Talk:Boyd K. Packer/Archive 1

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NPOV and other deficiencies[edit]

This article definitely needs work. I removed the text about anti-gay controversy because it is not important enough to his ministry as to justify a major section of his biography. If there is a way of briefly mentioning it while maintaining a NPOV and allowing others to research the topic further, perhaps that would be appropriate. Various biased statements aside, this article is also missing important information to better understand such this important LDS figure. The article about another apostle David A. Bednar would be a valuable model to follow.

It not being important to his ministry may not mean that it is not important to those being ministered to.Rawkcuf (talk) 18:40, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Summarizing views[edit]

I removed "; he is emphatically against feminism, intellectualism, and homosexuality" - this oversimiplifies packer's views - want to preserve this text though because it should be covered when (if) the article is expanded.

Maybe it would be better to include quote about that? In the new PBS document he said that feminists, intellectuals and gays are the biggest enemies of Mormon church. That'd get the point through while not putting any words to his mouth.

Misleading text re-written[edit]

Original Source:

"There are some men who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist.

While I was in a mission on one occasion, a missionary said he had something to confess. I was very worried because he just could not get himself to tell me what he had done.

After patient encouragement he finally blurted out, "I hit my companion."

"Oh, is that all," I said in great relief.

"But I floored him," he said.

After learning a little more, my response was "Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it, and it wouldn't be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way"

I am not recommending that course to you, but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself. "

This article was edited because neutrality was clearly in question!

1) The act of "gay-bashing" was not encouraged. The source explicitly states "I am not recommending that course to you". 2) This article is a biography on Boyd K. Packer, not on gay-bashing and not Gorden B. Hinckly's "bewilderment" of homosexual abuse. 3) The talk's target audience was "[those young] men do not have fathers". 4) The indication that the pamphlet was given to those who were most likely to abuse homosexuals is pure conjecture. 5) The paragraph presented succinctly presents the material of the controversial talk given in General Conference.

23:32, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

It was not miswritten and you are expressing problems that should be raised with D. Michael Quinn. This accusation was made by him, in the specific journal article that was cited, not by the WP editor. See my comments below. -SESmith 06:06, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

WP:BLP issues[edit]

I think both of these controversies should be in the article, but they fail WP:BLP as written, so must be removed. They don't come from reliable sources and these topics are controversial by definition. I removed the whole block, because the few citations give no context or hint of notability; we can't just to mention his speeches because we think they're significant. Citations exist for verifiability, but also to avoid problems with undue weight. Cool Hand Luke 03:57, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

The text clearly referenced an article from Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (the most prominent academic journal about Mormonism) by D. Michael Quinn (a prominent scholar of the Latter Day Saint movement) which accuses the speech of encouraging gay bashing. Whether it actually does or not is debatable, which is why it is a controversy. It was not the opinion of the WP author. It at least should remain, and I will restore it. I agree that the other parts about the speech should be removed without a more substantial reason other than it being pretty damn funny. Perhaps those who were hasty to delete everything failed to read the Dialogue article, which was linked to, because it is 52 journal pages long. It's a great place to start in trying to understand the dispute. -SESmith 05:48, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, but I'm aware of the controversy and have an idea of what Dialog is, owning a shelf full a back issues, along with my much-treasured signed copy of Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power. At any rate, I'm glad you fixed the section and removed the bulk of uncited material such as:
  • "Packer's LDS General Conference address from October 1976 has become one of the most well-known and distributed speeches in the history of the Church; it is also one of the most controversial among Mormons and non-Mormons alike."
  • "The Church did not include Packer's talk in the November 1976 Ensign magazine, which typically contains transcripts of all speeches given at General Conference, ostensibly because the Church intended on publishing it as a pamphlet."
  • "Although the pamphlet of the speech is still readily available from the Church's product distribution services, it may currently only be purchased by Church units, not by individuals."
  • Packers "infamous" little factories.
I agree that this controversy should be covered, but wikipedia policy is very clear about the biographies of living people. If it's not done right, it must be removed. Cool Hand Luke 07:58, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, as I said, I agree that all that had to go. Funny, yes. Appr. for WP, no. Thanks to reading the speech, the phrase "little factory" has the potential to send me into hysterics if mentioned in a non-LDS context. -SESmith 08:23, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

To Young Men Only[edit]

Why the drastic reduction in the section about the To Young Men Only/Quinn controversy? I thought it was just getting to be nice and NPOV with just enough context to understand the controversy.

