Confirm or Deny?

The following is making the email rounds with lightning speed. It claims to be talk given recently by President Packer. Can anyone confirm or deny?

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve
Speaking at the Forest Bend Ward, Salt Lake City UT Sunday, October
12, 2008

“Even though I regularly have the opportunity to attend Fast and
Testimony meeting, I don’t usually stand to speak. But today, I feel
moved upon by the Spirit to share a message…
Last weekend’s General Conference was different than any before. We
felt that down at Church Headquarters and have been talking about it
all week. We live in troubled times. There is great financial crisis
and we’ve seen something that hasn’t happened in the last 60 years:
the world’s financial markets are collapsing. I was six years old
when the Great Depression began: the 10th of 11 children. My father
was a mechanic and times were difficult for all of us. Many families
were suddenly out of work all at once. There were large public
projects to try and provide employment – like the great ditch or
canal I remember being dug here in our city. It was at least six feet
deep and dug by hand, with pick and ax. Nowadays, we’d use a piece of
machinery to do it. But in those days, people worked with what we
had. They were desperate times for many. There were things as a child
that I didn’t understand and was afraid of. I didn’t like to go
into the basement of our home. I thought the Boogeyman lived there.
But as I grew older and we got some lights down there, I realized
that the great dark space underneath the stairs was a large pile of
old shoes. As a pair of shoes we were wearing would wear out or break
down, we didn’t throw them out. We would use a shoe from that old
pile as spare parts to repair our shoes or make new ones. It was just
the way you did things in those times.
There’s a scripture that says “Yet learn we obedience by the same
things we suffer.” It seems sometimes that we don’t learn until we
need to turn and rely upon the Lord. In the Book of Mormon, well, if
you looked in my copy, in the Book of Helaman about chapter 12 or 13,
you’d see that I’ve written-in a swirling chain of circles across the
top of the page. It might look like old cursive, but that’s not what
it’s meant to be. It’s meant to remind me of the cycles of the
people. In times when they were blessed with great prosperity and
wealth, they forgot the Lord.
Then when they fell to bad habits which led some to wickedness and
placed many in peril, the righteous would turn/return to the Lord in
their humbler circumstances. It’s a cycle of prosperity and
wickedness we see repeated over and over again in the scriptures and
now again in our day.
I remember once I went deer hunting with Brother Tuttle and some
others. We were up in the mountains, riding on horseback. He went up
one side of the canyon, and I went up the other. As I was riding, I
bent over and just nearly kissed the saddle horn as we passed a low
cedar tree that was right by the path. Well as we passed the cedar
tree, there was no more path on the other side of it and the way
before us was just a dropping hillside covered with loose shaley
rock. I kicked my feet clear of the stirrups, just in case the horse
reacted badly, and it was a good thing I did. She reared up and I was
thrown back. I hit my head on some rocks and got a cut right
above my eyebrow that was bleeding heavily. I’d been holding my rifle
in my hand and as my hand flew back and hit heavily against a rock,
it broke as well. So I was laying there hurt and
shaken. My companions on the other side of the canyon had seen what
happened and I heard Brother Tuttle call out “Are you hurt?” I
replied “Yes, I’m bleeding!” He called out again “Are you hurt?” I
called again “Yes, I’m bleeding!”, but the wind was blowing the wrong
way and they couldn’t hear me. The fourth time this happened, I
yelled in response “No!” And they called back “Okay!” and continued
to ride on up the mountain. That’s lesson one!

I finally got myself up, caught my horse down the mountain where she
had gotten caught in some branches, and managed to get into town
where I was bandaged up and my hand was tended to.
Shortly after that, I was traveling on business and was at the
airport. A fellow traveler, an older man not of our faith, saw my
bandaged hand and asked if I was all right. I replied rather
offhandedly. And he responded that it was something I would remember
all the rest of my days. He then told me that he had once worked at
digging a canal – now that caught my attention because I remembered
the canal I have mentioned. He said that he was out of work at the
time [the Great Depression] and couldn’t find employment. He saw the
canal being dug and knew that if he asked the foreman for a job, he
would be turned away. He saw a spare pick laying there, so he picked
it up and started working. A short while later, the foreman walked by
and, not recognizing him, asked him what he was doing. He explained
to me that he told the foreman he was out of work and stated “I need
to work. You don’t have to pay me, but I need to work.”
Well, as you might expect, they worked things out and he was paid for
his labors. We then proceeded to talk, this older fellow and I, and I
have remembered his counsel. Now I am the old man giving counsel to
you. In the Great Depression, people were frightened and growing
more so. They began to be very resourceful. They had to be. Looking
forward, we’re all going to learn that lesson, one way or another.
The Church is in excellent condition. You don’t need to worry about
that. But as individuals we will face difficulty. Some will come to
the Bishop seeking financial aid and counsel. And as judges in
Israel, the Bishop will respond. The time for financial largess in
our ward activities is over.” [President Packer then turned directly
to our Bishop and counseled him that last year’s youth trip to
Nauvoo, which was, President Packer said, a great opportunity for
testimonybuilding and missionary work, will not happen again. Times
of/for that sort of expense in the Church are past.]

