In a recent discussion someone brought up the fact that my views as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church, seemed to be in line with those who hold universal views of salvation. Since I’m not all that familiar with Universalism, I decided to do a little research on what they believe and compare it to the LDS view of salvation.
Universal Views of Salvation
I really do not know a whole lot about Universalism other than the websites I visited. From what I gathered in my quick research though was that every human born on earth is going to be saved because God loves us all and wants the best for us.
The church recognizes God loves all and salvation will come to all and therefore, they accept all beliefs and welcome any belief system into their “fold”. Therefore, people in a congregation may be athiest, agnostic, or Christian and no matter what they believe in, they are encouraged to seek truth.
LDS Beliefs on Salvation
Many LDS views of salvation can be found in the Doctrine and Covenants in chapter 76. This chapter includes a vision given to early LDS church leaders, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. For those who want an in-depth study of the beliefs it is highly recommended to study that chapter. However, I will try and summarize what beliefs on salvation are.
First, it is necessary to state LDS believe in a pre-existant life. In this life people lived as spirits. There was a war before the world was created between Satan and God. Some spirits chose to follow Satan and others chose God. Those that chose Satan’s plan will be eternally in what is called Outer Darkness. This is a place where the Lord’s Spirit can not dwell. No one born into this world will be sent to Outer Darkness.
Telestial Kingdom (Hell)
According to the vision, the people who go to the Telestial Kingdom are those who do not accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those sent to this kingdom receive some blessings for the good they have done, but do not receive the blessings of being able to dwell with Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ in the eternities.
People who go to the Terrestrial Kingdom are those who accept Jesus in this lifetime, or did not accept the gospel of Jesus in this lifetime, but did afterwards. It is important to note that the LDS believe that all people will receive a chance to accept the gospel of Jesus either in this life or the next life. This scripture stems from the verses in the Bible where Jesus visited “those that were in spirit prison from the days of Noah” after he died on the cross. (see 1 Pet. 3:19 and 1 Pet 4:6).
The Celestial Kingdom is the kingdom that “excels all things”. This is the kingdom where God the Father and Jesus Christ dwell. According to the scripture, those who enter this kingdomThe people who enter this kingdom are those who have been baptized into the church as well as remain faithful throughout their lives. The scripture says those in this kingdom will receive all the Father has including being equal in power.
While there are some elements similar between Universalism and Mormonism, it is a far stretch to say they are the same. For example, LDS belief is that not all people are going to Outer Darkness with Satan because they already proved faithful in the pre-existance. Also, LDS believe that all people will have the chance to hear of Jesus and be saved at least in the Terrestrial Kingdom. This does not reflect Universal Salvation at all because this belief is that all people have or will have a choice to accept Jesus as their Savior and be saved. Universal Salvation is that all people are saved regardless of choices they make.