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CINDY - The difference between how Mormons and Christians believe that we obtain the perfection necessary for eternal life is that you believe that it is by the grace of God "as long as" you do everything you can to move in the right direction and prove that you are worthy. True Christians believe that they could never be worthy enough and that we must trust only in Christ's worthiness as being our worthiness for us. The Bible says that we could not bear it if we were to see the face of God. So how then can we stand before a perfect God in the Celestial Kingdom unless He alone has made us perfect and able to share in his glory? Only God can make us perfect, we cannot do it ourselves through our works.

JOEL - Who of us on this earth can really judge what a "true" Christian should believe? People base their definitions on their own interpretation of the scriptures.

The Apostle Paul tells us:
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." ( Philippians 2:12)

"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." (Revelation 20:13

So it appears that the scriptures tell me that there are things (works) that I must do contribute to my own salvation.

You are right that no one can enter the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom and be in the presence of God there if they have any sins or flaws or have not been perfected.

According to Jesus:
"And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." (Matt 19:16-21)

So, among other things, Jesus tells us that we must keep all the commandments and serve others in order to obtain eternal life. But it is not just the doing of these things that saves us, it is what we become(perfect) by doing these things.

Notice that Jesus said to the man "if thou wilt be perfect" and then told the man what he personally could do to perfect himself. So according to Jesus it is possible for us to do something that will help effect our salvation and not only rely on the perfection or worthiness of Jesus to save us.

But we don't have to do it all in this life time. Who knows how long we will be in the spirit world, and then after our resurrection and the thousand years during the Millennium and after that before we are judged and assigned a level of glory? We have all that time to work on it to finish our perfection. And I certainly can't do it myself. It is only by and through the grace of God that we can be exalted.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks said the following:
"From such teachings we conclude that the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become." (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” New Era, Aug. 2002, 12)

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