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Citations on Merit, Earning, Worthiness, and Qualification

2000 – present

“The gospel teaches us that relief from torment and guilt can be earned through repentance.” (Boyd K. Packer, source)

“We all live on spiritual credit. In one way or another, the account builds. If you pay it off as you go, you have little need to worry. Soon you begin to learn discipline and know that there is a day of reckoning ahead. Learn to keep your spiritual account paid off at regular intervals rather than allowing it to collect interest and penalties.” (Boyd K. Packer, source)

“Peace is the precious fruit of a righteous life. It is possible because of the Atonement of the Savior. It is earned through full repentance, for that leads to refreshing forgiveness.” – Richard G. Scott, “The Path to Peace and Joy,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 25 (featured as the “Young Single Adult Gem” of April 28, 2010)

“[Satan] cannot take away any blessing that has been earned.” (Richard G. Scott, Oct. 2010 Conference)

“Let us make our homes sanctuaries of righteousness, places of prayer, and abodes of love that we might merit the blessings that can come only from our Heavenly Father…  How might we merit this promise [spoken of in Ezekiel 36]? What will qualify us to receive this blessing?” – Thomas S Monson, “To Learn, to Do, to Be”, October 2008 Conference (cf. “To Learn, To Do, To Be,” Ensign, May 1992, 47)

“It is hard to know when we have done enough for the Atonement to change our natures and so qualify us for eternal life. And we don’t know how many days we will have to give the service necessary for that mighty change to come. But we know that we will have days enough if only we don’t waste them.” – Henry B. Eyring, “This Day” April 2007 General Conference

“Each of us has been sent to earth by our Heavenly Father to merit eternal life” – Robert D. Hales, “Personal Revelation: The Teachings and Examples of the Prophets”, October 2007 General Conference

“Time is a most precious asset. Would you consider investing more of your time in the things of eternity in order to merit the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and to benefit more fully from His influence?” – Keith K. Hilbig, “Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Man”, October 2007 General Conference.

“Only through sacrifice can we become worthy to live in the presence of God. Only through sacrifice can we enjoy eternal life. Many who have lived before us have sacrificed all they had. We must bewilling to do the same if we would earn the rich reward they enjoy (see Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, p. 58).” – Gospel Principles, p.171

“The demands of justice for broken law can be satisfied throughmercy, earned by your continual repentance and obedience to the laws ofGod… Through the Atonement you can live in a world where justiceassures that you will retain what you earn by obedience.” – Richard G.Scott, “The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 40–42. From General Conference, October 2006.

“Thirty-eight years ago my husband and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple by President Gordon B. Hinckley. The counsel and direction he gave us that day have become a beacon for our lives. When we left the temple as husband and wife, we went to a park near the temple grounds and recorded in a journal the words of wisdom we had received. He counseled us to always remember our prayers night and morning, to pray as a couple and as a family. He counseled us to always pay a full and honest tithing. He counseled us to read the scriptures daily and to apply the principles in our lives. And he counseled us to remain worthy. He said, ‘Always live in such a way that when you need the Lord’s blessings, you can call upon Him and receive them because you are worthy.’ He said: ‘There will come times in your life when you will need immediate blessings. You will need to live in such a way that they will be granted—not out of mercy but because you are worthy.'” – Elaine S. Dalton (Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency), “Look toward Eternity!”, October 2006 Conference

“God’s eternal purpose is for you to be successful in thismortal life. No matter how wicked the world becomes, you can earn thatblessing. Seek and be attentive to the personal guidance given to youthrough the Holy Spirit. Continue to be worthy to receive it. Reach outto others who stumble and are perplexed, not certain of what path tofollow.” – Richard G. Scott, “How to Live Well amid Increasing Evil”, Ensign, May 2004, p.100

