Grace is not a Mormon heresy, LDS leaders and scholars say after doctrinal 'climate change'

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • wilsclanmom Alexandria, VA
    Dec. 12, 2017 2:26 p.m.

    I am very glad to see grace become an acceptable doctrine among the members of the church. But I did not learn about it from any of the people in your article in the 1980's. I learned of this beautiful and hope-filled doctrine from George Pace, my BYU religion teacher. He was teaching this doctrine with power and clarity in the 70's when I took my first class from him. I will bless his name forever for setting me on the path of understanding my true debt to Jesus Christ. Others, who did not understand grace, implied that Brother Pace was teaching some strange, false doctrine and undermined him publicly. I am gratified that he has been vindicated by later books and talks, including President Uchtdorf's definitive one. Grace is the "good news" of the scriptures. It has always been there for those who had eyes to see. ("After all we can do, i.e., 'even after all we can do', it is only by grace we are saved.") The works we do after we are saved, we do through the enabling power of the Holy Ghost that we have been gifted by Christ, so we can hardly say that it is OUR works that save us. All we do that starts the avalanche of blessings flowing is to believe and desire to be saved.

  • hoping Holladay, UT
    Dec. 11, 2017 10:53 a.m.

    It is God’s grace, His love that caused him to formulate the plan that would allow us to become like Him. He was a being with a body of flesh and bone and spirit. As His children, we had only spirit bodies. To become like Him we would need physical bodies along with our spirit bodies. (Abraham 3:25 (22-28)

    The Father knew we would not survive mortality without making mistakes (sins). Therefore, He would provide a remedy, a Savior. We were blessed that His First Born volunteered to be that remedy. That was very gracious of Jehovah, and we should be grateful that He was willing and able to become the Savior.

    Making the story short, the whole plan of salvation is an expression of God’s grace. Without His grace there would be no plan. Without the Plan we would not be. Therefore, we are saved by grace. Our final state depends upon how well we “prove ourselves.” But just the fact that we have the opportunity to “prove ourselves” is a gracious gift from God and His Beloved Son!

  • SillyGander Winnipeg, Canada, 00
    Dec. 10, 2017 12:20 p.m.

    When President Gerald Rudolph Ford Junior (Leslie Lynch King Junior) (1913 – 2006) officially pardoned the former President Richard Milhous Nixon (1913 – 1994) on Sunday, September 8, 1974 (with the Presidential Proclamation 4311), it was based on the negotiations between the two (2) men in which President Ford would offer and grant the unconditional full and free pardon and Richard Nixon would accept the pardon. In order for the Presidential pardon to take effect, Richard Nixon would have to accept the pardon. If Richard Nixon did not accept the pardon then the Presidential pardon would have no effect and would not be issued or granted.
    President Ford had justified his pardon of Richard Nixon by carrying in his wallet a portion of the text of a legal case called "George Burdick versus the United States, 236 U.S. 79 (1915)", which was a 1915 United States Supreme Court decision which stated that a pardon indicated a presumption of guilt, and that acceptance of a pardon was tantamount to a confession of that guilt.
    The wronful execution and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Judah (8 B.C. - 33 A.D.) which grants us his grace and atonement works in much the same manner.

  • JPD Boise, ID
    Dec. 9, 2017 5:59 p.m.

    Sometimes we need to let go of old traditions; that's why we have modern-day prophets. President Uchtdorf gave us much insight into the subject of grace in his April 2015 conference address, "The Gift of Grace."

    President Uchtdorf made it clear: "We cannot earn our way into heaven. . .Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God. Why then is obedience to God’s commandments so important? Brothers and sisters, 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. This form of genuine love and gratitude will miraculously merge our works with God’s grace. . .We seek to obey our Heavenly Father because our spirits will become more attuned to spiritual things." He concludes: "We are not saved “because” of all that we can do. Have any of us done all that we can do?" Nephi labored to persuade his brethren “to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God. . ." After all, that is what we can do!"

    President Uchtdorf's address fills me with clarity, hope, and gratitude.

  • Hopeful1 Country, NM
    Dec. 9, 2017 10:04 a.m.

    Perhaps we misunderstand the phrase "after all we can do" in the verse "It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." (2 Ne. 25:23, Eph. 2: 8-10). "All that we can do" isn't referring to any of our self-supposed good works. "All we can do" is repent. That is, to recognize the nothingness of the illusory ego-self (the enemy of God) that we have each invented constructed & built up in this life, to cast that all away, humble ourselves & become as a newborn child.....repent.....then turn to God/Christ as the Source and begin to become "saved" by clothing ourselves with his grace and virtues. Without this, if we trust in ourself, supposing that we are righteous, no matter how "good" a person we are, we are worshipping an idol: our self-image (D&C 1:16).

  • Hopeful1 Country, NM
    Dec. 9, 2017 8:50 a.m.

    We LDS often fail to recognize that, as our own scriptures say, EVERY good thing comes from God. I would like to mention exact words and phrases to look for in the scriptures. To me, "everything good" ("every good thing") is synonymous with "grace". Even Jesus recognized & said "why call me good? there is NONE GOOD but one, that is, God." So no mortal can earn or merit any reward whatsoever by their works. Everything good (righteousness) is a GIFT from God, including all good works. Only if we recognize our own nothingness and nakedness before God, can we begin to put on and be clothed with his virtues. The key is to recognize that we of ourselves are nothing, lest any man should boast. Even faith is a gift. Hope is a gift. Charity is a gift. We can choose to accept those gifts (or not), but because we are fallen we do not produce anything good in & of ourselves. In this world there is none that doeth good, no, not one. However, God is always pouring and shining forth good things into this world, like showers or drops or seeds or words of living water. These "seeds" either lead to action or else wither and die.

  • Hopeful1 Country, NM
    Dec. 9, 2017 8:49 a.m.

    If we don't understand grace, it's only because we haven't studied the scriptures enough. The only way to lay hold on (every good thing, eternal life, etc.) is by staying in the flow of "grace" (light & truth) moment by moment and day by day: in our thoughts words feelings and actions. By doing so we can grow as a branch from the true vine, and bring forth fruit. Any & every good or true thought, positive or ennobling feeling, uplifting loving kind words, helpful or constructive deeds/actions, etc. is actually God at work....often working in & through us and other people. So, a mortal person actually can NEVER earn or merit any reward whatsoever for ANYTHING good we do or write or say etc. Instead, ALL of the credit and praise and glory and honor should be given to God and his son Jesus. Only by casting off our false fallen ego-self, can we remember & become our TRUE self: a child of God in his exact image. If we hear his voice and follow him, we will begin to bring forth good works....but give credit where credit is due: to God. If we can't humble ourselves and realize our own nothingness and cast away our own ego, then we can never lay hold on every good thing and upon grace.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 10:14 p.m.

    When I was a kid, I was on a bowling team with some friends. We were the best bowlers in the league. In the championship game, we played a team of girls from our school. We bowled better than they did, but because of their higher handicaps, they won the match. IOW, they magnified their talents more than we did.

    In the parable of the talents, the person given 5 talents receives the exact same reward as the person given 10 because both magnified those talents equally. The one given 10 originally doesn't get twice the reward as the one given 5.

    Grace is like that. Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson will not be given a greater reward than the humble visiting teacher who is faithful in all things and has Christ-like love for all. She may not be as doctrinally educated and a lot of other talents, but because she magnifies the gifts that she's been given, her reward will be that of the greatest saints of all. This is due to that grace (handicap).

    We have to balance works (magnifying our talents/gifts and repenting) and then rely on grace to get us to the point that we are able to be in the Father's presence.

  • Alfred Springville, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 4:30 p.m.

