(Note: King James Bible used for Bible verses.)
LDS: Teach that Father God is a resurrected man with a physical body. He has a Father-God above Him. Christ is a separate resurrected man with a physical body; Holy Ghost is a separate man with a spiritual body. These three are totally separate Gods.
Doctrine and Covenants 130:22: The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, by Joseph Smith, vol. 6, April 7, 1844, p. 345-346
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. ...—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; ...In order to understand the subject of the dead, for consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.
These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.
...The Scriptures inform us that Jesus said, As the Father hath power in Himself, even so hath the Son power—to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious—in a manner to lay down His body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again. ...
Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. ...
These are the first principles of consolation. .... What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. What did Jesus do? Why; I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds come rolling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of his Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all his children. ...
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, vol. 6, 1843–44, p. 370-373:
I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preach on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years.
I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural; and who can contradict it?
Our text says, "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father." The Apostles have discovered that there were Gods above, for John says God was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. My object was to preach the scriptures, and preach the doctrine they contain, there being a God above, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. ...
Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many. I want to set it forth in a plain and simple manner; but to us there is but one God—that is pertaining to us; and he is in all and through all. But if Joseph Smith says there are Gods many and Lords many, they cry, "Away with him! Crucify him! Crucify him!"
Mankind verily say that the Scriptures are with them. Search the Scriptures, for they testify of things that these apostates would gravely pronounce blasphemy. Paul, if Joseph Smith is a blasphemer, you are. I say there are Gods many and Lords many, but to us only one, and we are to be in subjection to that one, and no man can limit the bounds or the eternal existence of eternal time. Hath he beheld the eternal world, and is he authorized to say that there is only one God? He makes himself a fool if he thinks or says so, and there is an end of his career or progress in knowledge. ...
Some say I do not interpret the Scripture the same as they do. They say it means the heathen's gods. ...You know and I testify that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods. I have it from God, and get over it if you can. I have a witness of the Holy Ghost, and a testimony that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods in the text. I will show from the Hebrew Bible that I am correct, and the first word shows a plurality of Gods; and I want the apostates and learned men to come here and prove to the contrary, if they can. An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew. Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits, rendered by King James' translators, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." ...It read first, "In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods," or, as others have translated it, "The head of the Gods called the Gods together." ...
In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The word Eloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through—Gods. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take [that] view of the subject, its sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods. All I want is to get the simple, naked truth, and the whole truth.
Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God anyhow—three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization. ...All are to be crammed into one God, according to sectarianism. It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God—he would be a giant or a monster. ... I want to reason a little on this subject. I learned it by translating the papyrus which is now in my house.
I learned a testimony concerning Abraham, and he reasoned concerning the God of heaven. "In order to do that," said he, "suppose we have ...two men on the earth, one wiser than the other, would logically show that another who is wiser than the wisest may exist. Intelligences exist one above another, so that there is no end to them."
If Abraham reasoned thus—If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? ...I want you to pay particular attention to what I am saying. Jesus said that the Father wrought precisely in the same way as His Father had done before Him. As the Father had done before? He laid down His life, and took it up the same as His Father had done before.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 10-12:
God is an Exalted Man. ...our Father in heaven at one time passed through a life and death and is an exalted man. ...
The Prophet [Joseph Smith] taught that our Father had a Father and so on. Is not this a reasonable thought, especially when we remember that the promises are made to us that we may become like him?
BIBLE: God is not a man.
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
God has always been God. He has never been less than He is today.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
For I am the LORD, I change not;...
Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One?...
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man,...who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.
There is only one God. He has eternally existed as God and does not have a father-god above him.
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
1 Timothy 1:17
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
[PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: He is literally our elder brother, born to Heavenly Parents in the Pre-existence. Jesus, Lucifer, angels and humans are all the same species and are brothers and sisters.
Gospel Principles, p. 11, 17, 18
Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ...so he is literally our elder brother.... We needed a Savior to pay for our sins and teach us how to return to our Heavenly Father. Our Father said, "Whom shall I send?" ... Two of our brothers offered to help. Our oldest brother, Jesus Christ, who was then called Jehovah, said "Here am I, send me".... Satan, who was called Lucifer, also came, saying, "Behold, here am I, send me." ... After hearing both sons speak, Heavenly Father said, "I will send the first." ... Because our Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior, Satan became angry and rebelled.
BIBLE: Jesus is fully God, not a subordinate deity. He eternally exists as God and is our creator.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
John 1:1-4, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. ... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
For by him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Teach that everyone existed in heaven before born on earth. We have all existed eternally as ‘intellegences’ and were later born in heaven as spirit children of God and his wife. We later were born on earth as humans.
