It's not 'if' Mormons believe in grace, but 'how'

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  • TP TWIN FALLS, ID
    Dec. 26, 2017 1:09 p.m.

    I love this series on Grace by DN.
    I especially loved the insights by Terryl Givens, who has been a favorite of mine for many years. His writings read like a beautiful sonnet and abound in truth- Can't get enough.
    Very reminiscent of Neal A Maxwell.

  • G L W8 SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 20, 2017 6:33 a.m.

    We can debate what the LDS doctrine of grace should or should not be back and forth for generations, but until each of us go to the scriptures and ponder what we find, we won't fully understand. A good summary of much of what the LDS Doctrine should include is found in Moroni 10: 30-33.

  • ImABeliever Centerville, UT
    Dec. 18, 2017 3:50 p.m.

    Sadly, in the mormon culture what is taught is wrong such as, "if we do our part Christ will make up the difference." This is such a disrectful attitude towards Christ. Christ is the differnece, he doesn't make up the difference.
    People are taught they have to be perfect in this life, Which is a false teaching.
    "Be ye perfect as my father in heaven is perfect." Is taught in the scriptures. It is an eternal priniciple. It will literally take an eternity to become perfect. Pres. jeffrey Holland recently spoke that we don't need to be perfect in this life.
    When people pray and read their scriptures their mind will expand and they will stop running around like horses with blinders on.

  • CMTM , 00
    Dec. 18, 2017 2:35 p.m.

    RE: Works are at the core of Mormonism and in Free masonry which require a belief in the immortality of the soul .

    JS’s doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul, came the idea of some spirits being more noble than others. "the noble and great ones" ( Abraham 3:22).

    Origen believed in the Platonic pre-existence The Council of Constantinople .. in 453 CE posthumously excommunicated him. VS,

    Jer 1:5. The emphasis is on God’s foreknowledge (“I knew thee”), not humanity’s knowing God. In Job 38:4, God rebukes Job, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? ”Job 38:7 NIV …” and all the angels(sons)shouted for joy”.” In effect, God was reminding Job how Job wasn’t even in existence when the world was created. Christians believe that God is omniscient, knowing everything about each person before birth.

    RE: The Caravan Moves On “Saved from what? ”Christians are saved by God, for God, from God.

    You turned to God from idols(exalted man) 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. 1 Thess 1:9-10.) Christians will be saved from wrath through Him!: Romans 5:9

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Dec. 18, 2017 12:29 p.m.

    @ Cav Pilot - St George, UT - Dec. 16, 2017 9:16 p.m. -"....I recall a discussion with a "born again" protestant a few years ago that informed me that because she was "saved" that she could murder me where I stood and still be ok, because she was "saved." It kind of made me wonder, does that mean that becoming a Mormon is the unpardonable sin described in the Bible? Because if I was "saved" before I was baptised a Mormon, then I should still be ok if murder is ok.
    Christ is not Santa Clause. Christ is able to offer salvation and exaltation to us, because HE was obedient. His obedience does not absolve us from being obedient to Him.

    the idea of floating around for eternity playing a harp and being oblivious to who I was on earth and my relationships here....I can not think of a better description of damnation."

    I had that same "murder" discussion with a 'born-again' Christian many years ago. It was weird.

    And, I LOVED your comment about being 'saved' before your LDS baptism being 'good enough'. A clever, and accurate, viewpoint.

    Keep the faith!

  • hilary nottingham, 00
    Dec. 18, 2017 10:21 a.m.

    I have understood 'Grace' as being connected to permission and support through all we do if and as we require it - bearing in mind we have the ability to choose. For instance it is by His Grace we are allowed to enter the temples.

  • CMTM , 00
    Dec. 18, 2017 8:06 a.m.

    RE: Grace is the blessing unearned or unmerited. from God's (e.g., salvation) that no man deserves but God grants anyway. There are several ways by which God shows His grace to us.

    There is "common grace" — this is that grace that God shines upon the elect and the wicked alike. This kind of grace is God's bestowal of non-eternal blessings (e.g., health, prosperity), is a gift of common race to the non-believer since sinful man deserves nothing but death ( Gen2: 15-17, Rom 6:23). He does not have to give life to any one, no one can demand it from Him, and He can take it when He pleases.

    The other kind of grace is that special grace which God demonstrates on those whom he chooses to be His people. Just as He did with national Israel (. Deut 7:6-8), God chooses His children not because they are more powerful, wise, intelligent, charismatic, it is because that is what He wanted.