    @Eddie Would Go:
    "Every LDS knows that you shouldn't drink alcohol, coffee, tea, or use tobacco, but the concept of grace is still widely misunderstood by the LDS faithful."

    Perhaps the reason for the misunderstanding is because no one knows what "Grace" means. And how it might differ, if at all, from Atonement.

    Can you elucidate?

  • erikpeterhansen Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 2:35 p.m.

    How could members of the Church ever think we are in charge of our own salvation independent of Grace? But many did and still do. Do we ever think we are so strong as to not be saved by Grace? But many think we are must be saved by our works out of a fear of the apostate establishments' opposite words and out of a lack of study of The Word. How can we save ourselves being in prison? Pride is involved with us in many many ways and this human concept leaks into temporal and spiritual activities in the Church.

  • rubbergoose Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 1:42 p.m.

    Yes Hugh Nibley said we cant save ourselves, but we can certainly destroy ourselves or waste a good portion of our probationary state. To prevent that I better focus on what I do for myself and my family and what I do plays a good percentage on my being saved. Put another way we can't be saved without doing some things so each is half true. Like exhaling and inhaling necessary to not suffocate!

  • rubbergoose Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 1:37 p.m.

    Grace vs works is one of the mysteries of the Kingdom for most. Too much focus on grace and many of us may get slothful. We will be judged for our works so I better focus on my thoughts and actions. I'll let the Lord decide the Grace part.

  • rubbergoose Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 1:23 p.m.

    It is a balance. Faith without works is dead. Grace only without works is fruitless. I can express my gratitude for the grace of the Savior and skip church, not pay my tithing and cheat others out of money and the principle of Grace will help me very little. On the other hand I can strive to be dilligent and ignore the principle of Grace and I will get burned out on doing what I need to do and get discouraged.

  • Eleni Huntsville, AL
    Dec. 8, 2017 10:35 a.m.

    I LOVE Stephen Robinson's parable of the bicycle. It is so simple and clear. I have used it many times to explain how we work together with Jesus for our salvation. Did have a sweet elderly neighbor explain in exasperation that that analogy was "sacreligious" as "we don't need to do anything if we accept Jesus." Then she went on, "Eleni, have YOU found Jesus?" I could see that she was worried for me. I couldn't help responding, "Alice, I didn't know that He was missing."

    (I know, I have to repent that one)

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 9:46 a.m.

    SillyGander . RE: Amazing Grace. “ Since he has died, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him(heaven), but he will not return to me” 2 Sam 2:15–‘23.’) David is saying God has saved his baby.

    He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not because of our own works, but by His own purpose and by the grace He granted us in Christ Jesus before time eternal. ( 2 Tim 1:9) E.g..

    “…our beloved brother Paul also wrote you with’ the wisdom God gave him’. ( Peter 3:15-16”

    … Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (Gal 3:6)

    But, (D&C 132:37)? Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness .

    Faith only. Martin Luther’s The Bondage of the will. “ If I am ignorant of the works and powers of God, I am ignorant of God himself; and if I do not know God, I cannot worship, praise, give thanks or serve Him, for I do not know how much I should attribute to myself and how much to Him. We need, therefore, to have in mind a clear-cut distinction between God's power and ours, and God's work and ours…”

    T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear And Grace, my fears relieved.

  • Eddie Would Go FPO, AE
    Dec. 8, 2017 3:39 a.m.

    I am a lifelong, active LDS. I have always attended my church meetings, and graduated from seminary and BYU.

    I did not learn about grace from the wonderful men and women in my ward or stake, I learned it as a missionary from the protestants in the South.

    The true doctrine of grace has always been in the LDS Church and understood by some, but it has not/does not get appropriate attention, and is therefore misunderstood by many. It all too often takes the back seat to less significant topics.

    Every LDS knows that you shouldn't drink alcohol, coffee, tea, or use tobacco, but the concept of grace is still widely misunderstood by the LDS faithful. Am I the only one who has a problem with that?

  • Neanderthal Springville, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 11:25 p.m.

    Atonement and Grace are synonyms.

    The question is... do children who die before the age of accountability, or who are not old enough to commit sin, need the atonement/Grace?

  • keyboarder College Station, TX
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:21 p.m.

    While most comments seem to discuss the doctrine, I find it most interesting that Church leaders became aware of the misconceptions among the members and purposefully tried to "correct" it. But even just a few years ago if someone hinted that a large number of members misunderstood the doctrine of Christ, it would be denied as just misconception of those "not of our faith". But this article reveals that there really was a large portion of members that completely misunderstood a fundamental aspect of the Gospel. Same goes for ideas like the LDS worshiping Joseph Smith. Of course they don't "worship him", but I do recall singing "Praise to Man" more often than many other Christ-centered hymns, so it does not surprise me that an overall perception was that LDS put too much emphasis on prophets and less on Christ. But once again, this accusation is largely dismissed within the church as misconception... but is it? Same goes for so many other ideas within the minds of Church members that are not wholly incorrect, but are really pseudo-doctrines and what I like to call "Mormon superstitions". Perhaps we should not dismiss other's critiques of our beliefs too quickly.

  • ZION4MAN Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 6:28 p.m.

    For further enlightenment on what determines which of the 3 kingdoms one is sent to after mortal life on earth and the immortality of the resurrection and final judgement see:

    "Divine Love", Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, , Liahona, February 2003.

    " While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring and universal, it cannot be correctly characterized as unconditional. The word does not appear in the scripture. On the other hand many verses affirm that the higher levels of love the Father and the Son feel for each of us--and certain divine blessings stemming from that love are conditional..........."
    (Please read the article for the details).

  • SillyGander Winnipeg, Canada, 00
    Dec. 7, 2017 6:05 p.m.

    The idea of one being saved by Grace (or Faith) alone Without Any Works Or Acts is a Heresy perpetrated by the Opinions of the apostle Paul (Saul Benjamin) (3 - 67) as expressed in Paul's writings. Paul is Not quoting any word coming from Jehovah God's mouth (Yahweh Elohim Allah) or from the mouth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Judah (8 B.C. - 33 A.D.). These quotes are Paul's own Opinions and they are Not shared by our Heavenly Father nor His only begotten son.

    Jesus himself stated that both faith and works are Equally important:

    Matthew 22: 34 - 40 (39 - 40)
    Mark 12: 28 - 34 (31)
    Luke 10: 25 - 37 (25 - 28)

    You will note that when Jesus was asked "Which is the greatest commandment?" he quoted two commandments and not one commandment that one must follow to in order to gain everlasting life:

    Deuteronomy 6: 4 - 5 (5)
    Leviticus 19: 17 - 18 (18)

    When someone once asked the Messiah "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" our Lord and Savior had told the young ruler to do a work (an act) in order to gain eternal life (salvation):

    Matthew 19: 1 - 30 (16 - 30, 16 - 22)
    Mark 10: 1 - 52 (17 - 30, 17 - 22)
    Luke 10: 1 - 42 (25 - 37, 25 - 28)
    Luke 18: 1 - 43 (18 - 30, 18 - 23)

  • SillyGander Winnipeg, Canada, 00
    Dec. 7, 2017 5:54 p.m.