Doctrine and Covenants 93:29:
Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 3:21:
I dwell in the midst of them all; ... for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 352-4:
I have another subject to dwell upon... It is associated with the subject of the resurrection of the dead,--namely, the soul--the mind of man--the immortal spirit....All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning; but it is not so: the very idea lessens man in my estimation....The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself....I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man....The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end....There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal (co-eternal) with our Father in heaven. ...The first principles of man are self-existent with God.
BIBLE: Only Christ existed before mortality, not man. We did not have a spiritual existence prior to earth.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
And he [Christ] is before all things, and by him all things consist.
...saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
1 Corinthians 15:46
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Teach the Fall was a blessing. Fall brought mortality, ability to have children and physical death. Believe we had to experience the Fall in order for us to progress to godhood. Believe Adam was given conflicting commandments (have children but don’t eat of the fruit) and was supposed to fall. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 111-116:
BLESSINGS OF MORTALITY CAME WITH FALL. Adam's status after the fall was:
1. He was banished from the presence of God and partook of the spiritual death. ...
3. He gained knowledge and experience—knowledge of good and evil.
4. He obtained the great gift of posterity. ...
DEATH FOR ALL LIFE CAME BY FALL. President Brigham Young has said: "Some may regret that our first parents sinned. This is nonsense. If we had been there, and they had not sinned, we would have sinned. I will not blame Adam or Eve. Why? Because it was necessary that sin should enter into the world; ...But they transgressed a command of the Lord, and through that transgression sin came into the world. The Lord knew they would do this, and he had designed that they should. ...
NO IMMORTALITY OR ETERNAL LIFE WITHOUT FALL... In order for mankind to obtain salvation and exaltation it is necessary for them to obtain bodies in this world, and pass through the experiences and schooling that are found only in mortality. ... Through this gift they choose good or choose evil, and thus receive a reward of merit in the eternities to come. Because of Adam's transgression we are here in mortal life….The fall of man came as a blessing in disguise, and was the means of furthering the purposes of the Lord in the progress of man, rather than a means of hindering them. ....
ADAM AND EVE REJOICED IN FALL. Before partaking of the fruit Adam could have lived forever; therefore, his status was one of immortality. When he ate, he became subject to death, and therefore he became mortal. This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin in the strict sense, for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do! I am sure that neither Adam nor Eve looked upon it as a sin, when they learned the consequences, and this is discovered in their words after they learned the consequences. Adam said: "Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God." Eve said: "Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient."
We can hardly look upon anything resulting in such benefits as being a sin, in the sense in which we consider sin. ... Now if we had been left in that condition, without any hope of redemption from the fall, then that fall would have been a most dreadful calamity."
Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:25
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 268
FALL OF ADAM
Adam, our first parent (1 Ne. 5:11), a "son of God" (Moses 6:22), was first placed on earth as an immortal being. His coming was the crowning event of the creation; and as with him, so with every department of creation -- immortality reigned supreme. (2 Ne. 2:22.) There was no death, no mortality, no corruption, no procreation. Blood did not flow in Adam's veins, for he was not yet mortal, ... He had not yet come to that state of mortal probation in which are found the testings and trials requisite to a possible inheritance of eternal life. As yet the full knowledge of good and evil had not been placed before him; and, what was tremendously important in the eternal scheme of things, he could have no children.
But all these conditions, in the providences of the Almighty, were soon to change. According to the foreordained plan, Adam was to fall; that is, "in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things" (2 Ne. 2: 24), Adam was to introduce mortality and all that attends it, so that the opportunity for eternal progression and perfection might be offered to all the spirit children of the Father.
BIBLE: God intended obedience. There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that Adam and Eve could not have children before the fall.
And God blessed them and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
[PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Believe God is a resurrected, physical man. He is the literal Father of Jesus by the same manner in which men are conceived on earth.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 546-547:
ONLY BEGOTTEN SON
Christ is the Only Begotten ..., the Only Begotten Son ..., the Only Begotten of the Father. (Moses 5:9.) These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 742:
SON OF GOD
God the Father is a perfected, glorified, holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says.
(See also The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Bookcraft, 1988, p. 6-7; Family Home Evenings Manual, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1972, p. 125-126; Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Macmillan Pub., 1992, p. 725, 729, 739, 740, 1670, 1671; Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115, vol. 11, p. 268; The Seer, p. 158.)
