The Facts on The Mormon Church (Harvest House, 1991) p. 22
Do Mormons teach that true salvation occurs only by good works and personal righteousness?
From its inception, the Mormon Church has consistently and adamantly opposed the clear biblical teaching of justification by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8,9; Philippians 3:9). In fact, few religions are more hostile to the biblical teaching of salvation by grace than Mormonism. Talmage refers to “a most pernicious doctrine—that of justification by belief alone.”* Joseph Fielding Smith taught that “mankind [is] damned by [the] ‘faith alone’ doctrine.”* McConkie complains, “Many Protestants…erroneously conclude that men are saved by grace alone without doing the works of righteousness.”*
Because salvation by grace is thoroughly rejected, Mormonism forcefully teaches a system of salvation by works of righteousness and personal merit. Both the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants teach “works salvation.”* Further, virtually every Mormon authority of past and present has emphasized the absolute necessity of salvation by works and personal righteousness.
Heber C. Kimball taught, “I have power to save myself, and if I do not save myself, who will save me? All have that privilege, and naught can save us but obedience to the commandments of God.”* Talmage refers to “the absolute requirement of individual compliance with the laws and ordinances of his [Jesus’] gospel by which salvation may be attained.”* Joseph Fielding Smith emphasized that “the new birth is also a matter of obedience to law.”* Bruce McConkie thinks that the great defender of justification by faith alone, the apostle Paul, is “the apostle of good works, of personal righteousness, of keeping the commandments, of pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ, of earning the right to eternal life by the obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”*
*For full documentation, please see The Facts on The Mormon Church.