Also, to change the phrase "homosexual advance" to "attempted sexual assualt" is not NPOV, in my opinion, because it suggests a degree of severity to the incident in question that we just don't know enough about. We do know there was some sort of sexual advance made, but we don't know whether or not it rose to the level of an attempted crime. In other words, when you say the Quinn tried to frame a response to an attempted sexual assault as gay bashing, it makes Quinn sound unreasonable. Maybe you think he is, but that is not NPOV. However, if there is a more neutral way of saying it (rather than "homosexual advance"), I'd welcome the change. -SESmith 03:35, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I think the block has been done well. However, I removed the "it had to be done..." quote because none of the reliable sources discussing the pamphlet quote this line. I think Packer might possibly be referring to something other than "flooring" his companion. It's telling that press sources don't quote it even though they freely quote other parts of the pamphlet. I imagine they were concerned about mis-characterizing the context of the quote. Per WP:BLP, we should also be concerned.
Not many direct responses to this controversy. An October 2000 Peggy Fletcher Stack article quotes "a statement by Harold C. Brown, managing director of LDS Church Welfare Services, who did not deny the pamphlets were still being used."
Brown said such self-protection fell far short of any support for gay bashing. "I think you'd have to stretch a long ways to come up with the idea that these pamphlets advocate violence," he insisted. "They do not."—Bob Mims and Peggy Fletcher Stack (2000-10-07). "Parents of Gay Children Call LDS Pamphlets 'Insensitive'". Salt Lake Tribune. p. D1.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
I can't tell whether Brown was speaking in an official capacity or not. Considering his position, it seems unlikely to me that it was an official statement. Sunstone panel article says:
Reached by telephone on Saturday, Mormon Church Spokesman Dale Bills did not comment specifically on the pamphlets, but said President Gordon B. Hinckley has repeatedly expressed compassion and concern when asked about his church's attitude toward homosexuals.
Bills, quoting Hinckley, said the prophet's "caring words speak for themselves: Our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married."—Hilary Groutage Smith (2000-08-06). "Mormon Pamphlets on Gays Criticized". Salt Lake Tribune. p. B2.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
Haven't been able to find a reply from Packer himself, but I think these replies more or less represent LDS views on the subject. Cool Hand Luke 05:49, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Interesting--thanks for that. I agree with your concern about the "it had to be done" statement, even though I initially added it. I assumed it was perhaps the more controversial statement, and I wasn't aware that none of the sources quoted it. -SESmith 06:50, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Original Research[edit]

I removed alot of the detail because, while I agree it adds context, it is all original research. If we are quoting Packer directly and adding commentary to summarize it etc, then we are doing original research. If we are reporting on the summarization of someone else then we are writing for an encyclopedia. Seee details below.

Text from article Why not appropriate
Packer's LDS General Conference address from October 1976 has caused controversy summary of 3rd party resources (good)
among some commentators. WP:WEASEL
In the speech, Packer encourages teenage boys to avoid immoral activities, which Packer says includes viewing pornography, masturbating, participating in homosexual behavior, and participating in heterosexual behavior outside of marriage. original research -
Packer encourages young Latter-day Saints to "vigorously resist" any males "who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts." Packer cites the example of a male missionary he had known who punched and "floored" his missionary companion when the companion made a homosexual advance toward him. After telling the story, Packer comments, "I am not recommending that course to you, but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself." More original research - reporting directly on what he said
D. Michael Quinn has argued that these comments constitute an endorsement of gay bashing by Packer, This is the best example of writing for an encyclopedia,
and that the church itself endorses such behavior by continuing to publish Packer's speech in pamphlet form. This should only be included here if it is a notable claim about Packer. If it is a notable claim about the church then it belongs somewhere else
Neither Packer nor the LDS Church have officially responded directly to these charges; however, other leaders of the church have since stated that the church strongly opposes any form of violence against homosexuals. For example, Apostle Dallin H. Oaks has said, "Our doctrines obviously condemn those who engage in so-called 'gay bashing'—physical or verbal attacks on persons thought to be involved in homosexual or lesbian behavior." More original research - we are the ones responding to Quinn's allegations rather than reporting on a third party group like FARMS or something.