BIBLE: There is nothing in the Bible to indicate a physical relationship between God and Mary. Jesus’ conception is declared to be a miracle.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary...thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS....Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Specific acts, not man’s basic nature. Must know act is wrong to be a sin.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 550:
ORIGINAL SIN THEORY
In contrast to the doctrines of free agency and personal accountability for sin, modern Christendom has the false doctrine of original sin. Although the scriptures abundantly show "that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression" (Second Article of Faith; Articles of Faith, pp. 57-73), the common view is that all men are tainted with sin and denied blessings because of Adam's fall.
"Original sin," according to Catholic theology, is "the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam. ... Original sin is the privation of sanctifying grace in consequence of the sin of Adam," and it can only be "effaced by baptism." (Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 11, pp. 312-315.) Infant baptism, therefore, is a necessary corollary to the doctrine of original sin. Since "those who die in original sin are deprived of the happiness of heaven" (Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 2, pp. 258-274), according to their view, it is easy to see why they think infants must be baptized. One false doctrine begets another.
Protestant views about so-called original sin are similar. The Church of England, for instance, teaches that original sin "is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is ingendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and condemnation." This "condemnation" is removed only "for them that believe and are baptized." (Book of Common Prayer, The Anglican Church of Canada, pp. 662-663.)
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 735-736:
Sin cannot be committed unless laws are ordained (Alma 42:17) and unless people have knowledge of those laws so that they can violate them. Adam and Eve could not commit sin while in the Garden of Eden, although laws of conduct had already been established, because the knowledge of good and evil had not yet been given them. Unless they had partaken of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil "they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin." (2 Ne. 2:23.)
...On man's part, the process of gaining salvation is one of cleansing himself from sin so as to stand clean before God at the last day. "Ye cannot be saved in your sins." (Alma 11:37.) Repentance, baptism, and enduring in righteousness to the end comprise the course whereby sins are remitted.
Exaltation consists in inheriting "all things." (D. & C. 76:54-60.) "But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin." (D. & C. 50:28.)
BIBLE: We are in spiritual rebellion until our conversion. We do not just commit sins; we are basically sinful.
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Granted at end of process of repentance and reformed behavior. Serious sins must be confessed to the Bishop.
Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 292-298
Forgiveness, which includes divine pardon and complete remission of sins, is available, on conditions of repentance, for all men except those who have sinned unto death. ...To accountable persons in the world, remission of sins comes by repentance and baptism of water and of the Spirit. For those who have once been cleansed in this way and who thereafter commit sin--but not unto death--(and all members of the Church are guilty of sin, in either greater or lesser degree) the law of forgiveness embraces the following requirements:
1. GODLY SORROW FOR SIN...
2. ABANDONMENT OF SIN--This means to stop doing what is wrong, to cease completely from one’s evil acts,...
3. CONFESSION OF SIN--To gain forgiveness all sins must be confessed to the Lord. ...
Further, those sins which involve moral turpitude--meaning serious sins for which the court procedures of the Church could be instituted so that a person’s fellowship or membership might be called in question--such sins must be confessed to the proper church officer. ... It follows that it is the order of the Church for confession to be made to the bishop,...
Normally a period of probation is involved before the earthly agent determines to refrain from instituting the procedures whereunder church penalties are imposed.
4. RESTITUTION FOR SIN--Restitution means restoration; it is to return the stolen property, to make amends for the offense committed,...
5. OBEDIENCE TO ALL LAW--Complete forgiveness is reserved for those only who turn their whole hearts to the Lord and begin to keep all of his commandments--...
Initially and primarily, accountable and worthy persons gain forgiveness of their sins when a valid and authoritative baptism is performed for them.... Their sins are washed away in the waters of baptism;... Those sins committed after baptism are forgiven whenever members of the Church, by full compliance with the law of forgiveness, again get themselves in the same state of righteousness and purity previously attained in connection with their baptisms.
Gospel Principles, p. 75-77,
a parable explaining the LDS view of the atonement and forgiveness is related by Apostle Boyd Packer.
After a man gets deeply in debt, a friend [Christ] steps forward to help: As the creditor was pondering the offer, the mediator added, ‘You demanded justice. Though he cannot pay you, I will do so. You will have been justly dealt with and can ask no more. It would not be just.’ And so the creditor agreed. The mediator turned then to the debtor. ‘If I pay your debt, will you accept me as your creditor?’ ‘Oh yes, yes,’ cried the debtor. ‘You saved me from prison and show mercy to me.’ ‘Then,’ said the benefactor, ‘you will pay the debt to me and I will set the terms. It will not be easy, but it will be possible. I will provide a way.
