President Boyd K. Packer Passes Away at 90

The Church announced today that President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles passed away peacefully in his home.

I will sorely miss President Packer’s bold witness of Jesus Christ, and of the divinely inspired nature of the family.

I have heard it said, that we should especially pay attention to the prophetic witness of Apostles and Prophets at three points in their ministry. 1) At the start of their ministry. 2) When something is repeatedly frequently throughout their ministry. 3) At the end of their ministry. Thus, it is fitting that in his final general conference talk, President Packer hearkened back to what has been a repeated theme of his ministry. Indeed, President Packer has at least four times over the pulpit used these exact same or substantially similar words. I believe that these words will stand as a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to serving Christ, his church, and the divine institution of the family:

“Over the years I have frequently taught an important principle: 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 together for time and for all eternity.”

I will also always remember President Packer’s profound testimony of the savior which he bore frequently, but perhaps never with greater power than this past conference.

I bear witness that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God. He stands at the head of the Church. Through His Atonement and the power of the priesthood, families which are begun in mortality can be together through the eternities. The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, He has promised that He would atone. And when He atoned, that settled that. There are so many of us who are thrashing around, as it were, with feelings of guilt, not knowing quite how to escape. You escape by accepting the Atonement of Christ, and all that was heartache can turn to beauty and love and eternity.

I am so grateful for the blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the power of procreation, for the power of redemption, for the Atonement—the Atonement which can wash clean every stain no matter how difficult or how long or how many times repeated. The Atonement can put you free again to move forward, cleanly and worthily, to pursue that path that you have chosen in life.

I bear witness that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Atonement is not a general thing that is for the whole Church. The Atonement is individual, and if you have something that is bothering you—sometimes so long ago you can hardly remember it—put the Atonement to work. It will clean it up, and you, as does He, will remember your sins no more. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

15 thoughts on “President Boyd K. Packer Passes Away at 90

  1. His testimony and teachings of the atonement provided a good basis for discussions I’d have with friends who’d assert “well…. you Mormons don’t believe in grace. You think it’s all about your works.” Some would accept new understanding, while many would do what we see so often: reject a testimony of the atonement, get hardened in their erroneous opinions and say (and I’ve heard this gem several times) “oh no, you do not believe that.”

    Peace to his family.

  2. There are some awesome talks I’ll use for years from President Packer.

    “We lay no claim to being Apostles of the world—but of the Lord Jesus Christ. The test is not whether men will believe, but whether the Lord has called us—and of that there is no doubt!

    “We do not talk of those sacred interviews that qualify the servants of the Lord to bear a special witness of Him, for we have been commanded not to do so.

    “But we are free, indeed, we are obliged, to bear that special witness.” (A Tribute to the Rank and File of the Church, April 1980 General Conference)

    And this one:

    ” 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.” (For Time and All Eternity, October 1993 General Conference)

  3. BTW, with his passing, Russell M Nelson becomes the president of the Quorum of Twelve.

    President Monson is now the last living witness of the 1978 Revelation on the Priesthood. We are quickly moving into a new period for the Church and world.

  4. With Elder Packer’s passing a lot of leadership history is being turned over. There is only one general authority left from the 1960’s and only 1 other (I think) who served in the 70’s. Elders Nelson and Oaks were called as GA and apostle in 1984.
    President Monson is now the only apostle called before President Hinckley was in the first presidency. The two of them will have now been highly influential in the calling of the remaining 14 apostles come this October.

  5. And this makes seven apostles junior to President Monson in seniority, that he has outlived.

  6. After I learned of Elder Packer’s passing, I was pleased to remember the ways he has ministered, including his ministrations that directly affected me.

    It was following a regional leadership session led by Elder Packer that my then-beau received a prompting that the time had come to ask me to marry. This was a prompting that astounded and frightened by beau. My beau proceeded to tell me about the prompting but didn’t actually ask until further revelation prompted him that the peace he had felt that weekend was his answer.

    Another time, over a decade later, Elder Packer was the presiding authority at our Stake Conference in the DC area. He sent out word in advance that he would not select speakers until that day, in the conference session itself. The speakers were selected from the leadership of the stake (male and female), and it was a powerful (and shorter-than-usual) meeting.

    As my husband and I reflected on the fact that there will likely be two new apostles announced at the next general conference, I couldn’t help but think of those I know would would be amazing apostles.

    The depth of the field of potential candidates to serve as apostle is vast (thinking by way of comparison of the resources available in Joseph’s time, circa 1835). They are individuals of proven ability, sound understanding, and deep commitment to the Savior. But I won’t burden you with my thoughts regarding which of the amazing individuals in the Church might be selected as new apostles.

    In a parallel vein, I have cast my mind about, thinking of how it might be possible for the important role of all at Church (male and female) be be visibly acknowledged at the highest level. The image of women as the one to be protected (as reflected in Elder Packer’s 1993 parable) is valid. But isn’t it also nice when those protected know that the protection is designed with feminine input at the most fundamental level? But as God’s thoughts can be counted on to run ahead of any of my good thoughts, I am content to be delighted when His ways are made manifest.

  7. It is sobering for me to reflect that there could be as many as four new apostles next October. President Monson and Elder Scott are both suffering severely from age. If not October, then still all too soon.

  8. Pres Monson still had strength to stand at the last conference, and his voice had energy. Elder Scott was absent. Elder Packer had been sitting while speaking for several conferences, and in this last one his voice was very weak.

    Elder Perry’s passing due to cancer was a complete surprise as he still seemed strong. But that’s the nature of agressive cancers.

    Elder Hales also seemed weak and out of breath this last conference, even though he was on oxygen. if I remember correctly you could see the oxygen tubes attached to his glasses. I suspect that will be his last GC appearance. God bless him. And God bless them all.

  9. It would be a very unusual situation if there are 3 or 4 new apostles called at the same time. I wonder if another passes away soon, that they may fill the positions before October. There are a lot of assignments which are needed to be filled.
    Just my random musings, but I think that there may be a younger or very international call made since there are multiple openings. There may also be an older man called than the normal age range.

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