The Mormons

Saved by Grace - or Works?

(*abbreviations: BOM = Book of Mormon; AoF = Articles of Faith; WtMToC = What the Mormons Think of Christ)

Ask a Mormon if he depends upon some achievements of his own for justification (being made right with God) - or whether he is resting upon God's grace, received through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone?

Can the Mormons answer this question clearly? One of their own main "theologians," James E. Talmage, obviously does not understand the doctrine - in fact he claimed that
"justification by belief alone" is "a most pernicious doctrine." He fails to appreciate that orthodox Christianity has never taught a dogma to the effect that "a wordy confession of belief shall open the doors of heaven to the sinner." (*AoF, p.107-8). The Bible is clear that it is the atonement of Christ alone that opens the doors of heaven and a sinner who by faith identifies himself with Christ is not justified by works that he has done, but by the sacrificial death of Christ at Calvary. The crunch - which Mormons fail to understand - is that once you are saved by faith THEN works follow (James 2v14-18) as they were prepared by God for you to do (Ephesians 2v8-10) before you were even saved! Mormon "theologians" confuse the one who claims to know Christ - and yet who deliberately practises sin - with a born again experience which is life-changing (despite the possibility of temptation occasionally dragging the believer into sin). True, it is here that too many orthodox Church leaders fail God and His people by refusing to discipline their flock as demonstrated by Paul (1 Corinthians 5-6) and cults like the Mormons quickly fasten on to these failings as proof that they "have the truth" and the rest are in error.

Mormon "theologian" Bruce R. McConkie claims that
"All men are saved by grace alone without any act on their part, meaning that they are resurrected and become immortal because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ" (*WtMToC, p.24). So McConkie teaches that God will raise people to be judged and cast into Hell by grace alone! He also claims that "all men by the grace of God have the power to gain eternal life. This is called salvation by grace coupled with obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel." (ibid.). As pointed out earlier, Mormons ridicule the idea of forgiveness solely on the basis of Christ's shed blood and this resulted in their horrendous doctrine of "Blood Atonement" (which they had to cease because of the power of the USA government over them), and through the idea that "salvation in the kingdom of God is available because of the atoning blood of Christ. BUT it is received ONLY on condition of faith, repentance, baptism and enduring to the end in keeping the commandments of God" (ibid., p.28).

If being saved is a gift how can you work for it!

By adding works to faith Mormons destroy the very essence of grace, for
Romans 11v6 tells us that we are saved by grace, "and if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." Grace is unmerited favour - the free gift of God - and everyone knows that a gift cannot be bought otherwise it is no longer a gift and the giver is insulted!

Mormons insist that propitiation (forgiveness) of sins comes "through the faith and good works of the sinner....conditioned on individual effort" (J.E. Talmage, AoF, p.87-9), but the phrase so often used by the Mormons - "the laws of the gospel" - is never found in the Bible (in fact try finding it in their BOM which supposedly contains the "fullness of the gospel"!). Anyone believing this doctrine has clearly never read and understood Romans and Galatians, for law and gospel and works and grace are unmixable! This makes it impossible to believe Mormon claims that they give any credence to the Bible at all for they have replaced this clear Biblical doctrine with occultic necromancy!

Where does the Bible or BOM claim that baptism is essential for salvation?

The Mormons try and teach that baptism is essential for salvation and when they approach you they will not bring the reason for this to the fore. But if you join their church, or
insistently ask what they offer that orthodox churches do not, they will slowly make it apparent that they believe in baptism for the dead. This is one of the necromantic doctrines inherited from the occultist founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, and one of their Temple Ceremonies.

They attempt to use the Bible to support their teachings, so let us look at some of the verses they quote. Does
John 3v5 teach that water baptism is essential to salvation? If you read verse 5 & 6 together it is clear that Jesus is talking about physical birth and spiritual birth and that this is how Nicodemus understood it, for he said: "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"  (John 3v4) Babies are literally "born in water" - but notice that Jesus never uses the term "baptism" here with Nicodemus. Jesus is emphasising that unless a man is born again spiritually - he will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Until recent years it was very noticeable that Mormons rarely tried to identify with being "born again," emphasising instead their baptism.  But in recent years they try more to mimic evangelical Christianity to pose as a bona fide Christian group.

It is made clear in
Ephesians 1v7 that Christ's blood saves us - not water - and Ephesians 2v8-9 tells us we must be saved first then do good works - and baptism is a work! Baptism is a sign that we have made the decision to follow Christ - but it cannot do anything to help us gain salvation. 1 Peter 3v20-21 makes it clear that baptism has nothing to do with our being saved for, talking about the spirits to whom Christ preached, it says: "....which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us" Of course the Mormons will heavily emphasise the doubly underlined portion of this verse to you - BUT the last half of verse 21 makes it perfectly clear: "Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh [which is what water does], but the answer of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." It is not the baptism that saves us it is the appeal to God in our declaration - and hence our "good conscience" - that we believe in the resurrection of Christ. Notice that there is a clear analogy with the Ark - Noah and his family exhibited great faith in the midst of ridicule and were rewarded with safety in the ark as now Christians are safe in Christ - but in Noah's day it was the wet faithless ones outside the ark who perished!

