Getting to know the Lord (see John 9:19).1 The teachings of the Savior most clearly show the nature of salvation and what He proposed to the human family when He proposed to save them — He wanted to make them like unto Himself, and He was like the Father, the great prototype of all saved beings: And for any portion of the human family to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved; and to be unlike them is to be destroyed: and on this hinge turns the door of salvation (Lectures on Faith 7:16). For salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses, and in nothing else; and no being can possess it but himself or one like him (Lectures on Faith 7:10). “Salvation means a man’s being placed beyond the powers of all his enemies” (TPJS, 301).2 Being saved means to have increase.3 “There isn’t going to be any man or group of men who save you. There is literally a single way and a single source. That is Christ (Mosiah 1:16). Whether you are able to receive salvation or not is entirely dependent on how you respond to Him, not to other people (2 Nephi 6:11).”4 There is no collective salvation. Each person comes to Him one at a time. Even when He redeems a group, He visits with them individually (see 3 Nephi 5:5–7).5 “To speak of Christ is necessarily to speak of salvation. To understand Christ is to understand salvation. Salvation requires of us what was required of Christ. We cannot be different from Christ and be saved, because salvation depends upon being precisely what He is and nothing else. Despite how plainly this is put, we still seem not to comprehend.”6 “Remember, when you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom and ascend step by step until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel — you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them” (TPJS, 348; WJS, 350). Christ came to complete His salvation and attain to the resurrection of the dead. All men and women will need to do likewise to be saved.7
The prototype of the saved man is Jesus Christ. If any man will be saved, he must be precisely what Christ is and nothing else, because Christ attained to the resurrection. All men and women are going to be resurrected, but it was Christ who attained to the resurrection for their benefit. On the other side of mankind’s resurrection, they won’t hold the keys of death and hell — He will. “He’ll use them for your benefit, but ultimately you are going to have to hold the keys of death and hell if you are going to be precisely what the prototype of the saved man is or else not be saved.”8
Therefore, come unto me and be ye saved . For verily I say unto you that except ye shall keep my commandments which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven (3 Nephi 5:23). “There goes the argument that all you need do to be saved is ‘confess Jesus.’ It doesn’t work that way. You must keep His commandments. If you don’t, then ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven. It is not possible to come unto [Him] and be saved without also keeping His commandments. It is the only true measure of coming to Him. And except ye shall keep [His] commandments…ye can in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Entry is barred unless you follow Him. If He needed baptism to enter, then clearly we do as well. Righteousness comes by obedience. Obedience requires action. Without conforming conduct to the Lord’s commandments, it is impossible to enter into the kingdom of Heaven.”9
1 “3 Nephi 14:6,” Oct. 27, 2010, blog post.
2 WJS, 202; JSP, Journals Vol. 3:17–18, Editorial Note.
3 Passing the Heavenly Gift, 151.
4 “No Man Will Save You,” Aug. 22, 2011, blog post.
5 “3 Nephi 20:23,” Sept. 19, 2010, blog post.
6 Preserving the Restoration, 302.
7 Preserving the Restoration, 81n207.
8 “Cursed: Denied Priesthood,” Q&A, Jan. 7, 2018, 20–21, transcript of talk.
9 “3 Nephi 12:20,” Oct. 11, 2010, blog post.