The LDS Bible Dictionary entry on faith states that one of the effects of true faith in Christ is "an assurance of personal salvation in the world to come." How does this assurance compare to the Methodist doctrine on assurance? What do they have in common and what is distinct?
I was a member of the LDS church for 20 years. I've been a Methodist for 2 years.
The sentence from the LDS Bible Dictionary:
The effects of true faith in Jesus Christ include (1) an actual knowledge that the course of life one is pursuing is acceptable to the Lord (see Heb. 11:4); (2) a reception of the blessings of the Lord that are available to man in this life; and (3) an assurance of personal salvation in the world to come.
In LDS church doctrine, all people will be saved. What this means is that all people will be resurrected, and as spirits, regain a perfected body.
However, your place in the kingdoms of God is determined by how you lived your life. Mormons work so that they will be worthy of the highest kingdom of God, the celestial kingdom.
The LDS church has an obscure ordinance called the second anointing.
In the Latter Day Saint movement, the second anointing, also known historically and in Latter Day Saint scripture as the fulness of the priesthood, is an obscure and relatively rare ordinance usually conducted in temples as extension of the Nauvoo Endowment ceremony. Founder Joseph Smith, Jr. cited the "fulness of the priesthood" as one of the reasons for building the Nauvoo Temple (D&C 124:28). In the ordinance, a participant is anointed as a "priest and king" or a "priestess and queen", and is sealed to the highest degree of salvation available in Mormon theology. Those who participate in this ordinance are said to have their "calling and election made sure",...
So yes, according to LDS doctrine, you can have an assurance of personal salvation. However, a member of the LDS church has to work very hard to be worthy of a second anointing.
The LDS church doctrine is based on salvation by works. Many, many works.
The sentence from the Methodist doctrine of assurance:
John Wesley believed that all Christians have a faith which implies an assurance of God's forgiving love, and that one would feel that assurance, or the "witness of the Spirit"
This comes from Romans 8:16:
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
John Wesley delivered a sermon entitled "The Witness of the Spirit".
Here's the pertinent line from the sermon:
The testimony of the Spirit is an inward impression on the soul, whereby the Spirit of God directly witnesses to my spirit, that I am a child of God; that Jesus Christ hath loved me, and given himself for me; and that all my sins are blotted out, and I, even I, am reconciled to God.
Basically, it's God assuring us that God loves us and is with us, no matter what we did or didn't do.
Methodist doctrine is based on salvation by grace. Works do not earn you a place in heaven, but rather strengthen our character and serve others through God.