Are Mormons going to hell?

From a conversation between me and a friend.

Q: Alma 11:37 says that, as a Mormon, you “cannot be saved in your sins.” D&C 1:31 adds that God cannot “look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” Do you struggle with sin? If so, can it be assumed that you are not saved?

A: “cannot be saved in your sins” + God cannot “look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” – What this means is that everyone has to be purified and made perfect before going back to live with God. Of course nobody can become perfect or pure on their own, which is where the Atonement comes in.

But I think what you’re really getting at is whether Mormons claim to be saved or not. We believe people can move back and forth between good and evil in this life, and that nobody can claim to have their salvation guaranteed while they’re still alive because they haven’t finished the test. We believe people are saved by their acceptance of the Atonement and damned by their rejection of it, and as long as they’re alive they still have a chance to reject it even if they’ve accepted it previously.

I should correct myself. We do believe that a person’s “calling and election can be made sure.” This is where God, through his foreknowledge, knows that a person is never going to reject the Atonement and he therefore tells them that their salvation is guaranteed even though they’re still alive. It’s not that they can’t do anything wrong, God just knows they aren’t going to. However, we believe this is an extremely rare occurrence so when I said “nobody” I really meant “the vast majority”.

Q: D&C 25:15 says that unless a person keeps the commandments “continually,” he cannot go where God is. Do you keep the commandments continually? If not, where do Mormons like you go when they die?

A: Is God saying here that we need to be 100% perfect right now or else go to hell? Of course not. No more than when Christ says in Matt 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” But God doesn’t ever say “I know you’re not perfect so keep the commandments as best you can” because he wants us to strive for the ideal, which is perfection. That said, he does know that we will make mistakes and that’s why we have a Savior. We may stumble, we may fall as we try to keep the commandments perfectly, but the important thing is that we keep picking ourselves up and moving in the right direction. We get into dangerous territory is when we ignore the commandments and don’t even try to keep them, and that’s what I believe God was warning Emma Smith about. Here’s a great article about this very topic – http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=453c6e9ce9b1c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____.

Regarding that question of where we go after we die, Mormons believe the vast majority of those who live on the earth will return to live with our Heavenly Father. My personal opinion is that something like 99.99% of those who have ever lived on the earth or ever will live on the earth will go to Heaven. I think most of us are so ignorant of what’s really going on here on earth that it would be practically impossible to condemn anyone, and I think most people will accept the truth after they die if they didn’t already accept it here on earth.

Comments

  1. We are all agents to ourselves and all of us are responsible for our own actions.We will be judge according to our woks,words and thoughts and no one was exempted no matter what sects you belong.If our work is righteous then it is well with us but if our works is full of darkness then we must face the consequences of our actions.

  2. But we can become perfect in God's eyes by believing and trusting in what Jesus did on the cross in our place therefore putting on His rightouesness so that is what God sees when He looks at us, remembering our trangressions no more past, present, and future. So saved, everlasting life, in the resurrection, and the kingdom of God means we will be with Heavenly Father when we die but we are not just given the gift of living in the afterlife with a chance, of someday if we are worth enough, to get to be with Him, but instead we are worthy because He is worthy and it is all about Him and not about us.

    I took the liberty to do some paraphrasing of some Bible verses to show our Mormon friends what we mean concerning salvation where I have replaced words and phrases such as ‘saved’, ‘everlasting life’, ‘in the resurrection’, and in ‘the kingdom of God’ (singular)with the term ‘CELESTIAL KINGDOM’

    So the choice is being either saved (in the CELESTIAL KINGDOM) or condemnation, outer darkness (Hell).

    John 6:47

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me SHALL BE IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM.

    John 3:16

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but SHALL BE IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM

    For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might BE IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM.

    He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already AND CANNOT BE IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Romans 10:9, 13

    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt BE IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM.’

    For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall BE IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM.’

    Matthew 18:3

    And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM.’

    Acts 16:30-34

    And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to BE IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM?

    And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt BE IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM, 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.

