Q. I just became friends with someone at work who is a Mormon. She told me she believes Jesus died for her sins, but then later stated that when we die, we don’t go to Heaven to be with God (instead, they believe in lower levels of Heaven). She said the reason for this is because we are not worthy to be in God’s presence because of sin. So I am very confused, because those two statements completely contradict each other. Can someone be saved if they don’t believe that God’s forgiveness is eternal? Thank you for your input.
A. I’ve found that many Mormons don’t understand their own doctrine very well, so I’ve heard lots of versions of what they believe.
Officially they believe Jesus made atonement for their sins, but that His Grace only applies after they’ve done everything possible to save themselves through their own merits. I’m not clear at what point their works are considered sufficient for the Lord’s Grace to make up the difference, nor have I ever met any Mormon who is.
They do believe in three levels of Heaven with only the very most worthy attaining the top level, but again I don’t know if anyone can state the qualifications for each level with any degree of specificity.
That said, I believe there are significant numbers of Mormons who sincerely believe in the Biblical Jesus and rely solely and completely on His death for their salvation, but who “go through the motions” of their religion due to family or social pressures, since there is a huge emotional price to be paid for leaving it. Their situation is similar to Jews who secretly believe in Jesus and, to a lesser degree, Catholics who quietly reject the extra burden placed on them by their official doctrine, trusting fully in the Lord’s completed work on the cross.