What is salvation?
This topic will cover several parts
What is salvation?
Are Christians considered the sheep of Christ?
Can single people attain eternal life?
Is eternal life a free gift that is bestowed or something that must be earned?
The Bible and Book of Mormon - saved by grace alone?
Who is saved? Should Latter-day Saints be afraid?
What is salvation?
The May 1998 edition of Ensign magazine reveals six different meanings for the word
We will only present some of the main definitions.
(a) Salvation is the free gift of resurrection that Christ’s atonement provides to everyone
(whether atheist, Christian, or Muslim, etc) so that they may have their souls (spirits) and
bodies reunited to appear before God for judgment.
(b) Salvation means escaping the punishment in the spirit world to inherit some degree of glory
in God’s lesser kingdoms.
(c) Salvation is one’s exaltation to godhood (with eternal life). This is the context of the
Mormon prophet in 2 Nephi 25:23 – “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all
we can do.”
Faithful members of the LDS Church hope to become like Heavenly Father some day. They strive to
become heavenly parents and have spirit children. Faithful Mormons will someday be the objects
of worship by spirit children they procreate. The belief that male Latter-day Saints will one
day be worshipped as Gods themselves is covered in Gospel Principles chapter 47 on page 302:
“They will be able to have spirit children also. These spirit children will have the same
relationship to them as we do to our Heavenly Father.”
This is the meaning of “eternal increase.”
Joseph Smith taught that in the resurrection, some people would be glorified to have the same
power as Heavenly Father himself. “And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in
dominion” (D&C 76:95).
There is a key foundational passage for the Mormon doctrine of achieving godhood.
“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 fullness and
a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no
end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting because they continue; then shall
they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because
they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them” (D&C 132:19-20).
“Each one of you has it within the realm of his possibility to develop a kingdom over which you
will preside as its king and god. You will need to develop yourself and grow in ability and
power and worthiness, to govern such a world with all its people” (Religion 430-431 – Doctrines
of the Gospel Student Manual, chapter 10, page 29).
Mormon theology says faithful male Latter-day Saints will become Gods to be worshipped by their
own spirit children.
This is what the Bible says about the potential to become a God: “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” (Isa. 43:10).
The Bible makes several references to us becoming like Christ, but we will not become Gods.
Other LDS Church teachings from teaching manuals reveal that the Mormon version of Heavenly
Father and Mother also had to progress into becoming deities.
“Through a continual course of progression, our Heavenly Father has received exaltation and
glory; and He points us out the same path ... we shall eventually come in possession ... of
everything that heart can desire” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, pp. 3-4;
Religion 430-431 – Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, p. 92).
Achieving a “fulness of joy” is equating to reaching exaltation to godhood.
“We learned that if we placed our faith in him, obeying his word and following his example, we
would be exalted and become like our heavenly parents. We would receive a fulness of joy”
(Gospel Principles, p. 15).
“If we passed our tests, we would receive the fulness of joy that our heavenly parents have
received” (D&C 93:30-34; Gospel Principles, p. 14).
The Mormon version of Heavenly Father and Mother received their fulness of joy through their
It is unclear from LDS theology who atoned for the sins of Heavenly Mother before she became a
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defines eternal life as exaltation (or becoming
a god). It is synonymous with one of her definitions of salvation.
Some related teachings are found on her official web site at the following link:
Gospel Principles says, “All good things come from God. Everything that he does is to help his
children become like him–a god. He has said, Behold, this is my work and my glory–to bring to
pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (p. 9).
“The life he (Heavenly Father) lives is eternal life” (Religion 430-431 – Doctrines of the
Gospel Student Manual, p. 8).
Eternal life means being a god, being married, having spirit children, and creating worlds. The
highest division of the celestial kingdom is the home for such individuals (D&C 131:1-2)..
“Unless a man will adhere to the doctrine and walk in faith, accepting the truth and observing
the commandments as they have been given, it will be impossible for him to receive eternal
life, no matter how much he may confess with his lips that Jesus is the Christ” (Religion
430-431 – Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, p. 36).
“To bring man to eternal life is God's work and glory. Eternal life is the quality of life
which God himself enjoys” (ibid, p. 52).
“Eternal life is gained only by accepting Jesus as the Christ and keeping his commandments.
Eternal life, meaning exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world” (ibid, p. 54).
“Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and
even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a
man, so that undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through
ages and eons, of evolving into a God” (Religion 234–235 – Eternal Marriage Student Manual, p.
This definition of eternal life teaches the inhabitants of the two lesser divisions of the
Celestial Kingdom are not considered as having eternal life. Neither do the telestial nor
terrestrial inhabitants have eternal life.
Are Christians considered the sheep of Christ?
Mormon theology teaches that all Christians are not the sheep of Jesus Christ.
The Bible reveals they are.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal
life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand” (John
LDS theology defines eternal life as living life as a God (ie. exaltation in the highest
division of the Celestial Kingdom). This would mean that many Latter-day Saints are not
considered Christ's sheep because they will not attain eternal life.
Can single people attain eternal life?
It would appear not..
At the 178th General Conference of LDS Church in April 2008 in the sermon “Salvation and
Exaltation,” we read, “No man in this Church can obtain the highest degree of celestial glory
without a worthy woman who is sealed to him. Sealing ordinances are essential to exaltation. A
wife needs to be sealed to her husband; children need to be sealed to their parents; and we all
need to be connected with our ancestors.”
Elder Nelson then reverses his position and makes a statement that single men and women who do
not marry in the temple will have an opportunity to be exalted too.
“What about those who are not able to marry in this life or those who cannot be sealed to their
parents in this life? We know that the Lord will judge each of us according to the desires of
our hearts, as well as our works, and that the blessings of exaltation will be given to all who
are worthy” (http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-851-2,00.html).
This teaching about single people being able to become gods is linked in the html version of
the sermon to several texts (D&C 130:20–21; Rudger Clawson, in Conference Report, October 1917,
p. 29; Joseph F. Smith, in Deseret News, May 1, 1878, p. 2; Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of
Living the Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, November 1996, p. 75).
Notice the dates of these teachings: 1917, 1878, and 1996.
The November 1996 article says, “I know I have been speaking of the ideal, and you may be
disturbed because your life may not now fit that mold. I promise you that through your
obedience and continuing faith in Jesus Christ and your understanding of the whole plan of
happiness, even if important parts of it aren't fulfilled in your life now, they will be yours
in the Lord's due time. I also promise you that you can have significant growth and happiness
now in your present circumstances. As a daughter or son of God, live whatever portion of the
plan you can to the best of your ability ... Your desire to be a wife and mother may not have
its total fulfillment here, but it will in His time as you live in faith and obedience to merit
Now in 1957: “Therefore, through the mercy and justice of the Lord, any young woman who
maintains her virtue and accepts in her heart all the commandments and ordinances of the gospel
will receive the fulness of the glory and exaltation of the celestial kingdom. The great gift
of eternal life will be given her [but another place says eternal life is a conditional gift as
you will see shortly]. This gift the Lord has described, shall be a 'fulness and a continuation
of the seeds forever and ever.' All the gifts of exaltation will be hers, because she has been
true and faithful, and what was denied her here will be given to her hereafter” (Joseph
Fielding Smith, “Marriage in Eternity,” Improvement Era, October 1957, p. 702; Religion 430-431
– Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, p. 77).
Then another: “There is no Latter-day Saint who dies after having lived a faithful life who
will lose anything because of having failed to do certain things when opportunities were not
furnished him or her. In other words, if a young man or a young woman has no opportunity of
getting married, and they live faithful lives up to the time of their death, they will have all
the blessings, exaltation, and glory that any man or woman will have who had this opportunity
and improved it. That is sure and positive” (Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 138; Religion
234–235 – Eternal Marriage Student Manual, p. 168).
These teachings are contrary to other teachings given on other dates.
(1) Joseph Smith gave a revelation in Doctrines and Covenants 132 that marriage cannot be
received after you die.
“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 ... when they are out of the world it [the
marriage covenant] cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed
there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a
house of order, saith the Lord God.”
Mormon couples who are married in a civil union but not in a temple will not inherit exaltation
or eternal life. They will be single as the angels according to Joseph Smith.