Gospel Principles, 1997, p. 123:
Elder Spencer W. Kimball declared: ‘There is no royal road to repentance, no privileged path to forgiveness. Every man must follow the same course whether he be rich or poor, educated or untrained, tall or short,...There is only one way. It is a long road spiked with thorns and briars and pitfalls and problems.’ Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, p. 133-134:
The Latter-day Saints believe in the efficacy of the blood of Christ. They believe that through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel they obtain a remission of sins; but this could not be if Christ had not died for them. ... Are you aware that there are certain sins that man may commit for which the atoning blood of Christ does not avail? ...
But man may commit certain grievous sins - according to his light and knowledge - that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ. If then he would be saved he must make sacrifice of his own life to atone - so far as in his power lies - for that sin, for the blood of Christ alone under certain circumstances will not avail.
BIBLE: Complete forgiveness is granted the moment we turn to Christ.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he [Christ] quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his [Christ’s] blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; [PLACE IN TEXT]
SALVATION BY GRACE
LDS: Believe Christ’s death brought release from grave and universal resurrection. Salvation by grace is universal resurrection. Beyond this, man must earn his place in heaven. Saved by grace after all we can do.
Book of Mormon, 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.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 669-671:
1. Unconditional or general salvation, that which comes by grace alone without obedience to gospel law, consists in the mere fact of being resurrected. In this sense salvation is synonymous with immortality; it is the inseparable connection of body and spirit so that the resurrected personage lives forever.
This kind of salvation eventually will come to all mankind, excepting only the sons of perdition. ...Thus it is that the Lord "saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him." (D. & C. 76:40-48.) All others are saved from death, hell, the devil, and endless torment. (2 Ne. 9:18-27.)
But this is not the salvation of righteousness, the salvation which the saints seek. Those who gain only this general or unconditional salvation will still be judged according to their works and receive their places in a terrestrial or a telestial kingdom. They will, therefore, be damned; their eternal progression will be cut short; they will not fill the full measure of their creation, but in eternity will be ministering servants to more worthy persons.
2. Conditional or individual salvation, that which comes by grace coupled with gospel obedience, consists in receiving an inheritance in the celestial kingdom of God. This kind of salvation follows faith, repentance, baptism, receipt of the Holy Ghost, and continued righteousness to the end of one's mortal probation. (D. & C. 20:29; 2 Ne. 9:23-24.) ...
Even those in the celestial kingdom, however, who do not go on to exaltation, will have immortality only and not eternal life. Along with those of the telestial and terrestrial worlds they will be "ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory." They will live "separately and singly" in an unmarried state "without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity." (D. & C. 132:16-17.)
3. 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. It is of this which the Lord says, "There is no gift greater than the gift of salvation." (D. & C. 6:13.) This full salvation is obtained in and through the continuation of the family unit in eternity, and those who obtain it are gods. (D. & C. 131:1-4; 132.)
Full salvation is attained by virtue of knowledge, truth, righteousness, and all true principles. Many conditions must exist in order to make such salvation available to men. Without the atonement, the gospel, the priesthood, and the sealing power, there would be no salvation [full salvation/exaltation]. Without continuous revelation, the ministering of angels, the working of miracles, the prevalence of gifts of the spirit, there would be no salvation. If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation [in the full sense of exaltation to godhood]. There is no salvation [exaltation] outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ...
SALVATION BY GRACE
...one of the untrue doctrines found in modern Christendom is the concept that man can gain salvation (meaning in the kingdom of God) by grace alone and without obedience. This soul-destroying doctrine has the obvious effect of lessening the determination of an individual to conform to all of the laws and ordinances of the gospel, such conformity being essential if the sought for reward is in reality to be gained.
Immortality is a free gift and comes without works or righteousness of any sort; all men will come forth in the resurrection because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. (1 Cor. 15:22.) In and of itself the resurrection is a form of salvation meaning that men are thereby saved from death, hell, the devil, and endless torment. ...Works are not involved, neither the works of the Mosaic law nor the works of righteousness that go with the fulness of the gospel.
Salvation in the celestial kingdom of God, however, is not salvation by grace alone. Rather, it is salvation by grace coupled with obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. (Third Article of Faith.) Those who gain it are "raised in immortality unto eternal life." (D. & C. 29:43; 2 Ne. 9:22-24.) Immortality comes by grace alone, but those who gain it may find themselves damned in eternity. (Alma 11:37-45.) Eternal life, the kind of life enjoyed by eternal beings in the celestial kingdom, comes by grace plus obedience. And the very opportunity to follow the course of good works which will lead to that salvation sought by the saints comes also by the grace of God.
