Many Mormons will repeatedly tell investigators of their faith that the Mormon church believes (to a certain degree) that it is only by faith they are saved. What the investigator must understand though is the fact that there is a major language barrier one must scale in order to fully grasp what a Mormon is truly saying.
So the next time a Mormon tells you that his/her church teaches that they are saved by faith, please consider the following statements from LDS officials....“We have discussed elsewhere that other class of people who are basically unrepentant because they are not ‘doing the commandments.’ They are Church members who are steeped in lethargy…They are doing nothing seriously wrong except in their failures to do the right things to earn their salvation” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp.211-212).
“Many in the world, and even some in the Church, seem to think that eventually the Lord will be merciful and give them the unearned blessing. But the Lord cannot be merciful at the expense of justice” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 223).
“They [Mormon missionaries] made clear distinction between general salvation or resurrection from the grave and individual salvation or exaltation earned by a man through his compliance with the laws of God. They taught that there are preferential places in heaven as there are on earth and that the highest place or Celestial Kingdom could be attained only by those who faithfully subscribe to and keep all the laws and ordinances Of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and thereby entitle themselves to come into the presence of our God and Jesus Christ, His Son” (Stephen L Richards, Conference Report, April 1941, pp.102-103, brackets mine).
There will be no government dole which can get us through the pearly gates. Nor will anybody go into the celestial kingdom who wants to go there on the works of someone else. Every man must go through on his own merits. We might just as well learn this here and now” (Marion G. Romney, “In Mine Own Way”, Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1976, p.123).
"Many people think they need only confess that Jesus is the Christ and then they are saved by grace alone. We cannot be saved by grace alone, 'for we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do.'" (James Faust, Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2001, p.18).
“There are but few that will be absolutely lost, and that will go with the sons of perdition. Nearly all will be saved in some degree of glory and salvation, just according to what they have earned. That is what we shall receive finally” (Francis M. Lyman, Conference Report, April 1910, pp.32-33).
“The Lord has given to every individual soul power, if he will but exercise it and do the will of the Lord, to earn eternal life” (Francis M. Lyman, Collected Discourses 4:243).
“…after we have been recorded members of the Church we must then work out our salvation and earn eternal life, for it is not obtained without earning it” (Francis Lyman, Conference Report, October 1899, p.35).
“If men are to be rewarded according to their works, then since the works of men vary, the judgments of God must differ. That leads to the doctrine of graded salvation. Every person will inherit a glory of salvation, which will be the one that he has earned” (John A. Widtsoe, Joseph Smith--Seeker after Truth, Prophet of God, p.170.)
“In reality, this doctrine means that we earn and must earn what we get. Salvation must be earned. The plan of salvation is of value to us only as we conform, actively, to its requirements. It has been so throughout the eternities of existence. The spirit of man, seeking progress, has toiled and striven to rise towards his high destiny, the likeness of God. The privilege to come on earth was earned by him. Earth-life was not forced upon him, nor did he receive it as a gift. That doctrine lifts man into the position of kingship. He has labored and won. His battle has resulted in victory. He has the right to walk among kings. This is one of the great doctrines, often forgotten, laid down in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ” (John A. Widtsoe, An Understandable Religion, pp.81-82.)
“This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts. Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, ‘It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’ (2 Ne. 25:23)” (LDS Bible Dictionary, p.697).
“Indeed, it is only after a person has so performed a lifetime of works and faithfulness – only after he has come to deny himself of all ungodliness and every worldly lust – that the grace of God, that spiritual increment of power, is efficacious” (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon 1:295).
“After we have done all that we can do, after we have denied ourselves of ungodliness and worldly lusts, then is the grace of God sufficient for us; then we are sanctified in Christ and eventually made perfect in Christ (see 2 Nephi 25:23; Moroni 10:32)” (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon 2:258).
“The perfect relationship between the atoning grace of Christ and the obedient efforts of mankind is powerfully stated by Nephi: ‘We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23). Furthermore, we are invited to ‘come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.’ When we deny ourselves ‘of all ungodliness,’ then and only ‘then is his grace sufficient’ for us (Moroni 10:32)” (BYU Assistant Professor Clyde J. Williams, “Plain and Precious Truths Restored,” Ensign, October 2006, p.53).
“It is the celestial glory which we seek. It is in the presence of God we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership. Such blessings must be earned” (Thomas Monson, "An Invitation to Exaltation," Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1988, p.53).