We’re Not Worthy

I think Evangelicals and LDS generally agree about the act of the atonement and the need for the atonement. It’s all about how we are unworthy. Because of sin, we are kept from our Heavenly Father who is holy. Our imperfection makes us unworthy to be with someone who is perfect. As a remedy Christ provides a perfect sacrifice and stands in our place. Only through the atonement do we become worthy enough to be with God.

Where we start to diverge is on what is required of us to accept the atonement. I think we both agree that salvation is contingent on something. Evangelicals believe that the only thing required of us is acceptance of the gift of grace. LDS believe that salvation is accepted through belief as well as performance of saving ordinances. These saving ordinances include baptism and the temple endowment.

To receive the temple endowment, a person must show that they are worthy enough to receive a temple recommend. Worthiness for entrance into the temple includes keeping the commandments, passing an interview with the Bishop, and proof of tithing (among other things).

This is where I’m wondering if someone can help me overcome a disconnect I have with LDS theology. We need the atonement precisely BECAUSE we are unworthy. But the only way to fully receive the atonement is to prove that we ARE worthy. So in essence, only worthy individuals may receive that which is intended for the unworthy.

Shouldn’t the temple endowment be readily available to all simply and solely because they are not worthy?

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38 thoughts on “We’re Not Worthy

  1. Thanks for that link. It was worth reading. I was intriqued by this statement:

    Salvation in its true and full meaning is synonymous with exaltation or eternal life and consists in gaining an inheritance in the highest of the three heavens within the celestial kingdom. With few exceptions this is the salvation of which the scriptures speak. It is the salvation which the saints seek.”

    So does that mean salvation is really not offered to those who do not achieve the Celestial Kingdom? If so, damnation is much more available to mankind in Mormonism than I had previously thought.

    This was just an Ensign article from 26 years ago. As such it doesn’t pass Millet’s (and now the church’s) rubric for what is church doctrine. Are it’s teachings still comtemporary?

  2. Also, there are plenty of authoritative Mormon sources (LeGrand Richards’s A Marvelous Work and a Wonder is about as close to canon you can get and not have chapters and verses, for example) that indicate that salvation and exaltation are very different things.

  3. No, you’ve got to distinguish between salvation and exhaltation.

    Salvation is for all through the Atonement (with very, very, rare exceptions). It includes the resurrection and an afterlife in a “kingdom of glory.”

    Exhaltation, eternal progression and increase, requires something more.

  4. Dando,

    Just out of curiosity, are you a Calvinist or Arminian? Or somewhere in between the two? A Calvarminian, perhaps?

    I think you’ll find a variety of views regarding this issue within Mormonism. As a “grace Mormon,” I feel that any prescriptions of worthiness to enter the temple are natural reactions to the individual who has been justified through Christ’s grace. To paraphrase John Wesley, “We are not justified by works, but we are justified for works.”

    Thus one’s willingness to repent, be baptized, maintain certain moral standards, pay tithing, etc. are a manifestation that he or she has truly been justified through the blood of Jesus Christ. While not all Mormons may see it this way, it is part of LDS “scriptural culture” (to steal a line from Richard Bushman). Certainly King Benjamin’s sermon is full of this kind of imagery, as is D&C 45 (see v. 1-5).

    Seth R.,

    I think I understand what you mean, but I wonder if you might provide some clarification. Does eternal progression require something more than Christ’s atonement? Even if something more is required for exaltation in the highest degree of glory, does increase not exist in the lower kingdoms? Is there not progression there? (This isn’t meant as a challenge or correction, just some food for thought).

  5. I am neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian. I’m somewhere in between, but I start from the Arminian side. I don’t believe in “once saved always saved” but I don’t believe sinful believers are at risk of losing their salvation. I just believe that personal apostasy is an option if a person chooses it. These two camps in Christianity are an area that I think people needed to be slow to judge and quick to extend grace. I think both sides can make their case pretty well. I’m content to say”I don’t know which is right”. I think an over-emphasis on either side can be destructive to a person’s faith.

    That Wesley quote is right in line with Ephesians 2:8-10 (Evangelicals often stop at verse 9)

    I’m learning that what Kullervo says is quite true. Consistent answers among Mormons are not quite as prevalent as LDS like to pretend. The Prophet doesn’t seem to be helping us. The atonement and what it means to be saved should be issues that are as clear as can be. But it’s not so obvious when you really start probing for what people mean.

