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Do Latter-day Saints Believe We are Saved by Faith or Works?

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Question: Do Latter-day Saints Believe We are Saved by Faith or Works?
A frequent question members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are asked is what we believe about being saved. Are individuals saved by faith in Christ (God's grace) or by good works?
Answer: To answer this question two things need to be clarified:
  1. We don't believe in just one or the other, just faith or works. We believe in both. Both faith in Christ and good works are necessary for eternal life.

  2. There are two different ways of being saved because there are two forms of death: physical and spiritual.

    Physical death is the separation of the body and the spirit (see Death in the Plan of Salvation) while spiritual death is the separation of an individual from the presence of God. Everyone born on earth (see The Creation, the Fall, and Birth) experiences both physical and spiritual death. Because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ all will be saved from physical death, all will be resurrected and live again. We call this Salvation.

    To be saved from spiritual death, one must obey God's commandments. When we do we become cleansed from our sins and are saved from spiritual death because we are now worthy to return to God's presence. We call this Eternal Life.
God's commandments include having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repenting, being baptized, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Another of God's commandments is to have Charity (the pure love of Christ) for our fellowmen. This is taught by the prophet Moroni in the Book of Mormon:

"And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope" (Moroni 10:21.)

Obedience to God's commandments are our "works" and when we follow them we are cleansed from our sins, thus making us worthy of eternal life (returning to live with God) but we can only be cleansed from our sins because of the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Thus we must have both faith in Christ and good works (obedience to God's commandments) to be saved, or more accurately, to have eternal life. We do believe that everyone will be saved (from physical death) and have salvation (a perfect, resurrected body) but to be saved from spiritual death each individual must choose to accept Christ and keep God's commandments. Learn more about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how the Atonement of Christ saves us.

Also see:
  1. About.com
  2. Religion & Spirituality
  3. Latter-day Saints
  4. Beliefs and Doctrine
  5. Jesus Christ
  6. Saved by Faith or Works? - Works or Faith

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