(2) The sermon “Exaltation and Salvation” says, “This life is the time to prepare for salvation
and exaltation.” You cannot prepare after you die.
(3) Religion 430-431 – Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual says, “Celestial Marriage is
essential to exaltation” (p. 75). “Without proper and successful marriage, one will never be
exalted” (ibid, p. 75; Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 291).
“This holy and perfect order of matrimony – thus assuring the obedient persons of an
inheritance of exaltation in the celestial kingdom” (Religion 430-431 – Doctrines of the Gospel
Student Manual, p. 77; Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp.117-118).
“No woman can reach the perfection and exaltation in the kingdom of God alone” (Religion
430-431 – Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, p. 77).
“Only in and through a family unit can we obtain eternal life” (President Gordon B. Hinckley,
in Conference Report, April 1985, p. 66; Ensign, May 1985, p. 50; Religion 430-431 – Doctrines
of the Gospel Student Manual, p. 78).
“The Lord has prescribed requirements for eternal life in the celestial kingdom. We must comply
with the new and everlasting covenant of marriage” (Religion 430-431 – Doctrines of the Gospel
Student Manual, p. 90).
(4) “For remember, brethren, that only those who enter into the new and everlasting covenant of
marriage in the temple for time and eternity, only those will have the exaltation in the
celestial kingdom. This is what the Lord tells us” (ibid, p. 77; Harold B. Lee, Conference
Report, October 1973, p. 120; Ensign, January 1974, p. 100).
(5) “Except a man and his wife enter into an everlasting covenant and be married for eternity,
while in this probation, by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, they will cease to
increase when they die; that is, they will not have any children after the resurrection. But
those who are married by the power and authority of the priesthood in this life, and continue
without committing the sin against the Holy Ghost, will continue to increase and have children
in the celestial glory” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1938, pp. 300–301).
(6) “Eternal marriage is essential for exaltation” (Gospel Principles, p. 241). “To be exalted,
we first must ... obey his commandments ... We must be married for time and eternity” (ibid, p.
(7) “The ultimate purpose of all we teach is to unite parents and children in faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ, that they are happy at home, sealed in an eternal marriage, linked to their
generations, and assured of exaltation in the presence of our Heavenly Father” (President Boyd
K. Packer, Conference Report, April 1995, p. 8; Ensign, May 1995, p. 8; Religion 234–235 –
Eternal Marriage Student Manual, p. 168).
(8) “Exaltation grows out of the eternal union of a man and his wife. Of those whose marriage
endures in eternity, the Lord says, ‘Then shall they be gods’ (D&C 132:20); that is, each of
them, the man and the woman, will be a god. As such they will rule over their dominions
forever” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, 1966, Mormon Doctrine, p. 613; Religion 234–235 – Eternal
Marriage Student Manual, p. 168).
(9) “Because the restored gospel reveals that eternal life with our Heavenly Father will be
lived in family units, we would be wise to place a high priority in this life on preparing for
and developing rewarding marriage relationships and roles as effective fathers and mothers. If
we have been regarding too lightly the inspired counsel of the prophets on marriage, we may
want to reorient our thinking. All the prophets in recent years have made powerful statements
affirming that all who have the opportunity should work to attain eternal marriage and develop
an eternal family unit. Nevertheless, Satan will seek to have us do otherwise, and enticing
voices will speak to us of worldly achievements and acquisitions that may lead us on dangerous
detours from which we can return only with great effort. Small, seemingly insignificant choices
along the way will have large consequences that will determine our eventual destiny” (Religion
234–235 – Eternal Marriage Student Manual, p. 165). This Mormon teaching implies that you are
actually following Satan if you choose to remain single.
(10) “Marriage according to the law of the Church is the most holy and sacred ordinance. It
will bring to the husband and the wife, if they abide in their covenants, the fulness of
exaltation in the kingdom of God” (ibid, p. 38).
(11) “Exaltation is eternal fatherhood and eternal motherhood” (ibid, p. 81)
(12) “Exaltation consists in the continuation of the family unit in eternity” (Doctrinal New
Testament Commentary, 1:546; Religion 234–235 – Eternal Marriage Student Manual, p. 81).
