A Loaded Question
“Are you saved? How do you know?” These types of questions can get a wide range of responses. For example, Evangelical Christians point to a specific, personal conversion experience (or event) in which they are “born again” or “saved.” Evangelicals also believe the work of Jesus on the cross, through his death and resurrection, is the only source of salvation and forgiveness of sins. The criticism of some, including LDS church members might be that faith, or a declaration of faith, alone is not sufficient to save.
Even the response to this question from an average LDS church member may be a little more open ended or even uncertain. Traditionally or even culturally, LDS members see salvation as a process of qualifications that include faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost or even current temple recommend and temple ordinances. The criticism here by other Christians is that Mormons are too focused on earning salvation through qualified works. If you ask your average LDS member if they are saved, many would be hard pressed to answer yes, perhaps even thinking that their salvation still hangs in the balance until after they die and are brought before the judgement seat of Christ: “Well, I sure hope so–I attend the temple regularly, attend all my church meetings, pay a full tithe, obey the word of wisdom, serve in my calling, and I do all the things on the checklist I’m told to do by the prophets and apostles, my stake president, and bishop. I still make mistakes and sin, though. I try to repent. But, actually, I’m not really sure.”
This has been a long standing question or controversy in the Christian world as to whether a person is saved by faith, or faith plus works. Opinions on this abound, and I’m sure there are a lot of variations scattered across the spectrum of faith and works. I’d like to address the question of, “Are you saved?” in the context of the Doctrine of Christ. In this context, you can understand that your salvation should never hang in the balance. You can know exactly where you are in this journey. There doesn’t need to be any hesitancy.
In the context of the doctrine of Christ, “salvation” or being “saved” is both a process and marked by events. A few points to understand about God and salvation:
- God (plural) are more intelligent and are glorified beings.
- God administrates and bestows the salvation of each man or woman. It’s 100% individual and personal.
- To receive the salvation of God is a process of receiving increases in a portion of the glory of God. Receiving any increase in God’s glory is a gift, because of the mercy and love of God.
- The glory of God is immense power, light, truth and intelligence.
- The Holy Ghost makes it possible to safely receive, embrace or endure this immense glory of God in the form of gifts. Receiving these gifts can therefore become the measurable events of our salvation.
For more pondering on the Holy Ghost, see the “Principles of What the Holy Ghost Is” section in The 3 Voices of Personal Revelation Study Guide.
Your Salvation Begins With Repentance
We are told, “no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God” (Alma 11:37; 40:26). The stain of the world is all we need in order to realize our uncleanliness. Repentance is choosing the things of God over the love of the things of the world. Repentance is literally turning away from the world and “returning” to the Lord.
Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved! (Alma 5:31)
Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved. (Mormon 7:3)
Simply “returning” to the Lord allows the Lord to bestow light upon you. It is not visible to the “natural eye,” but through “spiritual eyes” you will always see a visible light (glory of God) associated with your own spirit or other spirits.
General Evidence of Your Personal Salvation
God administrates the affairs of salvation for each person through the receiving, bestowal and the enduring of God’s gifts. Repentance allows you the opportunity to receive all of God’s gifts through the Holy Ghost. The gifts of Salvation are many and include:
- The truth power of the Holy Ghost—Testator in momentary experiences of God’s words of truth. (Moroni 10:3-5; John 14:23; Matthew 16:16-17)
- The Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost—God, through the Holy Ghost sanctifies your spirit and body by its power. This sanctification of the Holy Ghost allows the greater presence of God to now dwell in you [receiving and enduring of the gift of the Holy Ghost (The first comforter)].
- The Gift of the Holy Ghost (The First Comforter)—The constant companionship of the Holy Ghost that is received after having received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost (sanctification). The prior sanctification of the Holy Ghost allows the greater and constant presence of God to now dwell in you (the Gift of the Holy Ghost) which is literally His personal gift to you. (2 Nephi 31:13; D&C 75:10-11;Moses 6:66; Acts 1 and 2)
- God’s Power—The ability to receive God’s power to see, know, and exercise God’s power in the flesh. (Alma 8:30-31: 3 Nephi 7:15; D&C 10:1)
- The Presence of God and Angels—The ability to see, endure and receive the presence of God “and remain in the flesh.” (Moses 1:1-5; Alma 13:12; D&C 14:8)
- Prophecy—the ability to receive truth directly from God and communicate to others. (2 Nephi 33:1; D&C 34:10; 18:35; 42:5-6; Acts 2:4; Moses 6:32)
- Visions of Light—Gives and distributes God’s knowledge or truth of the past, present and future. (2 Pet. 1:21)
- Comfort—Gives and distributes the love of God; Assures with the love of God. (John 14:26)
- Many Other Gifts—Countless other gifts to receive in the flesh (as mortals). (D&C 46:9-33; Moroni 10:5-18)
The Greatest Gift
According to the Lord and Nephi, the greatest of all God’s gifts is eternal life, which is to receive the presence of the Savior and become a witness of His glory and the marks of His atonement.
- (D&C 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.
- (1 Nephi 15:36) Wherefore, the wicked are rejected from the righteous, and also from that tree of life, whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits; yea, and it is the greatest of all the gifts of God. And thus I spake unto my brethren. Amen.
Major Events of Your Salvation
There are many gifts of God to receive. However, per the Doctrine of Christ, the scriptures identify the major events or milestones in your personal salvation.
“And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God” (3 Nephi 11:32-33).
Consistent with the Doctrine of Christ, the major events of your personal salvation are:
- Repentance and believe in God (faith)
- Receive your baptism of water, fire (spirit), and blood (Moses 6:59-62)
- Receiving of the gift of the Holy Ghost
- Receiving the presence of the Savior in His glory and becoming a witness of the marks of His atonement (Second Comforter experience)
The gifts of God don’t stop here. Gifts will continue to be bestowed by God as you fulfill your personal mission and the growth of your spirit even unto translation and more.
Continue in Your Personal Salvation
In the context of the Doctrine of Christ, salvation is both a process and measurable events. This is a blessing that allows a person to know where they stand with respect to their personal salvation. In general, each person can identify how much glory that God has bestowed upon them by identifying the gifts they have received. However, the scriptures tell us there are major milestones in our personal salvation. And with any uncertainty, a person can always ask God for confirmation about the gifts received or not.
We invite you to seek to receive a complete redemption according to the Doctrine of Christ. We invite you to “seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given” (D&C 46:8)–even seek after the greatest of all the gifts of God, even the presence and glory of the Savior in mortality. Your salvation only hangs in the balance when you don’t realize there will always be more to receive and become–now, in this life!
From the words of Nephi, who saw our day:
“Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” (2 Nephi 28:29-30)
For more on personal salvation through the Doctrine of Christ, study The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide.