Enduring to the End
Enduring to the end is a phrase that appears several times in scripture, including the Bible (see Matthew 24:13). It refers to remaining faithful to Jesus Christ and His gospel until the end of a person’s life. When seen in scripture, the phrase “enduring to the end” is often accompanied by a promise that if a person endures to the end, he or she will be saved, and exalted.
Principles of the Gospel
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has expressed the basic tenets of their doctrine with The Articles of Faith, succinct statements written by the church’s founder and first prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr. The fourth of the 13 articles lists the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, which include faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the receipt of the gift of the Holy Ghost (Articles of Faith 1:4).
Enduring to the end is an additional principle of the gospel. After a person has followed the first four principles and ordinances of the gospel, as outlined in the fourth Article of Faith, he or she must endure to the end, or continue to be faithful and true to God’s commandments. It is not enough for a person to express faith, repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost; he or she must remain true to the baptismal covenant, as well as Heavenly Father’s other commandments.
Enduring to the End is a Principle with a Promise
Many gospel principles are accompanied by a promise. The principle of enduring to the end is likewise accompanied by a promise. The Doctrine and Covenants explains, “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 14:7).
Section 18 verse 22 states: “And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:22).
Enduring to the End is Necessary for Exaltation
Not only is enduring to the end a gospel principle with the promise of salvation, it is also necessary for exaltation. 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon explains: “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. . . . unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved” (2 Nephi 31:15-16). The words “salvation” and “exaltation” are often used in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to refer actually to exaltation. Salvation can mean salvation from physical death (resurrection), and receiving an inheritance in some mansion in heaven. However, Mormons believe that even those who remain in sin and reject the Christ (after suffering for their own sins in the Spirit World) will still inherit a kingdom of glory in heaven, the lowest, or Telestial Kingdom, which is glorious but outside the actual presence of God. To be exalted means to attain to the highest level of glory, the Celestial, into God’s very presence. (See 1 Corinthians 15:40–42 and Doctrine and Covenants 76.) Another word for exaltation is “eternal life.”
Enduring to the End with Hope
Enduring to the end is sometimes viewed with negativity, or with the perspective that a person must suffer through whatever life brings. But 2 Nephi also explains that enduring to the end is a process Latter-day Saints should have joy in, and that they should maintain hope through the Savior Jesus Christ. Second Nephi says, “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” ([2 Nephi 31:20).