A primary point in the Reformation was the issue of sola fide--the position that salvation is by faith alone, apart from works. This was to distinguish the position that works were necessary for salvation.

In LDS/Mormon theology, what is the position on faith and works in salvation? Is it sola fide or something else?

  • I don't know for sure (hence why this is a comment) but since Mormon and then LDS were created by a Freemason, I suspect that works play an important role. That doesn't mean that there is no grace or that works will gain your salvation, however.
    – user1054
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 21:52
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    Mormon is a person, Mormons is a term used to describe members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As is LDS. As for a Freemason influencing the doctrine of the LDS church when Joseph Smith had his first vision he was only 14 and NOT a freemason...
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 22:30
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    I think its also worth noting that the LDS church(es) are not considered a part of Protestantism, they are usually considered a part of Restorationism. Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 17:30
  • I apologize if I made it sound as if Freemasonry plays an important role in Mormonism or a bases of Mormonism - it wasn't my intent.
    – user1054
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 18:06
  • @DanAndrews its ok, I wasn't offended I was just wanting to make sure that any miss-information was cleared up.
    – Ryan
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 21:35

2 Answers 2


As consolidated as I can make this: Mormons believe that we are saved from death by the grace of Christ, that faith is demonstrated by good works, and that these combined result in salvation.

Interestingly, I've often heard it accused that the LDS doctrine is that works save. I've come to find this is not true, for while works are required for salvation, no amount of good deeds will actually redeem us from spiritual death.

The actual LDS doctrine is that only by the grace and power which is in Christ can man be saved, after all we can do. Nephi wrote it:

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

Jacob, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, makes this clear too:

11 Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.

Ammon, a missionary in the Book of Mormon, teaches the relationship between faith and works:

18 Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.

Evidently by our faith we are expected to bring about works, which do not save us, but which are of benefit to our neighbors, and that is a quality of Christ.

Alma also makes this clear:

24 And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.

And earlier in Chapter 5, Alma is exhorting the people of Zarahemla to follow Christ:

16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?

17 Or do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say—Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth—and that he will save you?

... 41 Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.

Our works reflect who we follow.

Hence, Christ saves, not faith. By our faith in Christ comes good works, and although works do not save, our faith in Christ (and all that implies) qualifies us for salvation.

For further reading:

  • That's an interesting phrase --"by grace... after all we can do." Would it be accurate to describe this as "by grace, through faith, accompanied by works"?
    – Narnian
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 13:42
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    @Narnian That's an interesting way to put it. I carefully exhausted all the more correct ways I could think of explaining it in my post, but I suppose so. However, I often think of Nephi's statement "after all we can do" as something like, "no matter what we ourselves can do", as if to emphasize that only the Savior has saving power, not our works no matter how good they are.
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 4:48
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    @Matt the "after all we can do" phrase is really interesting, because 2 Ne 2:5-6 makes it clear that by both the spiritual and temporal laws, all men are cut off, because all have sinned. So "all we can do" is really "nothing", because nothing we could do would ever atone for our own sins. However, Christ asks that we live according to the law as if it could redeem us, and He accepts that show of faith and intent as "payment" for His grace. Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 20:07
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    @Matt, great post. I like what Neal A Maxwell said: "the submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” ... are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. [Our will] is the only possession which is truly ours to give!" So... back to "all we can do" -- "all we can do" won't save us, but it represents the gift of our wills to God, and that submission allows His grace to change us, i.e. save us. Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 0:56

Super short summery: No it is not like sola fide.

Now really long answer:

Are LDS saved by faith? Yes absolutely. The thing to understand here is that death and the Resurrection are viewed differently in LDS doctrine. Latter-day Saints believe EVERYONE will be brought back into the presence of God, because of the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. Now this is where works come in. It does not matter what your works were, you are going to be judged and go before the Bar of God, that's a given; where you go after that depends on your works. James said works were required in the New Testament here:

James 2:17-20: 17) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18) Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19) Thou believest that their is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20) But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead.

To expand on that:

Latter-day Saints believe that we were all in the presence of God the Father before we were on earth and that the fall separated us from the presence of God. This did 2 things it caused a spiritual death at that time because our spirits were separated from God's presence. It also made us mortal and opened us to physical death. So there were 2 deaths which Christ overcame and we all receive that blessing. But we are subject after the judgement to a second death. Where our faith and works will determine if we are welcomed back into the presence of God or we are again separated from Him.

The term taking upon yourself the name of Christ is very literal in Latter-day Saint doctrine. Christ is described as going about doing good so if we are to follow Him and take His name upon ourselves then it would logically follow that we would also need to go about doing good.

Sorry for the long answer but its not a simple question of what is the doctrine since the underlying principles behind it need to be explained in this case or its a lot harder to understand (and explain) what the view is of Faith and Works.

  • Whats with the random downvote 2 years later?
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 17:16

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