Can Good People Earn Their Salvation?...

One of the doctrinal positions which separates Mormonism from orthodox Christianity is the teaching that ultimate favor with God is based as much in man's own efforts as it is in god's Grace. It is a combination of these two factors, Mormonism teaches, which allows one to "attain the Celestial Kingdom" (more or less equivalent to the Christian belief in "going to heaven."
aaaaKnowledgeable born again Christians often ask people a question similar to this: "How do people gain entrance to heaven?" When they ask that question, they are hoping for an answer which emphasizes God's work in the Atonement of Christ as a gracious gift to mankind. When they hear answers like, "Well, if you try to live a good life..." they know the person answering the question is ignorant "of God's way of making men right with Himself" (as the Apostle Paul says in Romans 10: 1-4).
aaaaThe Mormon Church is not the only organization to fall in to the trap of "works righteousness," as indicated by the statistics in the chart below. Mormonism does, however, evidence is strong adherence to this discouraging doctrine.

 Salt Lake Tribune 1/3/98, p. C-4

Saved by Faith or Works?

The debate over whether salvation comes through faith alone or good works is as old as the New Testament, and Christians have been divided over the issue for centuries. Even today, Americans are split on the idea. More than half--55 percent--say a good person can earn salvation, according to a new survey.

In a nation wide survey, 6,242 adults were asked...

Can a good person earn their way to heaven?
(Those responding "agree strongly" or "somewhat agree.")