A better approach would be:

Packer's October 1976 General Conference address[1] has been criticised by D. Michael Quinn and Hilary Smith as constituting an endorsement of gay bashing.[2][3]

  1. ^ The relevent text from Packer is:

    It was intended that we use this power [sexual relations] only with our partner in marriage. I repeat, very plainly, physical mischief with another man is forbidden. It is forbidden by the Lord.

    There are some men who entice young meant to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist.
    While I was in a mission on one occasion, a missionary said he had something to confess. I was very worried because he just could not get himself to tell me what he had done.
    After patient encouragement he finally blurted out, "I hit my companion."
    "Oh, is that all," I said in great relief.
    "But I floored him," he said.
    After learning a little more, my response was "Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it, and it wouldn't be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way."

    I am not recommending that course to you, but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself."
    (Packer, Boyd K. To Young Men Only. 146th Semiannual Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (October 1976). Last accessed 2007-04-27.
  2. ^ D. Michael Quinn, "Prelude to the National 'Defense of Marriage' Campaign: Civil Discrimination Against Feared or Despised Minorities", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 33:3, p. 1-52 (2001).
  3. ^ Hilary Groutage Smith (2000-08-06). "Mormon Pamphlets on Gays Criticized". Salt Lake Tribune. p. B2.  Check date values in: |date= (help))

We can then quote apologists for Packer - but we have done the encyclopedic thing - we have reported on secondary sources, and have used the footnotes to give context where needed. --Trödel 17:39, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

