Boyd K. Packer

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Boyd K. Packer
Photo of Boyd K. Packer
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 3, 2008 (2008-02-03) – Incumbent
Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
June 5, 1994 (1994-06-05) – January 27, 2008 (2008-01-27)
End reason Became President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 6, 1970 (1970-04-06) – Incumbent
Called by Joseph Fielding Smith
April 9, 1970 (1970-04-09) – Incumbent
Called by Joseph Fielding Smith
Reason Death of David O. McKay and reorganization of First Presidency
Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
September 30, 1961 (1961-09-30) – April 6, 1970 (1970-04-06)
Called by David O. McKay
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Military career
Service/branch United States Army Air Forces
Battles/wars World War II
Personal details
Born Boyd Kenneth Packer
(1924-09-10) September 10, 1924 (age 89)
Brigham City, Utah, United States
Alma mater Utah State (B.S., M.S.)
BYU (Ed.D.)
Spouse Donna Smith
Children 10
Parents Ira W. and Emma Packer

Boyd Kenneth Packer (born September 10, 1924) is an American religious leader and former educator, and the current president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He served as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve from 1994 to 2008, and has been an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve since April 1970. Packer has served as general authority of the church since 1961. Currently, he is the second most senior apostle among the ranks of the church.

Background and education[edit]

Packer was the tenth of eleven children born to Ira W. and Emma (née Jensen) Packer in Brigham City, Utah. After graduating from high school, he served as a pilot in the United States Army Air Forces from 1942 to 1946. Packer flew a number of bombing missions in the Pacific theater of World War II.[1]

After leaving the military, Packer initially attended Weber College (now Weber State University), where he met his wife Donna (née Smith) Packer.[2] They married in the Logan Utah Temple in 1947 and are the parents of ten children. After their marriage, Packer earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Utah State University and an Ed.D. from Brigham Young University.[1]

Church service[edit]

Early employment and service[edit]

In his professional career as an educator, Packer worked in the LDS Church's Church Educational System, where he held various administrative positions overseeing seminary and institute programs, including as assistant supervisor of the church's Native American seminary programs, general assistant administrator of seminaries and institutes, and later as supervisor of church's seminaries and institutes.[3]

Packer served a four-year term on the Brigham City City Council.[4]

In 1961, Packer was called by LDS Church president David O. McKay to serve as a general authority as an Assistant to the Twelve, a position that no longer exists.[5] While serving in the position, Packer was assigned to serve as president of the church's New England States Mission.[3] He also served for a time as the managing director of the church's military relations committee.

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles[edit]

Following David O. McKay's death in January 1970, Packer, then 45 years old, was called by newly ordained church president Joseph Fielding Smith as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the church's April 1970 General Conference.

On September 12, 1991, Packer dedicated Ukraine "for the preaching of the restored gospel".[6]

Packer has served as an advisor to the Genesis Group.[7] He is credited with having suggested singing a hymn to drive off bad thoughts.[8]

Packer has been active in obtaining genealogical records on microfilm for the church through its Genealogical Society of Utah. In 1977, Packer was a key figure in getting Native American-related records filmed from the federal records centers in Los Angeles, Fort Worth, Seattle and Kansas City.[9] He was involved in negotiations that same year with archivists and scholars at Jerusalem to microfilm Jewish records.[10]

As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Packer is accepted by the church as a prophet, seer, and revelator.

Acting President and President of the Quorum of the Twelve[edit]

When Howard W. Hunter, who had been President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, succeeded to the presidency of the church in 1994, he called Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson as his counselors in the First Presidency. Packer was the fourth apostle in senority among the ranks of the church, behind Hunter, Hinckley and Monson, respectively. This created a situation where the only apostles senior to Packer were in the First Presidency. As a result, Packer was named Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve. When Hunter died in 1995 and was succeeded by Hinckley, Monson was again retained in the First Presidency and Packer was again asked to be Acting President of the Twelve. Of the five acting presidents of the Quorum in the church's history, Packer served the longest in that capacity and is the only one to so serve under two different church presidents.

Packer became president of the Quorum of the Twelve on February 3, 2008, when Thomas S. Monson became president of the church. As president of the Quorum of the Twelve, Packer is second in line of seniority to Monson.

Participation in temples[edit]

While a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in one of the Spanish language sessions at the dedication of the San Diego California Temple, Packer read the dedicatory prayer.[11]

As Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Packer dedicated the Regina Saskatchewan Temple.[12]

By the time plans were made for the Brigham City Utah Temple, Packer was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. As such, because of his ties to Brigham City, Packer helped to pick the site and later presided at the groundbreaking. On September 23, 2012, he dedicated that temple.[13][14]

Teachings and positions[edit]


In a General Conference Priesthood Session in October 1976, Packer gave a sermon entitled "To Young Men Only", in which he discouraged boys of the Young Men organization in the Aaronic priesthood from pursuing activities which the LDS Church defines as immoral, including masturbation, the use of pornography, and homosexual activities.[15] The sermon has been criticized by openly gay Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn and by Mormon lawyer David E. Hardy for issues related to its portrayal of homosexuals and Packer's suggestions on how Latter-day Saints should respond to homosexual advances.[16][17][18][19]

