The following LDS article about salvation, written by Parley P. Pratt, first appeared in The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star 2/2 (June 1841): 21-22. It later appeared in the 8 March 1845 issue of the LDS periodical The Prophet, as well as in Orson Pratt's The Prophetic Almanac, for 1846: Being the Second After Bissextile or Leap Year (New York: New York Messenger Office, 1846), 15-16, this latter being the copy from which it is here reprinted. Afterwards, it was also reprinted in The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star 38/40 (2 October 1876): 627-629, and again in Liahona The Elders' Journal 6/47 (8 May 1909): 1125-1126.
Salvation, as proposed to man in the Scripture, is of four kinds, viz: -
We shall now proceed to set forth the nature of each of these salvations, and the conditions on which they are enjoyed by man.
- First, Salvation from original sin and its effects.
- Secondly, Salvation from actual sin, or individual transgression.
- Thirdly, Temporal Salvation.
- Fourthly, Eternal Salvation.
Original sin and its effects came by the transgression of Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden. So "sin entered into the world, and death by sin."
This sin and death effected the whole family of man in a twofold point of view, banishment from the presence of the Lord, and the death of the body. And unless some means of salvation had been provided, the bodies of men must have slept in eternal silence, and their spirits dwelt in eternal banishment.
But says the Apostle, "AS in Adam ALL DIE, even SO in Christ shall ALL be made ALIVE."
Jesus Christ, then has paid the debt which Adam contracted, and through his death and resurrection has redeemed ALL men from the fall, and from death, and from every thing which Adam's transgression entailed upon them.
This salvation is UNIVERSAL, that is, it applies to all the race of Adam, without any regard to the deeds done in the body. The death and condemnation came by one (Adam), and passed upon all men without any act or agency of their own.
So the redemption comes by one man (Jesus Christ) and will be effectually applied to all men, without any conditions whatever on their part.
It is free grace alone, without works, which redeems man from the fall, and from the death which came by reason of the fall. The most hardened sinner, who sinks to endless woe, will go there as free from Adam's fall as if it had never been.
Hence Christ said, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
All little children (being redeemed by Jesus Christ) are saved and counted holy, without any faith, repentance, baptism, or any thing else.
Hence the doctrine of little children being "desperately wicked, deceitful, depraved, &c., and that they must be born again, changed, be converted, experience religion, be regenerated, &c.," is a doctrine of devils, or of foolish and inconsiderate man.
We come now to speak of the second salvation, viz.: salvation from personal transgression. This salvation is the gospel which was to be preached to sinners, "It is not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
This salvation is promised on conditions made known in the gospel, "He that believes and is baptised shall be SAVED." "Repent and be baptised every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
"SAVE yourselves from this untoward generation." "Arise and be baptised, and wash away your sins." "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth now SAVE US."
"Ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you; being then made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness." The foregoing texts all go to show that sinners experience a present salvation from sin on condition of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance towards God, and baptism for remission of sins. They were saved then and there; - they were saved that very hour, that is justified, forgiven, and free from sin.
This gospel salvation pertains to sinners only. Little children could have no part in it.
We next proceed to the third salvation, viz.: temporal salvation.
This varies in different ages and under different circumstances. In the days of Noah it was salvation from the flood, and the ark was the means.
In the days of Lot, it was salvation from fire, and fleeing from Sodom to Zoar was the means.
In the days of Jacob it was salvation from famine, and revelation to lay up corn was the means. In the days of Moses it was salvation from Egyptian bondage. In the days of Esther it was salvation from the decree of Haman. In the days of Ezra it was salvation from seventy years' captivity in Babylon, by a restoration to Jerusalem. In case of Paul's shipwreck, it was salvation from the watery grave, by the soldiers and sailors abiding in the ship according to Paul's directions. But in the days of Josephus it was salvation from the sword, famine, and pestilence, which befel the Jews. This salvation was accomplished by fleeing to the mountains, according as the Saviour forewarned his disciples, "When ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then let him who is in Judea, flee to the mountains."
So in these last days, salvation is needed from famine, earthquake, war, pestilence, and flame of devouring fire, which must overtake the wicked world and all that remain among them. "But in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, shall be deliverance, and in the remnant whom the Lord our God shall call." So in fulfillment of this, the Lord has provided the western wilds of America and the land of Palestine, places of deliverance for his own peculiar people. And will gather his sheep out of all countries where the false shepherds have preyed upon them, and will "cause them to dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods." - (See Ezekiel, 34.) This temporal salvation comes by revelation in these last days, as in days of old, and therefore can only come to those who are governed and led by revelation, viz.: the Latter Day Saints.
We must now speak of the fourth state of salvation, viz.: eternal salvation. This can only be enjoyed in the immortal state, after the resurrection of the body, and its re-union with the soul.
All those who are redeemed from Adam's fall will enjoy this eternal salvation, if they die before they come to years of accountability, so as to be capable of committing sin.
All sinners will enjoy eternal life and salvation, on conditions of faith, repentance, and baptism, and endurance to the end.
Hence, a man may be saved from Adam's fall by free grace, and from his own sins by belief and baptism, and also, partake of temporal salvation, by obeying the warnings which God sends by revelation; and being saved in this threefold sense, he may neglect to endure to the end in keep the requirements of Jesus Christ; and so at last be damned.
Here then is a condition to be fulfilled by the creature, in order to the enjoyment of eternal salvation, which is not absolutely necessary to either of the salvations, viz.: endurance to the end. - That is, a person must continue in well-doing and keep the commandments of Jesus, from the time he is baptised into Christ till the end of this life of probation.
Having now shown clearly and distinctly the nature of salvation as revealed and proposed by the Heavenly Father to his children in different ages, we leave the subject, with a sincere hope that all those who love the truth may be led to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.