By Zach Kendrick
In this edition of the Gatekeeper we would like for you to meet Leavell College student Zach Carter. He is a senior at Leavell College and is looking to attend Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for his Master’s. As a former Mormon, tells his unique story to tell of how the Lord used the Mormon church and movie to bring him to faith in Jesus Christ.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Huntsville, AL. My mom is from Maryland and my dad is from Utah.
What is your testimony?
I was raised Mormon, and by Mormon I mean “Mormon of Mormons,” not just in name only. My paternal ancestors were bodyguards of Joseph Smith. They trekked across the Oregon Trail to Salt Lake City with Brigham Young. My great-grandfather brought the Mormon faith into Arizona, so needless to say I am in a legacy of Mormons. But when my mom married my step-dad I was forced (against my will) to become inactive in the Mormon Church. I wanted to go to church. I campaigned for about two years to go back to church. As time went on I started to doubt my faith and became agnostic in High School. While in High School my grandfather (mom’s dad) passed away. About that same time the movie DaVinci Code came out and so I started engaging in debate with a Christian friend of mine. She was faithful to share the gospel with me. Every time we talked she would ask the question “Where does Jesus want to take Zach Carter?” The most attractive thing about the gospel to me was even though my friend could not answer all my questions she continued to share the love of Jesus. It was compelling to see the love she had for me through the gospel. There came a point in my life that I stopped fighting and stopped questioning and surrendered to Christ. Though I see that as my point of salvation, the Lord had to bring me through a tough year of sanctification and discipleship. I had to work through the baggage of my Mormon faith and sort of detox.
Describe your call to ministry.
During my senior year of High School my youth pastor told me to read Acts 9. As an agnostic I saw myself similar to Paul in that I wanted to attack the Christian faith. As a former Mormon I saw both the Christian and Mormon faith as similar. I realized I had a unique position as a former Mormon and agnostic so it seemed like a natural step to take, because I felt that I was gifted in and was encouraged to pursue writing and speaking.
Are you married? Do you have any kids?
Yes. I married my wife Morgan in May 2013. We met at Passion, she was wearing an Auburn T-shirt and so I went up and talked with her. The rest is history. No we do not have kids.
Where do you serve in ministry?
I served at a church plant in Montgomery, but I realized I wasn’t mature enough to serve so I stepped down. Now I serve in lay positions at Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville where Morgan and I are members.
What is your favorite hobby?
I love to read. I read a lot…like two books a week. I also blog a lot, too. But with being married and school I don’t have time for any more hobbies.
What is your favorite sport to watch and/or play?
I love to watch football #WarEagle! I played soccer in High School. I wish I was better at baseball.
What is your favorite class?
I really liked discussion in Dr. Drum’s “Theology of Paul” and I loved my paper for “Research and Writing.”
Besides the Bible what was the last book you read?
Southern Baptist Identity by David Dockery, I give it an A minus. Also Love, Prayer, and Forgiveness by Michael Snow.
What is one piece of advice you would give students about their years in seminary?
I would challenge them to think critically in a safe environment. Don’t just passively participate in seminary, but actually engage your mind.
NOBTS Birmingham Center is an extension of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. For information regarding the Birmingham Center please visit our website