The Impossible Gospel of Mormonism

In discussions about the nature of salvation, Mormons will often point to James 2:17 & 26 ("faith without works is dead") as biblical support that salvation requires faith and works. For the Mormon, this echoes the teaching of the Book of Mormon: "for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23).

When a Mormon cites the 2 Nephi passage, simply respond with a question: What does the Book of Mormon mean by "all we can do?"

The clear teaching of Mormon scripture provides the answer to this question. Look up the following passages with the Mormon:

* 2 Nephi 9:23-24

* Moroni 10:32

* I Nephi 3:7

* Alma 11:37

* Doctrine & Covenants 58:42-43

* Alma 34:30-35 (use this verse last)

* Mormonism requires moral perfection. It requires a total abandonment of sin. Citing Matthew 5:48, LDS prophet Spencer Kimball states God "would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal."

* After demonstrating the clear teaching of Mormonism, ask the Mormon a final question: Are you perfect right now? Clearly, perfection is required and this question will help the Mormon feel the existential force of that requirement. Mormonism teaches an Impossible Gospel.

* For an extended discussion of the "Impossible Gospel" of Mormonism, see the following articles by Jim Wallace, a youth pastor in Southern California who's doing excellent training with his junior high and high school students:

* Part 1

* Part 2

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Melinda Penner