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Citations on Salvation

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 know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can
do” (The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:23).

2nd President Brigham Young

“To explain how much confidence we should have in God, were I
using a term to suit myself, I should say implicit confidence. I have
faith in my God, and that faith corresponds with the works I produce.
I have no confidence in faith without works. My faith is, when
we have done all we can, then the Lord is under obligation, and
will not disappoint the faithful; he will perform the rest” (Brigham
Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 155. Italics in original).
“Every ordinance, every commandment and requirement is necessary
for the salvation of the human family” (Brigham Young, Discourses
of Brigham Young, p. 152. See also Teachings of Presidents of the
Church – Brigham Young, p. 18).

“Is there liberty in this obedience? Yes, and the only plan on the
face of the earth for the people to gain real liberty is to yield obedience
to these simple principles. Not but that we should find a
great many who do not exactly understand how to yield obedience,
strictly, to the requirements of heaven for their own salvation
and exaltation; but no person can be exalted in the kingdom of
heaven without first submitting himself to the rules, regulations,
laws and ordinances of that kingdom, and being perfectly subject
to them in every respect” (Brigham Young, October 9, 1872, Journal
of Discourses 15:220).

4th President Wilford Woodruff

“‘What shall we do to be saved’ was the cry of the people who
heard the preaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost, and the
same may be said to be applicable to all men in every generation.
The answer would be, obey the law of the Gospel. This is the
safe means given for the salvation of the human family” (Wilford
Woodruff, May 14, 1882, Journal of Discourses 23:126).
“HOW TO OBTAIN FULL SALVATION. If I ever obtain a full salvation
it will be by my keeping the laws of God” (Wilford Woodruff,
The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 23. See also Teachings of
Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, p. 71).

5th President Lorenzo Snow

“The true gospel requires works. When the gospel dispensation was
introduced, gifts and blessings were obtained upon similar principles—that
is, upon obedience to certain established rules. The
Lord still marked out certain acts, promising to all those who
would do them certain peculiar privileges; and when those acts
were performed—observed in every particular—then the blessings
promised were sure to be realized. Some vainly imagine that,
under the gospel dispensation, gifts and blessings are obtained not
by external observances, or external works, but merely through
faith and repentance, through mental operations, independent of
physical. But, laying aside the traditions, superstitions, and creeds
of men, we will look to the word of God, where we shall discover
that external works, or outward ordinances, under the gospel dispensation,
were inseparably connected with inward works, such
as faith and repentance” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo
Snow, pp. 16-17).

6th President Joseph F. Smith

“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation,
and it is absolutely necessary for every man and woman in the
Church of Christ to work righteousness, to observe the laws of
God, and keep the commandments that He has given, in order
that they may avail themselves of the power of God unto salvation
in this life” (Joseph F. Smith, Conference Reports, October 1907,
p. 3).

“I do not believe that a man is saved in this life by believing, or
professing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, but that he must
endure to the end and keep the commandments that are given”
(Joseph F. Smith, Conference Reports, April 1915, p. 119).

10th President Joseph Fielding Smith

“One of the most pernicious doctrines ever advocated by man, is
the doctrine of ‘justification by faith alone,’ which has entered
into, the hearts of millions since the days of the so-called ‘reformation’”
(Joseph Fielding Smith, The Restoration of All Things, 1964,
p. 192).

“Salvation is twofold: General – that which comes to all men irrespective
of a belief (in this life) in Christ- and, Individual – that
which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience
to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” (Joseph Fielding
Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:134. Italics in original).

“It is the purpose of the Almighty to save all of mankind, and
all will enter into his kingdoms in some degree of glory, except
sons of perdition who sin beyond the power of repentance and
redemption, and therefore cannot receive forgiveness of sins. All
the rest shall be saved, but not all with the same degree of glory
or exaltation” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:21).

“All that we can do for ourselves we are required to do. We must
do our own repenting; we are required to obey every commandment
and live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of
God. If we will do this, then we are freed from the consequences
of our own sins. The plan of salvation is based on this foundation.
No man can be saved without complying with these laws” (Joseph
Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, p. 172).