    The Mormon-Latter Day Saint Christians, like the Jehovah's Witness Christians (whom both believe that our faith Plus our works (acts) Plus Christ's atonement (grace) Equals eternal salvation), are as true a Christian as any other Christian out there. I would caution all Christians to beware of the apostle Paul (Saul Benjamin) (3 - 67) and his opinions as misunderstood by Martin Luther (Hans Luder Ludher) (1483 - 1546), Jehan Cauvin (John Calvin) (1509 – 1564), Huldrych "Ulrich" Zwingli (Huldrychus Zwinglius) (1484 – 1531), and others:

    1 Timothy 2: 1 - 15 (11 - 12)
    JST 1 Timothy 2: 1 - 15 (11 - 12)

    Even the apostle Peter (Simon Bar Jonah) (10 B.C. - 67 A.D.), the first (1st) Pope-President of the Church, has warned us of that truth:

    2 Peter 3: 1 - 18 (14 - 16)
    JST 2 Peter 3: 1 - 18 (14 - 16)

    In this case the erroneous doctrine of faith alone is contradicted by both the prophet Isaiah Levi (780 B.C. - 700 B.C.) (who argued that works without faith is dead) and the apostle James Judah (10 B.C. - 69 A.D.) (who argued that faith without works is dead):

    Isaiah 64: 1 - 12 (1 - 7, 6 - 7)
    James 2: 1 - 26 (14 - 26)

    JST Isaiah 64: 1 - 12 (1 - 7, 6 - 7)
    JST James 2: 1 - 25 (14 - 25)

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Dec. 7, 2017 4:44 p.m.

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor who ended up losing his life in the Nazi death camps, wrote some definite and pointed warnings against what he termed "cheap grace." Those in the Christian world who believe that salvation is entirely by "faith alone", and that works and character have no bearing on it, would do well to read his writings. Faith is certainly "front and center," but that is a lot different from just "faith alone."

    Look up also the story of Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko of Poland, a leader in the Solidarity Movement and a forerunner of sorts to Lech Walesa, for another example (which also led to his martyrdom) of faith being "front and center."

  • LauraLM61 Albuquerque, NM
    Dec. 7, 2017 3:15 p.m.

    I can't tell you how glad I am that I've been able to relearn this previously misunderstood doctrine. I still hurt for my mother believing repentance was "one and done, then if you slipped, oh well."

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 7, 2017 1:46 p.m.

    CMTM,

    I understand it better than you think I do. The only sure way to be saved from your sins is to stop doing them. But attaining that level of perfection seems so impossible that one would go mad trying.

    But what if there were a way to allow for sin and not have to suffer the consequences? A religion that had that to offer would have great appeal, would it not? Why even the most cynical among us who intend to go right on committing the sins they most enjoy committing would go for that, they more so perhaps than anyone else.

    That’s not what the teachings of Jesus were about. If it were, he wouldn’t have expended so much time and energy teaching how we humans should behave toward each other.

  • CMTM , 00
    Dec. 7, 2017 1:16 p.m.

    RE. Craig Clark. ‘*Love your neighbor as yourself .’(Mt 22:39) Love your neighbor as yourself test, Where you see *Love, insert your name and see .

    *Love is patient and kind; *love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It((Love)does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. *Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. * Love never fails. —1 Cor 13:4-8) .

    Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” MT 5:48

    Most Christians already have a basic understanding of the difference between Law and Gospel; For example, "You are a sinner (Law). You need Jesus as your Savior (Gospel)."
    The Law shows us what we are guilty of and the Gospel delivers us by grace. First we must know we are guilty (Law) before we recognize our need to ask for forgiveness (Gospel).
    Without the Law, sin cannot be known; Romans 3:20 "...through the Law comes the knowledge of sin." ( & Rom. 7:7). If don’t know you are a sinner then you have no need for Jesus.

    @ windsor The Law is for the proud and the Gospel for the brokenhearted." - Martin Luther

  • windsor Logan, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 12:57 p.m.

    I started hearing more--and understanding more--about Grace when speakers referenced it in the Bible Dictionary.

    Here's some of it:

    "...The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.

    It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by His atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life.

    It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means.

    This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.

    Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the Fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” ... "

  • Avnett Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 12:23 p.m.

    Many scriptures both Biblical and Latter Day reference "Grace", and none are more clear than Moroni: 32-33.
    "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and 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",

    *We choose to come unto Christ, which enables us to be perfected in Him (not alone, but in Him!)
    *We choose to deny ourselves of all ungodliness and to love God. As a result, His grace is sufficient to make us perfect in Him.
    *We choose not to deny the power of God. IF we do this, THEN by His grace we are sanctified (made holy).

    So every step of the way, we are making choices and every step of the way, we are being carried by grace. It is not possible to accomplish this transformation on our own. We need the grace of God through the atoning power of Jesus Christ. It is Grace which blesses us throughout the process. We make good choices, and the atonement magnifies and sanctifies those choices. It is then that we can accomplish God’s work.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 12:14 p.m.

    The only reason anyone can be saved is His grace.

    But not all are saved ultimately and not all are cleansed, lifted and comforted by that grace in a proximate sense.

    Is that because His grace is not sufficient? No.

    Is that because some fail to avail themselves of His grace? Yes.

    Thus, whatever one needs to do to avail themselves of His grace is what constitutes the works portion of the grace/works equation.

    Suffice to say not all hold the same belief as to what one needs to do avail themselves of His grace.

  • JoelB44 Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 7, 2017 12:13 p.m.

    Old differences between LDS and other Christian groups were especially evident in the view that "all you have to do is trust in Jesus". That sort of simplistic Christianity ALSO IGNORES the grace of Christ, and the purpose of most of His teachings. Has LDS language not included the word "grace"? Possibly, but the entire purpose and meaning of the sacrifice Jesus the Redeemer made has never been out of focus.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 12:00 p.m.

    RE:ssev - The LDS scriptures and their take on grace: ( 132:37)? Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness. VS, .(Gal 3:6) Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness)

    ( 132:17) VS, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation,… And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. God also hath “highly exalted him” and given him a name which is above every name: (Phil 2:6-9.)

    Verse. 9" highly exalted”,refers to the historical facts of the Resurrection and Ascension.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 7, 2017 11:49 a.m.

    “. . . . it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works”
    ____________________
    That’s Paul’s well known view. Let’s look at what Jesus had to say on the matter.

    " And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

    And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

    Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    (Matthew 19: 16-19)

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:55 a.m.

    I think the comments hear make it clear that people (LDS and otherwise) have diverse ways of expressing their beliefs and understandings regarding this topic.
    The mistake that the Newsweek article made in 1980 is that it assumed/implied that other Christian denominations don't suffer similar angst and confusion on this topic. The truth is that it is far from unique to members of the LDS Church.
    The key thing is that there are some Christians who say works don't matter, even though many of them believe and act otherwise.
    In the spectrum of things, the LDS Church, and most members of the LDS Church, put much more emphasis on the role of works. We are "saved by grace, after all we can do." Many Christians believe that we are saved by grace, and that grace might cause us to do some good things. The distinction is subtle, but very important.
    I worry that too many members of the LDS Church have wandered into believing works don't matter at all. Fortunately, I'm busy enough making sure I am doing my best that I don't worry too much about what others might, or might not, believe. (Yes, this paragraph is intended to have layers of irony.)

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:44 a.m.

    Not surprising that a topic like the Atonement or grace of God should require a bit of work and study to understand.

    I have long lamented the LDS culteral propensity to minimize the roll of Grace. It is clear from the scriptures that Grace is essential.

    Even so, Brad Wilcox's "His Grace is Sufficient" talk taught me much. I'm grateful for both inspired revelation and intellectual study on such doctrinal matters to increase our understanding.

  • G L W8 SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:42 a.m.

    Kay Hunt: the Chewing Gum morality lesson and the nail in the board are two other analogies (re: Parable of the Bicycle comment) that have problems.

    The gum analogy, when it was taught to me, was only intended to show how others may avoid an individual who cheapens themselves. However, our seminary teacher gave it up when one year a student popped in the gum after it had been passed around the whole class (there's one in every crowd!)

    I've felt for years that the nail in the board analogy was incomplete. True, one can remove the nails of sin, but a hole still remains in the board.

