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Mormon Newsroom released this news today: “Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died at home Friday, July 3, 2015, at about 2 p.m. MDT from causes incident to age. He was 90 years old.”
President Boyd K. Packer was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in April of 1970. This year marked 45 years that he served as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Pres. Packer was 45 years old when he was called, so he served as an apostle for half his life. To honor this anniversary, I created this blog post right before the April 2015 General Conference. I’ve updated and re-posted it in honor of his life of noble service. Here are 45 Boyd K. Packer General Conference quotes—one from each year he was an apostle.
I believe I speak for millions of people when I say, “We love you, President Packer! Thank you for your love and selfless service!”
The dates are linked to the talks; click on the dates to go to complete talk on lds.org.
“The end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed for eternity.”
“In all of this, let us remember that there is an adversary who personally seeks to disrupt the work of the Lord. We must choose whom to follow. Our protection is as simple as deciding individually to follow the Savior, making certain that we faithfully will remain on His side.”
“Parents today wonder if there is a safe place to raise children. There is a safe place. It is in a gospel-centered home. We focus on the family in the Church, and we counsel parents everywhere to raise their children in righteousness.”
“[A] young couple tearfully told me they had just come from a doctor where they were told they would be unable to have children of their own. They were brokenhearted with the news. They were surprised when I told them that they were actually quite fortunate. They wondered why I would say such a thing. I told them their state was infinitely better than that of other couples who were capable of being parents but who rejected and selfishly avoided that responsibility.
“I told them, ‘At least you want children, and that desire will weigh heavily in your favor in your earthly lives and beyond because it will provide spiritual and emotional stability. Ultimately, you will be much better off because you wanted children and could not have them, as compared to those who could but would not have children.’”
“The world will refer to us as they will, but in our speech, always remember that we belong to the Church of Jesus Christ.
“Some claim we are not Christians. They either do not know us at all or they misunderstand.
“In the Church every ordinance is done by the authority of and in the name of Jesus Christ. We have the same organization as did the primitive Church, with apostles and prophets.”
“If you are bound by a habit or an addiction that is unworthy, you must stop conduct that is harmful. Angels will coach you, and priesthood leaders will guide you through those difficult times.
“Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance.”
“No Father would send His children off to a distant, dangerous land for a lifetime of testing where Lucifer was known to roam free without first providing them with a personal power of protection. He would also supply them with means to communicate with Him from Father to child and from child to Father. Every child of our Father sent to earth is provided with the Spirit of Christ, or the Light of Christ. We are, none of us, left here alone without hope of guidance and redemption.”
“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.”
“There is the natural tendency to look at those who are sustained to presiding positions, to consider them to be higher and of more value in the Church or to their families than an ordinary member. Somehow we feel they are worth more to the Lord than are we. It just does not work that way!”
“…As General Authorities of the Church, we are just the same as you are, and you are just the same as we are. You have the same access to the powers of revelation for your families and for your work and for your callings as we do.
“…No member of the Church is esteemed by the Lord as more or less than any other. It just does not work that way! Remember, He is a father—our Father. The Lord is ‘no respecter of persons’.”
“Some suppose that our high standards will repel growth. It is just the opposite. High standards are a magnet. We are all children of God, drawn to the truth and to good.”
“The central purpose of the Book of Mormon is its testament of Jesus Christ. Of more than 6,000 verses in the Book of Mormon, far more than half refer directly to Him.”
“A few weeks ago our youngest son and his wife and family stopped to see us. The first one out of the car was our two-year-old grandson. He came running to me with his arms outstretched, shouting, ‘Gwampa! Gwampa! Gwampa!’
“He hugged my legs, and I looked down at that smiling face and those big, innocent eyes and thought, ‘What kind of a world awaits him?’
“For a moment I had that feeling of anxiety, that fear of the future that so many parents express to us. Everywhere we go fathers and mothers worry about the future of their children in this very troubled world.
“But then a feeling of assurance came over me. My fear of the future faded.
“That guiding, comforting Spirit, with which we in the Church are so familiar, brought to my remembrance what I already knew. The fear of the future was gone. That bright-eyed, little two-year-old can have a good life—a very good life—and so can his children and his grandchildren, even though they will live in a world where there is much of wickedness.”
“However out of step we may seem, however much the standards are belittled, however much others yield, we will not yield, we cannot yield.”
