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I think this is a place where Protestants are sometimes judged unfairly, at least in terms of theology. Having said that though I think many, many lay-Protestants assume that the free act of will reduces to simply believing that Jesus is God. It is there that I think most Mormons would disagree. Rather the act of will required is much deeper.

Further given that acts are always willful and intentional, exactly how can we separate out philosophically works from will? If we have this free *act* of will then it logically entails works. And I think that is the LDS position.

That isn't to deny some Protestant attacks on LDS views of grace. *Some* LDS do try to work their way to heaven. However I think in LDS theology these are dead works.

They fail for two reasons. For one, we'll always still screw up and our sins will keep us from heaven. Thus we can't work our way to heaven. Second, works done for the wrong reasons are not the same works as those done by faith. These might be called "dead works."

This once again makes sense for those familiar with action theory in philosophy. If an act is some intentional process or event with a goal or telos then two events or processes with different intents simply aren't the same act. They may appear to be hte same act - but they aren't. For instance I may get up from my desk to go to the bathroom or I may get up from my desk to go close the window. Both involve the same process -- getting up from my desk. But clearly they aren't the same act.

Where I think the confusion arises is in looking at works as if they can be understood *independent* of intents and therefore faith.

This error often plagues both Protestants juding Mormons and Mormon views as well as Mormons judging Protestant views. (IMO)

You know, had I been on the ball I could have titled this thread "Mormon Will and Grace." Another missed opportunity.

I think that where everyone gets confused with grace faith and works is what the final goal is...which is not just to go to heaven but be prepared to return and live with our father in heaven. The true goal we are striving for is to become like (one with)are father in heaven. Behavioral modification like positive mental attitude and will power will not be enough to change our nature thus we fall short. We first must develope humility. Humility and hope are needed to prepare the soil for the seed of faith. We then begin to act on our faith. Through service( works),we are blessed with the lords spirit which builds, strengthens and shows our faith. In other words, our Savior is the only one with the power to change our nature to where we will lose our disposition to sin. To have enough faith in our master we must know him. Yet we can not know a master we have not served...Thus it is by works(service to our lord and fellow men) that we develope the sufficient amount of faith needed to unlock his power(grace) in our lives to make the changes neccesary to overcome this world as he has done. Our Saviors atonement serves to save us from our sins...not in our sins. I testify that this has worked in my life. Until I submitted my will and weaknesses to the Savior with faith, I was unable to overcome some serious addictions. I know that we can overcome anything with the grace and power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Talk is cheap. Anyone who says they have faith and does not produce good works is confused. It's systemic. If you lack any of these key elements, the atonement won't work.
Thanks
Tom Sanford

can you update my last comment please...
"I think that where everyone gets confused with the grace, faith and works, issue is what the final goal is...which is not just to go to heaven but be prepared to return and live with our Father in Heaven. The true goal we are striving for is to become like (one with) are Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. Behavioral modification, like positive mental attitude and will power, alone will not be enough to change our nature... thus we fall short. We first must develope humility. Humility and hope are needed to prepare the soil for the seed of our faith. Our faith motivates us to take action. Through service( works), we are blessed with the lords spirit which builds, strengthens and demonstrates our faith. In other words, our Savior is the only one with the power to change our nature and get us to the point to where we will lose our disposition to sin. It is not an overnight process. However, to have enough faith in our master to make this possible, we must know him. Yet we can not know a master we have not served...Thus it is by works (service to our lord and fellow men), study of the scriptures, and listening to the Lords representatives here on earth, that we develope the sufficient amount of faith needed to unlock his power (grace) in our lives to make the changes neccesary to overcome this world as he did. Our Saviors atonement is meant to save us from our sins...not in our sins. I testify that this has worked in my life. Until I submitted my life (with its weaknesses and problems) to the Savior with enough sincerity and faith, I was unable to overcome some serious addictions. I know that we can overcome anything with the grace and power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Talk is cheap. Anyone who says they have faith and does not produce good works is living a life of contradiction. It's systemic. If you lack any of these key elements, the atonement won't work. Anyone who tells you that it does not please God when we strive to live his commandments and serve him and our fellow men, is sadly mistaken."
Tom Sanford
Bullhead AZ

Nice comments, Tom. You've obviously thought this through a bit and come up with a nice way to look at faith, works, and grace. We all know they are linked, but expressing how they are related in a way that is acceptable to everyone is a continuing challenge.

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