(13) “Exaltation grows out of the eternal union of a man and his wife” (ibid, p. 168).
(14) “No man can be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God without the woman, and no woman can
reach perfection and exaltation in the kingdom of God, alone. . . . God instituted marriage in
the beginning. He made man in His own image and likeness, male and female, and in their
creation it was designed that they should be united together in sacred bonds of marriage, and
one is not perfect without the other” (President Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, April
1913, p. 118; Religion 234–235 – Eternal Marriage Student Manual, p. 175).
(15) “Only those who enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in the temple for
time and eternity, only those will have the exaltation in the celestial kingdom. That is what
the Lord tells us”(President Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1973, p. 120; Ensign,
January 1974, p. 100; Religion 234–235 – Eternal Marriage Student Manual, p. 193).
This is not the first time that there have been doctrinal shifts in LDS theology. The Word of
Wisdom is another prime example. Originally it was not by way of commandment. Today it is–and
all without a subsequent revelation. You cannot obtain a temple recommend without obeying the
Word of Wisdom. But this teaching about eternal life has flip-flopped so many times.
Is eternal life a free gift that is bestowed or something that must be earned?
“Resurrection, or immortality, comes to every man and every woman as an unconditional gift.
Eternal life, or celestial glory or exaltation, is a conditional gift. Conditions of this gift
have been established by the Lord, who said, “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. Those
qualifying conditions include faith in the Lord, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost,
and remaining faithful to the ordinances and covenants of the temple” (Salvation and
Exaltation, 178th General Conference, April 2008, Elder Russell M. Nelson).
There are many conditions placed upon Latter-day Saints before the Mormon Jesus bestows the
gift of eternal life on them.
(1) You must be baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. No one outside
of the Mormon Church will inherit eternal life.
(2) You must receive the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
(3). You must receive the temple endowment.
(4) You must be married for time and eternity.
(source: Gospel Principles, pp. 303-304).
Point 4 (also taught in the “Celestial Marriage” chapter of Religion 430-431 – Doctrines of the
Gospel Student Manual) has been recently contradicted in the 178th General Conference by Elder
Russell M. Nelson, in “Salvation and Exaltation,”–when he said, “What about those who are not
able to marry in this life or those who cannot be sealed to their parents in this life? We know
that the Lord will judge each of us according to the desires of our hearts, as well as our
works, and that the blessings of exaltation will be given to all who are worthy.”
Before you receive the temple endowment, you must be interviewed for a temple recommend.
To obtain a temple recommend, you must obey these conditions:
(1) Have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy
Ghost. Have a firm testimony of the restored gospel.
(2) Sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet,
Seer, and Revelator. Recognize him as the only person on earth authorized to exercise all
(3) Live the law of chastity
(4) Pay a full-tithe.
(5) Keep the Word of Wisdom. You cannot drink coffee, no tea, or smoke.
(6) Be honest in your dealings with others.
(7) Strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and priesthood
meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel.
(source: Gospel Principles, p. 245).
In addition to this, there are other things Latter-day Saints must do to have eternal life
(some are duplicates of the above ones):
(1) Love and worship God.
(2) Love your neighbor.
(3) Repent of your wrongdoings.
(4) Live the law of chastity.
(5) Pay honest tithes and offerings.
(6) Be honest in your dealings with others and with the Lord.
(7) Speak the truth always.
(8) Obey the Word of Wisdom.
(9) Search out our kindred dead and perform the saving ordinances of the gospel for them.
(10) Keep the Sabbath day holy.
To keep the Sabbath day holy, you should not shop, hunt, fish, attend sports events, or
participate in similar activities on that day. This would also include not watching
entertainment on television. (Gospel Principles, p. 161).
(11) Attend your Church meetings as regularly as possible so you can renew your baptismal
covenants by partaking of the sacrament.
(12) Love your family members and strengthen them in the ways of the Lord.
(13) Have family and individual prayers every day.
(14) Honor your parents.
(15) Teach the gospel to others by word and example.
(16) Study the scriptures.
(17) Listen to and obey the inspired words of the prophets of the Lord.