“If men would acquire salvation, they have got to be subject, before
they leave this world, to certain rules and principles, which
were fixed by an unalterable decrees before the world was… any
person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial
law, and the whole law too” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Man: His
Origin and Destiny, p. 537. Ellipsis mine).

11th President Harold B. Lee

“But all of these blessings are ours on one condition, and this is
spoken of by Nephi, when he said: 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, [but mark you this condition,] after all we can do”
(Harold B. Lee, Conference Reports, April 1956, p. 111. Brackets and
italics in original).

“How can this cleansing take place? The answer is: through holy
ordinances which the Lord has established for that purpose. We
are saved by grace, yes, through the atonement of the Master, but
Nephi taught this other principle: ‘… for we know that it is by grace
that we are saved, after all we can do’(2 Nephi 25:23)” (Harold B.
Lee, Conference Reports, October 1956, p. 62. Ellipses in original).

“Herein is defined … individual salvation, which comes to each,
dependent upon his own conduct and his own life. But we [also]
have what we call ‘general’ [salvation], that which comes upon all
mankind, whether they are good or bad, rich or poor, when they
have lived—it makes no difference. All have the blessings of the
Atonement and the blessings of the resurrection given to them
as a free gift because of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice” (Harold B.
Lee, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 2000, pp. 22-
23. Ellipsis and brackets in original).

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).

“We have discussed elsewhere that other class of people who are
basically unrepentant because they are not ‘doing the commandments.’
They are Church members who are steeped in lethargy.
They neither drink nor commit the sexual sins. They do not gam-
ble nor rob nor kill. They are good citizens and splendid neighbors,
but spiritually speaking they seem to be in a long, deep sleep.
They are doing nothing seriously wrong except in their failures to
do the right things to earn their exaltation” (Spencer W. Kimball,
The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 211-212).

“Many in the world, and even some in the Church, seem to think
that eventually the Lord will be merciful and give them the unearned
blessing. But the Lord cannot be merciful at the expense
of justice” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 249).

“The Lord’s program is unchangeable. His laws are immutable.
They will not be modified. Your opinions or mine do not make any
difference and do not alter the laws. Many of the world think that
eventually the Lord will be merciful and give to them unearned
blessings. Mercy cannot rob justice. College professors will not
give you a doctorate degree for a few weeks of cursory work in the
university, nor can the Lord be merciful at the expense of justice.
In this program, which is infinitely greater, we will each receive
what we merit. Do not take any chances whatever” (Spencer W.
Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 150).

13th President Ezra Taft Benson

“What is meant by ‘after all we can do’? ‘After all we can do’ includes
extending our best effort. ‘After all we can do’ includes
living His commandments. ‘After all we can do’ includes loving
our fellowmen and praying for those who regard us as their adversary.
‘After all we can do’ means clothing the naked, feeding the
hungry, visiting the sick and giving ‘succor [to] those who stand
in need of [our] succor’ (Mosiah 4:15)-remembering that what we
do unto one of the least of God’s children, we do unto Him (see
Matthew 25:34-40; D&C 42:38). ‘After all we can do’ means leading
chaste, clean, pure lives, being scrupulously honest in all our
dealings and treating others the way we would want to be treated”
(Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 354. Brackets
in original).

e will never be alone if we live as we should, because our Father
will always be with us to bless us. He wants us to be successful. He
wants us to be happy. He wants us to achieve the good goals we set.
He will do His part if we do our part” (Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings
of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, 2014, p. 74).

16th President Thomas S. Monson

“By obedience to God’s commandments, we can qualify for that
‘house’ spoken of by Jesus when He declared: “In my Father’s
house are many mansions. … I go to prepare a place for you …
that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3)” (Thomas S.
Monson, “An Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
May 1988, p. 54. Ellipses in original).

“God our Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord, have marked the
way to perfection. They beckon us to follow eternal verities and
to become perfect, as they are perfect (see Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi
12:48)” (Thomas S. Monson, “An Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), May 1988, p. 54).

