Sunday, July 5, 2015

Boyd K. Packer Talk Highlights

What I did for the late L. Tom Perry, I do for the late Boyd K. Packer, who died on Friday. Packer was 90; he'd been an Apostle since 1970. With his passing, there is now 21 years that separate Pres. Monson from the next senior Apostle - Russell M. Nelson. Nelson is actually three years older than Pres. Monson, but he was called to be an Apostle in 1984; Monson in 1963.

Packer was known for being willing to speak frankly, boldly, and not without controversy. Here's some highlights from random talks of his through the years.

The first comes from the october 1971 General Conference.

"The Only True and Living Church"

The position that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church upon the face of the earth is fundamental. Perhaps it would be more convenient and palatable and popular if we were to avoid it; nevertheless, we are under a sacred obligation and a sacred trust to hold to it. It is not merely an admission; it is a positive declaration. It is so fundamental that we cannot yield on this point.

Now to those who think us uncharitable, we say that it was not devised by us; it was declared by Him, for he gave commandments to the early brethren, and I quote:

“… to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually.” (D&C 1:30.)

Now this is not to say that the churches, all of them, are without some truth. They have some truth—some of them very much of it. They have a form of godliness. Often the clergy and adherents are not without dedication, and many of them practice remarkably well the virtues of Christianity. They are, nonetheless, incomplete...

Now in these last days when the consummate power of evil moves against us, the great apostasy spoken of in the scriptures moves to its inevitable conclusion. The Christian churches that should be the bulwark against it seem to provide little substance for their members or for their clergy. And we see the frightening specter of empty churches and a clergy promoting causes they, above all, should resist...


From April 1978:

"Solving Emotional Problem's in the Lord's Own Way"

We have become very anxious over the amount of counseling that we seem to need in the Church. Our members are becoming dependent.

We must not set up a network of counseling services without at the same time emphasizing the principle of emotional self-reliance and individual independence.

If we lose our emotional and spiritual independence, our self-reliance, we can be weakened quite as much, perhaps even more, than when we become dependent materially...

If you find a case where professional help is justified, be very careful.

There are some spiritually destructive techniques used in the field of counseling. When you entrust your members to others, do not let them be subject to these things. Solve problems in the Lord’s way.

Some counselors want to delve deeper than is emotionally or spiritually healthy. They sometimes want to draw out and analyze and take apart and dissect.

While a certain amount of catharsis may be healthy, overmuch of it can be degenerating. It is seldom as easy to put something back together as it is to take it apart.

By probing too deeply, or talking endlessly about some problems, we can foolishly cause the very thing we are trying to prevent.


From April 1988:

"Atonement, Agency, Accountability"

Before the Crucifixion and afterward, many men have willingly given their lives in selfless acts of heroism. But none faced what the Christ endured. Upon Him was the burden of all human transgression, all human guilt.

And hanging in the balance was the Atonement. Through His willing act, mercy and justice could be reconciled, eternal law sustained, and that mediation achieved without which mortal man could not be redeemed.

He, by choice, accepted the penalty for all mankind for the sum total of all wickedness and depravity; for brutality, immorality, perversion, and corruption; for addiction; for the killings and torture and terror—for all of it that ever had been or all that ever would be enacted upon this earth...

I cannot with composure tell you how I feel about the Atonement. It touches the deepest emotion of gratitude and obligation. My soul reaches after Him who wrought it, this Christ, our Savior of whom I am a witness. I testify of Him. He is our Lord, our Redeemer, our advocate with the Father. He ransomed us with His blood.

Humbly I lay claim upon the atonement of Christ. I find no shame in kneeling down in worship of our Father and His son.


After six prominent Mormon intellectuals were excommunicated in September - they came to be known as the September Six - most of them said they knew Elder Packer was the one who orchestrated their excommunications. This was his first General Conference talk after the September Six.

"For Time and All Eternity"

All virtues listed in the scriptures—love, joy, peace, faith, godliness, charity—are shared by both men and women, and the highest priesthood ordinance in mortality is given only to man and woman together.

After the Fall, natural law had far-reaching sovereignty over mortal birth. There are what President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., called “pranks” of nature, which cause a variety of abnormalities, deficiencies, and deformities. However unfair they seem to man’s way of reasoning, they somehow suit the purposes of the Lord in the proving of mankind.

The following of every worthy instinct, the responding to every righteous urge, the consummating of every exalting human relationship are provided for and approved in the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ and protected by commandments revealed to His church.

Except Adam and Eve by nature be different from one another, they could not multiply and fill the earth. The complementing differences are the very key to the plan of happiness.

Some roles are best suited to the masculine nature and others to the feminine nature. Both the scriptures and the patterns of nature place man as the protector, the provider.

Those responsibilities of the priesthood, which have to do with the administration of the Church, of necessity function outside the home. By divine decree, they have been entrusted to men. It has been that way since the beginning, for the Lord revealed that “the order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son. … This order was instituted in the days of Adam.”

