In Mormon doctrine, grace is defined as a “divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ” (LDS Bible Dictionary).Robert E. Parsons, a religion professor at Brigham Young University, stated,
Are we saved through Christ’s grace by merely confessing him as our Savior? Or are we saved through his grace after doing all we can-both in confessing his name and in keeping his commandments? Both reason and scripture loudly proclaim the latter (Robert E. Parsons, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, July 1989, 59).
Mormonism teaches its members to believe that God’s gift of His Only Begotten Son as ransom for us is how we are saved by grace. If God had not intervened, we would all be lost, because there could be no possibility for repentance and forgiveness. However, this does not mean that we are required to do nothing but believe in Jesus Christ. Grace is not extended without a total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (see 2 Nephi 25:23).
It should be understood that Mormons do not believe that a person can work his way into heaven or somehow earn it through his own merits. This is impossible, because no one except Jesus Christ is perfect, and we all sin. Instead, Mormons believe that Christ has shown us the way to gain exaltation, and this path requires certain commitments, such as faith in His words, baptism, prayer, repentance, and continued obedience to his commandments.
Elder Gerald N. Lund said,
We are saved by grace-saved by Christ’s love from physical and spiritual death; saved by Christ’s love from Adam’s fall and our own; saved from sin and transgression by the grace or gifts of God. The atoning power of God unto salvation is a freely available gift from him-but our works of righteousness are essential to bring the gift into power in our lives. Sin brings alienation from God. The more we sin, the greater the alienation and the more difficult it becomes to effectively tap the power of God, which alone is sufficient to save us from our sins (“Salvation: By Grace or by Works?” Ensign, Apr. 1981, 17).