    This grace is amazing for it relies not at all upon us, but solely upon God and His will, rather than any service or good we can do. This grace should cause us to throw ourselves at the feet of the Lord in praise and rejoicing for His pleasure in granting us salvation.

  • ssev Maple Grove, MN
    Dec. 18, 2017 7:47 a.m.

    “Grace has been a meaningful part of Mormon scriptures and doctrine from the beginning, but LDS Church leaders, theologians and scholars have long placed an energetic emphasis on the doctrine of works in part because of the Book of Mormon phrase that God's children are saved by grace "after all we can do" (see 2 Nephi 25:23). … So how do scholars and church leaders define grace in LDS belief? … McConkie was among the first to help Mormons begin to ‘wake up to grace’ . … Mormon scripture is replete with grace . …”

    I would like to add to the discussion with additional LDS scriptures on the doctrine of “grace”:

    Grace is sufficient only for the meek. (See Ether 12:26.)

    We must first be "reconciled unto God" before the grace of God is operative. (See 2 Nephi 10:24-25.)

    We must deny ourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all of our hearts, before grace is "sufficient." (See Moroni 10:32-33.)

  • G L W8 SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 17, 2017 8:02 a.m.

    One of the problems I see in these discussions--the articles as well as the comments--is that we tend to compartmentalize: grace vs. works. Varying definitions of faith are discussed. Once in awhile the atonement is mentioned.

    We cannot seriously consider any doctrine in isolation. Where does justification, sanctification, justice, mercy, et al, enter into the picture?

    We tend to categorize for analyzing, but the gospel is complete. Our analysis needs to be comprehensive. After we dissect the parts to gain better understanding, let's put the whole thing back together again.

  • Cav Pilot St George, UT
    Dec. 16, 2017 9:16 p.m.

    in my 50 years, I can't remember a time when grace was not taught as a part of our faith. Our "works", i.e. baptism, are a commandment to "see if they will go and do...." our "works" as in charity and service, are a demonstration of our faith and desire to be more god-like.

    I seem to recall that even Satan and his minions "believe" in Christ. that belief does them no good, so believing alone is pretty worthless.

    I recall a discussion with a "born again" protestant a few years ago that informed me that because she was "saved" that she could murder me where I stood and still be ok, because she was "saved." It kind of made me wonder, does that mean that becoming a Mormon is the unpardonable sin described in the Bible? Because if I was "saved" before I was baptised a Mormon, then I should still be ok if murder is ok.
    Christ is not Santa Clause. Christ is able to offer salvation and exaltation to us, because HE was obedient. His obedience does not absolve us from being obedient to Him.

    the idea of floating around for eternity playing a harp and being oblivious to who I was on earth and my relationships here....I can not think of a better description of damnation.

  • Ren_C. ,
    Dec. 16, 2017 7:58 p.m.

    Upon first reading this, the characterization of the views of grace in the article that were given by the conference presenters seemed to me to be all over the map.

    The characterization of Terryl Givens position is especially troubling and, given other things he has written, befuddling.

    Early Mormonism was largely a rejection of the Reformation and its doctrines, but God's Grace is an invitation that is "ultimately irresistible"?

    If God's grace is an "ultimately irresistible invitation", then John Calvin's Reformationist doctrine of irresistible grace and that quote's characterization of early Mormonism's Restorationist doctrine of grace seem eerily similar, at least on that point.

    In any case, I found it ironic that after my first reading the most enlightening part of this story with regard to grace was actually in the comments.

    Thank you, CaliCougar, for sharing that Jerry Bridges quote. That was new and fresh for me :)

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 15, 2017 12:26 p.m.

    RE: Sashabill My explanation, were they perfect?

    "be ye perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48) its logical conclusion. 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,

    If something is perfect, then it couldn’t possibly be better than it is; there can’t be anything better than perfection.

    And they had sin natures. Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man(Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned-
    -13 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
    15 ….For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! NIV

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Dec. 15, 2017 11:52 a.m.

    I am confused as to why this is such a hard thing to understand among anyone, especially among fellow Mormons.

    Does grace alone save us?, ie, we are not required to do anything at all to be saved?
    No.

    Does work alone save us?, ie, we have no need of a Savior?
    No.

    Nephi got it right, and he said it exceptionally clear as well: "we are saved by grace after all we can do."