17th President Russell M. Nelson

“Those whose lineage is from the various tribes of Israel are those whose hearts will most likely be turned to the Lord. He [Jesus] said, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me’ (John 10:27). Those who are of the house of Israel will most easily recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and will desire to be gathered into His fold. They will want to become members of His Church, make covenants with Him and Heavenly Father, and receive their essential ordinances” (Russell M. Nelson, Worldwide Youth Devotional, June 3, 2018, Supplement to the New Era and Ensign, p. 8).

First Presidency

“They [Mormon missionaries] made clear distinction between
general salvation or resurrection from the grave and individual
salvation or exaltation earned by a man through his compliance
with the laws of God. They taught that there are preferential places
in heaven as there are on earth and that the highest place or
Celestial Kingdom could be attained only by those who faithfully
subscribe to and keep all the laws and ordinances Of the Gospel of
Jesus Christ and thereby entitle themselves to come into the presence
of our God and Jesus Christ, His Son” (Stephen L Richards,
Conference Reports, April 1941, pp. 102-103. Brackets mine).

“The Church also accepts the scriptural doctrine that following
the resurrection each person—then an immortal soul—will be arraigned
before the bar of God’s justice and receive a final judgment
based on his performance during his mortal probation, that
the verdict will turn on obedience or disobedience to the laws and
ordinances of the gospel. If these laws and ordinances have been
complied with during mortal life, the candidate will be cleansed
from the stain of sin by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and be
saved in the celestial kingdom of God, there to enjoy with God
eternal life. Those who have not complied with the laws and ordinances
of the gospel will receive a lesser reward” (Marion G.
Romney, “How Men Are Saved,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
Nov.1974, p. 39).

“Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent.
Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is
an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation, in
temporal as well as in spiritual things. Paul’s statement, ‘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), has
been misunderstood. Some have interpreted it to mean that works
are not necessary. This is an erroneous conclusion. The truth is
that we are saved by grace only after all we ourselves can do. (See
2 Ne. 25:23.) There will be no government dole which can get us
through the pearly gates. Nor will anybody go into the celestial
kingdom who wants to go there on the works of someone else. Every
man must go through on his own merits. We might just as well
learn this here and now” (Marion G. Romney, “In Mine Own Way”,
Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1976, pp. 124-125).

“Many people think they need only confess that Jesus is the Christ
and then they are saved by grace alone. We cannot be saved by
grace alone, ‘for we know that it is by grace that we are saved after
all we can do’” (James Faust, Ensign (Conference Edition), November
2001, p. 18).


“Without works of righteousness it is not possible to save a man”
(Francis M. Lyman, July 19, 1896, [Stake conference message],
Collected Discourses 5:164).

“There are but few that will be absolutely lost, and that will go
with the sons of perdition. Nearly all will be saved in some degree
of glory and salvation, just according to what they have earned.
That is what we shall receive finally” (Francis M. Lyman, Conference
Reports, April 1910, p. 33).

“The Lord has given to every individual soul power, if he will but
exercise it and do the will of the Lord, to earn eternal life” (Francis
M. Lyman, March 3, 1895, [Stake conference message], Collected
Discourses 4:243).

“By humility and faith and repentance we obtain the forgiveness
of our sins, and are entitled to have our names upon the records
of the Church as members of the Church. But that fact does not
demonstrate particularly any very important work that we have accomplished
in sustaining the work of the Lord. By it we are entitled
to enter in, but after we have been recorded members of the
Church we must then work out our salvation and earn eternal life,
for it is not obtained without earning it” (Francis Lyman, Conference
Reports, October 1899, p. 35).

“If men are to be rewarded according to their works, then since
the works of men vary, the judgments of God must differ. That
leads to the doctrine of graded salvation. Every person will inherit
a glory of salvation, which will be the one that he has earned”
(John A. Widtsoe, Joseph Smith: Seeker after Truth, Prophet of God,
p. 170).

