The following statement is made in the LDS student manual on the Pearl of Great Price: The Prophet Joseph Smith said: ‘To get salvation we must not only do some things, but everything which God has commanded’” (p. 71). This is just another in an abundance of statements that demonstrate that Mormonism teaches a salvation that is based in large measure on works. Especially note how Joseph Smith emphasizes that a person has do everything God has commanded.
That agrees with the following statement from the LDS manual, True to the Faith. “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.” (p. 151-152)
Note how this quote emphasizes that salvation does not rest on faith alone. In fact it flatly rejects that idea. Instead it emphasizes that you can’t be saved and still sin – you can’t be saved in your sins; rather you have to forsake sin. Taken together, these two quotes demonstrate that it is correct to say that the salvation Mormonism teaches is one that rests, to a large extent, on a person’s work.
I feel the need to stress that because LDS members frequently have objected when I have said that. They respond by pointing to how Mormonism stresses the importance of Christ’s atonement. Again quoting from True to the Faith: “Without the Atonement, spiritual and temporal death would place an impassable barrier between us and God” (p. 15). Yes, Mormonism does say that without Christ’s atonement we would have no hope. But it is also true, as the quotes above show, that Mormonism teaches that a biggest part of being saved rests squarely on our shoulders.
Talk about pressure! Even making ourselves responsible for a little bit of our salvation can easily be unbearable. It’s like the pressure of being placed into the basketball game to make the last game-winning basket. All you have to do is make one basket. But how many times haven’t we seen players fold under the pressure and clank the shot off the rim. When it comes to salvation, however, the stakes are much higher – the stakes are nothing less than either spending eternity with Heavenly Father in heaven or with Lucifer in outer darkness.
But that’s only the half of it. The Bible clearly states that we don’t have the capability to do anything to save ourselves. That is why, when the subject is our eternal salvation, the only person’s works it points to are Jesus. ‘But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
Salvation is entirely God’s work. We contribute nothing to it. He did it all. Seeing and believing that not only brings tremendous relief and comfort to us, it also gives God the glory and honor he so richly deserves. Find relief. Praise God. Do that by believing that salvation is God’s gift to you.