Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What do Mormon's believe of the Doctrine of Grace

Dear Julie (the no longer Anon commenter from my Lesson on Exaltation Post),

First off I did do a post on this subject before that you can read HERE. But I will answer again as there are things from this post that are a bit more specific than I answered before. I will say in advance that I write to inform only. My purpose is never to convince anyone I am right and they are wrong. I respect that each of us has the right to believe, and worship or not as they choose and seem fit. Still I am happy to agree with you when you believe as I do and I think for the most part our beliefs about the doctrine of Grace are the pretty similar. At least if I read your comments right.

Mormons do believe in the doctrine of Grace. It is what saves us. No one can live or do anything that can "save" them. Only Christ can do this. Anyone who feels they can never be saved because they can't live perfectly or that they can be saved because they think they do live perfectly simply does not understand the power and necessity of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I think it is a common misconception of our church that people think we do not believe in grace. Perhaps that is because we do stress the "following Christ" part of earning Grace.

As I am sure you understand, Christ is our judge and he will be the One who decides who His grace will make perfect and clean and who it will not. He has set an example for us and asked us in the scriptures to take certain steps to qualify us for his grace. These are faith in Him, repentance, Baptism by water and Baptism by fire or the receiving of the Holy Spirit. See John 3:5 and Mark 16:16 (just to name 2).

Once we have taken these steps we must try our best to live according to the light and knowledge we have been given. And those who haven't taken these steps will also be judged by HIm according to how they lived based on the light and knowledge they are given. So we do not believe that a child in China who has never been taught of Jesus Christ but has lived a good life and done what they feel is right based on what they know is automatically damned because they don't have faith in Christ and haven't been baptized. We believe that in the afterlife that child will have an opportunity to learn of Christ from angelic missionaries and a baptism will eventually be able to be done for that child here on earth in one of our temples so that child can choose to accept that baptism and qualify for the Grace that Christ would offer him.

On the other hand, we do not believe that one who has come to know Christ and then rejects His example and chooses not to follow His Spirit will automatically be saved just because once they believed. That is the enduring to the end part. We must try our best to follow Him and become as much like Him as we can. We won't succeed but His grace will make up for all we lack (which as you noted is ALOT.) It is only by that grace that we at last can be made perfect in His kingdom.

Now we do believe that there are many "degrees" of heaven. I wrote a post on the LDS view of heaven HERE.  I would refer you to this post to explain what we think Heaven is like and whether we think we are the only ones going there. :) But to make it in the top of the 3 kingdoms I refer to in that post, we believe you must take the steps I outlined above to be "saved" by Christ's grace.

As for the other steps in my outline of my lesson that refer to going to the temple, Those are steps that we believe have been restored to us through modern day prophets. By restored, I mean that we believe they were on the earth at the time of Christ and Solomon, and Adam for that matter, but that they were lost after Christ and his apostles were killed. They are necessary for us to literally become like our Heavenly Father and to live in families - still being married and still being mothers and fathers - in the kingdom of Heaven.

I would HIGHLY recommend that you go to Just click on the button that says "I believe" on my blog to get to my page there. I do answer the question about what we think of the doctrine of grace there as well. More importantly, you can see what other Mormons think of this topic. HERE is a link to the very page that shows the responses to the Grace question. Regular Mormon people like me have gone there and answered this very question for themselves and you can see if my answer is in line with other Mormon's say.

Also if you have any other questions or want to know more, you can chat with a missionary online. They can answer whatever questions you have live and you don't need to be worried or scared to talk to them. They will only send someone to your home if you ask for them and give them your address. :) No pressure. Just answers. Hope that helps you understand what we believe.

While you are there you should also watch the video of my friend Ryan Wright HERE. He is awesome and a talented musician as well as a record company executive for a major label. Plus he is just a great guy. Loved his video.