    Matthew 22:30

    For in the CELESTIAL KINGDOM they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

    The difference is that the Bible teaches we do not become gods in the resurrection-THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM, we will not be married there, and we will be like the angels of heaven who are created beings who worship God but we won’t be gods ourselves.

  3. Hi Kent, one problem with your comment is this "I took the liberty to do some paraphrasing of some Bible verses to show our Mormon friends what we mean concerning salvation where I have replaced words and phrases such as ‘saved’, ‘everlasting life’, ‘in the resurrection’, and in ‘the kingdom of God’ (singular)with the term ‘CELESTIAL KINGDOM’"

    The problem here is that Mormons do not use all those terms interchangeably with the term "celestial kingdom". To explain further, Mormons believe that everyone who lives on this earth with a physical body will be resurrected, regardless of whether they lived lives that were good or evil. Mormons believe that after the resurrection, the judgment will come and that everyone will be divided into one of four camps; the Celestial Kingdom, The Telestial Kingdom, and the Terrestrial Kingdom. And then there is outer darkness, which is different than the other three in that it's not a kingdom (or "existence") that has any "glory" (or any part of what is good). That's where Satan exists, and where I believe only a select few really, really bad people will live out eternity.

    But wait, there's more! Before the resurrection or judgment, there is a waiting room, so to speak. After all, not everyone dies at once, so what happens to people in between their death and their resurrection and judgment? There is a place prepared that is divided into two parts; one for those who are good, and one for those who are bad, to put it in simple terms. The good place is a sort of paradise, and the bad place is a sort of prison.

    The problem is that it's tricky to figure out what's what and many people have become confused about the various terms. When the Bible speaks of heaven is it talking about the paradise in which the righteous wait for the resurrection and judgment, or is it speaking of the Celestial Kingdom? When it speaks of hell is it speaking of the permanent outer darkness, or the temporary prison-like existence? And that's confusing enough for Mormons. For one who isn't aware of how things are set up, which would include anyone who only has the Bible and nothing else, it's that much more confusing.

    So, for example, one might read in Matthew 22:30 "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." and assume this means that in the Celestial Kingdom, or heaven, there is no marriage. But what if Christ was not speaking about the Celestial Kingdom? What if he meant something else entirely?

    Likewise with the other scriptures, where there is any apparent conflict between Mormons beliefs and the Bible, it is merely a misunderstanding of either Mormon beliefs or the Bible.

  4. Joshua, when we refer to heaven, in the resurrection, the kingdom of God, and everlasting life, we mean that because we believe in Jesus and trust in what He did on the cross in our place, that we can be where God the father and Jesus Christ forever even if we don't go there right away as, because of our faith in Christ, the payment has been made and there is nothing we need to do to get to where you would consider the Celestial Kingdom where God the Father and Jesus Christ are and there is no progression or effort on our part involved.

    Here is the passage in Mark that shows that we in the afterlfie, if we believe in Jesus, don't marry and are as the angels in heaven, who worship God but are not god themselves.

    Mark 12:25

    "For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven."

    I was pointing out the different meaning that we have for some key terms so when a Christian asks a Mormon if he or she is saved, we are not asking if you have been given a chance to climb the ladder to someday be in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus, we are asking if you already qualify to be with Heavenly Father and Jesus, which we believe by putting on Jesus' righteouness and not our own, that we have already qualified to be there by what Jesus did on the cross in our place and it is His blood that paid the price.

    • Regarding the scripture from Mark, what about before "they shall rise from the dead"? That is, is there any scripture that says people cannot be married in between dying and rising from the dead?

      As for the rest, we probably just have to agree to disagree. Mormons believe salvation from death is provided to everyone, regardless of whether they were good or bad, through the resurrection. Mormons believe that salvation is separate from the salvation from sin, which we believe is predicated on doing what Christ said has to be done in order to receive the forgiveness he offers us. It is not our righteousness that provides the latter type of salvation, but to not keep Christ's commandments is to reject that salvation, and we don't believe that anyone who rejects that salvation will receive it. And since we can change our minds, we don't believe anyone is "saved", per se, because while they may accept that salvation today, they could reject it tomorrow. And we also believe that someone who says they accept Christ, but who does not the works he has commanded us to do, is lying about their acceptance of him, or at least ignorant.