“We must pay the price for whatever we obtain. If we do something,
we receive something; if we do nothing, we receive nothing.
That is a universal principle, valid from economics to religion, on
earth or in heaven. The price may not always be great, but it must
be paid. Only as the price has been paid can we claim to own our
possessions. Only as the price is paid, and to that degree, can we
expect the joy which is the objective of existence” (John A. Widtsoe,
An Understandable Religion, p. 80).

“In reality, this doctrine means that we earn and must earn what
we get. Salvation must be earned. The plan of salvation is of value
to us only as we conform, actively, to its requirements. It has been
so throughout the eternities of existence. The spirit of man, seeking
progress, has toiled and striven to rise towards his high destiny,
the likeness of God. The privilege to come on earth was earned
by him. Earth-life was not forced upon him, nor did he receive it
as a gift. That doctrine lifts man into the position of kingship. He
has labored and won. His battle has resulted in victory. He has the
right to walk among kings. This is one of the great doctrines, often
forgotten, laid down in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ” (John
A. Widtsoe, An Understandable Religion, pp. 81-82).

“The difference between the two doctrines is that between truth
and untruth, between light and darkness. The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints is in full opposition to any doctrine
which does not require man, and provide him with the means, to
earn his way daily, to earthly and heavenly joys” (John A. Widtsoe,
An Understandable Religion, p. 83).

“This twofold effect of the atonement is implied in the article of
our faith now under consideration. The first effect 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 Gospel’” (James E. Talmage, Articles
of Faith, 1984, pp. 78-79, Italics in original).

“Yet in spite of the plain word of God, dogmas of men have been
promulgated to the effect that by faith alone may salvation be attained,
and that a wordy profession of belief shall open the doors
of heaven to the sinner” (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, 1984,
p. 98).

“My brothers and sisters, we should all be proud of our progenitors.
Some of us forget however, that as someone rightly said no
matter how tall your grandfather was, you have to do your own
growing. So it is in this great Church-we all must realize that salvation
is an individual matter, that none of us can be taken into the
celestial kingdom on the backs of others. We must earn our own
position, both here and hereafter. It is not merely an acknowledgment
that God lives and that this is the Church of Jesus Christ that
will save us, but the application of that knowledge in good works”
(Elray L. Christiansen (Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve),
Conference Reports, October 1952, pp. 53-54).

“One erroneous teaching of many Christian churches is: By faith
alone we are saved. This false doctrine would relieve man from the
responsibility of his acts other than to confess a belief in God, and
would teach man that no matter how great the sin, a confession
would bring him complete forgiveness and salvation” (LeGrand
Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, p. 24).

“Not even the blessings of God come to us without effort on our
part. We must earn them by obedience to the laws upon which
each one is predicated” (Mark E. Petersen, Faith Works! p. 298).

“When the Savior established his church during his mortal ministry,
and as it was further developed by the twelve apostles of that
day, one important fact became conspicuously clear, which is: that
salvation comes through the Church. It does not come through
any separate organization or splinter group nor to any private party
as an individual. It comes only through the Church itself as the
Lord established it. It was the Church that was organized for the
perfecting of the Saints. It was the Church that was given for the
work of the ministry. It was the Church that was provided to edify
the body of Christ, as Paul explained to the Ephesians. Therefore
it was made clearly manifest that salvation is in the Church, and of
the Church, and is obtained only through the Church” (Mark E.
Petersen, “Salvation Comes through the Church,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), July 1973, p. 108).

“There is no such thing as gaining salvation from a false god, or by
conforming to a false plan of salvation, or through membership
in a false church” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Caravan Moves On,”
Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1984, p. 83).

“Certain saved-by-grace-alone fanatics flatter their followers into
believing they can be saved through no act other than confessing
Christ with their lips” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966,
p. 287).

“If you teach a doctrine that there is a second chance for salvation,
you may lose your soul. You will, if you believe that doctrine to
the point that you do not live right and if you go on the assumption
that someday you will have the opportunity for salvation even
though you did not keep the commandments here” (Bruce R. McConkie,
Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, p. 338).