    Come on, folks, it isn't rocket science.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Dec. 15, 2017 10:16 a.m.

    sharrona, The record of human history demonstrates that man is capable of great good as well as great evil, and just about anything in between. If men are all just "totally depraved," and their hearts are nothing but totally deceptive (and this is something which we are to blindly accept and believe), then you may want to explain this to such people as Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln, Dr Albert Schweitzer, or Jonas Salk -- not to mention Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Raoul Wallenberg or Oskar Schindler.

    I would expect such totalitarian ideologies as Communism, Fascism, Nazism, or racism to deny the dignity and worth of the individual. Fundamentalist Protestants essentially do the same thing with their continual drumbeat about total depravity and inherited guilt. About the only difference that I can see is that the fundamentalists are more honest and "up front" about it.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 15, 2017 8:56 a.m.

    RE: CaliCougar.To have hint of grace we need to see the contrast, man’s total depravity which is taught throughout the Bible.

    e.g…, Man’s heart is “deceitful and desperately (Jer 17:9). man is born dead in transgression and sin (Psalm 51:5, Psalm 58:3, Eph 2:1-5).

    unregenerate man is “dead in transgressions” (Eph 2:5), he is held captive by a love for sin (John 3:19; John 8:34) so that he will not seek God (Rom3:10-11) because he loves the darkness (John 3:19) and does not understand the things of God (1 Cor 2:14).But

    Christ’s righteousness is imputed to Christians through faith, but our sin is imputed to Christ. That is how Christ paid our sin debt to God. He had no sin in Himself, but our sin is imputed to Him so, as He suffers on the cross, He is suffering the just penalty that our sin deserves.

    “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.’ And the life I now live in the flesh; I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

    Holiness and obedience are evidences of a transformed heart, not a means to attain it. God desires that we be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16).

  • CaliCougar American Fork, UT
    Dec. 14, 2017 10:32 p.m.

    I was an evangelical Christian prior to becoming a member of the LDS faith in 1977. My pastor did not mention much about "works" in his sermons back then. The focus was really on "grace". I have found a fundamental shift in this approach over the years in the evangelical churches. I still listen to two very prominent pastors in large churches in SoCal. I often hear them talk about the need to really live the teachings of Christ, and not just profess to be "saved" without the need for lifestyle changes.

    Conversely, during my first ten years or so of LDS church membership, I heard far more emphasis on "works" than on "grace". I have seen a fundamental shift in the church in this regard over the past twenty years, particularly the past ten years.

    I have always found both instances above to be somewhat puzzling, as the bible (particularly the NT) clearly outlines both grace and works, as does the Book of Mormon and the D&C.

    Re: grace....the following is a quote from an evangelical pastor: "Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace".

  • msmith9596 Lake Forest, CA
    Dec. 14, 2017 7:31 p.m.

    There has never been a time when Grace was not correctly taught by the Church. It appears that far too many Saints simply did not give the doctrine sufficient prayerful attention. Perhaps that is a result of our sacrament meetings not relying on enough serious students of the Gospel for speakers.

  • Warbunny Puyallup, WA
    Dec. 14, 2017 6:56 p.m.

    Mormons use the word atonement but the atonement only took place because of the "grace" compassion, willing sacrifice of Jesus Christ who paid the price for our sins..That's grace..but we show our acceptance of His grace and Him as our Savior, not by empty words but by actions.(works)..This focus has not changed among LDS but among Protestants. They agree with this now more than they did 50 years ago. They use different language . Instead of the word "works" they say such as "walk the walk." They were always right that works get you nothing by themselves because we are only saved by grace of Jesus Christ through which He atoned for us if we accept Him. In Germany when the Berlin Wall fell,a Protestant Chaplain took our youth group to Berlin to "witness" about grace.They told folks to raise hands in the air if they want Jesus to save them. The folks laughed at them. "We have been praying, meeting, walking in the path,following Jesus Christ secretly and undercover for many years in faith. You say by grace all you have to do is raise their hand? Words don't make you a Christian. Christian Actions and lifestyle (works) make you a Christian and show you accept Him and His grace.

  • sister GRASS VALLEY, CA
    Dec. 14, 2017 3:46 p.m.

    Joseph Smith: "We believe the Bible as far as it is translated correctly" - LDS people - includes General Authorities and members -believe that Heavenly Father, through the Holy Ghost, gives us increased knowledge and understanding, as we are able to receive it - today, the emphasis on "grace" is more understanding of what is taught in scripture...First, the milk, then the meat.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Dec. 14, 2017 3:12 p.m.