BIBLE: Salvation is not limited to universal resurrection but is a gift from God to those who believe.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: From mortal death only. Not the same as Eternal Life.
Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2, p. 10-15:
REDEMPTION: CONDITIONAL AND UNCONDITIONAL. Conditional redemption is also universal in its nature; it is offered to all but not received by all; it is a universal gift, though not universally accepted; its benefits can be obtained only through faith, repentance, baptism, the laying on of hands, and obedience to all other requirements of the gospel.
Unconditional redemption is a gift forced upon mankind which they cannot reject, though they were disposed. Not so with conditional redemption; it can be received or rejected according to the will of the creature.
Redemption from the original sin is without faith or works; redemption from our own sins is given through faith and works. Both are the gifts of free grace; but while one is a gift forced upon us unconditionally, the other is a gift merely offered to us conditionally. The redemption of the one is compulsory; the reception of the other is voluntary. Man cannot, by any possible act, prevent his redemption from the fall; but he can utterly refuse and prevent his redemption from the penalty of his own sins. ... We need a little more explanation as to just what we mean by unconditional redemption. That means to restore us from this mortal state to the immortal state; in other words, to give unto us the resurrection. That comes to every creature, not only to men but also to the fish, the fowls of the air, and the beasts of the field, as the Lord tells us in section 29, of the Doctrine and Covenants. All of them had spiritual existence before they were placed upon the earth; therefore they are to be redeemed. ...But the conditional redemption is the redemption which will place us as sons and daughters of God in the kingdom of God. ...Redemption, according to the gospel, is the gift of God to every creature born into the world, that he shall live again, being entitled to the resurrection. Christ is frequently spoken of in the scriptures as our Redeemer, and so refers to himself.
Salvation is the gift of God, according to the scriptures, to all men who do not sin against the light and become sons of perdition. Salvation is of varying stages or degrees. Every man is to be judged according to his works, and for this reason various degrees or kingdoms have been established.
Exaltation is to dwell in the presence of God and to be like him. ...
NOT HALF THE LATTER-DAY SAINTS TO BE SAVED. Those who receive the fulness [exaltation] will be privileged to view the face of our Father. There will not be such an overwhelming number of the Latter-day Saints who will get there. ... He would have every one of us go in if we would; but there are laws and ordinances that we must keep; if we do not observe the law we cannot enter.
BIBLE: Christ redeems from more than mortal death; he redeems us from spiritual death and gives us Eternal Life.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Doctrines and commandments of the LDS Church. True gospel of Jesus Christ was lost until Joseph Smith restored it in 1830.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 331
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan of salvation. It embraces all of the laws, principles, doctrines, rites, ordinances, acts, powers, authorities, and keys necessary to save and exalt men in the highest heaven hereafter. ...
Literally, gospel means good tidings from God or God-story. Thus it is the glad tidings or good news concerning Christ, his atonement, the establishment of his earthly kingdom, and a possible future inheritance in his celestial presence. ... Just as there are false teachers, false religions, false prophets and false Christs, so there are false gospels. Paul proclaimed that all who preached any gospel except that received "by the revelation of Jesus Christ" should be accursed. (Gal. 1:6-12.) And the revealed test whereby the true gospel may be identified is that revelations, visions, miracles, signs, apostles, prophets, and all the gifts of the Spirit will always be found in connection with it. (Mark 16:14-20.) Where these signs are found, there is the gospel of Christ; where these signs are not found, there the gospel of Christ is not. ...The true gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to earth in the last days through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith. It is found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 156-9:
GOSPEL IS THE EVERLASTING COVENANT. What is the new and everlasting covenant? I regret to say that there are some members of the Church who are misled and misinformed in regard to what the new and everlasting covenant really is. The new and everlasting covenant is the sum total of all gospel covenants and obligations, ...
GOSPEL COVENANT EMBRACES ALL COVENANTS. Now there is a clear-cut definition in detail of the new and everlasting covenant. It is everything—the fulness of the gospel. So marriage properly performed, baptism, ordination to the priesthood, everything else—every contract, every obligation, every performance that pertains to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise according to his law here given, is a part of the new and everlasting covenant. ...Therefore, all who seek a place in the kingdom of God are under the obligation and commandment to abide in the new and everlasting covenant, which is the fulness of the gospel with all its rites, covenants, gifts, and obligations, or they "shall be damned, saith the Lord."
