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Have you ever told your Mormon friends that you believe that Jesus saved you and they readily agreed with you? Numerous Christians have shared with me their experience in this — and have been frustrated to no end. They know their Mormon friends believe differently about salvation, but it sure sounds Christian at the surface.
The reason for your frustration is that when you do dig deeper you find that Mormonism defines salvation much differently than Christianity does. When Christians talk about salvation, we are talking about how we can go to heaven because Jesus saved us from the punishment of sin by paying for our sins with his death. On the other hand, most Mormons equate salvation with being resurrected, not going to heaven. When Mormons talk to you about salvation, they think of Jesus saving them from the grave. Jesus has provided a way to save them from physical death. That’s why they can agree with us when we talk about Jesus saving us.
In sharing their belief about salvation, I don’t think that most Mormons are not trying to be deceptive. This is simply the definition that they were taught and raised up with in the church. Consider this quote from a book for small children. “Jesus was the first to be resurrected and because of him, all the people on the earth will someday be resurrected. That is why we call him ‘Savior’. He saved the world from death. He is the resurrection and the life.” (Talks for Tots, p. 113)
The word, “salvation”, is just one of numerous words that are defined differently by Mormons and Christians. Therefore, it is essential, when talking with your Mormon friends, to carefully define key Christian terms and right them down as a reference. That would be the loving and respectful thing to do.
My name is Mark Cares and I encourage you to speak the truth in love to your Mormon friends, neighbors and family members.