LDS President Dieter Uchtdorf delivered a talk on Easter morning that I found to be different than the way Mormons typically discuss grace. I reached out to a number of Mormon friends and message boards to gain an understanding out how they viewed his talk. I’ve come away with four general reactions
1) At Last
This is the reaction of those who have become convinced by the writings of Stephen Robinson and Robert Millet or have appreciation for a talk by Brad Wilcox. They clearly hear a difference and are grateful to have the understanding pronounced by someone in the First Presidency at General Conference.
2) No Difference
Some hear no difference between what President Uchtdorf said and what they have always heard in Mormonism. I would classify these respondents into two camps
A) He Offered No New Clarifications
These people heard no new clarifications. Either they heard the word “grace” and tuned out assuming they already know everything Mormons have to say about grace or they truly did not understand the distinctions that were being made. They assume that this talk lines up perfectly with “The Miracle of Forgiveness”. In one instance I was directed to “The Parable of the Bicycle” to show that this is exactly how the Church has always taught on grace (in my mind Uchtdorf completely rewrote the Parable of the Bicycle if not outright contradicted it).
B) We’ve Always Been at War with Eastasia
These respondents are prone to doublespeak and claim that this has always been the doctrine on grace (perhaps it has just been clarified). This is how Mormons have always talked about grace there was no other way to speak about it.
3) Salvation and Exaltation Are Not the Same Thing
I think this view is most clearly described by this blog post on “Thoughts on Stuff and Things”. I think this view is actually really helpful for Mormons (and those attempting to understand Mormonism). What I find peculiar about it is that I once specifically asked Robert Millett if Mormons could see a distinction between Salvation and Exaltation and he said “No”.
As you can see from this post on “The Miracle of Forgiveness” this is a clarification I have been advocating for for quite some time.