How Could Ye Have Departed from the Ways of the Lord? Jesus Loves You Anyway!

Many Mormons don’t understand why I believe that the LDS church is not Christian. Since I was born and raised LDS and married in the Salt Lake Temple, I do understand why my words are hard to believe. Looking at how a person gains eternal life is one way to see the differences between faiths. God’s Word—as taught by Christianity teaches that we are saved by faith alone. Mormonism—as taught by LDS prophets claims that a person is saved by faith and works.

LDS prophets testify that eternal life must be gained “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel”? (Articles of Faith 1:3) However, since no one can be perfect, the Prophet Nephi declared: “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do”. (2 Nephi 25:23)

Here we see the LDS teaching that a person is saved by faith and works. What is really required is our ‘best effort’. The determining factor to gaining eternal life is not the final product, it’s the effort expended. If you just try as hard as you can then Jesus will step in and His Atonement makes up the difference.

While this sounds comforting, it is false! You can search the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find one passage that backs up this false teaching. Not one single verse claims that eternal life can be gained simply by trying to follow God’s commands. I challenge you to look at every Judgment Day picture mentioned in the Bible. If you do, you will discover that each and every sin (liars, murderers or having even only one sin) ends with the same exact outcome—living eternally in Outer Darkness with Satan and his demons.

This month’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson explains that Judgment Day is one of the purposes of the Book of Mormon: “For what purposes was the record kept and preserved?

“a. That ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ … to be judged of your works” (Mormon 3:20). “And these things doth the Spirit manifest unto me; therefore I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam; and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil;” (Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine, Lesson 43: How Could Ye Have Departed from the Ways of the Lord? p.192)

A Christian Church teaches what Christ taught. Christ clearly testified that having even one sin remaining on Judgment Day means you will be cursed to spend eternity in Hell with Satan and his demons. There is no more vivid picture of this truth than Christ’s words, recorded in Matthew 25:31-46. He testifies that on the Final Day of Judgment all the nations of the world will be gathered before God. But even before the Judgment begins, God’s angels divide everyone into two groups—a “two-part division of the righteous and the wicked.” Through faith in Christ all believers are 100% perfect. Those who die in unbelief will stand before Christ on Judgment Day to be found 100% evil.

Amazingly, Jesus also revealed that we are saved by faith alone:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

The reason salvation is granted solely through faith is because that is the only way a person can meet God’s requirement to be righteous!! One must be perfect to enter into God’s presence. Jesus came to earth and was perfect for us, in our place. It is only through faith in Him as our substitute that we are declared righteous!! This was true for Abraham and as well as for us: “And therefore it [faith] was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;” (Romans 4:21-24).

It is impossible to gain eternal life by being obedient to God’s law, or by trying to add your works to your faith. In Romans, Paul explains using Old Testament scripture: “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one ” (3:11-12). No one will be declared righteous by trying to follow God’s law: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (3:20). Notice the important words “in his sight”. Heavenly Father has demanded we be as perfect as Him (Matthew 5:48). In His sight, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (3:23).

During Christ’s time the unbelieving Jews were sincere, but they were sincerely wrong! They earnestly sought righteousness, but they tried to acquire it in the wrong way. They thought they had to gain eternal life through obedience. They believed they could be righteous through their own works. They had a zeal for God, but they were ignorant of the truth! (Romans 9:30-10:4)

What is God’s truth? Eternal life is obtained only as a gift from God, received by faith, without any works!!! In fact, if you bring works into the picture you ruin God’s free gift and you loose His favor!! That’s what Paul meant when he wrote: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

Turn to your Savior who grants you His righteousness through faith: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

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