(source: Gospel Principles, pp. 303-304).
The Bible and Book of Mormon – saved by grace alone?
The discussion on whether someone is saved by grace or grace + works is a major thesis in
itself, but let’s examine both the Book of Mormon and the Bible to see what they say for
Judging from these texts, they would support the biblical teaching that we are saved by grace
alone, and if we decide to go the route of Law + Grace, then we cannot fail to keep any of the
commandments otherwise we are cursed.
Before we begin, let's look at a mostly quoted section in the Book of Mormon.
“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” (2 Nephi 25:23).
Do you believe as Nephi did that God’s commandments are conditional (try to do what you can and
then add grace to it) or unconditional (you must do all that God commands)?
The following will show what is the real intent on why the Law (the commandments) was given.
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Curse is
every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do
them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just
shall live by faith” (Gal. 3:10-11). “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid;
for it there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have
been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of
Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe” (Gal. 3:21-22).
“But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should
afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us into Christ, that we
might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a
schoolmaster” (Gal 3:23-25).
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”
(Eph. 2:8). “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works,
but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world
began” (2 Tim. 1:9).
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by
the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5).
“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” (2 Nephi 2:8).
“After ye are reconciled to God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are
saved” (2 Nephi 10:24). “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” (2 Nephi 2:5).
“For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are
made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments” (2
Nephi 25:25). “And, inasmuch as it shall be expedient, ye must keep the performances and
ordinances of God until the law shall be fulfilled which was given unto Moses” (2 Nephi 25:30).
“Teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look
forward unto the Messiah” (Jarom 1:11). “And now ye have said that salvation cometh by the law
of Moses. I say unto you that it is expedient that ye should keep the law of Moses as yet; but
I say unto you, that the time shall come when it shall no more be expedient to keep the law of
Moses” (Mosiah 13:27).
“Therefore there was a law given them, yea, a law of performances and of ordinances, a law
which they were to observe strictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and
their duty towards him. But behold, I say unto you, that all these things were types of things
to come” (Mosiah 13:30-31).
“And now, did they understand the law? I say unto you, Nay, they did not all understand the
law; and this because of the hardness of their hearts; for they understood not that there could
not any man be saved except it were through the redemption of God” (Mosiah 13:32).
“And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow apath, I would
ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by
the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is
mighty to save” (2 Nephi 31:19).
The second President of the LDS Church said, “Every ordinance, every commandment and
requirement is necessary for the salvation of the human family” (Teachings of Presidents of the
Church – Brigham Young, Chapter 2, p. 18).
Can anyone on earth be saved by following this Brigham Young teaching?
Who is saved? Should Latter-day Saints be afraid?
There are confusing opinions in the Mormon scriptures on who is saved.
One teaching by Joseph Smith says that no one will perish, except for the sons of perdition.
Rather, those individuals who do not become gods will be delegated to the telestial,
terrestrial, or two lesser sections of the celestial kingdom (D&C 76). Those who become gods
will reside in the highest of the three divisions of the celestial kingdom (D&C 131:1-4).
One teaching (by Gerald N. Lund) from the April 1981
edition of the Ensign magazine says
those in the telestial, terrestrial, and two lower divisions of the
celestial kingdom suffer
spiritual death (online,
"But, if we wish to overcome spiritual death and enter back into
God’s presence, we must be
obedient to laws and principles. This is exaltation by works. Thus, according to this explanation,
we are saved by grace and exalted by works."
"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.
few exceptions this is the salvation of which the scriptures speak. It is the salvation which the
saints seek.” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 670.)
Other teachings by Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon reveal that only the gods (those who
attain eternal life) are saved, while the others are damned.
“God has decreed that all who will not obey His voice shall not escape the damnation of hell.
What is the damnation of hell? To go with that society who have not obeyed His commands ... A
man is his own tormentor and his own condemner. Hence the saying, They shall go into the lake
that burns with fire and brimstone [see Revelation 21:8]. The torment of disappointment in the
mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. I say, so is the torment
of man ... Some shall rise to the everlasting burnings of God, for God dwells in everlasting
burnings, and some shall rise to the damnation of their own filthiness, which is as exquisite a
torment as the lake of fire and brimstone” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church – Joseph
Smith, 2008, p. 224).