    ToucanSam,
    "It is my own experience that the majority of LDS people do not understand grace." This just means that the LDS understanding of grace is different from the fundamentalist Protestant one.

    It is my experience that LDS teaching affirms the inherent worth, dignity, and potential of the individual - something that conservative Protestantism either denies or disregards.

    " . . . showing the LDS Church is trying to be more mainstream." It would be more accurate to say that the LDS people are reaffirming or reclaiming the teachings which have been in the Book of Mormon and other LDS scripture all along.

    For the record, I rejected right wing Protestantism long before becoming LDS. I alluded earlier to some of my reasons for this -- their Doctrine of Original Sin (blindly accepting inherited guilt without proof), and their general attitude of degrading and belittling the individual.

  • ToucanSam Aurora, CO
    Dec. 14, 2017 2:13 p.m.

    My comment was not to beat up on LDS people, I have a love for them as they are kind, generous and loving..My prayer is that they will come into a saving relationship with Jesus and truly be born again

  • ToucanSam Aurora, CO
    Dec. 14, 2017 1:24 p.m.

    It is my own experience that the majority of LDS people do not understand grace.The bible is the word of God and J Smith did a great disservice to the LDS people by coming up with the A of F saying that we believe the Bible as far as it is translated correctly.That from the beginning brings doubt into the minds of people.The changes made in the church over the years have been pretty obvious ,showing the LDS church is trying to be more main stream.The truth is out there folks and you can find it in the Bible, God will show you the truth and the truth will set you free.

  • CorpusProf Springville, UT
    Dec. 14, 2017 12:37 p.m.

    "A quick review of the word's usage in LDS general conferences by decade shows a surge. Grace was mentioned 60 times during conferences in the 1930s and 96 times in the 1960s."

    For the actual data, google "lds general conference corpus" (which is from BYU; I'm the creator of the corpus). Enter the word "grace" and choose CHART view. An even more striking trend is the huge increase in the word "atonement" over the last 30-40 years.

    (Note that my original response had direct links to the queries, but apparently those aren't permissible in comments; hence the round-about instructions above.)

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 14, 2017 11:56 a.m.

    God gives grace. God also provides the opportunity to do good works.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 14, 2017 11:44 a.m.

    Proclaiming belief in grace doesn't impress me. I’m more persuaded by the example of the good Samaritan. Jesus concluded that parable saying to his detractor, “Go, and do thou likewise.”

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Dec. 14, 2017 11:32 a.m.

    @ marxist
    Two things, first the harm suffered by refugee children is precisely the kind of thing that Christians believe the Grace of God can, and does, fix. "How," in a mechanistic sense, it does this is one of the mysteries of Christianity. Careful observers see it in the world around them all the time.
    Second, you state that part of the blame for the refugee crisis (crises) in the Middle East belongs to "fine Christian nations in the west." My question for you is what nations you consider to be "fine Christian nations in the west?" Certainly, none of the nations of Europe consider themselves that way. There has been much said in recent years that it is wrong to characterize the U.S. as a "Christian nation."
    The U.S., and the nations of Europe, have been complicit in creating the situations in the Middle East, but the governments and people of that region are also complicit. Sadly, all have acted as Capitalist nations, un-moderated by Christianity (or true Islam), and have been guided by greed and the pursuit of wealth. The history of the 20th century might have been very different if more nations had been more Christian (or Islamic).

  • TAS Tehachapi, CA
    Dec. 14, 2017 11:27 a.m.

    It strikes me after reading the article and the comments, that we are talking about two different approaches to the Gospel. Those who emphasize Grace, and those who emphasize works. The historical approach is works. James E Talmage, in Jesus the Christ hardly uses the word at all. It seems to me this article is talking about semantics. Grace is an implicit part of the plan of salvation.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 14, 2017 11:21 a.m.

    GeoMan . RE: God's Grace; "Predestination" G. proorizo , to predetermine, decide beforehand; E.g…,
    "… whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." Rom. 8:30.

    Eph. 1:5, "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will."

    The "elect," Greek eklectos."the electing, of God.

    John 13:18, "I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen..”
    Eph. 1:4,"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him."

    RE: God’s grace in Creation is dependent on God for its very existence. For in him we live and move and have our being(Acts 17:28)

    VS, Works JS’s doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul, came the idea of some spirits being more noble than others. "the noble and great ones" ( Abraham 3:22).