Packer made international news in October 2010 when, in his sermon given at the general conference of the LDS Church,[20] entitled "Cleansing the Inner Vessel",[21][22] he stated, "Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember, God is our Heavenly Father."[21][23] Because his statements characterized homosexual acts as "impure and unnatural" and implied that individuals can choose not to engage in homosexual behaviors, a petition was submitted to LDS Church headquarters on October 12, 2010 by the gay activist organization, Human Rights Campaign (HRC).[24] In response to the petition, church leaders acknowledged that while they disagree "on many fundamentals"[25] they join the HRC in condemning any "acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation."[25]

Packer commented at the next general conference: "Some suppose that they were unfairly singled out for a specific temptation. This is the purpose of mortal life—to be tested. We must, and we can, resist temptations of any kind."[26]

Faith-promoting history[edit]

Packer has advocated that LDS historians should refrain from discussing history that does not promote faith. In a 1981 speech to educators in the LDS Church Educational System, he cautioned, "There is a temptation for the writer or teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful."[27] Arguing that teachers should "give milk before meat",[28] he stated that "some things are to be taught selectively and some things are to be given only to those who are worthy."[29] Packer's opinion applied to all historians who were members of the LDS Church: he stated, "One who chooses to follow the tenets of his profession, regardless of how they may injure the Church or destroy the faith of those not ready for 'advanced history', is himself in spiritual jeopardy. If that one is a member of the Church, he has broken his covenants and will be held accountable."[30]

Packer's comments have raised criticism by some prominent Mormon and non-Mormon scholars. Soon after Packer's 1981 speech, Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn gave a speech highly critical of Packer's views, and suggested that a historian who followed Packer's advice would sacrifice their honesty and professional integrity.[31] Quinn also discussed what he viewed as a Mormon tradition of portraying LDS leaders as infallible people.[32] C. Robert Mesle has criticized Packer as having created what Mesle views as a false dichotomy "between the integrity of faith and the integrity of inquiry".[33]

Arts and church worship[edit]

Packer has spoken on the dynamic between the arts and church worship, characterizing some "highly trained" musicians as, "temperamental ... more temper than mental," while adding, "That, I suppose, describes all of us at one time or another." He encouraged musicians in church settings to focus on inviting a spirit of worship.[34] Packer has also suggested that organists playing prelude music for worship services should focus on hymns, rather than classical music, in order to better prepare congregants to feel the Spirit.[35]

Packer self-illustrated two books first published in the 1970s: Mothers (1977) and Teach Ye Diligently (1979).[36] The church's Museum of Church History and Art, although characterizing it as the work of an amateur, exhibited Packer's wildlife paintings and sculptures in 2003 and 2004.[37]


Packer has become known for two parables. The first is about a man that incurred a great debt and a benevolent friend who pays his debt but becomes his creditor, explaining the church's belief of Jesus Christ as redeemer.[38] The second is about a person who appears in the middle of a three-act play, illustrating the church's teachings on the purpose of life.[39]

Both parables have been made into short videos which have been used by the LDS Church to teach youth in the seminary program.[40][41]

Temple worship[edit]

One of Packer's most popular books[42] is The Holy Temple.[43] This book gives a doctrinal description of the church's temples and also explains the importance of family history work.


In May 2013, Weber State University, where Packer received an associates degree in 1948 and where he met his wife, designated a public service center for families the "Boyd K. and Donna Smith Packer Family and Community Education Center".[44]

Selected works[edit]

