Strait is the Gate of Baptism, But Many Can Find it in the Next Life Through Temple Service

Many Christians use Matthew 7:14 in the Bible to claim that few people will make it to heaven.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a different perspective on this issue.

I recently read the claim of another Christian (who is not of my faith) who said that:
Matthew 7:14 teaches that there are only a few people that make it to Heaven.
I disagree with that assessment, but I can understand how that single verse, without the context of additional revelation, can be confusing.  That verse says:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 
The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, clarifies what this verse means.  In 2 Nephi 31, the prophet Nephi explains why Christ, even though he lived a perfectly sinless life, was baptized in order to set the example for following the commandments of God. 
But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.
A few verses later, we see that baptism itself is "the strait and narrow gate" that Christ was referring to in the New Testament:
it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.
It is true that in this life few find the path of baptism.  But this does not result in eternal damnation for those who were so unfortunate, as other Christian denominations claim.

It is also interesting that in 1 Nephi chapter 8 verse 20 of the Book of Mormon that Nephi uses the same term:
And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood;
Although a relative few are able to be baptized in this life, the blessings of baptism are available to everyone in the eternities.  Paul refers to this good fortune in 1 Corinthians 15:29:
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
Through the ordinance of baptism for the dead, carried out in temples of God around the world, all who were not able to be baptized in this life will receive this ordinance by proxy by those who still live on the earth.  The requirement of baptism provides a unique opportunity for mankind to more clearly understand the atonement of Jesus Christ. Similar to what Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection did for all mankind, those who participate in proxy baptisms in temples of God provide something for their kindred dead that they would not have been able to achieve on their own.

The Doctrine and Covenants (section 128) speaks of ordinances for the dead as a "welding link" between the generations of mankind.

The way will always be straight, and the gate will always be narrow, and few in mortality will find that gate and path.  But by the good fortune and omniscient foresight of God, all can still enter the gate and get on the path.  Through baptism for the dead and other invigorating ordinances that are performed in temples of the Most High God, everyone can share in the blessings of heaven.

 

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