My intent with this blog is to share my thoughts, understanding, and testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the events that are currently unfolding and will soon come to pass, with my family and friends (anyone who wants to read these musings). We are living in a time that has been seen and prophesied by all the prophets from Adam till now, it is an exciting and tumultuous time. In the scripture references I use there are two citations; one is referenced with "RE" meaning Restoration Edition scriptures, the other is "LE" meaning LDS Edition scriptures. Jeff Carter

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Monday, April 25, 2022



The Lord commands us repeatedly to repent and not only that but to teach nothing but repentance.  After baptizing 204 souls in the waters of Mormon, the prophet Alma: “…having authority from God, ordained priests…to preach unto them (the 204 souls) and to teach them concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were…repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.” (Mosiah 9:9 RE, Mosiah 18:18-20 LE)  In a revelation given to Joseph in Kirtland: “Behold, thus says the Lord unto you my servants: It is expedient in me that the elders of my church should be called to gather from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south…And it shall come to pass that they shall go forth unto the regions round about and preach repentance unto this people.” (T&C 30:1-2 RE, D&C 44:1-3 LE)  The Lord has commanded us to preach repentance, furthermore, He has commanded us individually to repent. “Yea, open your mouth and it shall be filled, saying, repent, repent and prepare the way of the Lord, and make his path straight, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Yea, repent and be baptized every one of you for the remission of sins. Yea, be baptized even by water, and then comes the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.”  (T&C 16:2 RE, D&C 33:10-11 LE)

It seems we individually know so little about repentance.  Let’s see if we can get a better handle on what the Lord requires of us.

We are required to be obedient to the Lord’s commandments and repentance is a requirement.  The Lord told Joseph Smith: “Keep my commandments and assist to bring forth my work according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.” (JSH 14:10 RE, D&C 11:9 LE) The commandments He is talking about are the Sermon on the Mount/Sermon in Bountiful, but also those commandments the Lord gave to Joseph personally.  The same is true for each of us, we are to live the commandments from the sermons stated above in addition to those He gives to us personally.  The Lord has given me a commandment to share a message with each person I meet.  That message is “THE LORD LOVES YOU! HE WANTS YOU TO REPENT! WE ARE TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”  As I pondered on those words the Lord allowed me to soften the “REPENT!” command to “he wants you to turn towards Him”.  So that is a personal command the Lord has given to me.  Have you asked the Lord what He requires of you? That is not a rhetorical question. You may want to give that some considerable thought. But, let’s continue our conversation on repentance.

Repentance has claim on so much more than just sin.  In the Bible Dictionary (LE) we find a definition of “Repentance”, it says: “…denotes a change of mind, i.e., a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world.”  In the “Glossary of Gospel Terms” (RE, it is found in the appendix of the Teachings and Commandments) it describes repentance as “A “change” requiring believers to turn away from the world and toward God. It is the change in life that follows from seeing things in a better, truer light. Repentance is abandoning a foolish error, a vain tradition, or a false belief and replacing it with truth. Penitence is another way to describe repentance (or the process of change and growing beyond sins that limit your happiness). It comes as you allow Christ to “succor” you through the power of the atonement. Through penitence, people do away with the darkness in their lives and add light instead.  Repentance is turning away from all other distractions to face God.” True repentance means we must change our actions, attitudes, and perceptions to bring us into alignment with the Lord, or “turn towards Him”.

The pathway to God is through repentance, as we identify actions, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, traditions, beliefs, fears, emotions, etc. that are not in alignment with Him, and leave those behind us (literally they are now in our past) we turn towards The Lord with new actions, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, emotions, etc., that are in alignment with Him.  The scriptures refer to it as a Change in Heart”. Alma asked “…have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your own countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you?” (Alma 3:3 RE, Alma  5:14-15 LE)  All too often as we repent and change we are like Lot’s wife who turned back toward Sodom and Gomorrah with longing and was turned to a pillar of salt.  We are not familiar with the new us and we allow the old to come back instead of turning toward Christ and forsaking the past which caused us pain.

In Proverbs, Solomon the King of Israel, said “He that covers his sins shall not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.” (Prov. 4:82 RE, Prov. 28:13 LE) W.W. Phelps was instructed by the Lord:  “Behold, he that has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I the Lord remember them no more. By this you may know if a man repents of his sins: behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” (T&C 45:9 RE, D&C 58:42-43 LE) Let’s see if we can bring this a little closer to home.  It seems easy to repent of stealing and then forsaking that sin by never stealing again.  However, when we are talking about emotions, hurts, betrayals, abuse, etc. it takes on a little different light.  You may say “I didn’t do those things they were done to me!” “Yes but I was/am the victim!” Those thoughts may be warranted but what part do you play in accepting, internalizing, or hanging on to the pain and anger associated with those feelings? Or perhaps you were the perpetrator; do you still hang onto the guilt and regret?  When the Lord says when you repent by confessing then forsaking, that He will remember it no more, shouldn’t you do the same?  Do you continue to bring it up in conversation?  Do you rehash it in your thought trying to justify your behavior? When something happens that triggers those memories do you wallow in that pain and misery for a while? When you have repented of and forsaken your meanness, or judgment toward someone do you continue to beat yourself up for being mean and judgmental?  When we choose to repent, to TURN TOWARD CHRIST not only do we turn and face Him or the path that He has shown but we must turn our back on all of the things of the world including past pain, suffering, hurts, attitudes, behaviors, traumas, etc. and remember them no more.

