A Different Gospel
LDS state that they believe in salvation through Jesus Christ.
And moreover, I say unto you, 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. (Mosiah 3:17)
And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen. (2 Nephi 31:21)
I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell. (2 Nephi 33:6)
And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever. Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that 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, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. (2 Nephi 2:5-8)
And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you. (Moroni 7:26)
However, the LDS church believes in a different gospel then that taught in the Bible as evidenced by the fact that they claim the Book of Mormon restores the gospel and contains the fullness of the gospel. This means that the fullness of the gospel was lost and claims to have been taught to Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and many others.
However, if Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and many others lost this “fullness of the gospel” and it had to continue to be taught over and over again, how can we trust that Joseph Smith is the first to get it right and keep it right? Furthermore, what does that teach about God that He cannot or does not keep the “fullness of the gospel” protected through the centuries? LDS doctrine states that God wants all His children to know the truth, yet He does not protect that truth from error. That does not sound like God sincerely cares for His children.
Furthermore, there is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 188).
Baptism for the dead
LDS believe that baptism is necessary for salvation as seen in their teachings on baptism for the dead.
LDS teach that many people have died without receiving baptism and other ordinances that Jesus Christ taught were necessary to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). Because God wants all His children to have the opportunity to return to Him, He has provided a way for those who have died without these ordinances to receive them.
In holy temples, members of the Church can perform these ordinances on behalf of their ancestors who have died. This makes it possible for those who have not received these ordinances to accept them, if they choose, and return to live one day with our God.
Salvation by works not grace and faith alone
Jesus took upon himself the sins of all men on conditions of repentance, offering all people a general salvation. An additional salvation is an individual salvation and is conditioned not only upon grace, but also upon obedience to gospel law. Perhaps the most famous statement of the LDS understanding of the relation between grace and works is in 2 Nephi 25:23.
“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (emphasis added)
LDS believe through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Jesus Christ did what only He could do in atoning for our sins. To make His atonement fully effective in our individual lives, we must have 1) faith in Christ, 2) repent of our sins, 3) be baptized, 4) receive the Holy Ghost, 5) obey His commandments, and 6) strive to become like Him. As we do these things through His atonement, we can return to live with God forever.
The Joseph Smith Translation of James 2:14-21 displays the teaching that salvation comes from faith and works and not faith “being alone” (v.17).
14 What profit is it, my brethren, for a man to say he hath faith, and hath not works? can faith save him?
15 Yea, a man may say, I will show thee I have faith without works; but I say, Show me thy faith without works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.
16 For if a brother or sister be naked and destitute, and one of you say, Depart in peace, be warmed and filled; notwithstanding he give not those things which are needful to the body; what profit is your faith unto such?
17 Even so faith, if it have not works is dead, being alone.
18 Therefore wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead and cannot save you?
19 Thou believest there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble; thou hast made thyself like unto them, not being justified.
20 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
21 Seest thou how works wrought with his faith, and by works was faith made perfect?
God knew that while you were on Earth you would make mistakes—everyone does. So, as part of His plan, He provided a Savior, Jesus Christ, who would make it possible for sins to be forgiven, and for all people who accept His sacrifice to return to live with Heavenly Father.
LDS believes in salvation through grace by faith, but the faith is meaning the “faithful”.
And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true; (D&C 20:30)
LDS do not believe in eternal security, thus, one can “fall from grace”. Since works gets you in it must also keep you in and a lack there of causes a loss of salvation. They would be in line with Arminian theology.
But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God; (D&C 20:32)
LDS believe the period between death and resurrection is still a probationary or testing period for those in hell. If they repent and turn to Christ, they may yet be redeemed from Satan through the atonement and inherit some degree of glory among the many mansions of the Father. To this end, they believe the gospel is preached to the ignorant and rebellious spirits in prison, that they may repent and accept Christ and live (John 5:25-29; 1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6).