To Mormons "salvation" or being "saved" has a number of different meanings. All Latter-day Saints who have been baptized and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ have in one meaning of the word been "saved," because they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Just as the Apostle Paul taught, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."1
Another meaning of the word "salvation" is the saving of the physical body from the grave and the subsequent resurrection. The Mormon Church teaches that through the resurrection of Jesus Christ all mankind are saved from death.
Like other Christians, Mormons believe that through Christ they are saved from sin, but there are conditions. "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel." 2
"Relying upon the totality of Bible teachings and upon clarifications received through modern revelation, we testify that being cleansed from sin through Christís Atonement is conditioned upon the individual sinnerís faith, which must be manifested by obedience to the Lordís command to repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost. Believers who have had this required rebirth at the hands of those having authority have already been saved from sin conditionally, but they will not be saved finally until they have completed their mortal probation with the required continuing repentance, faithfulness, service, and enduring to the end." 3
In the Book of Mormon Nephi teaches, "For we labor diligently Ö to persuade our children Ö 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." 4
What is all we can do? To Mormons this means being baptized, keeping the commandments of God, repenting of sins, and enduring to the end. "We are not saved in our sins, as by being unconditionally saved through confessing Christ and then, inevitably, committing sins in our remaining lives. We are saved from our sins by a weekly renewal of our repentance and cleansing through the grace of God and His blessed plan of salvation." 5
The "plan of salvation" is outlined in the Book of Mormon and through modern teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The plan of salvation teaches mankind that they lived with Heavenly Father as spirit children before being born on earth and that they are here to receive a physical body and to be tested. They also understand that if they follow Jesus Christ they will one-day return to live with God and receive eternal life.
Thus, to many Mormons the word "salvation" denotes exaltation or eternal life with God. To them they cannot say that they have been saved in mortality. Salvation is something that one attains in the life after. It requires more than repentance and baptism. "It also requires the making of sacred covenants, including eternal marriage, in the temples of God, and faithfulness to those covenants by enduring to the end." 6 In this meaning salvation is a status that is only received after the final judgment of Jesus Christ and requires a lifetime of faithful service.†
(1) Romans 10: 9-10