“Mercy will not rob justice, and the sealing power of faithful parents will only claim wayward children upon the condition of their repentance and Christ’s Atonement. Repentant wayward children will enjoy salvation and all the blessings that go with it, but exaltation is much more. It must be fully earned. The question as to who will be exalted must be left to the Lord in His mercy.” – President James E. Faust, “Dear Are the Sheep That Have Wandered”, Ensign (CR), May 2003, p.62

“Those words sit next to my computer screen on a now-batteredPost-it note. His counsel-make yourself able, worthy, and qualified-hasgreat significance. To write the Church story, we have to merit theLord’s being with us, on our right hand and on our left. We can’texpect his guidance and inspiration if we aren’t worthy. We can’t takehis help for granted. Nor can we expect to be successful without it.” -1997 BYU Women’s Conference, p.323

1990 – 2000

“I bear witness of the power and comfort the gift of the Holy Ghost is to those who live worthy of it. What a reassurance it is for us to know that we are not left alone to find the course that we must follow to merit the eternal blessings of our Father in Heaven. We do not need man-made rating systems to determine what we should read, what we should watch, what we should listen to, or how we should conduct our lives. What we do need to do is live worthy of the continued companionship of the Holy Ghost and have the courage to follow the promptings that come into our lives” (L. Tom Perry, “That Spirit Which Leadeth to Do Good”, Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1997, p.70).

“Thus, brothers and sisters, along with the great and free giftof the universal and personal resurrection there is also the personalpossibility of meriting eternal life.” – Neal A. Maxwell, “Apply theAtoning Blood of Christ” Ensign, Nov 1997, 22; message from October 1997 General Conference

“They taught us the importance of being kind to one another,obeying the commandments, and how to receive a fulness of joy and meriteternal life. They have pleaded with us to live more Christlike lives,to emulate the Savior in all we do, and to qualify ourselves to beworthy of the saving and exalting blessings available only in the holytemples of the Lord.” – Robert D. Hales, Hear the Prophet’s Voice andObey, Ensign, May 1995, p.15

“Though the task seems large, we are strengthened by thistruth: ‘The greatest force in this world today is the power of God asit works through man.’ If we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitledto the Lord’s help. That divine help, however, is predicated upon ourworthiness” (Thomas S. Monson, “Your Eternal Voyage,” Ensign(Conference Edition), May 2000, p.46).


“It is the celestial glory which we seek. It is in thepresence of God we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which wewant membership. Such blessings must be earned” (Thomas Monson, “AnInvitation to Exaltation,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), May 1988, p.53).

Temples are sanctified for the purpose of performing rites for and making covenants with the pure in heart, who have proved themselves by faithful service worthy of the blessings of exaltation.”
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:231)

“But an eternal relationship of families does not come about automatically, as some suppose. It must not only be planned for; it must be earned. We must realize that only when we have lived in complete harmony with all the laws and ordinances of the priesthood, including those received in holy temples, should we expect to find ourselves prepared to dwell in what I sometimes refer to as the ‘kingdom of families’—the celestial world” (ElRay LaVar Christiansen (Assistant to the Twelve), “Three Important Questions,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1974, p.25).

“All must repent to be free. All must obey to gain gospel blessings. All must keep the commandments to merit mercy. (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ, p.242).

“We believe in individual merit as a means of gaining salvation” – Lowell L. Bennion, Introduction to the Gospel (1955; LDS sunday school material), chapter 20, “The Way of Salvation”

“The Lord has told us very plainly that all our blessings are predicated upon obedience to His laws and His laws are so plain. Faith, repentance, baptism, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost are the first principles. Then He offers other things, including Temple work, salvation for the dead and missionary work in all the world. In our great universities we have marvelous training, but I want to say that without the training of the Gospel of Jesus Christ those who graduate from the great universities of the world will be disappointed that they have not earned a place in the Celestial Kingdom” (George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1941, p.100).

