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Citations on Grace

The following are sections out of Bill McKeever’s book In their Own Words: A Collection of Mormon Quotations. The full book of 400 pages is available at Mormonism Research Ministry or

Standard Works

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and
also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to
God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we
can do” (The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:23).

“And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself;
but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through
faith and repentance, and so forth” (The Book of Mormon, Alma

“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, that by his grace ye may be perfect
in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ,
ye can in nowise deny the power of God” (The Book of Mormon,
Moroni 10:32).

11th President Harold B. Lee

“We hear much from some of limited understanding about the
possibility of one’s being saved by grace alone. But it requires the
explanation of another prophet to understand the true doctrine
of grace as he explained in these meaningful words: ‘For,’ said this
prophet, ‘we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children,
and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled
to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all
we can do.’ (2 Ne. 25:23.) Truly we are redeemed by the atoning
blood of the Savior of the world, but only after each has done all
he can to work out his own salvation” (Harold B. Lee, Conference
Reports, October 1970, p. 116).

12th President Spencer W. Kimball

“One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded
by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God;
that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation”
(Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 206. See also The
Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122, 1989, p. 36).

“And however powerful the saving grace of Christ, it brings exaltation
to no man who does not comply with the works of the gospel”
(Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 207).

15th President Gordon B. Hinckley

“I believe in the grace of God made manifest through His sacrifice
and redemption, and I believe that through His atonement, without
any price on our part, each of us is offered the gift of resurrection
from the dead. I believe further that through that sacrifice
there is extended to every man and woman, every son and daughter
of God, the opportunity for eternal life and exaltation in our
Father’s kingdom, as we hearken and obey His commandments”
(Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), November 1986, pp. 50-51).

First Presidency

“Members of a household generally know the master of the house.
We cannot know God or be saved by grace alone. The grace of
God is all-important to our redemption from sin. His atoning sacrifice
is the very foundation of our salvation, both from the effects
of the fall of Adam as well as from our personal transgressions. It is
by virtue of his life and suffering and crucifixion and resurrection
that we become the beneficiaries of his atoning sacrifice. He performed
for us a task we could not do for ourselves. All mankind
are thereby assured of their resurrection from the dead” (Henry
D. Moyle, Conference Reports, October 1962, p. 90).

“Even if we were to serve God with our whole souls, it is not
enough, for we would still be ‘unprofitable servants.’ We cannot
earn our way into heaven; the demands of justice stand as a barrier,
which we are powerless to overcome on our own. But all is not
lost. The grace of God is our great and everlasting hope. Through
the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the plan of mercy appeases the demands
of justice ‘and [brings] about means unto men that they
may have faith unto repentance’” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Gift
of Grace,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2015, p. 108).

“Grace is a gift of God, and our desire to be obedient to each
of God’s commandments is the reaching out of our mortal hand
to receive this sacred gift from our Heavenly Father” (Dieter F.
Uchtdorf, “The Gift of Grace,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May
2015, p. 110).


“This second greatest truth is that Christ worked out this infinite
and eternal atoning sacrifice so that all men are raised in immortality
and those who believe and obey are raised also unto eternal
life. Now the opposite of that is the second greatest heresy in
all Christendom, and the opposite is that men are saved by some
kind of lip service, by the grace of God supposedly, without work
and without effort on their part” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Seven
Deadly Heresies,” an address given at Brigham Young University
on June 1, 1980. Transcribed from actual speech).

“I received a letter from a returned missionary whom I shall call
Elder Carnalus Luciferno, for no one in his right mind would
have such a name and my correspondent was certainly out of his
mind. His letter told me of his own conversion, of his service as
a zone leader in the mission field, and of making many converts.
But after returning home, as he expressed it, ‘I returned to my old
Gentile ways.’ After thus ceasing to be a true saint, and becoming
a genuine Gentile, he met some representatives of another
church who taught him that we are saved by grace, without works,
simply by believing in the Lord Jesus. Thereupon he was saved,
and his letter, which he sent to many people, was an invitation
to these others to believe in Christ and be saved as he was saved.
Later I said to his mission president: ‘Tell me about Elder Carnalus
Luciferno.’ ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘Elder Carnalus Luciferno was a
good missionary who made many converts. But since returning
home he has been excommunicated.’ ‘Oh,’ I said. ‘What was his
problem?’ The mission president replied, ‘Before he joined the
Church he was a homosexual, and we understand that since his release
he has reverted to his old ways.’ Now, let us reason together
on this matter of being saved without the need to do the works of
righteousness. Did you ever wonder why our missionaries convert
one of a city and two of a family while the preachers of this doctrine
of salvation by grace alone gain millions of converts? Does
it seem strange to you that we wear out our lives in bringing one
soul unto Christ, that we may have joy with him in the kingdom
of the Father, while our evangelist colleagues cannot even count
their converts so great is their number? Why are those who come
to hear the message of the restoration numbered in the hundreds
and thousands, rather than in the hundreds of thousands? May I
suggest that the difference is between the strait and narrow path,
which few find, and the broad way, ‘that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat’?” (Bruce R. McConkie,
“What Think Ye of Salvation By Grace?” BYU Devotional Address
given January 10, 1984. Transcribed from original speech).

