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Boyd K. Packer
Full name Boyd Kenneth Packer
Born September 10, 1924 (1924-09-10) (age 85)
Place of birth Brigham City, Utah
LDS Church Apostle
Called by Joseph Fielding Smith
Ordained April 9, 1970 (aged 45)
Ordination reason Death of David O. McKay and reorganization of First Presidency
LDS Church General Authority
Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Called by David O. McKay
Start of term September 30, 1961 (aged 37)
End of term April 5, 1970 (aged 45)
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Called by Joseph Fielding Smith
Start of term April 5, 1970 (aged 45)
Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Start of term June 5, 1994 (aged 69)
End of term January 27, 2008 (aged 83)
End reason Became President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Start of term February 3, 2008 (aged 83)

Boyd Kenneth Packer (born September 10, 1924) is the current president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Prior to his current position, Packer served as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve. Packer has been an apostle and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve since 1970 and a general authority of the church since 1961. Currently, he is the second most senior apostle among the ranks of the church.


Background and education

Packer was born in Brigham City, Utah, the tenth of eleven children born to Ira W. Packer and Emma Jensen. In 1947, Packer married Donna Smith in the Logan Utah Temple and they are the parents of ten children and grandparents to over 50 grandchildren.

From 1942 to 1946 Packer served in the United States Army Air Forces. He flew as a pilot in World War II in the Pacific.[1]

Packer studied at what is now Weber State University, which is where he met his wife, the former Donna Smith.[2]

Packer has bachelor's and master's degrees from Utah State University and an Ed.D. degree from Brigham Young University.[1]

Church service

Early service

Packer worked as an assistant supervisor of the church's Indian (Native American) seminary program before he was called as a general authority. He also served as a general assistant administrator of seminaries and institutes.[3]

Packer has been a general authority of the church since becoming an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1961. While serving in this capacity, Packer was assigned to serve as the mission president of the New England States Mission of the church.[3] He also served for a time as the managing director of the church's military relations committee.

Quorum of the Twelve

In April 1970, Packer was ordained an apostle to the church. Packer was 45 years old when he became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

On September 12, 1991, Packer dedicated Ukraine "for the preaching of the restored gospel".[4]

Packer has served as an advisor to the Genesis Group.[5] He is credited with having suggested singing a hymn to drive off bad thoughts.[6]

The only LDS Church temple that Packer has dedicated is the Regina Saskatchewan Temple. In one of the Spanish language dedication sessions at the dedication of the San Diego California Temple, Packer read the dedicatory prayer.[7]

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.[8] He was involved in negotiations that same year with archivists and scholars at Jerusalem to microfilm Jewish records.[9]

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

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 as his counselors in the First Presidency Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson, who were the only two apostles senior to Packer. 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. Hinckley died on January 27, 2008, and when Monson became President of the Church, Packer became the new President of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Packer began his service as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on February 3, 2008, when his predecessor, Thomas S. Monson, became President of the Church. As President of the Quorum of the Twelve, Packer is second in seniority to Thomas S. Monson. Unless Packer predeceases Monson, he is expected to succeed Monson as President of the Church.

Teachings and positions


In a general conference sermon in October 1976, Packer discouraged teenage boys from pursuing activities which he defines as immoral, including viewing pornography and masturbating.

Faith-promoting history

Packer has advocated that LDS historians should refrain from discussing history that does not promote faith in the organization. In a 1981 speech to educators in the LDS Church Educational System, he cautioned them that "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."[10] Arguing that teachers should "give milk before meat",[11] he stated that "some things are to be taught selectively and some things are to be given only to those who are worthy."[12] 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."[13]

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.[14] Quinn also discussed what he viewed as a Mormon tradition of portraying LDS leaders as fallible people.[15] 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".[16]

Arts and church worship

Packer has spoken out on the dynamic between the arts and church worship, characterizing some "highly trained" musicians as, "temperamental...more temper than mental."[17] He 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.[18]

Packer self-illustrated two books first published in the 1970s: Mothers (1977) and Teach Ye Diligently (1979).[19] 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.[20]

Temple worship

One of Packer's most popular books[21] is The Holy Temple (Packer, Boyd K. (2007) [1980], The Holy Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, ISBN 0-88494-411-5  ). This book gives a doctrinal description of the church's temples and also explains the importance of family history work.


In 1977, Packer gave a speech in which he discouraged interracial marriage among members of the LDS Church, on the ground that for every happy interracial marriage, he believed there are hundreds or possibly thousands of unhappy ones.[22] Discouragement of interracial marriage was not unique to Packer within the LDS Church hierarchy, and was a reflection of longstanding church policy, still reflected (as of 2009) in at least one current LDS Church manual.[23]

Other Publications

Other books by Packer include Mothers (1977) and Teach Ye Diligently (1979), both of which he illustrated, and Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled.

See also


  1. ^ a b NNDB: Boyd K. Packer
  2. ^ Deseret News, November 17th, 2008
  3. ^ a b "Boyd K Packer", Improvement Era, May 1970.
  4. ^ Marina Mikhailovskaya and Benjamin Gaines, “Putting Family First in Ukraine,” Ensign, September 2004, 46.
  5. ^ Lloyd, R. Scott. "Revelation rewarded those who waited", Church News, 1999-12-18.
  6. ^ Ezra Taft Benson has acknowledged that this idea originated with Packer: see Ezra Taft Benson, "First Presidency Message: Think on Christ", Ensign, March 1989.
  7. ^ LDS Church News, May 1, 1993.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Allen. Hearts Turned to the Fathers. p. 250–251.
  10. ^ Packer (1981, online ed. p. 5).
  11. ^ Packer (1981, online ed. p. 6) (apparently referring to 1 Cor. 3:2).
  12. ^ Packer (1981, online ed. p. 6).
  13. ^ Packer (1981, online ed. p. 7).
  14. ^ 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.").
  15. ^ Id.
  16. ^ Mesle (1992).
  17. ^ Packer, Boyd K. (1 February 1976), "The Arts and the Spirit of the Lord", Speeches,, retrieved 2008-01-31  
  18. ^ Bateman, Merrill J. (July 2001), "The Power of Hymns", Ensign: 15,, retrieved 2008-06-21  
  19. ^ Chapter Twenty-Three The Art of Boyd K. Packer,, retrieved 2008-01-31  
  20. ^ Previous Exhibits,,,16086,4088-1-,00.html, retrieved 2008-01-30  
  21. ^ Packer's books on Amazon sorted by Bestselling. Amazon sales rank of #47,047 vs #566,148 for his second most popular book
  22. ^ Follow the Rule,, retrieved December 14, 2009  
  23. ^ LDS Church (1995), Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3,  .


External links

Religious titles
Preceded by
Thomas S. Monson
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
3 February 2008—
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Thomas S. Monson
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 9, 1970—
Succeeded by
Marvin J. Ashton

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