    But, Christians believe in creation Ex Nihlio E.g..,Through faith we understand that the worlds=(time,G. aion) were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made receive being, of things which do appear.(Heb 11:3).

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 14, 2017 10:45 a.m.

    @golf "Many will be saved that will not want to be in HIS presence. Just like they don't like religion here on earth you wont suddenly like it in heaven. There will be a place for you in heaven but not with God. "

    I find your analysis a gross over-simplification, one which ignores the awful realities of life. So some people "will not want to be in HIS presence." Why? Could it be due to their torture and mental destruction here on earth? Just by way of example, consider the children fleeing the middle east (much of which is due to the actions of fine Christian nations in the west), enduring a hazardous sea voyage, their lives threatened, bereft of any security. These kids have been permanently harmed it seems to me. How does grace fix this?

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Dec. 14, 2017 10:28 a.m.

    Given the numerous synonyms for "grace," I find the simplistic counting of references to the single word "grace" in conference talks to be... I'm trying to come up with a charitable word here. Let's use "unacceptable."
    I think that this series of articles is mischaracterizing the cultural situation in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. I also think that we currently have a situation where a "Born Again Mormon" cultural element is trying to move the culture into un-doctrinal territory.
    Mormon doctrine regarding grace is fundamentally different from the typical Protestant doctrine regarding grace. We should never lose sight of this, nor try to mask it.
    I'm completely on-board with efforts to improve the understanding of the membership of the Church regarding any doctrinal matter. Everyone should just take care to not be coming up with their own doctrine. We should all keep in mind that our mortal understanding of Eternal concepts will always be limited or finite. So too are our abilities to communicate in words what the Spirit reveals to us. So it is that two of us might say outwardly different things, yet mean exactly the same thing (and vice versa).

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Dec. 14, 2017 10:25 a.m.

    Excellent article.

    For those who think they earn their way to celestial glory, it is quite clear in the Scriptures that a person can change quickly from not believing in God—even from being an enemy to God—into someone who is pleasing to God. In other words, it doesn't matter how many good works we've performed if we don't have a heart that is pleasing to the Lord.

  • golf tooele, UT
    Dec. 14, 2017 9:55 a.m.

    I think its important that we don't confuse Grace with returning to God and dwelling in his presence.

    Many will be saved that will not want to be in HIS presence. Just like they don't like religion here on earth you wont suddenly like it in heaven. There will be a place for you in heaven but not with God.

    That is one of the main differences I have noticed. Mormon's have a complex view of what Heaven will be like. Most other's just see it as an end point where you fly around and play harps. (this would be considered Damnation)

  • Den Den West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 14, 2017 9:28 a.m.

    Truths are eternal. Our understanding of them are on going...

  • logical Meridian, ID
    Dec. 14, 2017 9:26 a.m.

    I love this discussion on Grace. It has helped me to engage in thoughtful study and meditation. Writing also helps me form my thoughts.
    As I read on this subject of grace, my mind was opening. Grace is not a single gift in my life, it is a day to day gift that helps me grow and, hopefully, to become more Christ-like.
    The one comment that I would change in the article was Givens statement "How are we healed? Have you been healed?" I would suggest "Have you been healed today?" His statement seems to coincide with the Christian belief of a one-time"saving".

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Dec. 14, 2017 9:07 a.m.

    CMTM,

    The concept of Original Sin teaches that we inherit personal guilt for actions committed long ago, before any of us were born. This contradicts the American concept of justice, wherein guilt implies personal choice, and under which we have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

    The Book of Mormon contains some of the most beautiful and explanatory passages concerning grace and being born again. The main differences are: (1) Mormons do not subscribe to the oppositional "either-or" dichotomy between faith and works, and (2) the Mormon concept of grace is not combined with a continual drumbeat of degrading and belittling of the individual (as being "unworthy," "by nature evil," "totally depraved," "miserable sinners," and all the rest of it.)

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 14, 2017 8:33 a.m.

    One of the benefits of the Book of Mormon is that it clarifies many points distorted in the Bible. We also have modern day prophets to help us understand what our heavenly father wants us to do and how to deal with all of life's problems. One of the things that strengthens my belief in my LDS Faith the most is all of the opposition from many different directions to the church. From before the time Christ was on Earth Satan directed all of his followers to fight against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That continues to happen today. The LDS Church receives more persecution than all other Christian religions combined and probably all other religions worldwide.

  • CMTM , 00
    Dec. 14, 2017 8:24 a.m.