    For example:
    Is the atonement available before or after the performance of ordinances?
    Is salvation available only after the ordinances or is it available after the acceptance of the atonement?
    Is the atonement sufficient for salvation?
    Are salvation and exaltation the same thing?

    I’m sure to every LDS reading this, the answers to these questions are quite settled in their own mind, but I can find a member in good standing who believes something contradictory to you. A diversity of opinion does not mean the LDS church is not true. But it does mean that the LDS apologetic against the rest of the Christian world is hypocritical.

  6. “Salvation in its true and full meaning is synonymous with exaltation or eternal life and consists in gaining an inheritance in the highest of the three heavens within the celestial kingdom. With few exceptions this is the salvation of which the scriptures speak. It is the salvation which the saints seek.”

    So does that mean salvation is really not offered to those who do not achieve the Celestial Kingdom?

    Semantics, semantics.

    The word “salvation” is used like the word “alumni” to refer to a range of people.

    The word “salvation” is properly applied to all those who are admitted into any of the three Kingdoms, but it especially refers to those that graduate into the Celestial Kingdom. This compares to the word “alumni,” which can (colloquially, at least) refer to everyone who is admitted to a university, but especially refers to those who have actually graduated.

    Maybe another comparison is with the word “animal,” which may sometimes refer to birds, human beings, and four legged mammals–but which especially refers to four legged mammals. Or the word “cash” which can actually refer to electronic currency as well as physical currency, but which especially refers to physical currency.

    Some words have both a broad meaning and a sort of truer and more specific meaning. Salvation is one such word.

  7. Response to Dando’s comment: “The atonement and what it means to be saved should be issues that are as clear as can be.” “A diversity of opinion does not mean the LDS church is not true. But it does mean that the LDS apologetic against the rest of the Christian world is hypocritical.”

    Dando, I don’t think Latter-day Saints are troubled or even conscious of the issues you’ve raised. Your average Mormon clearly understands “the atonement and what it means to be saved” as a practical matter.

    Sure, semantics can quickly muddy the water, but as a practical matter, Mormons clearly understand salvation.

    I’ll show you what I mean about semantics muddying the water by examining your questions.

    1) Is the atonement available before or after the performance of ordinances?

    Dando, what do you mean by the word ‘available?’ It’s pretty clear that Mormons believe that saving ordinances are made ‘available’ to every single person, either in this life or the next.

    For that matter, what do you mean when you use the word atonement in this context? Obviously, the atonement occured about 2000 years ago, but in another sense, no atonement has occurred in the lives of many people.

    I’m not sure the question makes sense in the context of Mormon theology.

    2) Is salvation available only after the ordinances or is it available after the acceptance of the atonement?

    Sigh. Again, this is a nonsensical question, in the context of Mormon theology, which teaches that saving ordinances will have been made ‘available’ to every single person prior to the final judgement.

    Maybe I don’t understand the question. I probably don’t–it seems like a distinction without a difference.

    3) Is the atonement sufficient for salvation?

    Yes. 95% of Mormons would say the same. Yes, I’m sure I’m right.

    4) Are salvation and exaltation the same thing?

    This is a semantical question that succeeds, perhaps, in muddying clear waters for a moment or two. But at a practical level, all Mormons agree that we make covenants with Christ that require us to obey the love God and Man and obey the commandments, thus qualifying us for His grace and salvation and exaltation.

    Here’s my point.

    We might quibble over semantics or contrived discrepancies in pretty much any context. What does it mean to be a citizen? Are you a true citizen if you don’t vote? What about a green card holder serving in the military who risks his life for America? (Yes, it’s pretty common.) Is he a citizen in the true sense? Do we know what the word “citizen” trully means?

    For that matter, what does it meant to be law-abiding? If you speed occassionally or jay walk, are you law abiding? What is ‘love.’? What is ‘truth?’ (Which leads us to ask “what is sanity?”)

    But as a practical matter, people understand clearly concepts like “law abiding” and “love” and generally succeed in applying them to their lives. This is true of Mormons and concepts like salvation, exaltation, and so forth. We understand what these things mean as a practical matter, and many of us succed in applying them to our lives.

    Your post is essentially along the lines of the “what does it mean to be a citizen” line of inquiry. It contrives confusion where none actually exists.

  8. I think what I’m bringing up is more than just semantical confusion.

    For example:
    3) Is the atonement sufficient for salvation?
    Yes. 95% of Mormons would say the same. Yes, I’m sure I’m right.