“And the righteous shall be gathered on my right hand unto eternal life; and the wicked on my
left hand will I be ashamed to own before the Father. Wherefore I will say unto them – Depart
from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (D&C
The wicked (those who don't become gods) are cursed with everlasting fire.
“Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the
tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned
with celestial glory, when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward every man
according as his work shall be; While the tares shall be bound in bundles, and their bands made
strong, that they may be burned with unquenchable fire” (D&C 101:65-66).
The tares (those who don’t inherit eternal life–who don't become gods) will be burned.
One finds a similar teaching in the Book of Mormon.
Alma 5:21 says, “no man can be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments
must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it
has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.” In
verse 24, we see that the saved people “have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with
Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are
cleansed and are spotless, pure and white” (see also Alma 7:21, 25). These people are with God
in the highest division of the celestial kingdom because they have reached godhood (D&C 132:30,
If one doesn’t have this place in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham and Jacob, then “they
shall be cast out for they are the children of the kingdom of the devil” (Alma 5:25). “Behold
ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not
eternal life” (v. 28). If you do not have eternal life in the kingdom of heaven with God, then
your kingdom is of the devil.
There are only two choices: eternal life or eternal death (2 Nephi 2:27-29)–“Wherefore, men are
free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And
they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, ... or to choose captivity and death,
according to the captivity and power of the devil ... look to the great Mediator ... be
faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life ... And not choose eternal death ... which
giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign
over you in his own kingdom.”
Those who don’t choose eternal life and become gods end up choosing eternal death–to go to hell
and to remain miserable with the devil in his kingdom (vv. 18, 27-29). It appears that the LDS
version of the Telestial kingdom, Terrestrial kingdom, and two lower sections of the Celestial
Kingdom is for those who choose eternal death according to Nephi.
We find a similar teaching by Alma, another Book of Mormon prophet: “I know that he allotteth
unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills,
whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction” (Alma 29:4). You are either saved to be
with God in heaven or you are destroyed.
Joseph Smith seems to have been confused and offered up various rewards and punishments for
those who didn’t inherit eternal life or godhood. Joseph F. Smith was also confused in that he
believed that the spirits in prison (those who would never attain eternal life) would qualify
to enter the terrestrial kingdom (D&C 138:34; D&C 76:73).
Like their predecessors Joseph Smith and Joseph F. Smith before them, Latter-day Saints today
do not believe in the Book of Mormon’s teaching on the probationary period–the time for men to
prepare to meet God (Alma 34:32-35; 40:11-14). Instead, they believe as Joseph F. Smith–the
wicked who rejected the prophets would have another probationary period–what some could call
the third estate (D&C 138:21, 29, 32). The Book of Mormon clearly explains the punishment for
those who do not get eternal life, and what happens to the wicked between death and
LDS Presidents have abrogated the scriptures which they claim to believe in and have
substituted other destinations like the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms.
Let’s look at other examples.
Helaman 13:38 says, “But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the
day of your salvation until is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure.”
“Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, they ye are found
unclean before the judgement-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore,
ye must be cast off forever” (1 Nephi 10:21). The wicked do not have a second chance after they
Latter-day Saints who read the Book of Mormon should be very familiar with the verses that
speak about enduring to the end and being saved to inherit eternal life (2 Nephi 31:16, 20).
But what they don't realize is that the LDS Church teaches against 3 Nephi 27:17–“And he that
endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from
whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.”
Helaman 12:23, 25-26 explains it again–“Therefore, blessed are they who will repent and hearken
unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved ... And I would
that all men might be saved. But we read that in the great and last day there are some who
shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord; Yea, who shall be
consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done
good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting
damnation. And thus it is. Amen.”
Those who are not in God’s presence (in His kingdom) are cast out.
The LDS Church, with her teachings about the telestial and terrestrial kingdoms as stated
previously, believes that one can return from the fire if one does not endure to the end.
There is also an altered interpretation of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke
16:20-31). It is believed by some that this parable only applied to the time before Christ’s