    That's where the earlier story ended. Here's some further things to consider: one can even fill the hole with plastic wood and paint over it. But the board, even with hidden holes, is not in pristine condition.

    The Savior, on the other hand, has the power to restore the board not only to its prime condition, but to make it into a living tree--through the resurrection, which comes to everyone. As to his atonement and grace, his restoration of our tree depends in part on what we've done to patch up what's been damaged through sin.

    That, to me, is part of the meaning of 2 Nephi 25:23.

  • MyTurnSaturn Orem, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:41 a.m.

    It seems that many of the posters on this article are still not getting it. We are saved by Grace. Big PERIOD! I would recommend they read all the books that this article spoke about. As a former seminary teacher we were told that this was one of the most misunderstood doctrine in the LDS Church. We were educated on the LDS doctrine, not the LDS culture. Why? Because we have wrapped ourselves around our "works", thinking that we still have the power to "earn" our way to heaven. And if that is true, then the "works" we do in the temple for those that have died, and have not done their own "works" is fruitless because they didn't "earn" their way by "works"...we did it for them.

    Elder Hafen's book explains how Grace works, in that when we receive Grace, we must do something with it. Thus Grace for Grace. Grace changes us, to the core of our soul.

    The real "works" here is accepting the Grace from the Lord and then acting (a form of work) on that received Grace in a way that your behavior, thinking and soul is changed.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:37 a.m.

    ...... also major kudos to the author who was rebuked by his stake president for teaching false doctrine when he knew he was not. I assume he remained in good standing and activity with the church. That's a level of humility I am not sure I yet posses.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:35 a.m.

    Good article. I've subtly noticed this shift over my lifetime, but always wondered if it was actually happening or if it was a personal perception. As other have pointed out we literally have nothing to bring to the table, no amount of good works in this life is going to save us. It is 100% by grace. Good works just naturally follow those who have converted themselves to Christ. I Don't know if that is doctrinally correct as I am no scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but it feels right to me.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:14 a.m.

    The faith vs. works issue dates to the first generation of followers of Jesus and remains a contentious issue to this day. Jesus himself challenged religious leaders over the letter of the law towards which he was more casual in his personal observance. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, he argued. But he never espoused a wholesale rejection of Mosaic law which he simply interpreted more liberally and meditatively than those he frequently contended with.

  • shirl Reno, NV
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:01 a.m.

    Not sure what the confusion is...I'm 76 years old...was always taught and schooled in the doctrine of Grace in seminary, Sunday school and sacrament services. To say I fully understand it would be overstatement; I don't, but continue to study and seek that understanding and suspect most others do likewise. To imply that we LDS are not conversant in, or are unaware of this critical doctrine, is "Headline bait" and over-dramatization.
    ssjackson

  • Kay Hunt Celebration, FL
    Dec. 7, 2017 9:44 a.m.

    Vermonter:
    I agree I was taught the same these about the chewing gum and etc. I even had a missionary tell me that my sin would be forgiven but it was like a nail in a board. You could remove the nail and fill the hole but it would always look different. I held that close for too many year.

    Dan Maloy.
    I have been a member of the church since I was 8, so that makes me a member for 52 years. I was told by a YW teacher that it would be better that a girl died than to a victim of rape and live. That fighting to the death was better. I took that to heart to and it changed my youth and how I acted because it didn't matter because I was already "used". #metoo. I am thankful you never had to experience the above but don't trivialize those of us who did.

  • ssev Maple Grove, MN
    Dec. 7, 2017 9:27 a.m.

    This article inspired me to research the LDS scriptures and their take on grace:

    We “are reconciled unto God … only in and through the grace of God . …” 2 Nephi 10:24-25.)

    “[I]t is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23.)

    God’s grace is only “sufficient for the meek.” (Ether 12:26.)

    We are “perfected in” Christ only if we “come unto Christ,” “deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness, and love God with all [our] might, mind and strength . …” Only “then is his grace sufficient for [us] . …” (Moroni 10:32-33.)

    God’s grace is “sufficient” for us, only if we keep God’s commandments. (D&C 17:8.)

    God’s “grace is sufficient” only if we “walk uprightly before [God] and sin not.” (D&C 18:31.)

    “We are as “little children” and “must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.” (D&C 50:40.)

    “[T]he election of grace” is “brought to pass by faith . …” (D&C 84:99.)

    True “charity” requires God’s “grace,” which requires us to see our “weakness.” (D&C 135:5.)

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Dec. 7, 2017 9:16 a.m.

    I know that when I was young, Grace was a difficult word It wasn't that I didn't believe in the Atonement, but like others have stated, I think it was more of a reaction to the perceptions that LDS get from other religions which emphasize the grace part well above the works requirement.

    As I have grown older, I have come to appreciate and rely so much upon the grace part of the equation. I still labor extensively with the works, but at the same time comprehend that without the grace, the works always falls short.

  • petersenjc Springville, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 8:52 a.m.

    I am 70 years old and grew up as a member of the church. I am surprised to hear that "the church" didn't teach grace. It did in the small Utah town where I grew up. Admittedly, as a boy and young man I can't remember particular talks or lessons but I have always believed in grace and my belief was strengthened as a young missionary. I was a missionary in the south - Tennessee and West Virginia - and had many earnest conversations about the relationship of grace and works with Southern Baptists and Church of Christ members. They insisted that works aren't necessary, I used James 2 as a conciliatory response. When "Believing Christ" came out I read it as a wonderful and articulate explanation of what I already believed, not as a course correction.

  • CMTM , 00
    Dec. 7, 2017 8:39 a.m.

    RE: Amazing Grace symbolizes the idea of salvation by grace alone. The lyrics don’t say that obedience to commandments and ordinances are necessary.

    RE: Floridacougfan . According to LDS doctrine there are 3 degrees of glory and our Savior's grace gifts us a place in the Telestial. VS, (1 Cor 15:40 NIV )*heavenly bodies and there are **earthly bodies.

    Compared to(1 Cor 15:40 KJV) There are also*celestial bodies= (G.epouranial, and bodies **terrestrial: (G. epigeia)

    “telestial” came from JS’s use of the Latin Vulgate which is in the KJV; it appears that he took the first two letters of “(te)rrestrial” and added them on the ending of “ce(lestial)” to create the new word, “telestial.”

    @Saved from what? ”Christians are saved by God, for God, from God. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! Rom 5:9)

    “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. This what Paul is saying in 1 Thess 1:9-10.

  • Seagull Suz Sandy, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 8:31 a.m.

    ...Hallelujah!...for today’s news!...I feel badly for my young self...I was mis-taught several gospel principles...and am so happy to know I was not alone!...and happier knowing new study has come from prophets, apostles, and church educators to help us understand the the Gospel more fully...thanks for this enlightening article...

  • esodije ALBUQUERQUE, NM
    Dec. 7, 2017 8:29 a.m.

    It’s a fine line between emphasizing grace and allowing church members to feel “too” good about themselves, breeding complacency, and over-emphasizing works and causing members to feel so bad about themselves that they conclude exaltation is unattainable and that church activity is pointless. When one concludes that he is headed to the Terrestrial Kingdom no matter what he does or doesn’t do, it’s only one short step to inactivity.

  • JonathanPDX Portland, Oregon
    Dec. 7, 2017 8:15 a.m.

    While we are all (regardless of any consideration) saved through the grace of Christ's atonement, not all will be resurrected to the same degree of glory. Our actions, not our words, reveal our true character, and help determine the degree of glory we receive.

  • G L W8 SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 8:15 a.m.

