he’s talking about something that simply does not exist in the Mormon universe. One of two things is going on here. First, Elder Uchtdorf is repudiating one of the basic doctrines of Mormonism and implying that every LDS prophet and apostle for the past century and a half has been a false prophet teaching false doctrine. Or, he has another agenda that involves lying in order to lure unsuspecting Christians into his fold.
You be the judge.
It’s pretty clear that these folks get the “grace” for their “reward” after they do the work. Where I come from, that’s called “wages”. You earn wages. The Bible is pretty clear that first comes grace extended by God to a sinner. The sinner repents and accepts through faith, the gift of eternal life God is offering. Once this gift is received then the sinner begins a life transformation. We are “justified” by God through our faith in Christ Jesus Our Lord. We are “sanctified” as we walk by the Spirit and crucify the deeds of the flesh. Finally we will be “glorified” as we live with God for eternity. It’s the three tenses of salvation. We have been justified. We are being sanctified. We will be glorified.
To say that the LDS Mormon sect is inconsistent, flip-flop-ish and subject to any wind that might blow it in any direction, is being kind. This group is so “flexible” when it comes to its own doctrine and teachings that it leaves its members with whip lash. But then the members don’t mind it because they can play the game of doctrinal spin-the-bottle to. Spin-the-battle and embrace/kiss any doctrine that makes you feel good. It’s so bad with this bunch that what they do can’t even be covered by the all encompassing excuse of “progressive revelation”.
Over the years, we’ve played another favorite game with the LDS called “counts doesn’t count”. That’s the game where by we provide the LDS member with enough evidence to fill a large Walmart warehouse and they scream, “Doesn’t count!”. There’s what the LDS pass around down at the ward and what they entertain themselves with during small group gatherings. They can wax eloquent in the confines of their own group but when they venture out and are trapped, they rattle off the canned testimony and run away.
I’m surprised any LDS leader goes on the record about anything any more. That’s why the GC talks take on all of the meaning of the Beach Boys’ hit “Be True to Your School”. Pack-up your surf boards LDS and catch a new wave of doctrine.
It’s kind of sad really. Even with all of the Church’s admissions about its fabricated history and doctrines, and with all of the factual information available on the Internet, the vast majority of LDS are in denial. They don’t care. They won’t ask questions. They cling to the myth. They refuse to read anything that might provide them with the truth. And they’re proud of the fact that they don’t care.
“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true. The other is to refuse to believe what is true.” — Søren Kierkegaard
I think it’s evident that Mormons are talking about grace the last several years in a way that is sounding more like how Christians would believe . It seems this is a calculated move , much like when some Mormons say they can become “like ” God in heaven one day , instead of describing Mormon doctrine the more explicit way : ” Mormon males can become Almighty Gods one day ” , being that articulate in public interviews is something that most Mormons will usually be reluctant to do .
The Mormon gospel is a system of works . The gospel of salvation ( how to receive eternal life ), revealed in the New Testament is not .
People have to choose with prophets and apostles to follow : either the ones in the Bible , or the latter days ones of Mormonism . One teaches the authentic gospel , the other an imitation .
I remember when I got into all of this years ago, my over-all impression was that Mormons lie. It wasn’t too difficult to come to that conclusion based on any number of things. Then to be kind, I could see that the obfuscation, misdirection and misleading statements were a version of Mormon truth. In some ways Mormon truth is a strange concoction of alibis, mottos, slogans and wishful thinking driven by emotion. Mormons just believe it and that’s the end of the discussion. They feel things and the emotions don’t confirm the truth as much as the emotions become the truth.
It is true, today the LDS church is on a mission to make their sects beliefs and doctrines sound “Christian”. Please tell me that’s not an attempt to gain acceptance, be part of the larger group of Christian denominations and fool people into joining the sect. They’ll say anything in the quest to sound Christian, fool people and gain members. For years they’ve used the same terms and made no attempt to articulate the difference.
Sorry LDS, this is called “lying” and it’s not justified in order to get to your end game.
So I don’t get it.
How can these LDS folks insist that they are just like Christians and at the same time say that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was lost 2,000 years ago? Isn’t that a little strange? And please, I don’t want to hear that the LDS are the same as Christianity where Christianity has it right. That’s like the LDS view of the Bible being corrupt except where it isn’t. They can’t point out where those places of corruption are in the Word nor can they point out the areas where the LDS sect gospel is the same as that found in the Bible or Christianity.
If LDS believe that they are the same as us when it comes to grace, I’ve got a news flash for them. They don’t understand at all what the Biblical concept of grace is. That’s like the LDS saying they are Christian because the name of their sect has “Jesus” in it. Is that the same Jesus as normative Christianity? No! Is the Father the same? No! Is the Holy Spirit/Ghost the same? No! Can it be proven that anything that the LDS sect believes, preaches or practices existed in the first century Christian church? No it can’t!
The bottom line is that the LDS sect doesn’t even have the beliefs of original Mormonism. In fact, Joseph Smith had a bunch leave not long after he kicked-off his religious sect, because he violated the original “revelation”. So maybe the LDS should quit trying to claim they are Christian and figure out if they’re even Mormon.
Many years ago I acquired a little booklet published by the Utah Christian Tract Society of La Mesa , CA. It was the testimony of Carolyn Sexauer who had been a Mormon for over 30 years before she became a born again believer in Jesus . She came to discover what God’s grace in relation to salvation really was . She cited what she formerly believed as a Mormon by quoting Mormon Elder E.F. Parry in The Scrap Book :
” 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 .”
She finally by studying the Bible came to realize that the Mormon gospel was not the same as the gospel of salvation that Jesus’ apostles taught in the Bible . She states :
” I came out of Mormonism . Since that wonderful day when I gave up trying to reconcile the teachings of Mormonism with the Word of God as found in the Bible , and was born again of the Spirit, I have been happier than ever before in my life , and have known in full measure ‘ the peace of God that passeth all understanding ‘ . I live each day rejoicing . Every burden on my heart is gone . Every doubt and fear is gone . ”
Trying to earn eternal life by works leads to futility , and eventual dispair . Sinners are saved by God’s grace as they place their complete trust ( faith ) in the finished work of Jesus on the cross for their sins . May the Mormon people discover that beautiful truth .
Haven’t commented on here for a while. Hope all is well with everyone 🙂
I’ve been out for a couple years now and it’s been great. I wanted to say that I still get in lots of conversations with people about Mormonism, and I spend a lot of time educating Christians in how to talk to Mormons regarding Grace and Christ’s Atonement. Christians come to the table thinking Mormons are talking about the same thing, and they need to know that Mormons REJECT Christ’s grace and they don’t understand what it is AT ALL. Not even close.
Have a great day, I still lurk here from time to time. Glad to see this blog is still exposing the truth of Mormonism and helping people like me get out of it.
Good to hear from you , and may God bless you !
Good to hear from you , and may God bless you .