News Release

Boyd K Packer - Legacy of Faith

Boyd K Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints passed away July 3rd at his family home in Salt Lake City Utah.

A man of great faith who was well known for his teachings on family, President Packer, age 90, leaves behind a family of 10 children, 60 grand children and 103 great grand children.

Born 10th September 1924 in Brigham City Utah, he was ordained an apostle of the Church 9th April 1974, and sustained to the position of President of the Quorum in 2008.

Growing up, President Packer went to Weber Junior College in the state of Utah of the United States. He later received  Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Utah State University. He also received a Doctor of Education degree from Brigham Young University in 1953.

He was a master teacher of the gospel who once said, “The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.”

He was known as a fearless defender of the gospel of Jesus Christ and spoke boldly about the teachings of Christ. Speaking of him, his son Allan Packer said, “He had a deep testimony of the gospel, an inherent love of the Savior, of the people themselves, and wanted to share with them that which was important."

As a very young boy, President Packer was stricken with polio, although doctors did not diagnose it correctly until years later. After the fever finally subsided, he was allowed to get up, but he could not walk. He remembers clearly sliding around on the linoleum floor and pulling himself up on chairs to learn to walk again. It resulted in lifelong difficulties with his knees and hips. From this experience, he learned that great strength can come by overcoming trials and adversity and that there is “nothing to be gained by talking to other people about aches and pains. I just moved on through life.”

He authored many books during his lifetime and was also an accomplished artist.

He used comparisons as a teaching tool to unlock intangible principles.

“Tie the invisible idea ... to some tangible object the student already knows about, and then build from that knowledge,” he wrote in his landmark book, "Teach Ye Diligently" — an expansion of his master's thesis, "An Evaluation of the Teaching of Jesus in Terms of Selected Principles of Education."

His use of the method created memorable images for millions of members of the Church. He used this method in one of his conference talks entitled, "In order to teach a lesson not easily learned."

He once described being on a tour of Africa, when a mission president surprised him with a one-day safari on his birthday. They watched skittish animals arrive at a drying water hole reduced to little more than some muddy spots. He asked the guide why the antelope would not drink. "Crocodiles," the guide answered. Ever the naturalist, President Packer had studied and knew all the animals of Africa, and he scoffed; he could see no crocodiles. The guide insisted - President Packer resisted. The guide drove closer. Still President Packer saw nothing. Finally he made out the form of a crocodile "settled in the mud." He was ashamed by his smart-aleck responses to the guide, but he hoped young people hearing the story would remember his lesson about spiritual crocodiles that kill or mutilate souls and destroy peace of mind. He said parents and church leaders are guides or rangers who raise warnings. "Our assignment," he said, "is to see that you get through mortality without being injured by these spiritual crocodiles."

Despite his responsibilities at church, his son further said his father made himself available at home to take advantage of every opportunity to teach. Speaking of him at that time, he said “He’s still a father, and that’s his number-one priority.”

His biographer wrote that his early commitment to obedience was a central motivating force in his life. In fact, he displayed rare and prodigious determination as a boy who wanted to become a pilot, as a pilot who decided to become a teacher, and as an apostle who determinedly taught and defended church doctrine.

In 1993, President Packer warned that "religion faced the greatest threat from three groups: feminists, homosexuals and intellectuals."

He was a lover of nature, especially birds, and was an accomplished artist. As a young boy, Boyd K. Packer said he wanted to come on a safari to Africa rather than play cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians like the others in his neighborhood.

A funeral service will be held on the 11th of April 2015 at 11:00am at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. (8pm local time in Uganda). 

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