  • Packer, Boyd K. (1962), Manual of Policies and Procedures for the Administration of Indian Seminaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Field Project (Ed.D.), Provo, Utah: Department of Education, Brigham Young University, OCLC 22009489 
  • —— (1975), Teach Ye Diligently, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., ISBN 0-87747-558-X 
  • —— (1977), Mothers, booklet, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, OCLC 19655993 
  • —— (1980), To Young Men Only, pamphlet, Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, OCLC 20473672 
  • —— (1980), The Holy Temple, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, ISBN 0-88494-411-5 
  • —— (1982), "That All May Be Edified": Talks, Sermons & Commentary, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, ISBN 0-88494-473-5 
  • —— (1984), Our Father's Plan, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., ISBN 0-87747-523-7 
  • —— (1986), A Christmas Parable, booklet, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, ISBN 0-88494-605-3 
  • —— (1991), Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, ISBN 0-88494-787-4 
  • —— (1996), The Things of the Soul, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, ISBN 0-88494-951-6 
  • —— (1997), Memorable Stories and Parables, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, ISBN 1-57008-336-3 
  • —— (1998), The Shield of Faith, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, ISBN 1-57008-582-X 
  • —— (2000), Memorable Stories With a Message, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., ISBN 1-57345-788-4 
  • —— (2008), Clyde J. Williams, ed., Mine Errand from the Lord: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Boyd K. Packer, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ISBN 1-60641-023-7 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b NNDB: Boyd K. Packer
  2. ^ Greg Hill, "Develop courage, Pres. Packer counsels", Deseret News, November 17, 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Boyd K Packer", Improvement Era, May 1970.
  4. ^ Don L. Searle, "Elder Boyd K. Packer: Disciple of the Master Teacher", Ensign, June 1986.
  5. ^ Gerry Avant, "President Packer is at half-century milestone of service", Church News, 2011-10-01. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  6. ^ Marina Mikhailovskaya and Benjamin Gaines, “Putting Family First in Ukraine,” Ensign, September 2004, 46.
  7. ^ Lloyd, R. Scott. "Revelation rewarded those who waited", Church News, 1999-12-18.
  8. ^ Ezra Taft Benson has acknowledged that this idea originated with Packer: see Ezra Taft Benson, "First Presidency Message: Think on Christ", Ensign, March 1989.
  9. ^ Allen, James B., Jessie L. Embry and Kahlile B. Mehr. Hearts Turned to the Fathers: A History of the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1894–1994 (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies, 1995) p. 247.
  10. ^ Allen. Hearts Turned to the Fathers. pp. 250–51.
  11. ^ Church News, 1 May 1993.[full citation needed]
  12. ^ Regina Saskatchewan LDS (Mormon) Temple,
  13. ^ "Brigham City Utah LDS Temple,"
  14. ^ Carole Mikita, "LDS Church members participate in Brigham City temple dedication", KSL, 2012-09-23.
  15. ^ Packer, Boyd K. "To Young Men Only" (published 1980).
  16. ^ D. Michael Quinn, Same-sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-century Americans: A Mormon Example (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001) p. 382.
  17. ^ D. Michael Quinn, "Prelude to the National 'Defense of Marriage' Campaign: Civil Discrimination Against Feared or Despised Minorities", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought vol. 33 no. 3 (Fall 2000) pp. 1–52.
  18. ^ Hilary Groutage Smith, "Mormon Pamphlets on Gays Criticized", The Salt Lake Tribune, 2000-08-06, p. B2
  19. ^ David E. Hardy, "BYU's Dismissal of Gay Students Continues Confusion for Gays, Parents" [opinion], The Salt Lake Tribune, p. AA3.
  20. ^ "Mormons defend leader's statements on homosexuality",, 2010-10-11.
  21. ^ a b "Full, unedited video of Boyd K. Packer's Talk", 2010-10-21.
  22. ^ "Full text of Boyd K. Packer's talk with Packer's Edits", 2010-10-21
  23. ^ In the published text of the sermon, Packer changed the word "tendencies" to "temptations" and deleted the sentence "Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?". A church spokesperson said that in making the change, "President Packer has simply clarified his intent.": "LDS Church addresses changes made to Pres. Packer's talk",, 2010-10-08.
  24. ^ "HRC Delivers 150K Petitions to Mormon Church", 2010-10-21
  25. ^ a b Church Responds to HRC Petition: Statement on Same-Sex Attraction, "News Release",, October 12, 2010 
  26. ^ Stack, Peggy Fletcher (April 3, 2011). "Mormons urged to do ‘day of service’". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  27. ^ Packer (1981, online ed. p. 5).
  28. ^ Packer (1981, online ed. p. 6) (apparently referring to 1 Cor. 3:2).
  29. ^ Packer (1981, online ed. p. 6).
  30. ^ Packer (1981, online ed. p. 7).
  31. ^ Quinn (1992) ("If I were to write about any subject unrelated to religion, and I purposely failed to make reference to pertinent information of which I had knowledge, I would be justifiably criticized for dishonesty. What is true outside of religion is equally true in writing religious history.").
  32. ^ Id.
  33. ^ Mesle (1992).
  34. ^ Packer, Boyd K. (February 1, 1976), "The Arts and the Spirit of the Lord", Speeches, retrieved 2008-01-31 
  35. ^ Bateman, Merrill J. (July 2001), "The Power of Hymns", Ensign: 15, retrieved 2008-06-21 
  36. ^ Chapter Twenty-Three The Art of Boyd K. Packer, retrieved 2008-01-31 
  37. ^ Previous Exhibits,, retrieved 2008-01-30 
  38. ^ The Mediator, retrieved 2012-12-23 
  39. ^ Pres. Packer tells of 'drama of all ages', Church News, retrieved 2012-12-23 
  40. ^ Book of Mormon Presentations, retrieved 2012-12-23 
  41. ^ Book of Mormon Presentations, retrieved 2012-12-23 
  42. ^ Packer's books on Amazon sorted by Bestselling. Amazon sales rank of #47,047 vs #566,148 for his second most popular book
  43. ^ Packer, Boyd K. (2007) [1980], The Holy Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, ISBN 0-88494-411-5 )
  44. ^ R. Scott Lloyd, "Weber State University names center after President, Sister Packer", Church News, May 9, 2013.


External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Thomas S. Monson
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 3, 2008—
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Thomas S. Monson
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 9, 1970—
Succeeded by
Marvin J. Ashton