“Not all of his children are worthy of celestial glory, and many areforced to suffer his wrath because of their transgressions, and thiscauses the Father and the whole heavens to have sorrow and to weep. TheLord works in accordance with natural law. Man must be redeemedaccording to law and his reward must be based on the law of justice.Because of this the Lord will not give unto men that which they do notmerit, but shall reward all men according to their works.” – JosephFielding Smith, Conference Report, April 1923, Third Day—MorningSession, p.137; cf. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie, 2:, p.27

“Now, in order that we may bring and merit unto ourselves acomplete exaltation, and he worthy to come back into the presence ofour Father, there is a code of laws that we must live up to.” -Jonathan C. Cutler., Conference Report, October 1918, Outdoor Meeting.,p.96

“This mortal life is granted us that we may be schooledproperly and trained through the plan of salvation to be worthy tobecome in very deed sons and daughters of God. Our Eternal Father wouldhave every soul saved if that were feasible. Salvation, however, isbased on merit and obedience to divine law and therefore is onlyobtained through compliance with divine commandments.” – JosephFielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols., 5:, p.82

“Very gladly would the Lord give to everyone eternal life, but since that blessing can come only on merit-through the faithful performance of duty-only those who are worthy shall receive it.” – Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie, 2:, p.5

“The gospel of Jesus Christ has always been essentially a planfor living more abundantly. To do so requires righteous, worthwhileeffort and application. If we are to pattern our lives in accordancewith the divine example set for us by the Savior, we must attain tothat stature by releasing and developing our capacities to the fullestthrough devoted service. Only in this way may we become worthy examplesof the kingdom of God on earth and merit consideration for membershipin the kingdom of God in heaven. (“Power Through Service,” MillennialStar 118 [9 October 1956]: 298.) – Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.330

“The gift of the Holy Ghost grows with worthiness. If you arebaptized when you are eight years old, of course you are a child, andthere is much you would not be expected to know. But the Holy Ghostcomes to you as you grow and learn and make yourselves worthy. It comesa little at a time as you merit it. And as your life is in harmony, yougradually receive the Holy Ghost in a great measure. (75-40)” – SpencerW. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball, p.114

“God grant that we may honor this beautiful soul with beautifuldeeds, that we may be worthy to be united with her in the eternities,and we will be if we live as she lived. How beautifully the family hasstarted to live since her passing, as she wanted them to. The fatherand David went to priesthood meeting yesterday. Why? Because they knowthat’s where she wanted them to be on the Sabbath day. David, beautifuldaughters, honor your father and your mother, and your days will belong in the earth, and your lives will be part of your beautiful familywhen it comes time for you to shuffle off these mortal coils. Live sothat you will merit an exaltation in the presence of God.” – MatthewCowley (of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), Matthew Cowley Speaks, p.446

“This is how I look at the requirements which God has made uponhis people collectively and individually, and I do believe that I haveno claim upon God or upon my brethren for blessing, favor, confidenceor love, unless, by my works, I prove that I am worthy thereof, and Inever expect to receive blessings that I do not merit. Who does? I donot know that anybody does, yet if we were to judge by the actions ofsome, we must come to the conclusion that they are satisfied by seeingothers live their religion.” – Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 16:, p.247

“[E]very man and woman will receive all that they are worthy of,and something thrown in perhaps on the score of the boundless charityof God. But who can justly expect to obtain more than they merit?” -Joseph F. Smith, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 20:, p.30

“Now, so long as the Latter-day Saints are content to obey thecommandments of God, to appreciate the privileges and blessings whichthey enjoy in the Church, and will use their time, their talents, theirsubstance, in honor to the name of God, to build up Zion, and toestablish truth and righteousness in the earth, so long our heavenlyFather is bound by His oath and covenant to protect them from everyopposing foe, and to help them to overcome every obstacle that canpossibly be arrayed against them or thrown in their pathway; but themoment a community begin to be wrapt up in themselves, become selfish,become engrossed in the temporalities of life, and put their faith inriches, that moment the power of God begins to withdraw from them, andif they repent not the Holy Spirit will depart from them entirely, andthey will be left to themselves. That which was given them will betaken away, they will lose that which they had, for they will not beworthy of it. God is just as well as merciful, and we need not expectfavors at the hand of the Almighty except as we merit them, at least inthe honest desires of our hearts, and the desire and intent will notalways avail unless our acts correspond. For we are engaged in aliteral work, a reality; and we must practice as well as profess. Wemust be what God requires us to be, or else we are not His people northe Zion which He designs to gather together and to build up in thelatter days upon the earth.” – Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 24:, p.176

