William Carter

(? – ?)

D&C 52:31

By Susan Easton Black

By June 1831 William had been baptized and ordained an elder. He attended the conference of the Church held on June 3–6, 1831, in Kirtland, Ohio. The day after the conference, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that William, a blind man, was to serve a mission: “Let my servants Wheeler Baldwin and William Carter also take their journey” (D&C 52:31). Church historian John Whitmer recorded that “William Carter, apostatized following the command and refused to go on the venture.”1 On September 1, 1831, “Edison Fuller and William Carter [were] silenced from holding the office of Elders in this Church.”2

In 1832 Jared Carter, the uncle of William Carter, endeavored to bring him back to the faith and penned:

[William] said he was convinced that it was the work of the Lord but he did not as yet feel prepared to obey the work. I then told him that was an impropriety in putting off obedience to the Lord. I also felt with my own soul as though his situation was very dangerous for he had some time grieved the Spirit by his disobedience and I having a sense felt to cry mightily to my Heavenly Father for him. I, at length, felt the power of prophecy to him and expressed to him that this was the very day that he would obey the commands if ever. I then commanded him to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Soon after this, he knelt down with me and entreated the Lord to have mercy on him. He, the same day, was baptized and received the Spirit of the Lord to his soul.3

William not only accepted the message of the Restoration again but also worked diligently on constructing the Kirtland Temple. He was given a blessing for his labors and “promised a restoration of sight, if faithful.”4 It is not known whether William received his sight. His whereabouts after 1836 are unknown. 

1. F. Mark McKieran and Roger D. Launius, An Early Latter Day Saint History: The Book of John Whitmer, (Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1980), 73.

2. Donald Q. Cannon and Lyndon W. Cook, Far West Record: Minutes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1844 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 11.

3. Jared Carter Autobiography, typescript, 17. Church History Library.

4. Smith, History of the Church, 2:207.