“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” -Mark 1:15
Teshuvah is a Hebrew word associated with repentance. However, it’s true meaning is “return,” as in one returning to their original state. We give the term Teshuvah to those new to Mormon Kabbalah for a few reasons. The main reason is because we are not leaving our old lives or old paths when we set Ego aside for something new. Rather, we are returning to the path we were already on.
We were with God before we were born (Ps 82:6, John 10:34-36, 1 Nephi 1:126-127 RAV, 17:36 OPV). We knew God, we are all Elohim’s children. By accepting Christ, we are returning to Elohim as Christians; the children of the Messiah. By studying Mormon Kabbalah we are relearning that which we already know. We have merely forgotten and need reminding.
The Power of Three
There are three forms of Teshuvah; Keter: Born Again (accepting and growing in Grace), Geburah: Return (repentance), and Chesed: Restoration (healing). Each of these have seven steps, each modeled after the creation. We will repeat these steps as we grow in Christ’s Grace. Thus, even after moving beyond this level in our Mormon Kabbalist studies, we continue the practice.
These steps serve us as we grow in Christ’s Grace. We are fully perfected in Christ the moment our hearts are pierced. As our kli (heart or vessel) is cleaned, our perception is changed. This will continue as we grow in degrees of Grace. Teshuvah is a constant path to becoming what we truly are. To us it appears as a circle spiraling up, but to God it is a straight path moving forward.
The Plan of Happiness
Teshuvah is a return to the path of happiness we’ve been separated from by Ego. Ego leads us to sin, which can give us a false sense of happiness. Eventually, however, we see how hollow this “happiness” is. The grass is continually greener on the other side of the fence, just out of reach. But forever the “one more” of Ego’s greed only seeks another object that will never truly satisfy us.
This is why Lehi taught that “mankind is that we might have joy” (2 Nephi 1:115 RAV, 2:25 OPV). We are tempted by Ego to think returning from sin leads to eternal sorrow as we come to Christ with a broken heart and contrite spirit. Teshuvah leads us past the illusion of the happiness of Ego’s worldly pleasures. True happiness comes when we reject Ego for altruism and the spirit of ubuntu. This is best understood by the two greatest commandments: Love God, and love thy neighbor as thyself. Why? Because God loves us as a parent loves a child, only infinitely more so. As we grow to love God, we cannot help but grow to love others.
This path leads us into the eternal bliss of God’s love. It is a world that can only be understood by those who’s eyes have been opened through Christ. These see the world as Elohim does. Over time, our growth in Grace returns us by restoring our vision of the world as it truly is; a blessed creation of God. That is to say, by changing one’s perspective Teshuvah changes all of reality. Remember again what Elohim said of the creation, of us: “It is good.”