Belief demonstrated by baptism

Mark 16v16 it is belief that is emphasised - the baptism is a sign to others on earth that we believe. Being baptised does not save us as it did not save the thief on the cross whose belief in the person of Jesus made him IN Christ (and therefore safe for eternity) that very day in paradise! As usual they have added to Scripture by essentially rewriting this verse in their D&C 112:29: "And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not, and is not baptised, shall be damned." Since the thief on the cross clearly believed and then died without being baptized it is essential to Mormon theology to introduce retrospective baptism for him - but once you do that it makes all testing on earth a mockery for who, once dead, would not accept Christ and baptism if they knew that rejection would lead to eternity in Hell (or an inferior Mormon heaven)?!

Thus the Mormons contradict the Bible and their own BOM and make man his own saviour
(autosoterism!), but he must also be baptised by a Mormon official: "Remission of sins comes to the repentant believer through baptism, when it is performed by divine direction and under divine authority." (C.W. Penrose, Repentance and Baptism, p.5) Consequently Mormons pursue "endless genealogies" for the millions who have died between Christ's time and now, and claim that they help dead people to salvation by proxy baptism. They fail to see that they are claiming that Christ's gospel failed on earth since no one has been performing these "rights" from the days of the Apostles until Joseph Smith supposedly restored these ordinances in the last century! Let us rather believe the Words of Christ: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24v35; Mark 14v30); "Upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16v18).

Justified by faith, not by the work of baptism

Mormons fail to note that the extensive passages on justification (Romans 3v21- 5v21; Galatians 2-3) do not include baptism (the BOM also fails to emphasise baptism) and it is clear that repentant-faith is the sole condition of justification and baptism in water the outward expression of faith! The following quote shows that their President Brigham Young was confused about the role of water and the whole matter: "Will the water [of baptism] of itself wash them [sins] away? No; but keeping the commandments of God will cleanse away the stain of sin." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.159) He contradicts 1 Peter 3v21 and then makes an impossible statement - for who can keep EVERY ONE of the commandments of God. There are literally hundreds of them - are they written down anywhere? Is there ONE PERSON in the LDS church who can even name them all? It is utterly impossible to know if you are saved if you need to keep every commandment - every Mormon must live in terror or ignorance of his fate before God! Every Christian should be baptised, but if it is physically impossible as it was for the thief on the cross - or if only a sprinkling is possible - we know that it is not the water which washes away sin. We are justified by faith, not by the work of baptism which should be the first act of obedience to the Master who has saved us.

Who can baptise you?

Nowhere in the Bible is baptism performed by Aaronic priests - the priesthood is done away with by the perfect work of Christ (Hebrews 5-7) as all who claim to be Christian and desire to form priesthoods should note. Now every believer is a priest of God (1 Peter 2v5,9). Baptism for the dead is nowhere taught in the Bible (or BOM) and 1 Corinthians 15v29 refers to a sect which believed in the resurrection and therefore baptised for the dead. Read the passage carefully for Paul does not say "why are WE baptised" but "why are THEY baptised if the dead do not rise" - the whole passage is teaching about the fact of the RESURRECTION and the only other reasonable and consistent interpretation of the passage would be that those who are baptised after "the dead" do so because they also are certain of the RESURRECTION and that the dead DO rise!

We should note that Oliver Cowdery (who apostatised from the  Mormon's - despite their claims) wrote a book:
"Defense: In A Rehearsal of My Grounds for Separating Myself from the LDS," p.2 - in which he admitted that the voice of John the Baptist, who supposedly appeared to bestow the priesthoods, sounded like the voice of Sidney Rigdon (who was earlier disfellowshipped from the Baptists and Campbellites for his strange ideas on priesthoods and Baptism for the Dead). Another cunning Smith deception! If you read Alma 29v4 in the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, it reads: "Yea, I know that he alloteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them Decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills." (p.303). But it now reads: "Yea, I know that he alloteth unto men according to their wills." Why was this changed - because it made the doctrine of "baptism for the dead" look ridiculous? Decrees that are UNALTERABLE clearly means that there are no second chances after death! The Mormon god contradicts himself repeatedly - and his unalterable decrees are constantly altered! This also proves that the LDS claims that the corrections in the BOM are insignificant is patently untrue. It is clear that the works of men can never save and we must recognise that Jesus' words make it absolutely clear: "You MUST be born again" (John 3v3-7)! Are YOU born again?