  5. I used the paralell passage to Matthew 22:30 in Mark 12:25 to help illustrate my point about how there is no marriage in the afterlife and no godhood for any of us when we die. Sorry Mormons, but I believe that something you consider so important, your temple marriages, are not needed as there is no such thing as eternal marriage.

    Joshua, what other meaning of these verses can you give us?

    I also believe that things like the temple garments and even the temple itself are not needed it is all about Jesus and nothing else and if Jesus was truly among the meeting of the Mormon brethren, there wouldn't be any need for any garments to ward off demons, that is at least my understanding of what the garments are for, as demons flee from Jesus' presence and if people are meeting in His name, He is there with them.

    Matthew 18:20

    For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    • Again, is there any scripture that says there is no marriage between the time of death and the resurrection? Mormons agree that there is no marriage in or after the resurrection–it has to happen prior to that. And those that do not receive the ordinance of eternal marriage do end up as angels, rather than Gods, as the scripture says.

      As for the garments, I've never heard of them being to ward off demons, although I won't deny such a thing either. We are told they will "protect" us, although no specifics are given as to what from. They are physical reminders of sacred covenants we make in the temple. They remind us of the promises we've made to God, the promises he has made to us, and thus they help us to maintain better behavior, that is, to keep our end of the bargain, according to the covenants that have been made. But even taking that scripture literally and your understanding of the purpose of garments, technically Jesus is only in the midst of > 2 people, so it would still pay to have some sort of protection for when you're by yourself, right? :)

  6. Here is an article that explains how we are rescued from the fire by the fireman (Jesus) and how saying we have to do anything, other than believing in Jesus, is an affront to Him. Yes it is possible to fall away and, in effect run back into the fire after we have been rescued, but it is all about what Jesus did for us as, no, we can’t rescue ourselves.

    http://markcares.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/does-st

    One of the many differences that come out in discussions between Mormons and Christians is what is all involved in faith. Christians limit faith itself to trusting in Jesus’ work rather than in their own works to be saved. We do see good works as resulting from faith and closely connected to faith but not part of faith itself. We do that because the Bible not only says works are not part of faith – Ephesians 2:8-9 and other passages but also refers to them as fruits of faith – John 15:5 and other passages

    Another thing many Mormons include in the definition of faith is staying in the faith. But is that true? Say that I was sleeping in my house when it caught fire. The smoke made me unconscious. A fireman rescues me without any help on my part. After I’m rescued, I’m sitting on the sidewalk watching my house burn. But then I remember a prized possession that is still in the house so I rush back into my burning house to try and get it. This time I die. If, however, I didn’t do that and stayed on the sidewalk could I then say that I had to do something to be saved? I don’t think so.

    The Bible talks about believers having been saved with no works on their part – past tense. It talks about believers possessing eternal life – present tense. Both are accomplished facts. Yes, we need to remain in the faith – an encouragement we often hear in the Bible. But does that mean that my staying in the faith contributes to my salvation? No more than my staying out of my burning house contributed to my rescue in the analogy above. In fact, it would be an affront to the fireman who rescued me to claim any credit for my rescue. So also it is an affront to Jesus to say that I did or have to do anything to be saved. But that is exactly what Mormonism teaches. As Robert L. Millet, a BYU professor wrote, “Therefore acting alone, the grace of Christ is not sufficient for salvation. The works of man – the ordinances of salvation, the deeds of service and acts of charity and mercy – are necessary for salvation.” It’s teachings like these that cause us to say that Mormonism is a very dangerous religion.

    • I think this is mostly misunderstanding, and that we actually agree. Like you, we don't believe that anything we do saves us, and although I can see how it sounds as though this is what Robert L. Millet, whom I know personally, by the way, it is not. Our position is merely that while it is Christ who does the rescuing, it is we who accept his rescue. He will not force us to be rescued, nor will he force us to stay rescued. If we do not keep Christ's commandments and do the works he has said we need to do, then we are effectively running back into the burning house. In other words, we believe that staying out of the burning house requires active, purposeful, conscious engagement, it is not just a matter of sitting there and doing nothing.

