Joseph Smith taught:
All men know that they must die. And it is important that we should understand the reasons and causes of our exposure to the vicissitudes of life and of death, and the designs and purposes of God in our coming into the world, our suffering here, and our departure hence. What is the object of our coming into existence, then dying and falling away, to be here no more? It is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter, and it is a subject we ought to study more than any other. We ought to study it day and night, for the world is ignorant in reference to their true condition and relation. If we have any claim on our Heavenly Father for anything, it is for knowledge on this important subject. Could we read and comprehend all that has been written from the days of Adam, on the relation of man to God and angels in a future state, we should know very little about it. Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose. Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.
So according to Joseph Smith, yes, we are saved by grace. We are saved by grace in the sense that the word grace really means. We are saved by the generous and merciful gifts of God, for that is the scriptural meaning of the word grace.
We cannot grant ourselves the ability to gaze into heaven five minutes. That has to come from God. There is no substitute for doing so. It is also simply outside our power. It has to be bestowed, as a merciful gift, as a grace from God.
The grace we hope to be saved by is, in fact, precisely the privileges that we know we live far beneath without any particular care or concern.
We know that we will be resurrected by the grace of God. We think that is not a privilege we will need to live up to. It will simply be done to us at a certain time.
But Brigham Young gave us a great more information about the resurrection. We will be resurrected when we live up to that privilege. Yes, we cannot do it to ourselves. Yes, it is a gift of God.
And yes, just like all the gifts of God, it will be given to us when we live up to it.
D&C 130:20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated -
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
And as it is with our physical redemption, so it is with our spiritual redemption. We are saved by grace, MEANING, we are saved through the marvelous gifts god grants to us. But those gifts are offered to us on conditions, and we meet those conditions by our works.
By and large we know that we live far beneath our privileges. It is important to realize that those privileges we are unconcerned about are precisely the grace that God wishes to save us by.