Mormonism’s definition of salvation differs from Christianity’s definition. When Mormons talk about salvation, they usually are referring to the resurrection of the body and the LDS teaching that most will go to one of Mormonism’s three kingdoms of heaven. In other words, Mormonism teaches universalism, the idea that all will be saved (except for a few who qualify as “sons of perdition”). Salvation usually does not include living eternally with Heavenly Father. In Mormonism, living with Heavenly Father describes living in the celestial (highest) kingdom of heaven. Because of this, it is often beneficial to avoid talking about salvation and instead, consistently speak about “living with Heavenly Father.”
Although many Mormons equate salvation with bodily resurrection, occasionally, they do use it to describe living with Heavenly Father. In this context, they place the emphasis on what people need to do. One of the most quoted passages from the Book of Mormon is 2 Nephi 25:23: “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” Thomas Monson, one of their prophets, stated: “All prophets, ancient and modern, have known that obedience is essential to our salvation” (Ensign, May 2013, p. 90). One of their apostles, Boyd K. Packer, told a parable expanding on this. It has become a classic in Mormonism. It describes Jesus as paying our debt. But it continues by saying we have to pay Jesus back. (The article can be found on churchofjesuschrist.org. It is entitled “The Mediator Jesus Christ.”)
The idea that God wants us to contribute to our salvation is engrained in Mormons from little on up. They picture Heavenly Father as a human father who wants his children to become more and more self-reliant as they grow older. This means they view the idea that salvation is God’s free gift as repugnant both to them and God. They see it as spoiling and enabling us rather than loving us. Christians are often startled when they are confronted by this mindset. It will be important for you to remember how foreign and revolting our talk of free salvation will be to many Mormons.
Instead of talking about salvation, use some of the other words the Bible uses: words like reconciliation, forgiveness, justification, etc. As you do so, be careful that you define them carefully.