    Just this weekend I had a conversation with an LDS missionary. He made it quite clear that the atonement is NOT sufficient for salvation. I asked in as many ways as I could conceive and asked a ton of clarifying questions to make sure I understood him correctly. He says you’re wrong and he also says he’s sure he’s right.

    This is not a semantic question nor is it an issue of speculation. This is a basic and fundamental question in all of Christian theology.

  9. Dando,

    Mormons are in the process of re-discovering our “grace theology.” Honestly, I don’t even think we’re halfway through yet. I’d point you to a short little book called “Believing Christ” by Stephen E. Robinson.

    Robinson is definitely one of the “grace Mormons” and is sort of leading a movement within Mormonism towards grace rather than works. You might remember him from the book “How Wide the Divide?” where he debates with Craig Blomberg, an evangelical.

    The missionary you described is still common in LDS circles – as are his views. I think this thinking is wrong-headed. I also think it’s gradually losing ground, but it’s a slow process. Mormons are still intensely works-focused.

  10. Dando,

    Is the atonement sufficient for salvation? Our answer depends on semantics and/or background assumptions. Let me show you what I mean.

    Is the engine sufficient to move the car?

    Yes, in a sense, the engine is sufficient to move the car. If it has enough horsepower, it suffices to move the car.

    No, in another sense. The engine can’t move the car without wheels, fuel, a driver, and a gas petal. So, in a sense, the engine is not sufficient to move the car.

    People might accurately understand vehicle mechanics, but answer the question “is the engine sufficient to move the car” differently.

    Church members share a common understading of how salvation functions, but they still might answer the question differently, depending on how they percieve the question “Is the atonement sufficient for salvation.”

    Again, this is a contrived inconsistency.

  11. Seth R,

    I’m confident that the vast majority of Church members do not percieve the Church as being comprised of rival factions of “grace mormons” and “works mormons.” Everybody agrees that we are saved by grace, after all that we can do.

    Most Church members do not really believe there is a conflict between the concept of grace and the concept of works. Not in the 21st century.

    I don’t think I have, in all my years in the Church, heard a single argument about the relative importance of grace vs. works at Church. Not once.

  12. Random Guy-

    I have. And more than once. And while it may be true that nearly “everybody (meaning all Mormons) agrees that we are saved by grace, after all that we can do,” that statement can be interpreted in many ways, with varying degress of emphasis being given to either the “saved by grace” part or the “after all we can do” part.

    When does grace come into the equation? After you’ve exhausted yourself in “good works” for 80-90 years of mortality? Once you accept Christ and demonstrate faith in him? At birth? At baptism? At various degrees throughout mortality? Is the dispensation of His grace conditioned upon faith, or upon acting on that faith (repentance), or upon obedience to various ordinances??

    Or is Christ’s grace always there, constantly calling and inviting an individual to enter into His rest? Is grace there to spark the initial seeds of individual faith, to prompt one to repent and receive the saving ordinances?

    So in reply to the generalization that consensus exists among the Latter-day Saints regarding grace vs. works theology, I guess it “depends on semantics and/or background assumptions.”

  13. Well, if you’re speaking from a legal standpoint, citizen has a legal definition. And it’s pretty clear.

    To be a citizen means to enjoy all of the legal rights and privileges that the country confers. In the US, you’re a citizen if you’re born in the US or if your parents were US-ian, or if you’ve been naturalized. Voting is irrelevant. A green card holder is not a citizen, regardless of what he’s done for the country or how he’s served.

    No word has “true” meaning because words can and do be used to mean different things. But words can have solid meaning in a particular context or framework.

  14. Random Guy,

    The quote kind of falls apart when you ask a simple question:

    “Who ever does ‘all they can do?'”

    Ask that in your next Gospel Doctrine class, and you’ll find that the class members’ real underlying assumptions come out fairly quickly.

    Most Mormons subscribe to a variation of Stephen E. Robinson’s “Parable of the Bicycle.” I find the parable wrong-headed on certain points.

    Just as an aside, no one ever notices when attitudes at church are changing in our religion. Thing is, doctrine is evolving – a lot. The fact that no one bothers to notice it, doesn’t change that.

  15. Also, the fact that people swear it isn’t happening- that doctrine is eternal and unchanging- doesn’t change the fact that it is happening.