    RE: Lledrav.: The Bible teaches that mankind inherited original sin from Adam and Eve. True,

    Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) “… sin entered the world through one man(Adam), and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned.( Romans 5:12)

    You must be born=( G.anothen/from above) again.'(John 3:7)Christianity is about being born into the family of God .Just as an adopted child has no power to create an adoption, we have no power to join the family of God by our own efforts. Christian are adopted (Eph1:5; Rom 8:15).

    When we join His family through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts (1 Cor 6:19; Luke 11:13; 2 Cor 1:21–22). He empowers us to live like children of the King. He does not ask us to try to attain holiness by our own strength, as religion does.

    @Craig Clark "In Eph 2 we learn: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    Context, 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”. He Predestinates believers.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 14, 2017 8:19 a.m.

    "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."
    (3rd Article of Faith)
    ____________________
    So which is it? Is it “THROUGH the Atonement of Christ” or “BY obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel?” Sounds like doubletalk. Couldn’t Joseph Smith make up his mind about what Mormons believe or did he just want to have it both ways?

  • goosehuntr Tooele, UT
    Dec. 14, 2017 7:52 a.m.

    If there was one message the Book of Mormon was to teach us in this day and age it was the true doctrine of Grace. It begins with the vision of Gods Condescension, the stepping down to have Emmanuel (God with us) a supreme demonstration of grace, and ends with the final plea, to Come unto Christ, that by His grace we might be saved, as we attempt to deny ourselves of all ungodliness. Over and over in the book, the power of grace is played out in so many ways. If we miss the message of grace in the Book of Mormon, we have missed the central core.... Come unto Christ and be perfected IN HIM. The last two words is ALL about GRACE! O it is wonderful!! wonderful to me!!

  • Lledrav Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 14, 2017 7:19 a.m.

    I too teach Gospel doctrine and since I had a born again experience several years ago, salvation by grace is all I want to teach. But it has taken me years to learn how it works and how to explain it. The best thing to do is to stay in the scriptures. The account of Alma is the perfect teaching aid for grace because even die hard works reliant mormons can't argue with scripture. Alma did no works other than a painful repentance, (broken heart), and an appeal to Christ for mercy, and immediately he was redeemed, born again, changed to a state of righteousness. see Mos 27:25 Alma was redeemed by repenting (not the self perfection most think of), by exhibiting a smidgen of faith and by ASKING. He had done NO works, No obedience. You can back this up with Benjamins people, enos, and the lamanites in Helaman 5, and many others. The book of mormon is a grace filled book.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Dec. 13, 2017 7:29 p.m.

    Jesus is a gift from God because He so loved the world. The thing is ya have to believe inem. Than ya won't parish but get eternal life. But by the grace of God go I. Jesus is my saviour. Get it. Its humility. Is for the glory of God, the guy that gave me the privilege in His world. Show some gratuity in what ya say an do.

  • SillyGander Winnipeg, Canada, 00
    Dec. 13, 2017 7:06 p.m.

    The Mosaic Law of 1513 B.C. was simply a list of 613 commandments that Jehovah God gave to the Israelites through the prophet Moses Levi (1593 B.C. - 1473 B.C.) in order for them to prove through their works and acts (by following these 613 commandments) that their faith in our Heavenly Father Jehovah God (Yahweh Elohim Allah) was genuine! Our Lord and Savoir Jesus Christ Judah (8 B.C. - 33 A.D.) modified and simplified (Jeremiah 31: 31 - 34) this covenant by having his Christian followers follow just two commandments (Deuteronomy 6: 4, Leviticus 19: 17 - 18): Love God and Love Your Fellow Human Being. It is only through our works and acts (by following just these two commandments) that we can prove that our faith in God through His only begotten son is real. It's a very simple equation: our faith in God through His son Plus our works and acts Plus the grace and atonement of Jesus Christ (Proverbs 27: 11) Equals our salvation. If you want to live forever with eternal life and eternal youth and if you want to be reunited with your loved ones in the Blessed Here After, then you will have to follow the commandment of the Messiah (John 13: 31 - 35, John 14: 15 - 18, John 15: 9 - 17)!

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Dec. 13, 2017 4:52 p.m.