BIBLE: God’s provision for our salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection as atonement for our sins.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel, which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Baptism into the LDS Church.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 100-101
To gain salvation in the celestial kingdom men must be born again ...The first birth takes place when spirits pass from their pre-existent first estate into mortality; the second birth or birth "into the kingdom of heaven" takes places when mortal men are born again and become alive to the things of the Spirit and of righteousness. The elements of water, blood, and Spirit are present in both births. (Moses 6:59-60.) The second birth begins when men are baptized in water by a legal administrator; it is completed when they actually receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost, becoming new creatures by the cleansing power of that member of the Godhead.
Mere compliance with the formality of the ordinance of baptism does not mean that a person has been born again. No one can be born again without baptism, but the immersion in water and the laying on of hands to confer the Holy Ghost do not of themselves guarantee that a person has been or will be born again. The new birth takes place only for those who actually enjoy the gift or companionship of the Holy Ghost, only for those who are fully converted, who have given themselves without restraint to the Lord.
BIBLE: The Bible never equates being born again with church membership. We are spiritually dead until our spiritual birth.
1 Peter 1:23
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
John 3:7, 14, 15
[Jesus said] Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again....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. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Only the Mormon Church. The true church was taken from the earth until Joseph Smith restored it.
Doctrine & Covenants 1:30
And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually--
Doctrine & Covenants 115:3-4
And also unto my faithful servants who are of the high council of my church in Zion, for thus it shall be called, and unto all the elders and people of my Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, scattered abroad in all the world; For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 133
Our Lord's true Church is the formal, official organization of believers who have taken upon themselves the name of Christ by baptism, thus covenanting to serve God and keep his commandments. (D. & C. 10:67-69; 18:20-25.) It is literally the kingdom of God on earth (D. & C. 65; 84:34; 136:41), and as such its affairs are administered by apostles, prophets, and other legal administrators appointed by Christ the King. (1 Cor. 12:27-29.) It is the congregation or assembly of saints who have forsaken he world by accepting the gospel, formal society of converted persons and not the unorganized spiritual vagary termed the Christian church by sectarianism.
The church was first organized on earth in the days of Adam, ...The common sectarian notion that the day of Pentecost is the birthday of the Christian Church is a false heresy. ...With the coming of the great apostasy the primitive Church was lost, and the various churches or societies which have since grown up bear no particular similarity to the original.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 136
CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
To his earthly kingdom in the dispensation of the fulness of times the Lord has given the formal name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (D. & C. 115:3-4.) This Church is "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth" (D. & C. 1:30), the only organization authorized by the Almighty to preach his gospel and administer the ordinances of salvation, the only Church which has power to save and exalt men in the hereafter. Membership in this divine institution is a pearl of great price.
BIBLE: The Christian church is not a particular organization. As born-again Christians we are part of God’s church.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. [PLACE IN TEXT]
AUTHORITY - PRIESTHOOD
LDS: Believe that only LDS have authority to baptize, ordain, etc. They have a two-part system of priesthood-Melchizedek and Aaronic.
Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, p. 80-81
PRIESTHOOD: ITS NATURE AND PURPOSE. Priesthood is divine authority which is conferred upon men that they may officiate in the ordinances of the gospel. In other words, priesthood is a part of God's own power, which he bestows upon his chosen servants that they may act in his name in proclaiming the gospel and officiating in all the ordinances thereof. All such official acts performed by these duly authorized servants are recognized by the Author of our salvation.
Man cannot act legally in the name of the Lord unless he is vested with the priesthood, which is divine authority. ...All men who assume authority, but who have not been properly called, will have to answer for their acts in the day of judgment. Nothing that they perform in the name of the Lord is valid, for it lacks the stamp of divine authority. To deceive and lead others to believe that unauthorized acts are valid when performed in the name of the Lord is a grievous sin in the sight of God. ...
Doctrine and Covenants 107:1, 5-7, 10, 13, 20-21
THERE are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood. ... All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood. ... The office of an elder comes under the priesthood of Melchizedek. ...High priests after the order of the Melchizedek Priesthood have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the presidency, in administering spiritual things, and also in the office of an elder, ...
The second priesthood is called the Priesthood of Aaron, ... The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments. Of necessity there are presidents, or presiding officers growing out of, or appointed of or from among those who are ordained to the several offices in these two priesthoods.
BIBLE: Christ brought an end to the Aaronic priesthood. He is the only High Priest after the manner of Melchizedek.
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.