    An observation on the "Parable of the Bicycle": any analogy, of which this
    parable is one, has weaknesses. The weakness here is that the parable
    promotes a notion that we can "earn" part of our salvation. That
    implication is used by some critical of the message of 2 Nephi 25:23--as if
    they think we believe we must "earn" part of our salvation before the
    atonement kicks in.

    Nothing can be further from the truth. We 'do all we can' out of
    obedience, not because we are earning something in the same sense we earn
    money. We can never do even a small part of what is necessary for our
    salvation.

    We are to do our best to keep his commandments, and the Grace of God will
    reward us accordingly. His commandments are many and varied. I know of
    no one person that can keep them all perfectly. We must have the Grace of God to make ourselves whole--a message taught throughout the standard works.

    Here's a few questions: why does 2 Nephi 25:23 use the phrase "we labor
    diligently"? Why "believe in Christ"? Why "reconciled to God?" If we don't
    ponder the entire verse and the context in which it is given, we'll miss
    the majority of the message.

  • HalfManHalfAmazing Baltimore, MD
    Dec. 7, 2017 7:43 a.m.

    One thing that is rampant in Utah LDS-dom is the "Quest for Perfection" and the "Quest for the appearance of Perfection". The latter being a prideful act in itself and that really turns some people off in the church. I guess the answer to that would be to talk about Grace more in its true meaning for once and let "works" take a back seat every once and a

    In my homeward it is rampant, and some peoples acts to achieve the appearance have hurt many good and wonderful people who have now left the church. Maybe a good dose of humility every now and again could have helped both parties.

  • Floridacougfan Davenport, FL
    Dec. 7, 2017 6:11 a.m.

    Lots of good comments. However, for me there is a missing component and it is the difference between being saved or exalted. Christ's atonement overcomes physical and spiritual death giving us access to glory. Thus by his grace we are saved from death and hell with no effort on our part. According to LDS doctrine there are 3 degrees of glory and our Savior's grace gifts us a place in the Telestial. Now in order to qualify for a greater weight of glory we must further use said atonement to repent continuously, do good of our own free will and receive all the ordinances of exaltation. The Telestial is free, the Celestial requires "works". This is my understanding of grace and works, both being necessary for exaltation. Remember it all starts with grace, for without it we would be subject to the devil forever.

  • Why would I? Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 1:19 a.m.

    Why would I not be surprised to see all these opinions?

    Those who do not understand the doctrine perhaps have not read the Book of Mormon closely enough. Or they have not understood it. It has the answers and contains the fullness of the Gospel, yet it requires study, not casual reading.

    For example, if one were to serve their fellow man all the days of their life, they would yet be unprofitable servants. We are not in the business of doing business with the Lord; we literally bring nothing to the table. Not only can we not ever pay our debt, we cannot ever "pay it forward" either. No matter what we do, without the grace of Jesus we are lost, doomed to become devils and angels to a devil. No pluses vs minuses scoring. Christ removes the minuses for the penitent.

    Not everyone will be saved, even though God created all men and desires them to be. The Nehors were not correct in their doctrine. Salvation involves obedience, with 2 exceptions: 1) Children who die before they reach the age of accountability, and 2) Those not accountable due to their incapacity to understand. All others need to repent and keep the commandments of God, remembering their own nothingness.

  • G L W8 SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 6, 2017 6:35 p.m.

    An observation on the "Parable of the Bicycle": any analogy, of which this parable is one, has weaknesses. The weakness here is that the parable promotes a notion that we can "earn" part of our salvation. That implication is used by some critical of the message of 2 Nephi 25:23--as if they think we believe we must "earn" part of our salvation before the atonement kicks in.

    Nothing can be further from the truth. We 'do all we can' out of obedience, not because we are earning something in the same sense we earn money. We can never do even a small part of what is necessary for our salvation.

    We are to do our best to keep his commandments, and the Grace of God will reward us accordingly. His commandments are many and varied, and I know of no one person that can keep them all perfectly. We must (underlined and in bold type) have the Grace of God to make ourselves whole--a message taught throughout the standard works.

    Here's a few questions: why does 2 Nephi 25:23 use the phrase "we labor diligently"? Why "believe in Christ"? Why "reconciled to God?" If we don't ponder the entire verse and the context in which it is given, we'll miss the majority of the message.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Dec. 6, 2017 6:13 p.m.

    Some of the most beautiful and explanatory passages about grace, and about being born again, are found in the Book of Mormon -- right here they have always been, and where anybody can read them. The difference is that Mormons do not accept the nonsensical "either-or" oppositional dichotomy between grace versus works, which is advocated by many conservative Protestants.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 6, 2017 6:02 p.m.

    Yes we are "saved by grace after all we can do". (2 Nephi 25:23) That about says it all for me. It is about the reconciliation of justice and mercy, faith and works etc, the concept of "get down and pray then get up and work". We ourselves also need to be gracious for God has mercy "on the merciful" and we ask him only to "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us".

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Dec. 6, 2017 5:06 p.m.

    I think the confusion stemmed from using "grace" in the same manner as Protestant faiths used it, and since we don't subscribe to that definition, rejected the term. As is pointed out in the Book of Mormon, the Savior's Atonement saves us "from" our sins, not "in" them. Too many have confused the term "grace" as being saved "in" your sins. The Gospel is the Gospel of Change, we must change our ways to those of the Savior to reap the blessings. Grace is His magnificent gift to us, and we must conform our will to His. If there was confusion, I think this is why.

  • David A. Spokane, WA
    Dec. 6, 2017 3:13 p.m.

    Maybe it is time to allow Amazing Grace in the Hymnal.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 6, 2017 1:47 p.m.

    Twin Lights. RE: Grace 5485 charis from the Hebrew/KanÁ Both refer to God freely extending Himself reaching to people to bless them. E.g..,

    “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. V. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph 2:8-10

    to those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.(Romans 8:30 )
    In him we(Christians) were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will)-Eph 1:11,

    Strongs 4309 (proorÍz) "to predetermine, decide beforehand, God from eternity”. Denotes irresistible pre determination. E. g. of Grace

    But because of your hard and unrepentant heart(*without God’s grace), you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each one according to his deeds.”(Romans 2:5-6)

    *The natural "hardness" of the heart in every son and daughter of Adam

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 6, 2017 1:28 p.m.

    An early harbinger of grace as a Christian doctrine are passages in which Jesus tells people that their sins are forgiven them. Only God can forgive sins, critics pointed out after Jesus healed a paralytic. Evading a direct reply, Jesus asked “which is easier to say, thy sins are forgiven thee or to say ‘arise and walk'.

    It would be convenient for Christians of later times had Jesus clarified the issue by telling them that he was God. But that’s not what is recorded.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Dec. 6, 2017 12:06 p.m.

    We have always talked about grace. We just didn't refer to it as grace (except in limited circumstances). We referred (and still often refer to it) as the application of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Grace is that application.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2017 11:50 a.m.

    @ Johnny

    Christ's grace is sufficient for me, to make up any difference I have left at the judgement, but only after my actions represent a true effort on my part
    ________________

    There is no difference to make up at the judgment. Christ has made ALL the difference. Please listen to Brad Wilcox, "My Grace is Sufficient" on YouTube.

    The tweak in your understanding will make a huge difference in your life. You'll love Christ more. You'll judge less. If you live thinking that grace kicks in "after" all you can do, I suggest you're wrong. It kicks in before, during and after "all" you're doing.

    As we dig deeper into the Atonement, we discover layers that are just.....awesome. As in "awe".

  • DanNJ Swedesboro, NJ
    Dec. 6, 2017 11:31 a.m.

    @ cjb - Bountiful, UT
    "No good works are necessary to go to the telestial kingdom. So, to save ones spirit from death .. no good works on the part of the sinner is necessary. Christ's atonement is sufficient."