A man who holds the priesthood does not have an advantage over a woman in qualifying for exaltation. The woman, by her very nature, is also co-creator with God and the primary nurturer of the children. Virtues and attributes upon which perfection and exaltation depend come naturally to a woman and are refined through marriage and motherhood.

The priesthood is conferred only upon worthy men in order to conform to our Father’s plan of happiness. With the laws of nature and the revealed word of God working in harmony, it simply works best that way...

I close with a parable.

Once a man received as his inheritance two keys. The first key, he was told, would open a vault which he must protect at all cost. The second key was to a safe within the vault which contained a priceless treasure. He was to open this safe and freely use the precious things which were stored therein. He was warned that many would seek to rob him of his inheritance. He was promised that if he used the treasure worthily, it would be replenished and never be diminished, not in all eternity. He would be tested. If he used it to benefit others, his own blessings and joy would increase.

The man went alone to the vault. His first key opened the door. He tried to unlock the treasure with the other key, but he could not, for there were two locks on the safe. His key alone would not open it. No matter how he tried, he could not open it. He was puzzled. He had been given the keys. He knew the treasure was rightfully his. He had obeyed instructions, but he could not open the safe.

In due time, there came a woman into the vault. She, too, held a key. It was noticeably different from the key he held. Her key fit the other lock. It humbled him to learn that he could not obtain his rightful inheritance without her.

They made a covenant that together they would open the treasure and, as instructed, he would watch over the vault and protect it; she would watch over the treasure. She was not concerned that, as guardian of the vault, he held two keys, for his full purpose was to see that she was safe as she watched over that which was most precious to them both. Together they opened the safe and partook of their inheritance. They rejoiced for, as promised, it replenished itself.

With great joy they found that they could pass the treasure on to their children; each could receive a full measure, undiminished to the last generation.

Perhaps some few of their posterity would not find a companion who possessed the complementary key, or one worthy and willing to keep the covenants relating to the treasure. Nevertheless, if they kept the commandments, they would not be denied even the smallest blessing.

Because some tempted them to misuse their treasure, they were careful to teach their children about keys and covenants.

There came, in due time, among their posterity some few who were deceived or jealous or selfish because one was given two keys and another only one. “Why,” the selfish ones reasoned, “cannot the treasure be mine alone to use as I desire?”

Some tried to reshape the key they had been given to resemble the other key. Perhaps, they thought, it would then fit both locks. And so it was that the safe was closed to them. Their reshaped keys were useless, and their inheritance was lost.

Those who received the treasure with gratitude and obeyed the laws concerning it knew joy without bounds through time and all eternity.


From April 2008, the first talk by Packer after Pres. Monson was sustained as the new President of the Church.

"The Twelve"

President Monson was specifically given the authority to exercise all of the priesthood keys of authority. Now, as the scriptures provide, he is the only man on the earth who has the right to exercise all of the keys. But we all hold them as Apostles. There is one man among us called and ordained, and he becomes the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Already he was and had been sustained for years as a prophet, seer, and revelator...

We do not hear of the priesthood keys being exercised in other Christian churches. It seems odd that we are described by some as being non-Christian when we are the only ones who have the authority and the organization that He established.

The present Twelve are very ordinary people. They are not, as the original Twelve were not, spectacular individually, but collectively the Twelve are a power...

We now have means by which we can teach and testify to leaders and members all over the world electronically. But in order to confer the keys of authority in that unbroken line upon the priesthood leaders, “by the laying on of hands,”  wherever they are in the world, one of us must be there every time.

The Lord said, “And again, I say unto you, that whosoever ye shall send in my name, by the voice of your brethren, the Twelve, duly recommended and authorized by you, shall have power to open the door of my kingdom unto any nation whithersoever ye shall send them.”

The scriptures describe the Twelve as “traveling councilors.”

I am no different from the Brethren of the Twelve and the Seventy and the Bishopric with whom I have served for these 47 years when I tell you that the records show I have been in Mexico and Central and South America more than 75 times, in Europe over 50 times, Canada 25 times, the islands of the Pacific 10 times, Asia 10 times, and Africa 4 times; also China twice; to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Dominican Republic, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, and many, many other places around the globe. Others have traveled even more than that.

While the Apostles hold all of the priesthood keys, all leaders and members alike may receive personal revelation. Indeed, they are expected to seek it through prayer and to act on it by faith...

Now Elder Christofferson may wonder, as I did, why one such as I should be ordained to the holy apostleship.

There are many qualifications that I lack. There is so much in my effort to serve that is wanting. There is only one single thing, one qualification that can explain it. Like Peter and all of those who have since been ordained, I have that witness.

I know that God is our Father. He introduced His Son, Jesus Christ, to Joseph Smith. I declare to you that I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that He lives. He was born in the meridian of time. He taught His gospel and was tried. He suffered and was crucified and resurrected on the third day. He, like His Father, has a body of flesh and bone. He made His Atonement. Of Him I bear witness. Of Him I am a witness. This I bear in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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