“The heart and core and center of revealed religion is that the Son
of God atoned for the sins of the world, that he abolished death so
that all shall rise in the resurrection, and that he made salvation
available on conditions of obedience. The second greatest heresy
in Christendom is that men are saved by grace alone without
works, merely by confessing the Lord Jesus with their lips” (Bruce
R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son
of Man, p. 77).

”Bodily perfection will come to all men as a free gift in the resurrection.
But even though all persons are raised from mortality to
immortality, from corruption to incorruption, so that disease and
physical impairment are no longer found, this mere fact of resurrection
does not give peace of mind, the knowledge of God, a
hope of eternal life, or any of the great spiritual blessings which
flow from gospel obedience. These blessings are not free gifts. Except
for the free gift of immortality (which comes by grace alone
and includes bodily or physical perfection), all rewards gained in
the eternal worlds must be earned. That perfection sought by the
saints is both temporal and spiritual and comes only as a result
of full obedience” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 641).

“This is the word: Man cannot be saved by grace alone; as the Lord
lives, man must keep the commandments (Eccl. 12:13; Matt. 19:17;
I Ne. 22:31; D&C 93:20); he must work the works of righteousness
(Matt. 7:21; James 2:18-26; D&C 78:5-7); he must work out his salvation
with fear and trembling before the Lord (Philip. 2:12); he
must have faith like the ancients—the faith that brings with it gifts
and signs and miracles” (Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and Writings
of Bruce R. McConkie , p. 76).

“The blood of Christ was shed as a free gift of wondrous grace,
but the Saints are cleansed by the blood after they keep the commandments”
(Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and Writings of Bruce R.
McConkie, p. 77).

“Even that grace of God promised in the scriptures comes only ‘after
all we can do’” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,”
Ensign, November 1995 (Conference Edition), p. 19).

“Some Christians accuse Latter-day Saints…of denying the grace
of God through claiming they can earn their own salvation. We
answer this accusation with the words of two Book of Mormon
prophets. Nephi taught, ‘For we labor diligently…to persuade our
children…to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for
we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’
(2 Nephi 25:23). And what is ‘all we can do’? It surely includes
repentance (see Alma 24:11) and baptism, keeping the commandments,
and enduring to the end. Moroni pleaded, ‘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, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ’
(Moroni 10:32). We are not saved in our sins, as by being unconditionally
saved through confessing Christ and then, inevitably,
committing sins in our remaining lives (see Alma 11:36-37). We
are saved from our sins (see Helaman 5:10) by a weekly renewal of
our repentance and cleansing through the grace of God and His
blessed plan of salvation (see 3 Nephi 9:20-22)” (Dallin H. Oaks,
Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121-122, 2009, pp. 94-95.
Italics and ellipses in original. See also Ensign (Conference Edition),
May 1998, p. 56).

“In the [LDS] Bible Dictionary we learn that the word grace frequently
is used in the scriptures to connote a strengthening or
enabling power: ‘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 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” (p. 697)” (David A. Bednar,
“In the Strength of the Lord,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
November 2004, pp. 76-77. Italics and ellipsis in original. Brackets


“Those who are uncomfortable with Paul’s statements about
grace and salvation should bear in mind that the same teachings
are found in other scripture as well. Nephi, for example, nearly
echoes Paul’s words to the Ephesians when he says, ‘For we know
that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’ (2 Ne.
25:23)” (Gerald N. Lund, “Salvation: By Grace or By Works?” Ensign,
April 1981, p. 18).