“If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there
would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon
Doctrine, 1966, p. 670).
“Salvation grows automatically out of the resurrection, and the
coming forth in the resurrection constitutes the receipt of whatever
degree of salvation has been earned. By one degree of obedience
or another, all men, in this life, develop either celestial,
terrestrial, or telestial bodies (or in the case of those destined to
be sons of perdition, bodies of a baser sort)” (Bruce R. McConkie,
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:196).

“Salvation comes by obedience to the whole law of the whole gospel.
Joseph Smith said: ‘Any person who is exalted to the highest
mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too.’
(Teachings, p. 331.) Thus, a man may be damned for a single sin”
(Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:256).

“‘Salvation is free’ (2 Ne. 2:4), but it must also be purchased; and
the price is obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel”
(Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:461).

“If we keep the commandments and are true and faithful in all
things, we shall inherit eternal life in our Father’s kingdom. Those
who attain this high state of glory and exaltation shall dwell in the
presence of God. They shall see his face and converse with him
mouth to mouth. They shall know him in the full sense of the
word because they have become like him. And all who are now
living those laws to the full which will enable them to go where
God and Christ are, and there enjoy eternal association with them
— that is, all those who are now living in its entirety the law of the
celestial kingdom — are already qualified to see the Lord. The attainment
of such a state of righteousness and perfection is the object
and end toward which all of the Lord’s people are striving. We
seek to see the face of the Lord while we yet dwell in mortality, and
we seek to dwell with him everlastingly in the eternal kingdoms
that are prepared” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah: The
First Coming of Christ, pp. 578-579).

“And unless men have the agency to choose to do good and work
righteousness—and, in fact, do so—they cannot be saved. There
is no other way” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah: From
Bethlehem to Calvary 1:406).

“Salvation by grace alone and without works, as it is taught in large
segments of Christendom today, is akin to what Lucifer proposed
in the preexistence-that he would save all mankind, and one soul
should not be lost. He would save them without agency, without
works, without any act on their part. (Moses 1:1; D&C 29:36.) As
with the proposal of Lucifer in preexistence to save all mankind,
so with the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, without works, as
it is taught in modern Christendom-both concepts are false. There
is no salvation in either of them. They both come from the same
source; they are not of God” (Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and
Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, p. 78).

“If the false claims about salvation by grace alone, or whatever the
anti-Mormon literature is proclaiming, if these claims trouble you,
search out the answers. They are in the scriptures. Anyone who
cannot learn from the Bible that salvation does not come by simply
confessing the Lord with one’s lips, without reference to all the
other terms and conditions of the true plan of salvation, does not
deserve to be saved” (Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and Writings of
Bruce R. McConkie, p. 233).

“Truly, of all the errors mortals could make, God’s plan of salvation
is the wrong thing to be wrong about! No error could be
more enormous or more everlasting in its consequences!” (Neil
Maxwell, Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1984 p. 22. See also
The Collected Works of Neil A. Maxwell 6:253).

“Thus, brothers and sisters, along with the great and free gift of
the universal and personal resurrection there is also the personal
possibility of meriting eternal life” (Neil A. Maxwell, “Applying
the Atoning Blood of Christ,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November
1997, p. 23).

“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 (Conference Edition), November 1995, 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 ellipsis in original. See also Ensign (Conference Edition),
May 1998, p. 56).

“God’s love is complete and without limit for you and for all mankind.
He is perfectly just and merciful. He is perfectly kind and
understands your circumstances and condition. He knows you
better than you know yourself. Because your Heavenly Father is
perfect, you can have complete faith in Him. You can trust Him.
You can keep His commandments by continually striving to do so.
‘Does that mean all of God’s commandments?’ you might ask. Yes!
All of them!” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Growing into the Priesthood,”
Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1999, p. 40).

