THE CROSS UNVEILED
Last Update: 12/2013
Does the Book of Mormon agree with the Mormon Doctrine of Salvation?
Recall that Mormon doctrine teaches two types of salvation:
1. General Salvation - A resurrection which comes to every human and is all Jesus' atonement pays for. Faith is not required.
2. Individual Salvation - This is based on our own performance record and what gets one into one of three levels of heaven or cast into outer darkness.
It is an irreconcilable problem that neither of the Mormon salvations is contextually proclaimed in the Book of Mormon. It teaches in several areas that eternal salvation is by grace through faith alone absent our own efforts (works, moral conformity, obedience to laws, etc.) and contradict each salvation type from Mormon doctrine (3 Nephi 11:31-40, Alma 11:37-40, Alma 22:13-18, Mosiah 3:9-13, Mosiah 5:7-10, 3 Nephi 9:14-17).
3 Nephi 11:31-40
The first example is one of the clearest in terms of the doctrine of Jesus in the Book of Mormon. In 3 Nephi 11:31-40 Jesus states, “Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine. 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. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. …Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil...” (emphasis mine)
These verses cannot be referring to a general salvation because it's not available to all; it states inheritance of the kingdom of heaven with God is only available to those who repent and believe in Christ. Since it's conditional, they must be referring to individual salvation, but do you see how it contradicts Mormon doctrine, which adds in obedience to a long list of laws, ordinances and personal works and performance? Jesus declares in the Book of Mormon that if anything is added or subtracted to this doctrine of repentance and belief in Him, then it comes from evil. Would this include things like baptisms for the dead, plural marriage, united order, word of wisdom, law of chastity, law of tithing, going to the temple to be endowed and sealed, learning secret handshakes, names, signs, tokens, keeping all the other laws and ordinances of the LDS church, etc.?
Let’s now examine Alma 11:37-40 which says, “And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.” Alma has laid the foundation that sin is what separates us from inheriting the kingdom of heaven. It is made clear here that he does not refer to resurrection, but refers to inheriting heaven.
Alma then goes on to state that the Son of God [Jesus] is the Eternal Father of heaven and earth, beginning and the end, the first and the last. This biblical teaching contradicts another major Mormon doctrine in that Mormons believe Jesus and God the Father are separate Gods, but that is another topic. Verse 40 says, “And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else.”
Alma teaches that God himself has come down into the world as Jesus Christ to redeem His people (Yet another biblical teaching that contradicts Mormon doctrine). Jesus takes upon Himself the sins of those who believe on His name and that these are the only people that have eternal life and salvation comes to none else. There is another problem with this verse and the Mormon view of salvation. It plainly states that only those who believe on His name have eternal life and salvation comes to no one else. So this verse could not possibly be referring to a general salvation because it is not offered to all as it is singling out only those who believe in the name of Jesus. Since it is conditional to believing in Christ, it must be referring to individual salvation. Yet again, these verses explicitly and clearly state that salvation and eternal life in heaven is gained only by believing Jesus Christ without all the extra requirements Mormon adds.