“Man requires the power of the atonement of Christ flowing
into him. If no power is being generated, one does not—indeed,
cannot—turn the generators by hand (justification by works);
but rather, an effort is made to remove those things which have
blocked the power from flowing into the generators (working
righteousness as a result of faith). With this background then, one
can understand why the scriptures clearly stress that faith includes
works (see James 2:17–26); that is, obedience, commitment, and
repentance—these are the works of faith that open up the channels
so that the power of the atoning sacrifice of Christ can flow
into us, redeem us from sin, and bring us back into the presence
of God. Disobedience and wickedness dam those channels. (How
literal is the word damnation!) The righteous works in themselves
do not save us. The atoning power of God saves us. But our righteous
works, activated by our faith in the Savior, are the condition
for the operation of that power. Thus, each of us has something
to say about whether he will be able to seek the gift and power of
the Atonement in his behalf. In summary then, there is no need
to go to extraordinary lengths to apologize for Paul, or try to explain
away his statements on salvation by grace. We are saved by
grace—saved by Christ’s love from physical and spiritual death;
saved by Christ’s love from Adam’s fall and our own; saved from
sin and transgression by the grace or gifts of God. The atoning
power of God unto salvation is a freely available gift from him—
but our works of righteousness are essential to bring the gift into
power in our lives. Sin brings alienation from God. The more we
sin, the greater the alienation and the more difficult it becomes
to effectively tap the power of God, which alone is sufficient to
save us from our sins” (Gerald N. Lund, “Salvation: By Grace or By
Works?” Ensign, April 1981, p. 23. Italics in original).

“For example, some of our friends can’t see how our Atonement
beliefs relate to our beliefs about becoming more like our Heavenly
Father. Others mistakenly think our church is moving toward an
understanding of the relationship between grace and works that
draws on Protestant teachings. Such misconceptions prompt me
to consider today the Restoration’s unique Atonement doctrine”
(Bruce Hafen, “The Atonement: All for All,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 2004, p. 97).

Church Manuals

“Grace (vv. 11-13,20) – Strength and power from God that allows
us to obtain eternal life and exaltation” (Doctrine and Covenants
and Church History Seminary Student Guide, 2001, p. 106. Referring
to D&C 93).

“D&C 17:8. ‘For My Grace Is Sufficient for You.’ After a man has
done all that he can for himself, it is only by the grace of the Lord
(that is, by his love, mercy, and condescension) that he can gain
salvation (see 2 Nephi 11:24; 25:23). These three men were promised
that if they would do all that they were instructed in this revelation,
the Lord’s grace is sufficient to ensure their salvation (see
also 2 Corinthians 12:9; Ether 12:26–27)” (Doctrine and Covenants
Student Manual Religion 324 and 325, 2001, p. 34. Bold in original).

“Some people believe that when Paul said we are saved by grace
through faith he meant that nothing we do has any effect on
whether or not we are saved—that it is completely a gift from God.
This view is in opposition to James’ teaching that ‘faith without
works is dead’ (James 2:10–26). The revelations of the Lord to
Book of Mormon prophets help clarify this important doctrine.
While it is true that no one can live the law well enough to be
saved by his or her own obedience (see Romans 3:20–23; 2 Nephi
2:5), that does not mean that obedience is not important. If we do
not strive to keep the commandments, believing alone will not be
enough (see Matthew 7:21; James 2:17–19)” (New Testament Student
Study Guide, 1999, p. 135).

“Through grace, made available by the Savior’s atoning sacrifice,
all people will be resurrected and receive immortality (see 2 Nephi
9:6-13). But resurrection alone does not qualify us for eternal
life in the presence of God. Our sins make us unclean and unfit
to dwell in God’s presence, and we need His grace to purify and
perfect us ‘after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23)” (True to the Faith:
A Gospel Reference, 2004, p. 77).

“The phrase ‘after all we can do’ teaches that effort is required on
our part to receive the fulness of the Lord’s grace and be made
worthy to dwell with him” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004,
p. 77).

Other Sources

“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’ (2 Ne. 25:23)” (LDS
Bible Dictionary, p. 697).

