We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
This reaffirms the fact that we are indeed a Christian religion. We firmly believe that it is only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that salvation is made possible. The word may is important. We do not believe everyone is automatically saved. Rather, we believe the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 2:12 when he says to “work out your own salvation.”
Faith and works are both necessary. As James said, faith without works is dead. And of course, works without faith is empty, shallow, and unfulfillable. Hence the last part of the statement, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
Salvation is not cheap. It requires effort and diligence. Christ said Himself that “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Obviously, there are some requirements in this life that need to be accomplished. Baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost (“and of the Spirit”) are just a couple.
So what if someone lives and dies without receiving the necessary ordinances such as baptism? Are they damned to Hell? Definitely not. How fair would that be? It wouldn’t be fair at all! These ordinances are still required though, and everyone, whether in this life or the next, will have the opportunity to receive them by their own free will.
Now don’t misunderstand. In no way do Mormons believe they can work their way into Heaven. I can knock doors all day long, but it won’t do anything if I’m not doing it for the right reasons. Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation for our works. If we work without faith, we work in vain, but our faith is only shown through our works. We do as much as we can, and Jesus makes up the difference. This is what grace is.