“I have traveled all over the world. … I have held positions of trust in education, in business, in government, and in the Church. I have written books, and, like them, have received honors, degrees, certificates, plaques. Such honors come with the territory and are undeserved.
“Assessing the value of those things, the one thing I treasure more than any of them—more than all of them put together—the thing of most value to me is how our sons and daughters and their husbands and wives treat their children and how, in turn, our grandchildren treat their little ones.
“When it comes to understanding our relationship with our Heavenly Father, the things my wife and I have learned as parents and grandparents that are of most worth knowing, we have learned from our children.”
“The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ has the nourishing power to heal starving spirits of the world.”
“We need not live in fear of the future. We have every reason to rejoice and little reason to fear. If we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we will be safe, whatever the future holds. We will be shown what to do.”
“Young Latter-day Saints, shape up! Face up! Take hold of your lives! Take control of your mind, your thoughts! If you have friends that are not a good influence, make changes, even if you face loneliness, even rejection.
If you have already made bad mistakes, there are ways to fix things up, and eventually it will be as though they never happened.”
“Strong Relief Societies carry a powerful immunizing and healing influence for the mothers and the daughters, for the single parent, for the single sisters, for the aging, for the infirm.”
“Imagine the consoling, liberating, exalting feeling that will come to you when you see the reality of the Atonement and the practical, everyday value of it to you individually.”
“A resistance to anything that limits one’s conduct has almost taken over society. Our whole social order could self-destruct over the obsession with freedom disconnected from responsibility, where choice is imagined to be somehow independent of consequences.”
“Restoring what you cannot restore, healing the wound you cannot heal, fixing that which you broke and you cannot fix is the very purpose of the atonement of Christ.”
“Your responsibility as a father and a husband transcends any other interest in life.”
“There is nothing in the revelations which suggests that to be a man rather than to be a woman is preferred in the sight of God, or that He places a higher value on sons than on daughters.
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.”
“Interesting how one virtue, when given exaggerated or fanatical emphasis, can be used to batter down another, with freedom, a virtue, invoked to protect vice. Those determined to transgress see any regulation of their life-style as interfering with their agency and seek to have their actions condoned by making them legal.”
“Parents, stake presidencies, bishoprics, auxiliary leaders, teachers: maintain a spirit of reverence in meetings, encourage participation in congregational singing and the use of reverential terms in prayers.
While we may not see an immediate, miraculous transformation, as surely as the Lord lives, a quiet one will take place. The spiritual power in the lives of each member and in the Church will increase. The Lord will pour out his Spirit upon us more abundantly. We will be less troubled, less confused. We will find revealed answers to personal and family problems without all the counseling which we seem now to need.”
“All of these courses in seminary, institute, and at Church schools are taught by dedicated teachers. They deserve our respect, our deep gratitude, and our full support. Every parent, every Church leader, should act as an enrollment agent for seminaries and institutes. Parents and priesthood leaders, check on your college students. See that they attend the institute.”
“It is my conviction, and my constant prayer, that there will come through research, through inspiration to scientists if need be, the power to conquer narcotic addiction through the same means which cause it.
I plead with all of you to earnestly pray that somewhere, somehow, the way will be discovered to erase addiction in the human body.”
“How supernally precious freedom is; how consummately valuable is the agency of man.”
“Now, there are those who scoff at the idea of vicarious ordinances performed for the salvation of souls. They think it all to be very strange.
“No thinking Christian should be surprised at such a doctrine. Was not the sacrifice of Christ a vicarious offering for and in behalf of all mankind? The very Atonement was wrought vicariously.
“The Lord did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Is it not Christlike for us to perform in the temples ordinances for and in behalf of those who cannot do them for themselves?”
“To you adults who repeat the pattern of neglect and abuse you endured as little children, believing that you are entrapped in a cycle of behavior from which there is no escape, I say:
“It is contrary to the order of heaven for any soul to be locked into compulsive, immoral behavior with no way out!”
“Good conduct without the ordinances of the gospel will neither redeem nor exalt mankind; covenants and the ordinances are essential. We are required to teach the doctrines, even the unpopular ones.”
“You are the warriors of the Restoration. And in this spiritual battle, you are to relieve the spiritual hunger and feed the sheep. It is your duty!”
“Those who talk of blind obedience may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel. There is an obedience that comes from a knowledge of the truth that transcends any external form of control. We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see.”
