I didn't start up this blog with the intent to use it as a forum to preach doctrine, but rather to share my thoughts and also writing tips. Well, today I've been thinking about doctrine, so you get a two-fer, I guess.
I read a lot of Christian fiction. It has an uplifting message and I know I can trust it to be clean. There are a few minor doctrinal differences between the subjects in the book and what I personally believe, but they are so minor, it's really not an issue.
One thing that does concern me, though, is that when I go online to learn more about Christian fiction or authors, etc, I inevitably stumble across websites that explain, from a Christian point of view, what Mormons believe. This concerns me because in many instances, the information being given is incorrect.
Take, for instance, grace vs. works. There are some Christians who feel that Mormons believe that our works will save us. I'd like to take a moment to address this, not because I'm trying to start an argument or to preach, but because I'd like to clear up some of the misunderstandings, and to gain better grounds of communication with my Christian friends.
Mormons do not believe that our works alone save us. We very much believe that it is through Christ that we are saved. When we talk about doing good works, it's not because we are picturing a huge tallyboard in the sky, with points for every good thing we do, and when we hit a million points, we go to Heaven. That's just not how it is.
We believe in performing good works because:
1. We want to be like Christ, and Christ did good works.
2. When we do good works, we feel closer to Christ.
3. We believe that those who believe in Christ are His hands on the earth, and that by doing good works, we can help Him reach out to those who need Him.
4. Doing good works makes us happy.
Now, as far as the good works getting us into Heaven, I do pose a few questions. We've been taught that no unclean thing can enter the Kingdom of God. Wouldn't we all agree that doing good works helps to keep us clean, and so therefore, doing good works would help us feel more at home in the Kingdom of God, where everything is so clean, we would feel ashamed if we were dirty?
Additionally, there is the scripture that says it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do. Doesn't "all we can do" mean that we should be striving to do our best, and then grace will take the the rest of the way?
So to summarize, Mormons do believe that it is through the Atonement of Christ that all mankind is saved. We also believe that it is through obedience, because as we are obedient, we show Him how grateful we are for that Atonement. He couldn't have an ungrateful person live with Him forever. But we do not believe that we get brownie points for our actions and that we can "buy" our way into Heaven with enough casseroles.