The Jewish High Priest was replaced due to death. Since Christ lives forever His priesthood will not pass to another. He is the only High Priest in the Christian church.
But this man [Christ], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those hight priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
The New Testament says nothing about the need for some particular priesthood to function in the Christian church. Leadership is to be given to mature Christians.
2 Timothy 2:2
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Must be performed by LDS priesthood in order to have eternal life. God does not recognized baptisms done by other clergy.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 69-72
Baptism by immersion under the hands of a legal administrator, one empowered to bind on earth and seal in heaven, is the initiatory ordinance into the Church on earth and the celestial kingdom in the world to come. (D. & C. 20:68-74; 2 Ne. 9:23-24.) ...Baptism is the formally appointed means and ordinance which the Lord has provided so that man can signify his personal acceptance of all of the terms and conditions of the eternal gospel covenant. Thus in baptism, which as part of the gospel is itself a new and an everlasting covenant (D. & C. 22), man covenants to abide by all of the laws and requirements of the whole gospel. ...
As with other doctrines and ordinances, apostate substitutes of the real thing are found both among pagans and supposed Christians. Perverted forms of baptism were common among the mystery religions of the old world. ...True water baptisms are performed by legal administrators who immerse the candidate in water. The symbolic representation thus adhered to bears record of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. (Rom. 6:1-12.)
BIBLE: Emphasis is on the believer, not on proper priesthood authority.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
And [the jailer] brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they [Paul and Silas] said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. [PLACE IN TEXT]
SONS OF GOD
LDS: We were all born in heaven, prior to earth, as literal spirit children of God and his wife. Jesus and Lucifer are our older brothers.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 589
Pre-existence is the term commonly used to describe the pre-mortal existence of the spirit children of God the Father. Speaking of this prior existence in a spirit sphere, the First Presidency of the Church (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund) said: "All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity"; as spirits they were the "offspring of celestial parentage." ...
From the time of their spirit birth, the Father's pre-existent offspring were endowed with agency and subjected to the provisions of the laws ordained for their government. They had power to obey or disobey and to progress in one field or another. ... Christ, the Firstborn, was the mightiest of all the spirit children of the Father.
BIBLE: We are spiritually adopted as children of God at conversion.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom; godhood and ability to bear children in heaven. Must have a temple recommend and be sealed in the Mormon temple.
Doctrine & Covenants 131:1-4
In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood (meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage); And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.
Doctrine & Covenants 132:19-55
And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, ...they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end;... For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it... This is eternal lives--to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. ... Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law. ...and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them. ...I will bless him [Joseph Smith] and multiply him and give unto him an hundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds.
BIBLE: Eternal Life is not limited to certain ones in the top part of heaven. The Bible never equates eternal life with marriage and parenthood. It is promised to ALL who have come to Christ for salvation.
1 John 5:12-13
He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Universal gift of resurrection and the ability to live forever in some kingdom of heaven. But this is not the same as eternal life in the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom.
Doctrine & Covenants 14:7
And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 237
Accordingly, eternal life is not a name that has reference only to the unending duration of a future life; immortality is to live forever in the resurrected state, and by the grace of God all men will gain this unending continuance of life. But only those who obey the fullness of the gospel law will inherit eternal life. (D. & C. 29:43-44.) It is "the greatest of all the gifts of God" (D. & C. 14:7), for it is the kind, status, type, and quality of life that God himself enjoys. Thus those who gain eternal life receive exaltation; they are sons of God, joint-heirs with Christ, members of the Church of the Firstborn; they overcome all things, have all power, and receive the fullness of the Father. They are gods.
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 376-377
Immortality is to live forever in the resurrected state with body and spirit inseparably connected. The Lord's work and glory is to bring to pass both the immortality and the eternal life of man (Moses 1:39): all are resurrected to a state of immortality, those who believe and obey the gospel plan go on "in immortality unto eternal life." (D. & C. 29:42-43.) Immortality is a free gift which comes by grace alone without works on man's part; eternal life, "the greatest of all the gifts of God" (D. & C. 14:7), results from "obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel." ... Immortality is not a gift reserved for man alone. Every living thing will come forth in the resurrection with immortality (D. & C. 29:22-25), and even the earth itself, when quickened with a celestial glory, will become an immortal globe. (D. & C. 77:1; 88:16-26.)
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 670
Even those in the celestial kingdom, however, who do not go on to exaltation, will have immortality only and not eternal life. Along with those of the telestial and terrestrial worlds they will be "ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory." They will live "separately and singly" in an unmarried state "without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity." (D. & C. 132:16-17.)