  7. Joshua, the analogy is that the fire victim is unconscious and he can't do anything to save himself but that the fireman (Jesus) has already rescued us by His death on the cross in our place if we just believe in Him and accept His gift and the works you speak of are evidence that we have been rescued but not what rescues us. I suppose we could, as the author of the article says, run back into the burning house and perish in the fire, but if we do stay on the sidewalk we have already made it, we are already saved from the fire (Hell). The analogy of the fireman shows that since we were unconsious in the fire we would die in the fire without being dragged out of it so what kind of effort could we possibly do to top of add anything to that and even on the sidewalk we will be taken up to where God the Father is in the loving arms of the fireman (Jesus). So we don't have to climb the ladder, so to speak, as we will already be taken there when we die.

    A Mormon I was talking to gave an analogy of a mathematical equation, I hope I get this right as it has been a while, but it goes something like this.

    Saved=(good works-bad works) x Grace.

    Again, I am referring to being saved from outer darkness (Hell) and not just being given a chance to someday be worthy enough to be with Heavenly Father.

    The problem with this is on the side of the equation involving works is this

    Our righteousness without Jesus equals "filthy rags" and "there is none righteous, no not one" and if we have to rely on our own keeping of the law it would have to be 100 percent our whole lives otherwise, in God eyes who can't have any sin whatsoever in His presence, it would equal zero.

    But the good news, the gospel, is that if we believe in Jesus we put on His righteousness and that is what God sees by His grace not our own righteousness.

    So the side of the equation using our works equals zero thus making the whole equation equal to zero.

    On the other hand, Grace by itself equals being saved. Again, it is a free gift that we can't add to and, as I said, the good works are evidence that we have accepted His grace.

  8. But if the fire victim is unconscious, he can't choose to be rescued or not. It is something that happens to him, independent of his choices. But do we not have to choose to accept to be saved? If not, then everyone would be saved, would they not? But if a choice has to be made, then do we not have to admit that salvation requires some action on our part, independent from what Christ does?

    I would agree with you that the equation doesn't make sense. Our works do nothing to save us, because if you commit one tiny sin in your life but do everything else perfectly, you're still 100% damned without grace. Without grace, not a single soul would be saved. I think we agree up to this point. And yet at the same time I would say that without good works, we cannot be saved. How do I reconcile saying our works do nothing to save us, and yet also saying that without good works we cannot be saved?

    Because we believe being saved is a choice. We believe that salvation is offered to us, and we accept it through our works. The works do not save us, they are merely the mode in which we accept salvation. Another analogy might be to give the example of someone reaching from a boat to save a drowning man. Is the drowning man saved because he grabs the arm of the man reaching to rescue him? Well, yes…sort of. And yet you could say he's saved only because the man is reaching out his hand to help him. Without the rescuer, the drowning man could reach his arm out all day and what good would it do him? Likewise, without Christ our good works would all be completely worthless. We are 100% dependent on his sacrifice and the grace of God.

    But if Christ reaches his arm out to save us and we bat it away, will he grab us anyway and haul us out of the water? We don't believe he will. He requires that we grab his arm, and only when we voluntarily accept the salvation he offers us will he pull us out of the water. How do we accept his arm and grab it? By doing the things he has told us to do, like being baptized, keeping the commandments, doing good works, etc. To not do these things, when we know we should, is to actively reject Christ's sacrifice. But again, we are under no illusion that these works save us, we merely see these works as the way we accept Christ's sacrifice.

  9. The Grace of Christ is sufficient to grant us immortality, but Eternal life Mormons believe to be another story entirely.

    Yes in the fire Jesus (the fireman) will save you and pull you out, but have you thought what you'll do after your house is gone and you have no more possessions. You have lost all and all you have with you is yourself, all the things you've learned, and all the knowledge you've gained.

    So essentially yes we believe we are saved, but we perform works and live in accordance with commandments so that we may be prepared for after the fire and begin our Eternal progression and growth.

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