    Telestials must completely repent and be washed clean with the atonement before leaving Hell and entering the Telestial kingdom of God. They become servants of God who bow the knee and confess Jesus is the Christ and their Savior with deep love, appreciation, and understanding. They are no longer unclean, for they have repented. Loving God created Hell to help people who did not repent in this life. Telestials will live in agony of spirit until they humble themselves and yield to the truth. We are divine creatures, and sin puts us in agony until we face truth. Sons and daughters of Perdition never leave Hell, for they are vessels of wrath who resist truth. Telestials forfeit the higher kingdoms, but they become steadfast servants of God. I don't have to watch my wallet in the Telestial kingdom. D&C 76 teaches this plainly. Our works don't save us, but our heart/humility/repentance allows us to be saved. The atonement is only sufficient for the repentant.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 6, 2017 10:53 a.m.

    It is interesting to read these comments about grace coming from my very mormon upbringing. I have always found the idea of the atonement, that our sins can somehow be placed on a scapegoat, and that this was the 'best' plan that Yeweh could come up with, to a be nonsensical holdover of OT commandments to burnt offerings and such.

    Reading the bible made me an atheist, and during seminary no less (I still graduated). The BoM just reinforced that I made the right decision.

    I still wholeheartedly believe in the freedom of religion. I just want to convince people to stop believing with words, never force. If only I was better with words.

  • MoreMan San Diego, CA
    Dec. 6, 2017 10:42 a.m.

    This story reminds me of how yesterdays "anti-Mormon" ex-communicated historians/members are now being proven correct in their research by the churches own Gospel Topics Essays.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 6, 2017 9:10 a.m.

    RE:Occidentali “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do.”OK

    The Law, Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” MT 5:48 .God requires perfection—not relative perfection, where the standard is other people. The standard is God Himself—the kind of moral perfection that God Himself exhibits. This demand for perfection includes our internal thoughts, motives, and attitudes. This is where the scribes and Pharisees (Mormons)fail

    The law comes, not to reform the sinner nor to show him or her the "narrow way" to life, but to crush the sinner's hopes of escaping God's wrath through personal effort or even cooperation. All of our righteousness must come from someone else-someone who has fulfilled the law's demands. Only after we have been stripped of our "filthy rags" of righteousness (Isa. 64:6)- our fig leaves through which we try in vain to hide our guilt and shame-can we be clothed with Christ's righteousness.

    First comes the law to proclaim judgment and death, then the gospel(Jesus) to proclaim justification and life.

    RE: goosehuntr. True, The Law is for the proud and the Gospel for the brokenhearted." - Martin Luther

  • Johnny Triumph Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2017 8:49 a.m.

    A different understanding of grace will support that grace is needed and present in LDS Theology. But the LDS definition of grace differs from the rest of Christianity. Christ's grace is sufficient for me, to make up any difference I have left at the judgement, but only after my actions represent a true effort on my part. Grace is not a free pass as many other religions propose. And please understand that members of many other religions believe in a similar definition of grace even though their religion formally teaches differently.

  • goosehuntr Tooele, UT
    Dec. 6, 2017 8:26 a.m.

    I have enjoyed most of the comments.. To Vermonter,

    I was a youth who was taught that misunderstanding of grace. I then used it as a 19 yr old young adult until I visited with my Seminary teacher from my 10th grade year just before my mission. I mentioned to him that my sins are like scars. They are evidence left from old wounds. He said, "We don't believe that." I was stunned. I thought it was the perfect analogy. He said,"The atonement leaves no scars, no evidence." He said, "it makes things new, and complete." I have never forgotten that, and it has been the catalyst for learning what he meant. I then went on a mission to the south. I learned more. I love the doctrine of grace! My love for Christ is so much more because of that clarification. BTW... That Seminary Teacher was Richard Norby who you might remember from the terrorist attack in Belgium a few years ago.. Google his name and see the man who changed my life!

  • CMTM , 00
    Dec. 6, 2017 8:16 a.m.

    RE: Yorkshire . “… ‘work out”(not work for) your own salvation( sÓtÉria) with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose .(Phil 2:12- 13 NIV)E,g,,,m
    Salvation precedes sanctification=(holiness): Justification comes from God, sanctification comes from God within us by the work of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Bible. We contribute to sanctification through our efforts. In contrast, we do not contribute to our Salvation through our efforts.

    RE: coltakashi. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is ‘not from yourselves’, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph 2:8-9)

    Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness(D&C 132:37)? VS … Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.(Gal 3:6) Abraham was saved(made righteous) 400 years before the law was given.E.g..,

    He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not because of our own works, but by His own purpose and by the grace He granted us in Christ Jesus before time eternal. ( 2 Tim 1:9)

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Dec. 6, 2017 7:38 a.m.

    @Dan Malloy.
    Have you ever heard of the chewing gum analogy used by many youth leaders over the past 20 or 30 years? That is where the leaders say that breaking the law of chastity is like being a piece of chewing gum that gets chewed by someone and spit out. Of course, who would ever want that piece of chewing gum again.

    Another one is the likening breaking the law of chastity to cutting up a banana, then trying to put it back together again. Of course, the banana can never be the same again.

    Now, you may not have run into these analogies being taught to the youth by well-meaning LDS youth leaders. But, they have gone on, here and there at the local level in the US for quite some time. And, they are simply scare tactics inspired not by the Spirit, but by the adversary, to leave youth and others in utter despair.

    Recently I heard one of the brethren say those analogies are simply false doctrine. Exactly. So, if it ever happens in your ward, please have a discussion with your bishop and pointedly ask him to shut it down.

  • Occidentali Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 6, 2017 12:11 a.m.

    We believe that the atonement is necessary for our salvation. Salvation means, in this usage, dwelling in the highest degree of heaven. Only those who have faith in Jesus Christ and obey his commandments can be saved from their sins. Joseph Smith taught this and it is the full and complete understanding, not like the existing sectarian strife. “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do.” 2 Nephi 25: 23. There are many doctrines that we as individuals do not fully understand until we seek them out.

  • MAYHEM MIKE Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 10:57 p.m.

    A resounding endorsement of Brad Wilcox's excellent (and inspiring) talk, "His Grace Is Sufficient," which touched my heart and clarified my understanding of the Atonement.

    You can hear him on Youtube.com

  • Back Talk Federal Way, WA
    Dec. 5, 2017 10:51 p.m.

    As others have said, having a knowledge of the Three Degrees of Glory" puts a pretty different perspective on what it means to be "saved".

    Any criticism of the LDS teaching and how many members viewed that doctrine (nothing but the highest degree of glory is acceptible) should keep that in mind.

  • Facts are friendly Sandy, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 10:33 p.m.

    Repentance is not enough. Repentance opens the door to Grace, which is the endowment of power to change our natures.

    Not enough members understand that we are NOT here to accumulate a long list of good acts. We are here to practice and CHANGE.

    That change is beyond our natural abilities. It is Grace which allows us the power to change.

    Think of this: perhaps the Judgment will more like be a matter of us not wanting to be in the presence of God because we have not sufficient changed our nature. It will probably be God saying, "keep trying. use my atonement. change and you will feel comfortable here".

    Hafen, Wilcox, Millet, Dew, Robinson, McCallister all teach something similar. Knowing this has changed my life and understanding of the Gospel.

  • Lone Eagle Aurora, CO
    Dec. 5, 2017 10:09 p.m.