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. It is of this which the Lord says, "There is no gift greater than the gift of salvation." (D. & C. 6:13.) This full salvation is obtained in and through the continuation of the family unit in eternity, and those who obtain it are gods. (D. & C. 131:1-4; 132.)
BIBLE: The Bible makes no distinction between eternal life and immortality. All believers will have eternal life, there are no second class citizens in heaven.
2 Timothy 1:10
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
...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. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Hell as an institution is eternal. Those in Hell serve sentences of various length, similar to those in a prison. Most of them will eventually leave Hell and go to the Telestial Kingdom. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 349-350
That part of the spirit world inhabited by wicked spirits who are awaiting the eventual day of their resurrection is called hell. Between their death and resurrection, these souls of the wicked are cast out into outer darkness, into the gloomy depression of sheol, into the hades of waiting wicked spirits, into hell. There they suffer the torments of the damned; there they welter in the vengeance of eternal fire; there is found weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; there the fiery indignation of the wrath of God is poured out upon the wicked. (Alma 40:11-14; D. & C. 76:103-106.)
Hell will have an end. ... After their resurrection, the great majority of those who have suffered in hell will pass into the telestial kingdom; the balance, cursed as sons of perdition, will be consigned to partake of endless wo with the devil and his angels. Speaking of the telestial kingdom the Lord says: "These are they who are thrust down to hell. These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work. These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times." (D. & C. 76:84-85, 106.) As to the sons of perdition, the revelation says that after their resurrection "they shall return again to their own place" (D. & C. 88:32, 102), that is, they shall go back to dwell in the lake of fire with Perdition and his other sons. Thus those in hell "are the rest of the dead; and they live not again until the thousand years are ended, neither again, until the end of the earth." (D. & C. 88:101.) ... Since those going to a telestial kingdom travel to their destination through the depths of hell and as a result of obedience to telestial law, it follows that all those who live a telestial law will go to hell. Included among these are the carnal, sensual, and devilish -- those who live after the manner of the world. Among them are the sorcerers, adulterers, whoremongers (D. & C. 76:103), ... Such also is the fate of liars (2 Ne. 9:34), of "all those who preach false doctrines" (2 Ne. 28:15), of those who believe the damnable doctrine of infant baptism (Moro. 8:14, 21), ... "The sectarian world are going to hell by hundreds, by thousands and by millions," the Prophet said. (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 554.) ... Thus, for those who are heirs of some salvation, which includes all except the sons of perdition (D. & C. 73:44), hell has an end, but for those who have wholly given themselves over to satanic purposes there is no redemption from the consuming fires and torment of conscience. They go on forever in the hell that is prepared for them.
BIBLE: There is no mention of people getting out of Hell.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way....He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. ...
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. [PLACE IN TEXT]
LDS: Heaven is divided into three kingdoms: Celestial, Terrestrial and Telestial. Almost everyone will be resurrected to one of these places.
Doctrine & Covenants 88:16-20
And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul. ...That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; ... And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.
LDS misuse 1 Corinthians in an attempt to establish their belief in three levels of heaven. The King James Version uses the words "celestial " and "terestrial" but these words just mean "heavenly " and "earthly." Joseph Smith invented the word "telestial."
1 Corinthians 15:40-41
There are also celestial [heavenly] bodies, and bodies terrestrial [earthly]: the glory of the celestial [heavenly] is one, and the glory of the terrestrial [earthly] is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
The next several verses show that Paul is merely contrasting the imperfect body we have on earth with the perfect body we will have in heaven.
1 Corinthians 15:42-44
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural [earthly] body, and there is a spiritual [heavenly] body.
BIBLE: Only mentions two conditions: eternal life or everlasting punishment.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left....
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. [PLACE IN TEXT]
KINGDOM OF GOD
LDS: Only those in the Celestial Kingdom are in the Kingdom of God and in the presence of the Father. Only those in the highest part of the Celestial Kingdom will continue in the family unit and have children. Those in the Terrestrial or Telestial Kingdoms are not in the presence of the Father and can not have any children.
Doctrine & Covenants 76:50-88
And again we bear record--for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just-- They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given--
That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;... Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God--...These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever....These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.
And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament. Behold, these are they who died without law; And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.... These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father.
And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament. These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus. These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit. These are they who are thrust down to hell. These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work. These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial. And the terrestrial through the ministration of the celestial. And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.
In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood (meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage);
And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.
Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.
BIBLE: All of the redeemed will be in God’s presence.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. [PLACE IN TEXT]