“One of the most controversial issues in Christian theology is
whether salvation is the free gift of unmerited grace or is earned
through good works. Paul’s statement that ‘a man is justified by
faith without the deeds of the law’ (Rom. 3:28) is frequently cited
to support the former view, while James’s statement that ‘faith
without works is dead’ (James 2:20) is often quoted in favor of the
latter view. The LDS doctrine that salvation requires both grace
and works is a revealed yet commonsense reconciliation of these
contradictory positions” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism 2:560).

“Mormon theology is not without a doctrine of grace, but it undertakes
to conform that doctrine to the belief in merit that is consistent
with its denial of original sin and is implicit in its affirmative
concept of man. The orthodox position that there is no salvation
except by the atonement through Jesus Christ is clearly affirmed.
But the atonement, though necessary, is not a sufficient condition
for salvation except for those who are not morally accountable, as
for instance by reason of their infancy or the fact that they do not
live under the law, as in the case of primitives. For all others, the
meaning of the atonement is that by the grace of God through
Christ it is made possible for man, who is by nature neither corrupt
nor depraved, to merit his salvation by free obedience to the
law. By the fall man gained the possibility of a moral life through
the implementation of his freedom, and by the atonement he
gained the possibility of salvation in eternal life through merit”
(Sterling M. McMurrin, The Theological Foundations of the Mormon
Religion, pp. 70-71).

“The meaning of the grace of God given through the atonement
of Christ is that man by his freedom can now merit salvation”
(Sterling M. McMurrin, The Theological Foundations of the Mormon
Religion, p. 83).

“God’s grace is also extended to and claims children who die before
the age of accountability. (See D&C 29:46; 137:10.) Likewise,
it claims the mentally handicapped (see D&C 29:50) and those
who are genuinely ignorant of God’s commandments to the extent
of their ignorance (see 2 Ne. 9:25-26). In all such cases, God
is predisposed to act unilaterally in their favor without any performance
on their part that earns his concern. They are saved by
grace. Latter-day Saints also believe that God removed the sin of
Adam (or original sin) from Adam’s posterity by and through his
grace, as a unilateral act of goodwill. (See Moro. 8:8.) Thus all human
beings will be resurrected through the grace of God. These
aspects of the grace of God are gifts we can neither manipulate
nor earn” (BYU Professor Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ:
The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News, pp. 63-64).

“A common distortion of the doctrine of grace, less sinister perhaps
than ‘easy’ grace but I think more widespread in the Church,
is the view that the Savior extends his grace to us only after we’ve
done all we can possibly do. …This kind of thinking is merely the
old demand for total perfection trying to sneak in the back door
of the Church in a gospel disguise, and it mocks the atonement of
Christ by insisting that we must perfect and save ourselves before
the Savior can save us, that we must first cure ourselves before
we deserve to call a doctor. Such logic would make it impossible
for Christ to save anyone, ever. Unfortunately, sometimes even
the scripturally literate will limit their concept of grace in this way
without realizing that, in the long run, it turns the doctrine of
grace into salvation by works. Just as mercy isn’t mercy if we deserve
it, so grace isn’t grace if we earn it” (BYU Professor Stephen
E. Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good
News, pp. 90-91. Ellipsis mine).

“Actually, I understand the preposition ‘after’ in 2 Nephi 25:23 to
be a preposition of separation rather than a preposition of time. It
denotes logical separateness rather than temporal sequence. We
are saved by grace ‘apart from all we can do,’ or ‘all we can do
notwithstanding,’ or even ‘regardless of all we can do.’ Another
acceptable paraphrase of the sense of the verse might read, ‘We
are still saved by grace, after all is said and done.’ In addition, even
the phrase ‘all we can do’ is susceptible to a sinister interpretation
as meaning every single good deed we could conceivably have ever
done. This is nonsense. If grace could operate only in such cases,
no one could ever be saved, not even the best among us. It is precisely
because we don’t always do everything we could have done
that we need a savior in the first place, so obviously we can’t make
doing everything we could have done a condition for receiving
grace and being saved! I believe the emphasis in 2 Nephi 25:23 is
meant to fall on the word we (‘all we can do,’ as opposed to all he
can do). Moreover, ‘all we can do’ here should probably be understood
in the sense of ‘everything we can do,’ or even ‘whatever we
can do.’ Thus, the correct sense of 2 Nephi 25:23 would be that
we are ultimately saved by grace apart from whatever we manage
to do. Grace is not merely a decorative touch or a finishing bit
of trim to top off our own efforts-it is God’s participation in the
process of our salvation from its beginning to its end. Though I
must be intimately involved in the process of my salvation, in the
long run the success of that venture is utterly dependent upon the
grace of Christ” (BYU Professor Stephen E. Robinson, Believing
Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News, p. 92. Italics in

“Indeed, it is only after a person has so performed a lifetime of
works and faithfulness – only after he has come to deny himself
of all ungodliness and every worldly lust – that the grace of God,
that spiritual increment of power, is efficacious” (Joseph Fielding
McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book
of Mormon 1:295).