  16. Dando – Your comment about the LDS missionary was interesting. When I first read it, I agreed with the missionary. I reasoned that each person has to accept Christ’s atonement before he or she can be saved. Under that logic, the atonement itself is insufficient, because that sacrifice may still be rejected. But perhaps it is presumed that a person accepts His atonement, upon which point I would agree that it is sufficient for salvation.

  17. Hi Peter,

    The missionary wasn’t saying that acceptance + the atonement = salvation (a view I wouldn’t disagree with). In our conversation he made it brilliantly clear to me that acceptance + the atonement would not save me. I also would need to add all of the saving ordinances to be saved. This is the sense in which he meant that the atonement alone is insufficient for salvation.

  18. actually I clarified that with him as well. He said that I couldn’t accept the ordinances without the atonement, not the other way around.

  19. Hmm. Whatever. Again, Mormonism doesn’t have a consistent theology in regards to this stuff, certainly not in a way that is as authoritative as Mormons generally like their religion to be.

  20. Random Guy:
    When you say “Everybody agrees that we are saved by grace, after all that we can do.”, you could mean one of many things.

    Do you mean: after I do all that I can do, I am saved by grace? So, I earn 1% (for example) of my salvation, and Christ pays 99%?

    Or do you mean: after I do all that I can do, I am saved by grace? So, I pay Christ in potatoes, and He pays in dollars–the only accepted currency?

    In other words, do our works actually pay a part of our salvation? Or does Christ’s atonement cover our salvation, and we do all that we can do in order to access His atonement?

    It’s never clear.

    And have you really never heard a debate in Church about grace vs. works? I certainly did–and I was only a member for 6 years, and I was in primary for a good third of that.

  21. Dando, for the record, you said, “Worthiness for entrance into the temple includes keeping the commandments, passing an interview with the Bishop, and proof of tithing (among other things).”

    The degree to which you have to keep the commandments depends on the bishop. Some bishops won’t give you a temple recommend if you drink caffeinated soda (which is NOT part of the Word of Wisdom), some will (all of mine did). But we all fall short. In my temple recommend interviews when they asked if I was keeping the commandments, I always specified that I was doing it as best as I could. Because I’m certainly not perfect.

    (and, as an aside, I’ve always found it interesting that the only parts of the Word of Wisdom that you *really* have to keep to get into the temple are the ‘don’ts’. The ‘go to bed early’, and the ‘eat lots of grains and vegetables’… nobody pays attention to that. The Word of Wisdom is an entire health code, not just the ‘don’t drink alcohol, coffee, or tea, don’t smoke, and don’t do drugs.’ You can essentially ignore the rest of the commandment and be fine.)

    But, you don’t have to offer proof of tithing. The bishop asks if you’re paying an honest tithe. But you don’t have to prove it. Every year, there’s tithing settlement at the end of the year, where you meet with the bishop and they give you a statement showing how much you’ve paid in tithing, and the bishop asks if that was a full tithe. (and that statement is good for your taxes.) But you don’t, like, have to bring in your W-2s to show that you paid a full 10% or anything. Unless they do that in priesthood interviews that I wasn’t privy to.

    (But I doubt that, because I am 100% sure that if Kullervo had to find anything related to money for us, he wouldn’t know how to find it without my help. :P)

  22. Katyjane’s right about that. If I ever had to bring in a tax form, she would have been the first to know. “Sweetie? I think I need to bring in a double U-22 or something. Do we have those?”

  23. Re: whether Mormons really debate grace v works

    Sorry, I haven’t been able to get back to the debate until now.

    A number of you assert that Mormons frequently debate grace v. works. Mormons believe that debates about grace v works create an artificial choice, as if the two concepts were mutually exclusive. Many well informed evangelicals and Catholics agree, I’m sure. (Martin Luther, on the other hand, called the epistle of James the epistle of straw, for its emphasis on ‘works.’)

    Still, because there is no survey of common mormon debating themes, it’s impossible to prove that grace v works is a nonissue among Mormons. But I flat-out disagree with people who think grace v works is a point of contention among Mormons.

    I really like this blog, but I remind its author and readers that many of the posts try to examine Mormon beliefs from a Protestant point of view. That’s valuable, but when a Protestant Christian examines Mormon Christian theology, he will ask questions reflective of his own theology and history.

    For people in the Protestant tradition, grace v works is a foundational doctrine. More than any other doctrine, it differentiated Protestant and Catholic theology and helped to create a distinct Protestant identity.