    Some of the most beautiful and explanatory passages about grace, and being born again, are found in the Book of Mormon -- right where they have always been. The differences are: (1) Mormons do not subscribe to the oppositional "either-or" dichotomy of faith - versus - works, often advocated by right wing Protestants. (2) Mormons also do not combine advocacy of grace with the continual drumbeat of degrading , belittling, and denigrating of the individual (as being "unworthy," "by nature evil," " totally depraved," "miserable sinners," "filthy rags," etc.) advocated by many fundamentalist Protestants.

    Those who believe in salvation by "faith alone," should read the warnings which the German Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave against what he termed "cheap grace."

  • JADunne St Paul, MN
    Dec. 13, 2017 4:29 p.m.

    Dear Brent Schmidt (bschmid2), we did the bulk of our work in 2015 around the time that your publication came out and so we missed it unfortunately. We did not leave it out on purpose and if we had known about it we would have engaged it (also, there was no conference; we just chose to write this article in the light of John Barclay's illuminating book, Paul & The Gift, published by Eerdmans in 2015). We would love to extend the dialogue on this further, so we'll be diving into your work at some point.
    –John

  • viejogeezer CARLSBAD, CA
    Dec. 13, 2017 3:58 p.m.

    All should remember that it was Pres Uchdorff who pointed out the error in our traditional interpretation of the verse in 2 Nephi which we are so fond of. As I see it Moroni 7: 42 to 45 clearly states the Mormon doctrine on grace. Faith (belief in Christ's divinity) leads to Hope (trust in His redemptive power for us) which leads to Charity (Love of God and our fellowmen). Love of God leads to repentance. Love of man leads to service (works or "acts of loving kindness" in Jewish tradition ). Repentance and Service lead to greater Faith which leads to greater Hope and in turn greater Love, creating a spiraling effect which we call Sanctification and eventual Eternal Life(Presence of Father and Son). Works without Love, according to Paul and Moroni 7:6 are useless-- "sounding brass and tinkling cymbal".

  • bschmid2 Rexburg, ID
    Dec. 13, 2017 3:06 p.m.

    It is disappointing that my work entitled Relational Grace: The Reciprocal and Binding Covenant of Charis (BYU Studies: 2015) was not mentioned in this article. For some reason I wasn't invited to this conference although I hope I could have deepened the discussion and even demonstrated how Joseph Smith restored the original, first-century notions of grace--but probably making much of the information at this conference and in this article irrelevant. In this work I argue that grace or charis was a gift or a favor in the first-century Mediterranean world by a loving patron which could not be repaid, but if accepted, obligated the recipient to keep commandments, keep covenants, and helped the recipient to become like the giver of the gift through a process which I believe is described in the scriptures as "grace for grace." Sociology backs up this argument. Scripture of the restoration and statements by prophets including most recently Elder Christofferson have linked grace with covenants that empower us. People since Augustine's time changed ancient meanings to make grace "cheap" and easy which I demonstrate in my work. For a nice review, see the Interpreter's web site.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 13, 2017 1:21 p.m.

    JiminSLC,
    "In Ephesians2 we learn: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast

    Paul taught that faith without works is dead."
    ____________________
    That wasn't Paul. That was James in what some regard as an anti-Pauline polemic.

    The Ephesians quote “For by grace are ye saved through faith” is Paul. Ironically, what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus was a grace given to a man who had yet to find his faith.

  • JimInSLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 13, 2017 12:35 p.m.

    We are saved by grace after all that we can do.
    While grace is a gift, we must become someone able to receive that gift. That is the after all that we can do part. If we do not become that person in this life, a way is prepared for us to continue to grow and develop until we eventually are able to receive the gift.

    Christ taught us that we need to repent, and showed by example that we need to be baptized. More things that we can do.

    In Ephesians2 we learn: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast

    Paul taught that faith without works is dead. More things on the list of what we can do, is doing the works that will help to build our faith in Christ. I'm not sure that everyone that says Christ will save them may not have some doubts, maybe thinking themselves not worthy. I am not worthy but I hope that my faith is sufficient when the time comes.

    As for perfection. Christ did not use himself as an example of perfection until after he was resurrected. Perfection will not come in this life. Through grace we can be made perfect through Christ.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Dec. 13, 2017 12:33 p.m.

    I don't see divine grace as a "get out of jail free" card to be played when we need it. I see it as the entire basis of our hope. Divine grace is with us every moment. The word "grace" in the New Testament is "charis," the same root as charity. Divine grace is another word for God's love and charity for us, which never fails and is always present in our lives.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 13, 2017 11:48 a.m.