It should be "David E. Hardy." Hillary Smith simply wrote an article reporting on the activities of Hardy (who is apparently a Salt Lake attorney and father of a gay son).
It would be strange not to characterize his arguments because Quinn and Hardy are not just criticizing the speech—they criticize the position behind it, how it's been reprinted, not repudiated, ect. There is no better article for this criticism because it concerns an article that Packer wrote. It is, all things considered, not notable criticism of the LDS Church, but of this pamphlet authored by Packer. Reliable sources also include coverage of its content, like how it's currently excerpted in the article; this doesn't seem to be an original research problem. Cool Hand Luke 18:00, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree. I also don't think paraphrasing a source is original research. It might be non-neutral paraphrasing, but as long as its ostensibly based on a verifiable source, its not technically original research. I like the idea of quoting the statement, but I don't think there's any reason in principle we can't also paraphrase it to the extent it can be paraphrased neutrally. For example, you can't really argue that he wasn't leaving open the possibility of violence as a protection against homosexual advances. You also can't really argue that he didn't say (whether he was joking or not, I don't know, and we can make that point if some apologist published an defense saying so) that he thanked the elder for flattening the other missionary because it would be unseemly for Packer himself to do so. Is there any other way to fairly represent what he said? Of course, I don't think we should put the above text in the article, because I always prefer quoting over paraphrasing, at least when the relevant parts of the quotation can be isolated and incorporated into the explanatory text without confusing or disengaging the typical reader, who tends to skip over long quotations.
Also, I don't think we need to mention all the names of everybody who interprets Packer's statement as advocating gay-bashing, and then the names of everyone who thinks Packer's language wasn't advocating gay-bashing. There are too many names, and the article is about Packer, not Quinn or FARMS. We could say "critics say..." and "apologists say...", and then cite some of the most prominent statements. COGDEN 18:22, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Sorry I am not well versed on the details - I always wondered why (and still don't see how) this is an endorsement of gay-bashing. After all, "protect yourself" and an experience of a good friend implied to me that there was some type of sexual assault involved. And missionaries fighting, while rare, is not unusual - they are after all 19-21 year old males who are forced to be with another person they may not like. Anyway. I agree the context needs to be given, but original stuff like this is better in the footnotes, IMHO. How about this:
"A public sermon Packer gave at the October 1976 General Conference[1] was reprinted in Pamphlet form by the LDS Church and distributed to teenagers.[citation needed] Quinn and Hardy have criticised Packer because they feel the comments by Packer reflect an antagonistic attitudes towards homosexuals; endorse gay-bashing; and have not been repudiated by Packer or the LDS Church.[2][3]"
Thoughts? --Trödel 18:48, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree, COGDEN. Using primary sources is not considered original research, but policy requires we precisely characterize primary sources. There's not better way to do this then by using the original words in appropriate and comprehensible context. I think Trödel was correct to find a problem with the uncited interpretive sentence, "In the speech, Packer encourages teenage boys to avoid immoral activities..." However, I think the speech must be quoted or paraphrased so that readers can ascertain what the controversy is about. I also share Trödel's suspicion of weasel words, but you're right there are presumably too many people to name them all. Maybe something like "Critics, including D. Michael Quinn, say..." Cool Hand Luke 19:11, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it has been summarized neutrally, and it will be hard to do so. The reason I oppose such a lengthy description of an event like this is that it tends to overwelm the article and thus make the article not neutral because it devotes too much space on the criticism. For example, Packer's, Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple pamphlet has a much wider distribution and impact on LDS culture, but it is not even mentioned, because the impact is mainstream. --Trödel 19:34, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
We could summarize it here, and then refer readers to Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints#Boyd K. Packer and To Young Men Only, where such an argument is much more appropriate. That article has the appropriate background and it will be easier to discuss it in context of other sayings by church leaders. The footnotes Trödel suggests are rather lengthy. I also think the Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple pamphlet should be mentioned. Any volunteers?Joshuajohanson 20:04, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

List of general conference sermons[edit]

I deleted the list of general conference sermons. Isn't it a bit over the top to include such a list? Why is it necessary or desireable to include? What is added by merely listing the title of a sermon? Ubi Terrarum 10:33, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Do artistic aspirations make one an artist[edit]