“Do not ever belittle anyone, including yourself, nor count them, or you, a failure, if your livelihood has been modest. Do not ever look down on those who labor in occupations of lower income. There is great dignity and worth in any honest occupation. Do not use the word menial for any labor that improves the world or the people who live in it.
“There is no shame in any honorable work, and the principle of faith, which the Lord connected with learning, is precious above the technologies of man.”
“Marriage is yet safe, with all its sweet fulfillment, with all its joy and love. In marriage all of the worthy yearnings of the human soul, all that is physical and emotional and spiritual, can be fulfilled.”
“We now move into an uncertain future. But we are not uncertain. Children, bear testimony, build Zion. Then you will find true success, complete happiness.”
“It is difficult to separate from the confusion of life that quiet voice of inspiration. Unless you attune yourself, you will miss it.
“Answers to prayers come in a quiet way. The scriptures describe that voice of inspiration as a still, small voice….
“Prayer can be a very public thing. We teach you often about prayer, about the asking part.
“Perhaps we have not taught you enough about the receiving part. This is a very private, a very individual thing, one that you must learn for yourself.”
“There is a great need for women who can receive inspiration to guide them personally in their teaching and in their leadership responsibilities.
“We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.
“We need women who can discern those positions that may not be popular at all, but are right.”
“Each of us lives on a kind of spiritual credit. One day the account will be closed, a settlement demanded. However casually we may view it now, when that day comes and the foreclosure is imminent, we will look around in restless agony for someone, anyone, to help us.
“And, by eternal law, mercy cannot be extended save there be one who is both willing and able to assume our debt and pay the price and arrange the terms for our redemption.
“Unless there is a mediator, unless we have a friend, the full weight of justice untempered, unsympathetic, must, positively must fall on us. The full recompense for every transgression, however minor or however deep, will be exacted from us to the uttermost farthing.
“But know this: Truth, glorious truth, proclaims there is such a Mediator.”
“Those ahead of you in life have probed about the water holes a bit and raise a voice of warning about crocodiles. Not just the big, gray lizards that can bite you to pieces, but spiritual crocodiles, infinitely more dangerous, and more deceptive and less visible, even, than those well-camouflaged reptiles of Africa.
“These spiritual crocodiles can kill or mutilate your souls. They can destroy your peace of mind and the peace of mind of those who love you. Those are the ones to be warned against, and there is hardly a watering place in all of mortality now that is not infested with them.”
“The powerful missionary spirit and the vigorous missionary activity in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints becomes a very significant witness that the true gospel and that the authority are possessed here in the Church. We accept the responsibility to preach the gospel to every person on earth. And if the question is asked, ‘You mean you are out to convert the entire world?’ the answer is, ‘Yes. We will try to reach every living soul.’”
“We continually strive to share the gospel with others, but we cannot dilute it to suit their taste. We did not set the standards; the Lord did. It is his church.”
“Choose from among the sacred music of the Church a favorite hymn, one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration… Now, use this hymn as the place for your thoughts to go. Make it your emergency channel. Whenever you find these shady actors have slipped from the sidelines of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, put on this record, as it were.
“As the music begins and as the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully away. It will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear. For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light.”
“There is a spiritual genius in priesthood home teaching. Every priesthood holder who goes forth under this assignment can come away repaid a thousandfold.
I have heard men say in response to a question about their Church assignment, “I am only a home teacher.”
Only a home teacher. Only the guardian of a flock. Only the one appointed where the ministry matters most. Only a servant of the Lord!”
“Some weeks before the meeting of last April, I left the office one Friday afternoon thinking of the weekend conference assignment. I waited for the elevator to come down from the fifth floor.
“As the elevator doors quietly opened, there stood President Joseph Fielding Smith. There was a moment of surprise in seeing him, since his office is on a lower floor.
“As I saw him framed in the doorway, there fell upon me a powerful witness—there stands the prophet of God. That sweet voice of Spirit that is akin to light, that has something to do with pure intelligence, affirmed to me that this was the prophet of God.
“I need not try to define that experience to Latter-day Saints. That kind of witness is characteristic of this church. It is not something reserved to those in high office. It is a witness, not only available but vital, to every member.”
“If you are helpless, he is not. If you are lost, he is not. If you don’t know what to do next, he knows. It would take a miracle, you say? Well, if it takes a miracle, why not.”
(Originally posted on April 3, 2015 on My Best LDS. Updated and reprinted with permission on July 3, 2015.)