“Now I wanted marriage with all my heart, and because it countedso much, I feared that, innately, I wasn’t worthy. This blessing wouldbe the telling of it. I wanted so much to be celestial material and wasafraid my best was only third-level terrestrial. Not only did mypatriarchal blessing calm my worst fears but it also providedilluminating insight to my celestial heritage and potential. Thatblessing has provided continuous motivation to live my life to meritits fulfillment.” – LDS Women’s Treasury: Insights and Inspiration forToday’s Woman , p.342 – 343

“Every individual has the right to and can have the Light ofChrist in his life as an abiding influence. But he must earn thatprivilege and blessing. Each of us must so live as to be worthy for theblessings of the Lord to attend us.” – N. Eldon Tanner, “The Light ofthe Gospel”, Ensign, November 1977, p.49

“We are living eternal life, and our position hereafter will bethe result of our lives here. Every man will be judged according to hisworks, and he will receive only that degree of glory that he hasearned. (Conference Reports, April 1945, p. 139.)” (The Teachings ofGeorge Albert Smith, p.30).

“Immortality is assured to all of us through the atonement ofour Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But eternal life is a personalresponsibility we must earn and be worthy of.” – Delbert L. Stapley,”The Path to Eternal Glory”, Ensign, July 1973, p.99

“We want an inheritance on this earth. We want a part of theearth for our celestial home and we want to earn it. We cannot get itotherwise. As the President said today, Zion cannot be redeemed but by purchase. Let me say to you that your redemption and mine cometh onlyby purchase. We must earn what we expect to enjoy.” – Francis M. Lyman,Conference Report, October 1899, Second Day—Morning Session

“Thus repentance is a gift of God conferred upon those who earnthe right to receive it. It comes by obedience to law. In order torepent, men must ‘do works meet for repentance.’ (Acts 26:20.) It iswith repentance as with all the gifts of God: they are bestowed uponworthy recipients and upon none others” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 217). – I Need Thee Every Hour

“However, in the resurrection, men shall rise to receive therewards merited by their lives on earth, some being prepared to enterat once the course of everlasting progress, while others will suffer ajust judgment for the evil deeds done in the flesh.” – Improvement Era, March 1931, no. 5

“Our Church is founded upon the premise that spiritual growth and exaltation must be earned by the efforts of the individual” (Henry D. Moyle, Improvement Era, December 1937, p.787).

“Hear it, O house of Israel! ye who are seeking to attain to the Celestial Kingdom of our Father—none but the pure in heart can see God; none but those who have sanctified all their affections and passions by entire and complete subservience to His laws can dwell in His eternal presence!” (John Taylor, George Q. Cannon, Messages of the First Presidency 3:62, March, 1886).

“Every blessing the Lord proffers to his people is on conditions. These conditions are: ‘Obey my law, keep my commandments, walk in my ordinances, observe my statutes, love mercy, preserve the law that I have given to you inviolate, keep yourselves pure in the law, and then you are entitled to these blessings, and not until then.’ … Are we entitled to the blessings of the holy Gospel unless we obey the ordinances thereof, and all the commandments and laws and requirements that are laid down for us to obey? Now I know that every Latter-day Saint will come to the same conclusion that I do-that if we did not obey, we would not be entitled to any of these blessings from our Father. There is not a Latter-day Saint but who comes to the same conclusion as myself—that we would not merit, we would not be entitled to, we could not claim at the hand of our God those blessings that he had promised through obedience to his Word. ” (Brigham Young, JoD 16:160)

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