I'm wondering what value the topic of art has in this article on Packer. I'm being subjective, I know, but there is absolutely no recognition of his 'art' (craft would be a better word) in the art world. His exhibition at the history museum (over which he maintains control) would hardly be an endorsement. There is no indication that he is anything more than a hobbyist. i.e.: It is neither a source of income, nor a particularly consuming pastime, in an interview (sorry, can't find source at the moment) he characterizes it as a form of relaxation, there is no originality in the work. Obviously, I would like to avoid the philosophical question of the ages; 'what is art?' By way of argument; I may read the scriptures, and be asked to talk in church, but that doesn't make me a General Authority any more than holding a brush every so often makes him an artist. Packer once said in a BYU devotional that, "Artists are temperamental, but they are more temper than mental." I would submit that by his own definition, he is not an artist. Rawkcuf (talk) 08:42, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the section is not warranted. Snocrates 23:31, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
What is art? Does it have to be a source of income or a consuming pasttime, or can one justifiably be an amateur artist? Does he really maintain control over the church's art museum, or does a curator make the decisions? If he does in fact maintain control, how is that different from an artist displaying his or her work in his or her own public gallery (which he or she controls)? Is there really no recognition of his art in the "art world"? Is deleting this section really THAT big of a deal? I think we're splitting hairs here. --TrustTruth (talk) 01:08, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't mean to be a punk, but all that paragraph needed was a little TLC. I excised everything but the facts, and added a couple references. I think it is now worthy of re-inclusion. --TrustTruth (talk) 01:54, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Trustruth, I think your edit is less silly, but I still call into question the necessity of this section. No other authorities of the LDS church have mention of their hobbies. Also, regarding the 'extensive speaking on the arts' all I could find was that one reference in which he twice protested his lack of accomplishment in art. (I would think that should be sufficient proof by his own admission that he is not an artist.) Wikipedia guidelines regarding biographies are quite strict as to accuracy and fairness. Yes, there really is no recognition of him in the art world. In the same address, he mentions that someone on the same committee as Packer was decended from CCA Christiansen, but there is no attribution of responsibility for discovery to Packer. Incidentally, the artwork of Christiansen was featured on the cover of 'Art in America' in the early '70's possibly (?) predating the so-called discovery. (It is implied that the decendents never didn't know of the artwork.) I think the claim of discovery is based on interperetation not hard evidence-- even by Packer's own statement. Finally, as one of the very top leaders of the chuch of LDS, he would have had influence either directly or indirectly over the museum. That hardly qualifies as artistic recognition. The title of the referenced exhibition is 'Lifework of an Amateur' That could hardly be considered whole hearted praise. Snocrates and I agree that the section is unwarranted so I'm still considering making the change if not immediately. By the way, the book illustrations should be mentioned in the publications section. (talk) 18:14, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
Let's refrain from insulting other editors. At this point there is no claim in the section that he is an artist. It mentions his viewpoints on the arts and mentions that his "creations" were exhibited in the Church's art museum. I deleted the CCA Christensen thing. It's down to barebones facts at this point, leaving the reader to make his or her own conclusion as to whether he is an artist or not. That should satisfy you. I see no justification for deleting what is left in the paragraph. Packer is well known in the church for his comments on the arts, and his '76 speech is still widely read. In addition, I think mentioning his self-illustration is entirely appropriate. If Dallin Oaks likes to saw down trees as a hobby, maybe that's not worth mentioning in his article. But if Packer's illustrations are worthy of mention in his Publications section, I see no reason why they can't be mentioned here instead. I think the paragraph should stay. --TrustTruth (talk) 18:54, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


As the above wikipedia note states, "This article must adhere to the policy on biographies of living persons. Controversial material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libellous. If such material is repeatedly inserted or if there are other concerns relative to this policy, report it on the living persons biographies noticeboard." I have removed some controversial material. (talk) 21:02, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

It is sourced reasonably well. Zoporific 21:27, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Packer's "Death" is further evidence of vandalism on WP.[edit]

An anonymous user with only an IP address laid claim in this article that Boyd K. Packer died today. I looked in all the official sources for Church information, but failed to find anything proving that claim. In short, he's still very much alive, and very much functioning in his calling as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles This appears to be a rather obvious attempt to vandalize this page, likely because the user in question dislikes Packer or disagrees with his words or actions. As I've stated before on numerous occasions, personal feelings have little or no place on WP. And surely the mere fact that the user may dislike/disagree with Packer is not sufficient enough for such a change to be warranted or tolerated. I therefore reverted the change, including in the reasons for the revision the fact that this was vandalism, which should not be tolerated here. I rather tersely said something to the effect of, "If you have a source for a change, state it! If not, leave it alone!" I'm just posting here to make you all aware of this, and in the hopes that we can thus further put a halt to vandalism attempts here on WP. Any comments? Did I go overboard? What can we do to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future? I fear if we allow vandalism to continue to be tolerated, the credibility of WP will be damaged in a way that NOTHING can fix it. Thoughts? --Jgstokes-We can disagree without being disagreeable (talk) 21:36, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Vandalism is always unfortunate, but don't take it personal. If you wish to warn the anonymous user directly, feel free to edit the talk page of the IP address (perhaps using a vandalism warning template). If the vandalism is repeated, you may submit an appeal to have the IP address' editing privileges blocked (see Wikipedia:Blocking policy and Wikipedia:Administrator intervention against vandalism). --Eustress (talk) 01:02, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't "take it personal." It just so happens that I am one who has little or no tolerance for vandalism, and do not feel that it is constructive to WP purposes. I have posted a more moderately termed notice on this user's talk page. Thank you for pointing me in that direction. --Jgstokes-We can disagree without being disagreeable (talk) 01:37, 4 August 2008 (UTC)