By Eric Johnson
According to Mormonism, the Gospel includes all doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants that are necessary for a Latter-day Saint to receive exaltation, also known as eternal life. The “restored Gospel” is said to have begun with Joseph Smith and can be found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Seventh President Heber J. Grant stated at a general conference session in October 1918:
Time and time again my heart has been melted, my eyes have wept tears of gratitude for the knowledge that He lives and that this gospel called Mormonism is in very feed the plan of life and salvation, that it is the only true gospel upon the face of the earth, that it is in very deed the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (Gospel Standards, pp. 197-198).
Apostle Bruce R. McConkie said, “The true gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to earth in the last days through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith. It is found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 334).
The LDS Gospel is something that must be earned through righteous efforts. Tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith explained, “THE GOSPEL NEVER CHANGES. This work is based upon fundamental principles that do not change. They must not, they cannot change, because they are eternal” (Doctrines of Salvation 1:159. Italics in original). He also stated that the “fulness of the Gospel” means “all the ordinances and principles that pertain to the exaltation in the celestial kingdom” (Doctrines of Salvation 1:159. Italics and ellipsis in original). While everyone will be resurrected, Smith said not everyone will get to go to the celestial kingdom. He said,
Those who reject the gospel, but who live honorable lives, shall also be heirs of salvation, but not in the celestial kingdom. The Lord has prepared a place for them in the terrestrial kingdom. Those who live lives of wickedness may also be heirs of salvation, that is, they too shall be redeemed from death and from hell eventually. These, however, must suffer in hell the torments of the damned until they pay the price of their sinning, for the blood of Christ will not cleanse them” (Doctrines of
Twelfth President Spencer W. Kimball taught that “it is the power of God unto salvation; it is the code of laws and commandments which help us to become perfect, and the ordinances which constitute the entrance requirements” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 502). He said this can come only through obedience the commandments of the church:
The Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Savior, has given us our map—a code of laws and commandments whereby we might attain perfection and, eventually godhood. This set of laws and ordinances is known as the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is the only plan which will exalt mankind. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the sole repository of this priceless program in its fulness, which is made available to those who accept it. The Lord restored his kingdom in these days, with all its gifts and powers and blessings. Any church that you know of may possibly be able to take you for a long ride, and bring you some degree of peace and happiness and blessing, and they can carry you to the veil and there they drop you. The Church of Jesus Christ picks you up on this side of the veil and, if you live its commandments, carries you right through the veil as though it weren’t there and on through the eternities to exaltation (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, p. 5. Italics in original).
McConkie stated it this way: “The gospel is the plan of salvation. It consists of the laws, ordinances, and eternal truths by conformity to which the spirit children of God can progress and advance until they become like their Eternal Parent” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:27). He also said,
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan of salvation. It embraces all of the laws, principles, doctrines, rites, ordinances, acts, powers, authorities, and keys necessary to save and exalt men in the highest heaven hereafter. It is the covenant of salvation which the Lord makes with men on earth (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ, p. 52).
What does Christianity Teach
Romans 1:16-17 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” From this passage, it can be seen that the Gospel according to the Bible can be summarized by the following:
- Originates through the power of God (not of ourselves)
- Provides salvation to those with faith (both Jews and Gentiles)
- Revealed from the Old Testament (until now) (see Hebrews 11)
- Provided to the righteous live through faith
The Bible is clear cut and simple, contrary to the many restrictions put upon the Gospel by the LDS Church leaders to dilute its power. Such a “gospel” ought to be rejected. As Paul said in Galatians 1:6-9:
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.