“To be saved—or to gain salvation—means to be saved from
physical and spiritual death. Because of the Resurrection of Jesus
Christ, all people will be resurrected and saved from physical
death People may also be saved from individual spiritual death
through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, by their faith in Him, by
living in obedience to the laws and ordinances of His gospel, and
by serving Him” (Russell M. Nelson, “Salvation and Exaltation,”
Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2008, p. 8).


“Now, brethren, this is a consolation to us all. Believe in God, believe
in Jesus, and believe in Joseph his Prophet, and in Brigham
his successor. And I add, ‘If you will believe in your hearts and
confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph was a
Prophet, and that Brigham was his successor, you shall be saved in
the kingdom of God,’ which I pray, in the name of Jesus, may be
the case. Amen” (Joseph Young, July 26, 1857, Journal of Discourses

“I humbly pray that the Lord will bless his children who serve him.
I am grateful beyond expression for a Church that is organized by
the Lord Jesus Christ, that permits, even obligates, his children to
serve in his cause, a Church in which the lay members not only
participate, but lead, a Church in which each one of us can find
expression for his talents and growth in his character as he strives
to earn his salvation and to serve his fellow men” (Albert Theodore
Tuttle, Conference Reports, October 1959, p. 10).

“Today there is much controversy and contention among the
doctrines and philosophies of men relative to the requirements
for entrance into the kingdom of God. Many have been deceived
by the teachings of men that works and obedience to God’s commandments
are not essential, and some base their contention on
scriptures” (Bernard P. Brockbank, “Entrance into the Kingdom
of God,” Ensign (Conference Edition), January 1973, p. 44).

“God bestows these additional, perfecting expressions of grace
conditionally, as he does the grace that allows forgiveness of sin.
They are given ‘after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23)—that is, as
a supplement to our best efforts” (Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K.
Hafen, The Belonging Heart: The Atonement and Relationships with
God and Family, p. 113).

“Do you wish to know the price to be paid for the privileges that
are offered after we have received the Holy Ghost? The price is not
a predetermined or fixed amount; rather, it is determined by each
of us individually. If you set your payment, which is your personal
effort, very low, you may not be able to avail yourself of all the Spirit
has to offer. You may even quench the Spirit! However, if you
set your personal contribution high, you will reap an abundant
harvest from the Spirit. The payment I reference is, of course,
not money; rather, it is a greater commitment to and involvement
in personal spiritual endeavors and behaviors” (Keith K. Hilbig,
“Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Man,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), November 2007, p. 38).

“As with my own experience, our members often ask, ‘Am I good enough as a person?’ or ‘Will I really make it to the celestial kingdom?’ Of course, there is no such thing as ‘being good enough.’ None of us could ever ‘earn’ or ‘deserve’ our salvation, but it is normal to wonder if we are acceptable before the Lord, which is how I understand these questions” (J. Devn Cornish, “Am I Good Enough,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2016, pp. 32-33).

“Let me be direct and clear. The answers to the questions ‘Am I good enough?’ and ‘Will I make it?’ are ‘Yes! You are going to be good enough’ and ‘Yes, you are going to make it as long as you keep repenting and do not rationalize or rebel.’ The God of heaven is not a heartless referee looking for any excuse to throw us out of the game. He is our perfectly loving Father, who yearns more than anything else to have all of His children come back home and live with Him as families forever. He truly gave His Only Begotten Son that we might not perish but have everlasting life! Please believe, and please take hope and comfort from, this eternal truth. Our Heavenly Father intends for us to make it! That is His work and His glory. . . . ‘Really trying’ means doing the best we can, recognizing where we need to improve, and then trying again. By repeatedly doing this, we come closer and closer to the Lord, we feel His Spirit more and more, and we receive more of His grace, or help” (J. Devn Cornish, “Am I Good Enough,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2016, p. 33. Ellipsis mine).

