There seems to be a huge misunderstanding. Actually, there are many misunderstandings, but this post highlights a major one; that we believe in a works based gospel, based right off of 2nd Nephi 25:23. My response is:
"You're misinterpreting how "we" interpret 2nd Nephi 25:23. The heart of it is saying that we are saved by grace NOTWITHSTANDING all we can do. Or in other words, "after all is said and done, or after all we can do (which isn't much)--we are saved by the grace of Christ." This is much more in line with LDS teaching and with all the other scriptures in the Book of Mormon, which eloquently states the doctrine of salvation by grace.
I would guess that there are some Church members who perhaps misunderstood our own doctrine/scriptures and think of the gospel as a gospel of works. They are wrong to do so and have not understood our own doctrine. When through our faith in Him we enter into a covenant relationship with Him through baptism, we turn ourselves over to Him. However, just like a husband and wife who enter into a marriage covenant are expected to be faithful to each other, He expects us to be faithful to Him and love Him more than we love anything or anyone else. Hence the scriptural analogy with Christ as the groom and the Church (and its members) as the bride.
Paul's definition of faith I believe includes "faithfulness". James' definition of faith is more like "belief"--hence the need to add "faith without works is dead". They're just defining faith differently. It's two sides of the same coin. Both were apostles. Both were right. Both taught that Christ expects us to give him our all--but no matter how much or how little that "all" is--it's insufficient to save us without the Savior Jesus Christ.
The Book of Mormon clearly teaches, “Since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself” (Alma 22:14). “There can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world” (Alma 34:12; see also 2 Ne. 9:7; Alma 34:8–16). “Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; … he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law” (2 Ne. 2:6–7). Consequently, “there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Ne. 2:8). And so we “rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ … that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Ne. 25:26).
I quote from Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles:
“These teachings obviously stand in opposition to the belief or assumption of some mortals (perhaps even some members of our Church) that they have no need of Christ because they can think they can save themselves by their own works.
“As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we testify with the Book of Mormon prophet-king Benjamin that “there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
“For behold … salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ” (Mosiah 3:17–18).
And so we say to all, in the words the prophet Moroni wrote as a conclusion to the Book of Mormon:
“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 again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot” (Moroni 10:32–33).”
This is fundamental! This is our doctrine! I've personally felt the power The Book of Mormon has to bring us to Christ and rely wholly on His merits, mercy, and grace (and not our own.) By continuing to perpetuate the myth that we believe in salvation by works would be disingenuous and dishonest--the very thing you have accused us of in times past."
When you think about it, it is "all we can do" to repent of our sins and trust in Jesus.
The word of the week in Philadelphia: Love
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