    Belief in unmerited divine favor is belief in grace whether that term is used for it or not. The whole of Mormon belief starting with Joseph Smith's first vision in the sacred grove is premised on the concept of divine grace. And yet Mormons traditionally have avoided use of that term, most likely because it has historically been uncomfortably associated so closely with Protestantism.

    For doctrines of salvation, the idea of grace has implications for the concept of divine judgment.

    Deists do not believe in grace. They profess belief in divine creation but not in divine intervention in the affairs of man.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Dec. 13, 2017 11:44 a.m.

    RE: Diligent Dave. “D&C 132, God, speaking through the Prophet Joseph Smith, made it understood that divine grace can indeed help us become, Divine!”

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

    VS Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.(Gal 3:6) 400 years before the law was given.

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

    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 to proclaim justification and life.

  • Valiant1 Lehi, UT
    Dec. 13, 2017 11:39 a.m.

    It seems like this concept is evolving as there are different ideas of what grace is outlined in the article. We need to be careful to not let it usurp the first principles of the Gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost). Grace is not a first principle of the Gospel as taught by Joseph Smith.

    I would like to see a discussion around Moroni 10:32. In Moroni's last words, he makes an "if" "then" statement about grace. It contradicts what was said in the article about grace being the "ground on which everything else rests". The Gospel of Jesus Christ is and it's much more than grace.

    I've always thought that "enabling power" comes through faith, not grace, and that as faith grows we begin to change and become better. Faith is a principle of power and ultimately God's power is the power of the Priesthood.

    To change, we have to decide to change. We need to choose to have faith. We need to choose to rely on God and choose to repent and change. We don't need to choose to have grace, but grace alone won't change us.

  • windsor Logan, UT
    Dec. 13, 2017 11:37 a.m.

    Grace (from LDS Bible Dictionary)

    "...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..."

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 13, 2017 11:06 a.m.

    Elder Holland said it best. Often times a doctor will say "After all we could do, it wasn't enough to save the patient" , "After all my hardwork, the business still failed" . So maybe a better reading of 2 Nephi is "After all we can do (more like inspite of all we can do) it is by Grace we are saved" .

    That reading will immediately shift everyone's thinking. There is literally NOTHING I can do to earn grace. Ultimately we will be judged on who we are as people, if I cannot abide a celestial law, I will not be "punished" by being forced to live it. If have done what I could to live that law, as imperfect as I am, then I will enter that kingdom because of His grace.

  • High5 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 13, 2017 10:55 a.m.

    I tried to teach "grace" in Gospel Doctrine not long ago, and people thought I was teaching heresy.

    Former Bishops in the ward were correcting me. They were saying, "We do our part and then grace kicks in". Those were exact words.

    We have a long way to go as a culture to "get it".

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Dec. 13, 2017 10:47 a.m.

    I've long thought of divine grace as being that power that both helps you to get to the edge of a great chasm, as it were, like the Grand Canyon, only much, much, much wider. To be saved or to attain exaltation, one has to get to the other side, and beyond the other side.

    I think this is the chasm spoken of in Lehi & Nephi's dream regarding the Tree of God's Love. I also believe that great effort needs to go into it, that is, in repenting. I find it to be so, & I also find that without God's grace, I am unable to make progress.

    Concepts such as perfection, I believe, need to be viewed in light of what we know about the 3 great patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, or Israel. In D&C 132, God, speaking through the Prophet Joseph Smith, made it understood that divine grace can indeed help us become, Divine!

    Just as any child of any creature has at least the potential to become like it's parents, those 3 patriarchs show us that indeed it is true. It says in 132, "because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods,..." inferring obedience.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 13, 2017 9:56 a.m.

    It's true that the LDS Church teaches the idea of grace, but it is also true that the Church's emphasis on works has often seemed to undermines grace as an operative principle in its doctrines. This is understandable, even from a purely Biblical perspective, as the Book of James does seem to make the same kind of distinction ("grace without works is dead" comes originally, I think, from that book). But it is also very much outside the mainstream as that mainstream is articulated by both Protestants and Catholics. In those religions, grace is the free gift of god available to all believers, and beyond belief, nothing else is required. However, this can get us into all kinds of difficulties because at some point it becomes necessary to decide what is "belief" and what is not. That, indeed, is the whole reason that there are so many Christian religions. It is in any event an interesting subject, and I appreciate that the DN has published this article on the issue in the season of Christmas, when it behooves all of us to think more deeply about what our Christianity means to us.