    It seems that there is a confusion between what the scriptures teach (that all are saved by the grace of Christ's Atonement, thru repentance and keeping the commandments of God, including baptism) and what the main protestant theology is. Yes, all are saved by grace. All will be resurrected because of Jesus, thru no work of their own. BUT not all will return to the presence of God, which is the other part of the grace of God. Only those who repent, are baptized and continue faithful (as Paul said it, finish the course) will be able to stay in the presence of God. Hence, when a Protestant asks if we are saved, the meaning is a bit different. To the "born again Christian" it is a question of accepting Jesus as a personal Savior, with nothing else to back it up. That definition of grace is one I have always understood when asked about believing in grace. It wasn't until several years later that I had a better understanding of what it means to be saved by grace. And most assuredly, I have taught my children that, as LDS members, we do believe very much in the grace of Christ. We must follow the teachings of Christ to have it effective in our lives, and that includes baptism, etc.

  • msmith9596 Lake Forest, CA
    Dec. 5, 2017 8:39 p.m.

    I am dismayed that the article gives the impression that Latter-day Saints have not always placed Grace ahead of works. That simply is not so. We have always known, and preached, that we are saved through Grace. It is sad that the writer focused on a minority who did not understand that.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    Dec. 5, 2017 7:39 p.m.

    This is one of the things I came to understand on my mission (1969-71) as we read the Book of Mormon through seven times and marked passages. There were few cross references. But early on I was teaching my Japanese investigators about the importance of Christ's grace as explained in 2 Nephi 25:26. A better understanding of Christ's grace came from studying the Book of Mormon. President Benson's call to do that taught us the importance of grace. The fact is that prior to that time, the emphasis in scripture teaching was on the New Testament. Teaching doctrine from the Book of Mormon was not done as much. We were in the mode of thinking we had to convince people of the truth of Mormonism by proof texts in the New Testament. And we reacted to Southern Baptists "faith without works" doctrine by avoiding use of the term grace. I found a slim book, Book of Mormon, Key to Conversion , that showed we should teach from and bear witness to the Book of Mormon. President Benson taught that in Japan when he was supervising apostle. We needed to have more confidence in its power. And that led to a better understanding of the atonement.

  • Truth Doctor Atlanta, GA
    Dec. 5, 2017 7:23 p.m.

    Our works are neither salvific nor effectual. That said, they still have value as outward indicators of the love and appreciation we have for the atonement of Jesus Christ. The degree to which we are converted/transformed by our love for God and His love for us, as demonstrated by our obedience to Him, will determine whether we are comfortable in His celestial presence or in some more distant place in His Kingdom.

    The BYU Devotional talk " His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox has been the most transformational influence on my understanding and acceptance of grace. I recommend it to all, especially those who may still have the pride in their hearts that causes them to want to believe that their obedience gives them superiority or some power to persuade God to love them more than others.

  • Back Talk Federal Way, WA
    Dec. 5, 2017 6:03 p.m.

    i understand that when it comes to Works and Grace that it was always a matter of "emphasis". The early church always wanted to do things that separated them from other Christian Churches.

    As regards these early men giving talks about Grace, it certainly surprises me that they are not Apostles or other senior leaders who were leading out on this cultural misunderstanding about Grace.

  • CMTM , 00
    Dec. 5, 2017 5:36 p.m.

    RE: Yorkshire . “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is ‘not from yourselves’, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”. (Eph 2:8-10)

    Justification (salvation)precedes sanctification: justification is a legal declaration that is instantaneous, sanctification is a process. Where justification comes from outside of us, from God, sanctification comes from God within us by the work of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Bible.
    In other words, we contribute to sanctification through our efforts. In contrast, we do not contribute to our justification through our efforts.

    RE: cjb - Bountiful There are also *heavenly bodies and there are **earthly bodies…. (1 Cor 15:40 NIV )
    Compared to(1 Cor 15:40 KJV) There are also*celestial bodies, and bodies **terrestrial bodies…:
    The term “telestial” originated with Joseph Smith’s use of the Latin Vulgate in the KJV; it appears that he took the first two letters of “(te)rrestrial” and added them on the ending of “ce(lestial)” to create the new word, “telestial.”

  • Anonymous100 Anywhere, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 5:28 p.m.

    As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my understanding of other Christian religions' beliefs in grace is that if one accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they have guaranteed themselves a spot in heaven (our Celestial Kingdom) through His grace (this actually happened to me as I began my journey into religion). However, throughout all the scriptures, Jesus Christ implores all people to "keep my commandments" (in order to enter into heaven). That suggests doing something more than just merely accepting, but putting forth effort to live a righteous life. The two, to me, go hand-in-hand. Without Jesus Christ's atoning sacrifice, it would not matter whether or not we kept any commandments or what kind of life we lived. When we die, that would be the end. But through his grace AND our obedience, we can go to heaven (again, the Celestial Kingdom).

  • viejogeezer CARLSBAD, CA
    Dec. 5, 2017 5:06 p.m.

    In spite of growing up in the traditional works mentality my study of the Book of Mormon convinced me otherwise. D&C 20 proclaims that it is by Grace that we are both saved and exalted. Careful thought about 2 Ne 25:23 leads me to believe that we are saved by Grace in spite of our works not because of them. If our traditional interpretation is correct since we all sin, none can ever have done "all we can do" there none can qualify for salvation. Likewise anyone who has done all he can do will have never sinned, hence no need for grace. Moroni says Faith (belief in Christ) leads to Hope (trust in Christ) which leads to Charity (love of Christ and your fellows) which in turn leads to repentance and good works. Works absent love are sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. I have taught this for 35 years in seminary, Sunday School and Priesthood and never received any flak. I have noticed and am more than happy to see this notable shift in the stance of the church.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Dec. 5, 2017 5:03 p.m.

    To clarify my comment above about the video put out by the LDS church and the need for obedience to the best of our abilities:

    Obedience alone will still save no one. Working our way to heaven simply cannot be done. We need Christ. However, a mere belief in Christ without obedience will not save us, either. As the apostle James so eloquently said: "faith without works is dead."

    Yes, Nephi got it 100% right when he said that we are "saved by grace AFTER all we can do".

    Any Latter-day Saint who can't see the simple truth of that needs to go back to Primary.

    @ Vermonter:

    Been in the Church, active, for over 50 yrs. I never saw one single LDS leader ever say that sexual sin cannot be fully overcome by the Savior's Atonement. Ever. Not sure why you're saying you have. That would be horrible if leaders at any level were saying this. Isaiah 1:18 has always been one of my favorite scriptures. The older I get the more I realize I need it's promise.

  • Yorkshire Logan, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 4:57 p.m.

    The reason Mormons had a different take on it was their exposure to those in other religions who proclaimed that 'Grace and I've been 'saved' because I have accepted Jesus as my Savior' all in the same breath----and then they lived a life of breaking just about all the commandments.

    So Mormons distanced themselves from that kind of 'Grace' which others said made up for that kind of knowingly sinning on purpose with no regrets or conscience.

  • endoftimes Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 4:34 p.m.

    All comments here are very good and thought provoking! An audience difficult to argue with.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 3:56 p.m.

    In the general Christian world and the LDS faith, the problem occurs when you interchange the concepts of immortality and eternal life. Heaven for most Christian beliefs will describe what the LDS Church calls the terrestrial glory. Additionally, Christian beliefs assign an eternal burning hell or pit for many if not all unbelievers, while the LDS faith only assigns the sons of perdition to an eternal form of non-glory. My understanding of what I have been taught in the LDS faith, is that even after all the good works you can do, faith, repentance and the atonement is the only way for anyone to bridge the chasm to imortality and eternal life.

  • LGH Sandy, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 3:48 p.m.