“After we have done all that we can do, after we have denied ourselves
of ungodliness and worldly lusts, then is the grace of God
sufficient for us; then we are sanctified in Christ and eventually
made perfect in Christ (see 2 Nephi 25:23; Moroni 10:32)” (Joseph
Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary
on the Book of Mormon 2:258).

“As a young missionary, I countered this view of grace by quoting
James 2:14–26, which concludes, ‘For as the body without the spirit
is dead, so faith without works is dead also’ (v. 26). Whereupon,
my contacts often opened their Bibles and responded with a few
scriptures of their own in support of their belief in unconditional
grace. One verse they commonly used was the Apostle Paul’s statement,
‘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’ (Eph. 2:8–9). They reasoned with me that grace is a gift of
God that freely comes when we accept Christ. For the first time
in my life, I realized how easily we can become confused about
any doctrine if we focus on a single verse and don’t take into account
the whole of gospel teachings. I also formed the opinion
that people gravitated to the doctrine of unconditional grace because
it was so easy to accept. After all, life can appear a whole lot
simpler when all one has to do for salvation is ‘accept Christ’” (E.
Richard Packham, “My Maturing Views of Grace,” Ensign, August
2005, p. 22).

“The perfect relationship between the atoning grace of Christ and
the obedient efforts of mankind is powerfully stated by Nephi: ‘We
know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’ (2
Nephi 25:23). Furthermore, we are invited to ‘come unto Christ,
and be perfected in him.’ When we deny ourselves ‘of all ungodliness,’
then and only ‘then is his grace sufficient’ for us (Moroni
10:32)” (Clyde Williams, BYU assistant professor of Ancient Scripture,
“Plain and Precious Truths Restored,” Ensign, October 2006,
p. 53).

“In the Restored gospel, grace and works ever go hand in hand.
No one will ever be exalted by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, if
that person is complacent in his approach to the commandments.
Nor will anyone find himself exalted solely through seeking to
keep all of the commandments of Christ, as no one is able to fully
do so” (Alonzo L. Gaskill, Odds Are, You’re Going to be Exalted, p. 2.
Italics in original).

“Too often we misinterpret this [2 Ne 25:23] to mean that we have
to do everything possible – everything within our power – and
then God’s grace will kick in. Many see Nephi’s words as a caution,
rather than a promise – as though Nephi is saying you do the impossible,
and then – and only then – go talk to God about offering
you a little help. If that is really what Nephi means, then Jesus will
be the only saved being, as He is the only one who has done all
He possibly could. But this is not what the passage is teaching”
(Alonzo L. Gaskill, Odds Are, You’re Going to Be Exalted, p. 6. Brackets mine).

“What do Latter-day Saints believe about grace? We believe that
God’s grace is what ultimately saves us; yet it does not save us without
our doing all that we can to live God’s commandments and
follow Jesus Christ’s teachings. We do not believe salvation comes
by simply confessing belief in Christ as our Savior. Faith, works, ordinances,
and grace are all necessary” (Ensign, March 2013, p. 21).

“The doctrine of grace found in the New Testament has been given
a richer explanation through the revelations and teachings of
the Restoration. The Apostle Paul taught, ‘By grace are ye saved
through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God’
(Ephesians 2:8). We find this teaching repeated in the Book of
Mormon, with some important supplemental ideas. For instance,
the prophet Jacob taught, ‘Reconcile yourselves to the will of
God…; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is
only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved’ (2 Nephi
10:24). The Book of Mormon reinforces the truth that it is alone
the gift of Christ’s Atonement that saves us, but it also reminds us
that we must yield our wills to God by believing in His Son, repenting,
keeping His commandments, and doing good works” (David
A. Edwards and Norman W. Gardner, “The Restored Testament,”
Ensign, January 2015, p. 52. Italics and ellipsis in original).

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