    For Mormons, grace v works is not a foundational doctrine. It is not a particularly important part of our identity, and our position on grace v works is not a part of the missionary discussions. The concept does not often appear in our church curricula, except for briefly when when we study portions of the New Testament and Book of Mormon. Neither of the words ‘grace’ or ‘works’ appear in the Articles of Faith.

    Mormon foundational doctrines include the doctrine of restoration, and the doctrine of modern day revelation on an organizational scale, and the doctrine of priesthood. Grace v works is simply not as important.

    I understand why people from the Protestant tradition, or who live in protestant dominated communities, might be interested in contrasting the evangelical view of grace with the mormon view. But grace v works is simply not a major internal issue for mormons.

  24. “We need the atonement precisely BECAUSE we are unworthy. But the only way to fully receive the atonement is to prove that we ARE worthy. So in essence, only worthy individuals may receive that which is intended for the unworthy.

    Shouldn’t the temple endowment be readily available to all simply and solely because they are not worthy?”

    We need to go to college precisely BECAUSE we are uneducated. But the only way to receive a College degree is to prove that we ARE educated (went to high school, got good grades, performed on the SATs). So in essence, only educated individuals may receive that which is intended for the uneducated.

    Shouldn’t college be readily available to all simply and soley because they are uneducated?

  25. Random Guy-

    I would disagree with your identification of “Mormon foundational doctrines.” What basis do you have for claiming what that constitutes?
    Simply pointing out that the words “grace” and “works” don’t appear in the Articles of Faith is misleading. A number of the AoF do discuss the issue, though not using those two words.

    The Atonement (and how it is made efficacious in one’s life) is at the heart of the grace v. works issue, and certainly you would identify the Atonement as a “Mormon foundational doctrine”, wouldn’t you? Hopefully it’s more important in your mind than “modern day revelation on an organizational scale.”

    From here on out, I (and I imagine other LDS) would appreciate it if you resisted the temptation to speak authoritatively for the Church collectively. At least for this Mormon, grace v. works is a foundational doctrine, and one extremely relevant to my personal salvation.

  26. Random Guy:

    Your last analogy doesn’t hold. You can go to college uneducated. You cannot go to the temple if you are not worthy.

    However, I do think that you were right when you said that “For Mormons, grace v works is not a foundational doctrine. It is not a particularly important part of our identity, and our position on grace v works is not a part of the missionary discussions. The concept does not often appear in our church curricula, except for briefly when when we study portions of the New Testament and Book of Mormon. Neither of the words ‘grace’ or ‘works’ appear in the Articles of Faith.”

    I think that’s why people have such differing ideas about it. Of course, the problem with it not being foundational or discussed or even clarified by the church leadership is that when people ask the question, you get varied responses depending on the church members you ask, and all will claim that what they are saying is the Truth. And both sides will be able to find Church leadership who have said in a talk something that agrees with what they’re saying. So, while it may not be that important within the confines of Mormonism, since the Church doesn’t live in a bubble, people do ask the questions, and there is no one ‘right’ answer to the questions.

  27. Christopher,

    Lighten up. I’m not claiming to “speak authoritatively.” For those of you that thought I was, I’m an average member of the Church trying to represent the Church as I understand it.

    I’m just a Random [Mormon] Guy.

  28. katyjane,

    This is what I was trying to say with my analogy:

    You can’t go to college if you are uneducated. You have to be educated in certain fundamentals, like reading, before you can go to college. You have to have a GED or high school degree before moving on to the next degree.

    Similarly, we must be faithful to our baptismal covenants for a year before we make temple covenants.

    I agree that the Church could do a better job of locating our theology within the framework of the grace v works debate between Protestants and Catholics, since it is an important aspect of both Protestant and Catholic identities. Just saying “we’ve got no dog in that fight” doesn’t really suffice and may come across as a little condenscending.

    In fairness, Protestants (and maybe Catholics) could also do a better job of listening, and of explaining their point of view better. This is probably part of the reason this website states that “We Need to Apologize.”

    In an attempt to avoid a chastisement by Christopher, let me mention that the above is nothing more than my personal understanding.

  29. Random Guy,

    Just because grace vs. works is not a foundational doctrine in the LDS church does not mean that there isn’t or can’t be a growing interest in it (as many guest here assert). I would argue that most of that conversation here is inspired by “grace Mormons” who visit this blog and find kinship with Evangelicals.