    When I read articles like this I am reminded of the difficulties and challenges I experienced when I moved from CT to Utah 17 years ago. Where was my church? Everyone spoke the lingo: wards, stake centers, nephites, MTC, visiting teaching, yada yada yada. But so many seemed clueless as to an understanding of the gospel. Contention over weird, meaningless points of supposed doctrine. Judgement and intolerance of, and between, neighbors and believers. It was my unpleasant introduction to what I had heard referred to as the "Utah church." My opinion: if you want to truly know what and who the LDS church is, get out of Zarahemla. At least for a while. There but for the grace of God....

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Dec. 5, 2017 3:47 p.m.

    Perhaps a full understanding of grace has not always been present with members of the Church. But, those who read the Book of Mormon could hardly miss 2 Nephi 25:23, "...by grace we are saved, after all we can do."

    Grace is there whether we understand it or not. But, Mormonism has always been a practical religion, focusing on what the individual can control. In other words, what do I need to do?

    While a lack of teaching on grace may have been an irritant to some, the greater travesty in the Church has been the teaching for many years of the false doctrine that the atonement cannot make us completely whole again, notably from violations of the law of chastity. Glad to see the Brethren attacking this one head-on after many years of this false doctrine being tolerated and preached as a scare tactic by local leaders.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Dec. 5, 2017 3:43 p.m.

    I have read the Book of Mormon probably 15 times in my life, maybe more. Other than testifying so clearly that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, I have found that the second-most discussed message of the Book of Mormon is what is required for us to be saved. Yes, Jesus is the Christ.....now what? The Book of Mormon has that answer, and it is abundantly clear.

    Repeatedly, the Book of Mormon says that AFTER a person has faith in Jesus Christ, and AFTER they repent of their sins and are baptized, the newly converted disciple of Jesus "must", repeat, "must", obey the commandments of God to the best of their abilities to then qualify for the grace of Jesus Christ.

    Qualify for His grace?

    In terms of the last and "final" judgment, yes.

    The LDS church made a wonderful, succinct video a number of years ago where it showed a foolish man who made an agreement he would have difficulty fulfilling. He then failed at keeping his word. Someone else paid his debt, which he now could not pay, but the new debt "owner" said that though mercy had paid his debt, justice must be paid now to HIM.

    "Justice" is doing our best to follow Christ.

  • UtahDad1 Springville, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 3:28 p.m.

    I was at a training meeting five years ago with Brother Robinson. He shared that he has since learned that the parable of the bicycle is inaccurate. The Book of Mormon teaches that we are saved only through the merits of Jesus Christ, not our own. Therefore, there is no bicycle to buy. He already bought it for us. We show our gratitude by using it.

    Brad Wilcox describes something similar in his BYU speech, His Grace is Sufficient

  • Samson01 S. Jordan, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 3:26 p.m.

    There has definitely been a renaissance in the church from the 60's and 70's period that I grew up in. Many things that were emphasized as absolute doctrine we can clearly identify as culture...now. As a believing teenager, I listened intently as Vaugn J. Featherstone espoused the evils of rock music, feeling confused as my love for Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and Beatles didn't seem to diminish my love for the Savior or his gospel.

    So it comes as no surprise to me that we got the grace thing wrong as I think we got a lot of things wrong. Maybe we still have some things wrong? I don't know.

    I can't see my friend as evil even though he is gay. I can't see my neighbor as less than me even though he is not active in my faith. Now I learn from recent talks in General Conference that they aren't evil or less than me. I think I knew it all along. I learned from our leaders that Father loves them! Isn't that great!

    I love the Gospel and feel like I am learning more all the time.

    Here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Dec. 5, 2017 3:25 p.m.

    Quote from the Newsweek article:

    ""Unlike orthodox Christians, Mormons believe that men are born free of sin and earn their way to godhood by the proper exercise of free will, rather than through the grace of Jesus Christ," the article stated. "Thus Jesus' suffering and death in the Mormon view were brotherly acts of compassion, but they do not atone for the sins of others.""

    Sheesh! Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

    I hope that Newsweek immediately ran a retraction when they got the phone call from the LDS church PA office. I mean, really......will the liberally biased mainstream media EVER communicate our beliefs correctly?

  • BWP-SF Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 3:17 p.m.

    "His Grace is Sufficient." This devotional address given by Brad Wilcox at BYU on July 12, 2011 provides the best explanation of grace I have ever read and should be required reading for all members of the LDS Church. Look it up on the BYU Speeches website. It was also later published in the Ensign and New Era. Search for "His Grace is Sufficient" on lds.org.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 3:14 p.m.

    Interesting. Back in the 1980's while serving a mission, I learned that one of our investigators was a theology major. He read the Book of Mormon in one week and and calmly and systematically argued that a profound version of Grace permeated the Book of Mormon. He beat us up pretty good and then asked us why we did not teach Grace in our discussions. We had no answer for that one. I have since viewed Grace as an element which was lost from LDS teaching, almost a mini-apostasy or deviation from truth.

    Latter-days Saints have since maligned Protestants as teaching that a person may not repent and remain in sin, but still be saved by Grace. This is not what the vast majority of Christians teach or believe.

  • TAS Tehachapi, CA
    Dec. 5, 2017 2:52 p.m.

    Perhaps the lack of emphasis on Grace in the Church, is that Mormons have been a religion of doers. We had to work hard as a people to survive in the 19th century. We have to work hard as a people, because we do not have a paid clergy Most members of the Church are a minority in the places where we live. Work is an important part of our religious culture.

  • Klaus2012 Rexburg, ID
    Dec. 5, 2017 2:49 p.m.

    "We can't save ourselves..." Hugh Nibley

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 2:48 p.m.

    Re Dragline

    Neither did I espouse Buddhist doctrine.

    Neither did I really espouse LDS doctrine, at least not that which I grew up with going to LDS church

  • Dragline Orem, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 2:44 p.m.

    @ cjb
    You have given the LDS version of grace, but that is not the Protestant version of grace in any sense.

    There's the rub.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 2:40 p.m.

    of course Mormons have always believed in the grace of Jesus Christ to save us after all we can do. This is fundamental. The difference for Mormons is that we beleive in a restoration and new commandments from the Savior that must be complied with such as Temple ordinances. But even after the ordinances are performed it is still up to the grace of Jesus Christ to save us. Grace is devine assistance that is given freely by the Savior according to His will. At judgement day there are commandments which we will all be weighed against as well as the other BIG attribute of charity. Paul and Moroni both taught that without charity you are nothing.

  • Sportsfan123 Salt lake, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 2:24 p.m.

    There are lot of people in brigham city publishing anti LDS literature on this very topic because they believe by grace alone we are saved that our works are not required.

    Alot of these people are former members maybe they should read this book and other church literature. It is true by Christ's grace alone are we save but only because his ultimate sacrafice was sufficient, by noone else can man return to God but by him alone. Noone else could have done it, but anti LDS folks dont believe its necessary to repent and to ernestly try to walk and do as the savior did, they believe they are saved regardless by his grace alone. To take care of the needy and poor and helpless, to be penitent and strive to do good and live as he did, this is the works the LDS church emphasizes that other religions do not.

    These are the differences I have come across personally in discussing theology with other christian denominations in regards to grace.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 5, 2017 1:52 p.m.

    LDS believe in 3 general kingdoms of glory (happiness). Celestial, Terestial an Telestial. Even the lowest of these (telestial) is a saved condition. ( The spirit does not die).

    No good works are necessary to go to the telestial kingdom. So, to save ones spirit from death .. no good works on the part of the sinner is necessary. Christ's atonement is sufficient. Without which we would all die, body and spirit. This because the wages of sin is death.

    However it is our destiny to become like our heavenly parents (we are children of God so this shouldn't be surprising). To do do this requires effort (works).

    For Jesus to become like his heavenly father required effort, he had to do his part. He learned obedience through the things that he suffered. (Hebrews 5:8).