Church Manuals

“(41-3) Romans 10:9, 10. Can One Achieve Salvation Simply by
Confessing with the Mouth? These two verses of scripture have
been quoted very often by those who believe that salvation comes
by grace alone and is not dependent in any way upon man’s good
works. Some groups even go so far as to say that if a man should
confess Jesus before he is killed in an accident he will be saved in
the kingdom of God, even if he had lived a wicked life prior to
that time. Not only does this idea go contrary to the vast weight of
Paul’s own teachings (some within the Roman epistle itself—for
example, 2:5–13; 6:13, 16; all of chapters 12–14), but it is also a
gross misinterpretation of what Paul is really saying” (The Life and
Teachings of Jesus & His Apostles Religion 211-212, 1979, p. 332).

“As you receive priesthood ordinances in behalf of those who have
died, you become a savior on Mount Zion for them (see Obadiah
1:21). Your effort approaches the spirit of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice—you
perform a saving work for others that they cannot do
for themselves” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004, p. 63).

“Note that you cannot be saved in your sins; you cannot receive unconditional
salvation simply by declaring your belief in Christ with
the understanding that you will inevitably commit sins throughout
the rest of your life (see Alma 11:36-37). Through the grace of
God, you can be saved from your sins (see Helaman 5:10-11). To receive
this blessing, you must exercise faith in Jesus Christ, strive to
keep the commandments, forsake sin, and renew your repentance
and cleansing through the ordinance of the sacrament” (True to
the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004, pp. 151-152. Italics in original).

Other Sources

“Nobody can buy or give us salvation in our Father’s kingdom;
we earn it through divine service, performing every requirement
made of us from on high” (Mission President Heber C. Iverson,
Conference Reports, October 1922, p. 155).

“Thus, we see the importance of loving one another, as we are
commanded to do and we should constantly be found serving the
Lord by serving our fellow men and encouraging them in their
efforts to earn as their reward salvation in the celestial kingdom”
(David A. Smith (First Counselor to the Presiding Bishop), Conference
Reports, October 1925, p. 99).

“It is true that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and that we have
embraced the true gospel of our Redeemer, and if we only apply it
to our lives we will earn our salvation in God’s kingdom” (Mission
President George W. McCune, Conference Reports, October 1921,
p. 50).

“Through the atonement of the Savior all will be resurrected from
the grave, but our exaltation depends on merit. We get what we
earn, and that is all we are entitled to receive” (Mission President
(Temple Block) Joseph S. Peery, “Get Married and Marry Right,”
Improvement Era, December 1921, p. 125).

“You May Earn Salvation through Christ” (The Purpose of Life, LDS
tract, 1983, p. 4).

“By revelation, our Savior made known again the plan of salvation
and exaltation. Resurrection comes as a gift to every man through
Jesus Christ, but the reward of the highest eternal opportunities
you must earn. It is not just enough to believe in Jesus Christ. You
must work and learn, search and pray, repent and improve, know
his laws and live them” (Your Pre-Earth Life, an unnumbered LDS

“The resurrection of the just is the first general resurrection which
begins at the second coming of Christ. The just are those who are
defined in the prophetic promise as members of Christ’s Church
through baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost by an authorized
servant of the Lord. They become clean from sin by keeping the
commandments, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise”
(Roy W. Doxey, Prophecies and Prophetic Promises from the Doctrine
and Covenants, pp. 168-169).

“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. In the language
of Moroni: ‘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; italics added)” (Joseph Fielding
McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the
Book of Mormon 1:295).

“Eternal life is a gift (see D&C 6:13; D&C 14:7). People do not earn
eternal life-there is no scriptural reference whatsoever to anyone
earning the right to go where Gods and angels are. Rather, according
to the words of the prophets-it is so attested in the scriptures
almost a hundred times-people inherit eternal life. 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.)

“Therefore, acting alone, the grace of Christ is not sufficient for salvation.
The works of man – the ordinances of salvation, the deeds
of service and acts of charity and mercy – are necessary for salvation”
(BYU Professor Emeritus Robert L. Millet, By Grace Are We
Saved, p. 70. Italics in original).