    But you are right that conversation about Mormonism from my point of view will be greatly influenced by my own theology. That’s why I’m so interested in getting a strong Mormon co-author.

    As far as your analogy, not suprisingly, I disagree with it. First off, a college education is not for everyone nor is it something God expressly says he desires to give everyone. Second, you have to contend with scripture that says that salvation is not something anyone can ever deserve. College is something that some people do in fact deserve because of their hard work. The atonement is not something Jesus did because he saw how hard we were working for it. He did it out of love. If we got what we deserved, all we would have is death. (Romans 6:23)

    As I reflect more on my original post, I think this issue is a bigger one for grace Mormons rather than traditional Mormons. Traditional Mormons have never had a problem saying that you have to do something to earn salvation.

  30. I think Random Guy is correct in saying that grace vs. works is something of a false dichotomy in Mormonism. I think most Mormons would agree that both have a role in our accessing the forgiving power of the atonement. Obviously, different people identify with and emphasize those elements to different degrees.

    I think the average Mormon spends little time fretting about whether she should focus more on works or grace in order to receive forgiveness of her sins. But the question certainly has occupied academic and scholarly circles within Mormonism. Richard Bushman talked about it briefly in a recent Q& A session with the press at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. In an exchange with Ken Woodward of Newsweek, Bushman said Mormonism rejected the Calvinistic view of the depravity of humankind, which probably led to an increased emphasis on works. Woodward indicated that American 19th Century society was very works-oriented, which likely influenced Mormons living in that society. Bushman commented that in the last century many Mormons have renewed the emphasis on grace, perhaps in part because of the plentiful teachings on grace in the Book of Mormon. (If anyone hasn’t seen the transcripts from that forum, I highly recommend them.)

    Bushman seems to think that grace and works will receive different emphases at different times, but that they both play a role in accessing the atonement of Jesus Christ. I think that fairly well sums up my sentiments. And while the interplay between grace and works is extremely interesting to me, it probably shouldn’t significantly alter how I will try to live my life — the end goal is the same.

  31. “Just because grace vs. works is not a foundational doctrine in the LDS church does not mean that there isn’t or can’t be a growing interest in it (as many guest here assert).”

    —Sure, Dando. I didn’t assert that there wasn’t a growing interest in the topic. I said: “I agree that the Church could do a better job of locating our theology within the framework of the grace v works debate between Protestants and Catholics…” Hopefully, there is a growing interest.

    “As far as your analogy, not suprisingly, I disagree with it. First off, a college education is not for everyone nor is it something God expressly says he desires to give everyone. Second, you have to contend with scripture that says that salvation is not something anyone can ever deserve. College is something that some people do in fact deserve because of their hard work.”

    —Dando, of course, I agree that college and salvation are not precisely the same. But your post evokes the standby “chicken or the egg” argument. My analogy succeeds in demonstrating that argument is specious.

    So, if it helps, I’ll spell my position out more explicitly. You wrote:

    “So in essence, only worthy individuals may receive that which is intended for the unworthy.”

    Nobody receives salvation on his own merits. Each of us relies upon the merits of Christ to enter into His rest. None of us are worthy to be baptized or enter the temple without Christ.

    Still, God, has conditioned the grace of His Son upon obedience to his commandments. By obeying God’s commandments, we become worthy through Christ–not through our own merits–to partake of baptism, receive the priesthood, or enter the temple.

    To echo the final sentence of your post:

    So, in essence, only those made worthy through the blood of Christ may receive that which is intended for the unworthy–which is all of us.

    (Again, Christopher, let me mention that the above is nothing more than my personal understanding. I’m not claiming to be an authority.)

  32. Still, God, has conditioned the grace of His Son upon obedience to his commandments. By obeying God’s commandments, we become worthy through Christ–not through our own merits–to partake of baptism, receive the priesthood, or enter the temple.

    Can you give me a scriptural reference for this?

    In the evangelical understanding, grace can’t be conditioned on anything. If it is, then it’s no longer “grace” (a free unconditional gift), it’s something else. Check this post: https://ldstalk.wordpress.com/2007/03/31/cheap-grace/

  33. LDS grace, even for “grace Mormons” is definitely conditional.

    But isn;t evangelical grace conditioned on faith? That’s a condition, no?

  34. Yes, I suppose you got me. We believe you have to accept the gift (unless you’re a hyper Calvinist) but you can’t earn or deserve it.

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