Alma in the Book of Mormon, and a number of his cohorts including Amulek, travel to the land of the Zoramites to preach.  At one point Alma and Amulek are together teaching a group, Amulek gets up and is preaching about Christ, the Atonement, faith, repentance, all the important stuff.  He says: “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. Yea, behold, the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end. For after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say when ye are brought to that awful crisis that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this, for the same spirit you hearken to obey while living in the flesh shall, upon your death, have the same power to influence you to hearken unto that spirit in the next life.” (Alma 16:37 RE, Alma 34:32-34 LE) So profound, however, I would like you to look closely at the phrase “…for the same spirit you hearken to obey while living in the flesh shall, upon your death, have the same power to influence you to hearken unto that spirit in the next life.”  I’m going to give that spirit a name, “the Spirit of Past Pain and Regrets”.  The idea of course is that we need to move forward not dwell in the past.

Part of repentance is to turn away from the lies of the adversary as to who we are and to turn away from our past that continues to plague us and leave all of the lies behind, never bring it up again. Too often we turn back to those things that have caused us pain in the past. We continue to dwell on them which brings all of the pain, confusion and  energy of those hurts right back into our mind and heart and the “Spirit of Past Pain and Regrets” has a hold on us again.

In meditation I asked the Lord how we bring the full power of the atonement into our lives for healing (repenting) from past hurts, He said that we should ask what we needed to learn from the experience. Once we have ascertained what we needed to learn, then we can ask for the pain to be taken away through the atonement.  All of our experiences in this life are for our learning, to understand God and to “come unto Him”.

Something else we have learned recently is that when we give up our stuff to the Lord, (all that we are currently repenting of) He then has a gift to give us in exchange.  We recently had an experience helping a friend through a guided visualization.  The idea is that we visualize, putting our stuff (whatever aspect of repentance we are currently working on) and placing it in a box and giving the box to the Lord.  The Lord takes it in His hands then absorbs the box and its contents into Himself through the power of His atonement. We went through this visualization with this friend and although it seemed beneficial it didn’t feel complete.  A while later we were working with this person again and it was impressed upon me that the Lord wanted to give a gift in return, so we walked through the visualization again and this time as the box was given to the Lord, we waited, and He then gave a box in return.  That box the Lord gave was brought to the chest and absorbed it into the heart.  His box was full to overflowing with His love and light and healing.  The resulting feeling was profound for our friend.  The Lord loves us more than we can imagine.  He wants to give us all that He has.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Out of Obscurity


First and foremost I want to testify of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He loves us and is very cognoscente of each one or us and wants us to turn toward Him in all of our thoughts and actions.  He also wants us to learn to love one another.  It is of the utmost importance.

The Lord works in patterns every time He reaches out to reclaim His people.   In the post-deluvian (after the flood) world, the human catalyst for change has come from obscurity. What am I talking about?  From the time of Adam through Noah the leadership of the Lord’s people has come through an obvious uninterrupted patriarchal line and there were at least a percentage of His children that were obedient to His commandments.  However, after the flood we see a recurring pattern of apostasy then restoration.  Each time the Lord redirected His people after a time of apostasy, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through a prophet/servant who came out of obscurity.

The first major change (New Dispensation) came with Abraham.  Abraham was a descendent of Shem/Melchizedek although nine generations removed.  The vast majority of the descendents of Shem/Melchizedek had become idol worshipers, save for those few in the city of Salem.  The main religion of the time was Idolatry and it was almost 300 years before Abram (his name was later changed to Abraham by the Lord) was born.  Abram was 75 yrs old when the Lord commanded him to Leave Haran and travel to Canaan.  It was at that time the Lord covenanted with Abram (which we now know as the Abrahamic Covenant) “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get yourself out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto a land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you. And in you shall the families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 7:1 RE, Gen. 12:1-3 LE)  The Gospel of Jesus Christ had been abandoned by the majority of the descendants of Noah after the flood. It was not long before Abram that Nimrod, a descendent of Ham, and his people built the tower of Babel to reach unto heaven and as a result of their conspiracy to prevent heaven from destroying mankind again the Lord corrupted the speech of the whole world.