“‘Salvation by grace alone and without works,’ Elder Bruce R. McConkie
explained, ‘as it is taught in large segments of Christendom
today, is akin to what Lucifer proposed in the pre-existence
– that he would save all mankind, and one soul should not be lost.
He would save them without agency, without works, without any
act on their part. (Moses 1:1; D&C 29:36.) As with the proposal of
Lucifer in preexistence to save all mankind, so with the doctrine
of salvation by grace alone, without works, as it is taught in modern
Christendom-both concepts are false. There is no salvation in
either of them. They both come from the same source; they are
not of God” (BYU Professor Emeritus Robert L. Millet, By Grace
Are We Saved, pp. 72-73).

“Yet the fact remains that no one is saved without prescribed works
any more than he is saved exclusively by them. Salvation is a joint
venture between the Savior and the sinner, a truth stated in simplicity
by the prophet Nephi: ‘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; emphasis added.
Compare Moro. 10:32-33.) However, in maximizing what Christ
does, most Protestants (following Martin Luther’s lead) minimize
what man must do” (Rodney Turner, “Grace, Mysteries, and Exaltation,”
BYU Professor Emeritus Robert L. Millet, ed., Studies in
Scripture, Volume Six: Acts to Revelation, p. 112. Italics in original).

“Salvation or eternal life (for in most all of our scriptural sources,
these two terms are synonymous) is ‘the greatest of all the gifts
of God’ (D&C 14:7; see also 6:13). It is not something for which
we can barter, nor something that may be purchased with money.
Nor in the strictest sense is it something that may be earned. More
correctly, salvation is a gift, a gift most precious, something gloriously
transcendent that may only be inherited and bestowed”
(BYU Professor Emeritus Robert L. Millet, A Different Jesus?, pp. 81-
82. Italics in original).

“In the plan of salvation God does for human beings only what
they cannot do for themselves. Man must do all he can for himself.
The doctrine is that we are saved by grace, ‘after all we can do’ (2
Nephi 25:23)” (Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible!, p. 186).

“Both for Latter-day Saints and regarding Jewish observance of
the Law of Moses, grace, faith, and works are all essential to salvation:
‘It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’ (2 Ne.
25:23). No mortal’s obedience to law will ever be perfect. By law
alone, no one will be saved. The grace of God makes up the deficit.
The Church does not subscribe to a doctrine of free-standing
grace unrelated to instructions and expectations required of man.
It does have commandments relating to diet (see Word of Wisdom),
modesty, and chastity, as well as many ordinances, such as
baptism, laying on of hands, and washing and anointing. If man
were perfect, salvation could come on that account; walking in the
way of the Lord would be perfectly observed. Since man is mortal
and imperfect, God in his love makes known the way his children
should walk, and extends grace ‘after all they can do’” (Encyclopedia
of Mormonism 2:812).

“Salvation is attainable only through compliance with the laws
and ordinances of the Gospel; and all who are thus saved become
sons and daughters unto God in a distinctive sense” (Encyclopedia
of Mormonism 4:1672-1673).

“For centuries theologians have argued pointlessly over whether
individuals are saved by faith or saved by works. A pox on both
their houses, for neither by faith alone (defining faith as mere
passive belief) nor by works alone are we saved” (BYU Professor
Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and
Other Good News, pp. 69-70).

“Salvation is not something we can earn, but as part of our work
as servants in the vineyard, we are nonetheless required to keep
the commandments of God if we are to receive his salvation” (BYU
Professors Stephen D. Ricks and John W. Welch, eds., The Allegory
of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5, 1994, p. 361).

“Just as we cannot save ourselves, we must also remember that
neither will God ‘save his people in their sins’ and that ‘no unclean
thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven.’ (Alma 11:34,37.)
‘Salvationism’ is the false philosophy which espouses the idea that
‘God…will justify us in committing a little sin;…and if it so be that
we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall
be saved in the kingdom of God.’” (BYU Professor Daniel K. Judd,
“The Savior Has Power To Heal Broken Hearts, Deliver from Infirmities,”
Church News, January 7, 1995, p. 11. Ellipsis in original).

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