Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
The LDS has two types of salvation. The first type, general salvation, provides for resurrection but not forgiveness of sins. The second type, individual salvation (also known as conditional salvation), provides for forgiveness of personal sins, but only for those who live in obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Mormon gospel:
“The first effect (of the atonement) is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus, providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins. As these sins are the result of individual acts, it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements, obedience to the laws and ordinances of the [LDS] Gospel“ (Articles of Faith, LDS Apostle James Talmage, page 87). [Editor: What they mean by exemption from the fall is that we will all be resurrected.]
Mormon salvation is based on the belief that fallen man is capable of saving himself. This is how Joseph Smith put it:
“After this instruction, you will be responsible for your own sins; it is a desirable honor that you should so walk before our heavenly Father as to save yourselves; we are all responsible to God for the manner we improve the light and wisdom given by our Lord to enable us to save ourselves. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1976, Compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, page 227)
But if fallen man was capable of saving himself by earning the right to forgiveness of sins, why did Christ come to earth specifically to bear our sins in His body on the cross at Calvary?
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was
bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace
was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we
like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to
his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of
us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6, KJV)
“… for this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12:27, KJV)
“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree …” (1 Peter 2:24, KJV)
“The celestial kingdom is reserved for those who sanctify their souls by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the [LDS] gospel. They are the ones whose sins Christ bore ….” A New Witness for the Articles of Faith by LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, page 145.)
According to the LDS, non-Mormons who trust in Christ will be resurrected but will not receive forgiveness for personal sins or eternal life. However, they will be able to change their course by becoming Mormons after death.
This implies that Mormonism is the key to individual salvation.
The following quotes illustrate how the LDS has diverted the glory for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life that Christ so heroically and selflessly earned on our behalf, to Joseph Smith and the Mormon church:
“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:8-9, KJV)
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15, KJV)
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:14 KJV)
“Redemption from personal sins can only be obtained through obedience to the requirements of the [Mormon] gospel, and a life of good works …” (Mormon Apostle James Talmage, Articles of Faith, pages 478-479).
“There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 670).
“There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.” (Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1, page 188.)
“If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation.” (Mormon Doctrine, Bruce McConkie, page 670.)
God did not tell the Israelites that they would have to earn the right to forgiveness of their sins. He knew that fallen man wasn’t capable of such a feat. That’s why He provided the sacrificial system. The person who had sinned was required to take an unblemished animal to the altar and place his hand upon the animal’s head to indicate that it would be his substitute, and would die in his place to cover his sin. (Leviticus 4:13-21, 27-31, Numbers 15:22-28, etc.) These were “pictures” of the coming promised unblemished (sinless) Redeemer, who would give Himself (once for all) as a vicarious sacrifice to cover the penalty for the personal sins of those who identified themselves with Him, by faith.
The New Testament clearly explains that laws and ordinances don’t have the power to save us. All they do is reveal that we are sinners. God gave the Israelites the Law to show them their need for a Saviour. It prepared their hearts and minds for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“Is the law then against the promises of God? God
forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have
given life, verily righteousness should have been by the
law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that
the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them
that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the
law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be
revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring
us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
(Galations 3:21-24, KJV)
“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” (Ephesians 2:15,16, KJV)
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14, KJV)
The LDS seems to be under the impression because the Christian believes in salvation by grace, he has the frivolous attitude that he can sin with impunity. But they couldn’t be more mistaken. The Christian’s confession of sin and plea for forgiveness is always accompanied by deep sorrow, shame and humility. He knows that all he deserves is judgment, and that apart from Christ He would be without hope. The picture of what Christ suffered for his sins, in his place, on the cross, is ever before him. And he never, ever gets over the enormity of what Christ has done for him.
Why then should the LDS imagine that he would deliberately bring dishonour to Christ’s name by wilfully wallowing in sin? That is a most unlikely scenario. And in such a case, it would indicate that the person concerned was not genuinely saved.
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