The next major change came at the time of Moses.  Moses was also not from the current ruling body of the Lords people, the tribes of Israel. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who had gone to Egypt to obtain food, were in captivity by Pharaoh.  The ruling body of the Israelites was a council of the tribal leaders.  Both of Moses’ birth parents were of the tribe of Levi, so Moses had  priestly birthright. When Moses was born, the Pharaoh had commanded that all male children born to the Hebrews should be thrown into the river: “And the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives…And he said, When you do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women and see them upon the birth stools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said unto them, Why have you done this thing and have saved the men children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women, for they are lively and are delivered before the midwives come in unto them. Therefore, God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and waxed very mighty…And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born to you (the Hebrews) shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.” (Exodus 1:3 RE, Exodus 1:15-22 LE)

Moses’ mother conceived and bore a male child: “And when she saw that he was a peculiar child, she hid him three months. And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of papyrus, and smeared it with tar and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the reeds by the river’s brink. And his sister stood afar off to know what would be done to him.  And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river, and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child; and behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children…And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses, and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.” (Exodus 1:4-5 RE, Exodus 2:2-10 LE)  Moses was raised in the household of Pharaoh as his grandson. 

When the Lord called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, he was tending the flocks of the priest of Midian.  Of course you all know the story of the Lord calling upon Moses from a bush. I find it interesting in the account in Exodus the narration says the “and again the presence of the Lord (Joseph Smith changed “angel” to “presence”) appeared unto him.” (Exodus 2:2 RE, Exodus 3:2 LE) So it seems that this was not the first time Moses had some interaction with the Lord. He was obviously being prepared for what the Lord would ask of him.

John the Baptist was also someone who came out of obscurity.  Like Moses, he had the birthright to do what he did but he was not part of the mainstream leadership of the time.  Also like Moses, both his father and mother were of the tribe of Levi, descendents of Aaron.  John’s father Zacharias was performing his duties in the temple when an angel appeared to him to inform him of his wife’s coming expectancy.  His wife Elizabeth had been barren and was now past the child baring years. “And while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his priesthood, according to the law…there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw the angel, he was troubled and fear fell upon him; but the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.” (Luke 1:3 RE, Luke 1: 8-13 LE)  John was sent out of obscurity to prepare the way of the Lord, his roll was that of an Elias (a for-runner): “And in those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand, for I am he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord and make his paths straight.” (Matt 2:1 RE, Matt 3:1-3 LE)  “The next day, John sees Jesus coming unto him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And John bore record of him unto the people, saying, This is he of whom I said, After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me, and I knew him, and that he should be made manifest to Israel. Therefore have I come baptizing with water.” (John 1:5 RE, John 1:29-31 LE) It was not long after that John was executed by Herod.

The Lord Himself is another example of how God brings about change through obscurity.  Before His ministry began John was given the responsibility to identify Christ as the long awaited Messiah: “And John bore record…I saw the spirit descending from Heaven like a dove, and it abided upon him…And I saw and bore record that this is the Son of God. (John 1:5 RE, John 1:32-34 LE)  Jesus was not of the reigning hierarchy of the time.  He did not come through the Sadducees or the Pharisees, who were the Jewish sects that held the most seats in the Sanhedrin, the primary Jewish leadership council.  The Lord had no credentials or had no bonifides of men: “Yea, even doth not Isaiah say, Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (Mosiah 8:3 RE, Mosiah 14:1-2 LE)  In chapter 4 of his book “Come Let Us Adore Him”, Denver Snuffer writes “As Isaiah put it: “there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isa. 53: 2.) Or, to paraphrase Isaiah: “He was not bonafide. He did not have credentials deserving respect.” He was nobody.”  I agree with Denver in his definition of “beauty that we should desire him”, He began as a nobody in the eyes of the people. When He condescended from the realms of Heaven in the meridian of time He came out of obscurity He had no standing among the people to promote respect.

Joseph Smith was not a leader in any of the many organized religions of his day.  He was not even a licensed or trained preacher.  He was just an obscure boy of 14 when the Lord called him to do a great work: “And though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age or thereabouts, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world…how very strange it was that an obscure boy of a little over fourteen years of age… should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, so as to create in them a spirit of the bitterest persecution and reviling.” (JSH 2:8 RE, JSH 1:22 LE) Where the previously mentioned men could track their birthright to do what they did, we don’t have that information about Joseph, although I would bet that he did have the birthright, remember the Lord works in patterns.

I bring up all of these significant events to identify an established pattern in how the Lord works.  As shown whenever there is a great event about to take place it does not come through the current/traditional leadership of a prominent organization.  The Lord is working to bring about Zion in our day.  My belief is that the first step is establishing the New Jerusalem and building a temple for the Lord to come to.  That work has begun.  You are probably asking “who is going to build it” and that is a question I will address in another post.  But for now keep your eyes and heart open to the work the Lord is currently doing.