Protestant doctrines on the atonement have so thoroughly infused our membership that many members believe that to reject a protestant interpretation of the atonement would be to reject Christ himself.
This is a disaster.
We have a scripture that states as plain as word can be:
D&C 130:20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated –
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
We read this scripture in all its perfection and yet still believe the doctrine of Christ’s atonement was to accomplish the opposite of the very thing it teaches.
We believe Christ’s atonement was to grant us spiritual blessings which are beyond the worthiness we live up to, rather than believing that Christ’s atonement allows us to be washed white of sin, but only on condition of repentance, in order that we may cast off the man of sin and obtain blessings by an obedient life.
We simply don’t believe the scriptures, which plainly testify that it is by our works that we will be judged. We believe it is by grace that we will be judged. In fact, we fret over whether we are trying too hard to change our works instead of “letting Christ make up the difference”.
We believe in letting Christ make up the difference, instead of believing that we will be judged according to our works.
… must be judged of their works (1 Nephi 15:32)
… must be brought to stand before God, to be judged of their works; (1 Nephi 15:33)
… all men shall be judged of their works (2 Nephi 9:44)
… they shall be judged, every man according to his works (Mosiah 3:24)
… stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body (Alma 5:15)
… stand before God, and be judged according to their works. (Alma 11:41)
… to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. (Alma 11:44)
… stand before God to be judged according to their works (Alma 12:8)
… all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works. (Alma 33:22)
… stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds. (Alma 36:15)
… stand before God, and be judged according to their works. (Alma 40:21)
… men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life,
and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good. And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil… (Alma 41:3-4)
… they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works (Alma 42:23)
… all people, all kindreds, and all nations and tongues shall stand before God, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil (3 Nephi 26:4)
… be judged according to your works (Mormon 3:18)
… to be judged according to your works (Mormon 6:21)
We believe in letting Christ make up the difference. We thereby believe that Christ’s own atonement nullifies his own words: “And again I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (JST Matthew 12:31)
We believe that grace is a means by which we can be saved without having to work out our salvation with fear and trembling before God, instead of believing that by working out our salvation with fear and trembling we gain access to God’s grace.
We believe that such rigor as denying ourselves of all ungodliness and obeying with all our might, mind and strength is denying the atonement by trying to save ourselves, instead of believing that “he that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” and believing that only “if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you”.
Put differently, we believe strict obedience is to deny the atonement by trying to save ourselves, instead of believing that it is only strict obedience that gives us access to God’s saving grace.
Frankly, we have no idea what grace is any more. Not the faintest. We stumble around blindly making proclamations about it. And so we have become infatuated with all the made up things we think the atonement should do for us instead of granting us remission of sins.
We live beneath our privileges without concern, believing that grace will save us anyway, without recognizing that the privileges we live beneath are the offered grace that is supposed to save us.
Put another way, in our spiritual vanity we live beneath our privileges, not knowing those privileges are the very grace that is designed to save us. For the privileges of the saints have power to transform our works. And our works can thus be transformed by grace. And at the judgment bar, we can thereby be saved, for our works will be the works of the Father, and will testify that we were good.
Grace that is to save us must transform our works, for it is by our works that we will be judged. Our works must be the works that give us access to saving grace, even the gift and presence of the Holy Ghost, to the gifts of the spirit, to dreams and visions. And finally to that graciousness which is the second comforter and a sure election.
As I think about this disaster, which we have brought on ourselves by abandoning everything the Father laid out in Eden and drinking in filth from our media that would have made nonmembers of our great grandparent’s generation gag and wretch with shame and indignation, I think this scripture describes our situation:
Revelation 3:17 Because thou saysest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.