We include this un-edited section [apart from some typing errors corrected] from a Mormon website to show the confusion they have:

The Marvelous Grace of Christ
Research by Kerry A. Shirts

We Mormons are taken to task for something that bewilders us, quite frankly. It is this, that Mormons do not accept or believe in the Grace of Christ. I have thought about this often, and have been re-reading the New Testament asking myself, do I believe this? Do I believe that? Well what of the Grace of Jesus Christ to us lowly mortals? Do I personally believe it? I have to answer, in all honesty, yes I do believe it and believe in it. Consider that marvelous chapter 2 of Ephesians.
We see right off the bat that we are dead in trespasses and sins (vs1). Yet, Christ has quickened us. The Greek term for trespasses being "paraptoma" meaning a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness, a sin and a misdeed.
In other words, we simply fall short. We already knew this anyway, but Paul keeps reminding us. At Colossians 1:21 we see that. "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works..."
So it's a miserable condition to be sure. Yet Paul assures us that "yet now hath he reconciled." (Col. 1:21).
The Greek term for reconciled is an interesting one...."apokatallasso, to reconcile completely, to reconcile back again, bring back a former state of harmony."
So there is a way to be reconciled back to Christ, even for us Mormons. And how is that? Paul never misses the mark on this. He says "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved). And hath raised us up together... for by grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:5-6,7,8).
This is absolutely marvelous stuff. "Salvation in all its forms, kinds and degrees comes by the grace of God... men are thus saved by grace alone, in the sense of being resurrected...How else could salvation possibly come? Can man save himself? Can he resurrect himself? Can he create a Celestial Kingdom and decree his own admission thereto? Salvation must and does originate with God, and if man is to receive it, God must bestow it on him, which bestowal is a manifestation of grace." (Bruce R. McConkie, "Doctrinal New Testament Commentary," Vol. 2, p. 498f).
"The power that exalted the Son is the same power that exalts God's elect. Pertaining to man, this power may be summed up in one word: grace. The gospel, "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1"16), is the message of grace. By pure grace, mankind is redeemed from physical death (1 Cor. 15:20-23). By qualified grace (grace by covenant), the sinner is redeemed from his sins; he is justified (Romans 5:1,9, 6:3-11).
Grace is graciousness, kindness, generosity, charity, and is centered on Christ's atonement.
Paul's phrase, "not of works, lest any man should boast" is pertaining to those works involved in the Law of Moses. The Jews erred in seeking salvation wholly through the killing letter of a law centered in the symbolic blood of animals, rather than the redeeming blood of Christ. (Rodney Turner, "Grace, Mysteries, and Exaltation", in Studies In the Scripture," Vol. 6, Acts to Revelation, Robert Millet, ed., 1987, p. 110). So it is not the works of the Law (of Moses) whereby we are saved. It is through Christ's grace. This is the Mormon doctrine I was raised on.
Consider further this context of Paul preaching to the misled Jews and the Gentiles who thought they would be saved through their false ordinances. Paul is de-emphasizing their own works for salvation, as they didn't center in Christ and his Atonement. It is honestly that simple. Hence we find Paul saying "Not of works, lest any man should boast." It was not the slaughtering of 1,000 animals of one guy as opposed to another who only slaughtered 50 as to who was getting more saved at all. They were completely missing the issue. When we read the Bible, especially the New Testament, we see that no one commanded works more firmly than Jesus himself. He emphasized this at the close of his most urgent sermon, with the warning that hearing without doing will bring destruction (Matt. 7:26f). And when we read the entire book of Ephesians, we note the emphasis on grace in the first three chapters, while the last three emphasize works! The two join in conjunction, they are not antagonistic with each other. Paul preached that neither one alone would save man, neither grace alone, nor works alone. We need to seek to be strengthened daily by the Holy Ghost in our efforts (Ephesians 3:16).
It is most interesting that most, if not all, Christians miss Paul's words after his famous "Not of works, lest any man should boast." This is immediately followed by a challenge of works in their new Christian life! "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." (Eph. 2:10). The new church members have performed baptism (Eph 4:5), and have received the Holy Spirit of promise (Eph. 1:13), but they are warned "grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." (Eph. 4:30). How can they grieve the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost? This warning is among the commandments for a righteous life.
Another interesting thing most Christians fail to grasp in Paul: He said that good works for pre-ordained! Eph. 2:10 says "...created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (NKJB). This is related to the premortal terminology in Ephesians 1, where the Greek term "proetoimazo" rendered "prepared in advance" in the NIV, is the verb followed by a Greek purpose clause indicating that God's premortal preparation had "good works" as its objective for mortal life. (Richard Lloyd Anderson, "Understanding Paul," 1983, p. 273f).
So, yes, we Mormons most certainly DO believe in that marvelous grace of God and Christ.'

See original article at Shirts' site

See also:

For Kerry Shirts original article (see right-hand column on this page) go to:

Go to the following link to discover the real truth that Mormons do not know - eternal life is
A Free Gift for You

Home Page   |   Expositor History   |   'Orthodox' Heretics   |   Other Religions   |   Occult  |   New Age Movement   |   Rome & Ecumenism   |   Breaking News

Know the reality of eternity in heaven by believing on Jesus Christ as your Lord & Saviour!

Go to the following link to discover eternal life is
A Free Gift for You