President Packer then shared experiences of providing aid and service
after the great Tsunami devastated Indonesia. He recalled… “I was
speaking on the phone with a government minister who said “I’m
standing in Banda Aceh and you cannot imagine what I am seeing. A
city of a million people has been swept away and there is nothing.” A
week later, I was standing in area of Banda Aceh and the need was
“What do you need?” I asked. “Body bags” was the reply. So we found
20,000 body bags in China and had them on a plane the next day.
A call came, “we need 30 [thousand] more.” We found them and they
were sent. The next call “do you have any motorcycles? We need to
get back into the mountain villages with aid and medical supplies,
but the roads are gone. Trucks can’t get through and elephants
are too slow. If we had motorcycles, we could get through.”
“Are they to be found in Asia” I asked. “Yes,” he said. So we found
the motorcycles and had them on their way the next day.
The Church is sound and is able to provide these types of aid as a
back-up where there is need. We [as members and in our individual
wards] are the back-up position of the Church. Learn to

apply the old Pioneer adage – “Eat [use] it up. Wear it out. Make do,
or do without.” We’re going to have to learn to do without.
Again, “Eat it up. Wear it out. Make do, or do without.”
Even if we have the resources, we need to do more to be thrifty.
Others will rely on us. The Church will rely on us. It is our
responsibility and duty to be caring for ourselves, our family,
and those around us. Be watching for need. Set something by that we
can be of help to others when the time comes. Trust in the counsel of
our wise elders/older people.

There are nearly 60,000 missionaries serving throughout the world
today. The cost to support a missionary is right about $400 a month
today. That’s $4,800 a year. Consider if we have the resources that
there may be others who don’t and who have a need. When Brother
Tuttle was a young man, he had a strong desire to serve a mission.
But he didn’t have the money to pay for it, and his family didn’t
have the money for it. So Brother Tuttle thought of who was the
richest man in his town and, after saying a prayer, he approached
him. A loan was made, a mission served, and the loan repaid. Those
who need our help may not always ask us.
It’s about time the Lord taught us a lesson. A great catastrophe is
coming. Now I probably shouldn’t say that because then it will
happen. But it is going to happen. That’s what it will take
to turn our hearts to the Lord. And we will learn from it.
Our prayers will be different, less selfish. The scripture says “If
ye are prepared, ye need not fear.” Renew your prayers. You can
[also] think a prayer. Carry a prayer in your heart
throughout the day. Learn to pray for that which is of worth. Another
scripture says “…do not spend money for that which is of no worth,
nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.” (2 Nephi 9:51) That
can be applied both spiritually [to prayer] and physically. Use what
we have. If something is broken, fix it. Our young people are going
to see different times than what they are used to. To you teenagers,
your life will be different. Things are changing. You will have to
do without some of the things you are used to expecting. Don’t be
afraid. Change your life to do without the extravagances and luxuries
that you’ve expected.
Learn to pray. There’s a difference between `saying prayers’ and
praying. A wonderful time is coming – it’s not going to be easy, and
it’s not going to be short. But don’t be afraid.
Brother Tuttle was one of the Seventy when there were just seven of
them. Now there are eight quorums of the Seventy called to go
throughout all the world. It’s an apostolic calling to teach
the gospel to every nation, people and tongue. They’ll know what to
do and will lead and counsel where they are called.
Take care of what we’ve got. Begin to save. The rainy day is coming –
in fact, the snowy day is already here [in reference to today’s first
winter snow]. Reset our expectations. Give up selfishness. Wickedness
is all around us. In today’s world, it’s not safe for children to be
outside alone. We need to be ever watchful. We need to protect
ourselves from the wickedness, avarice, and greed in the world.
Read the scriptures and the revelations. The guidance and counsel are
there. Read with new eyes, and the scriptures, the Book of Mormon,
will take on new meaning.

As President Bush and world leaders gather in the coming week and the
weeks ahead, there will be no easy answers or solutions. Hard times
are ahead and it’s difficult for them to see what to do. It’s
important to listen to the Sprit. We are led by prophets and
apostles. We can see ahead. We can be and are prepared.
I pronounce upon you an Apostolic blessing. Comfort our children.
Little children can be afraid of things we might not think of.
Comfort them and strengthen our families. Turn off the television and
focus on family. Pay your tithing. The promise is there – pay your
tithing and you’ll be watched over. You’ll be alright. None of us is
exempt from trials. If hard times come upon you and your income
dwindles, remember that tithing is equitable for everyone: 10%. If
you have nothing, then it’s 10% of practically nothing. Pay your
tithing, do what you’re supposed to do. You’ll be comforted.
Sure trials will come. Because of them, faith will increase.
Happiness will increase. Security will increase. You’ll be glad to be
alive at this time. It’s a good time to be living. To be raising
children. I leave this testimony, counsel, and blessing with you in
the holy name of Jesus Christ.

57 comments for “Confirm or Deny?

  1. Hunter
    October 20, 2008 at 11:59 am

    I have no knowledge whether it’s accurate or not (seems kinda long for a simple testimony, doesn’t it?). But wanted to say that I don’t find these kinds of forwards to be worth getting excited over, even if they are accurate. Even if these forwards are correct transcriptions, my view is that the particular apostle/seventy/AA70/[insert title] was speaking to that particular congregation and not to the church entire. If the message was something the Lord wanted the entire Church to hear, we would hear it at General Conference, no?

  2. ben
    October 20, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    While I have no answer, I appreciate you putting it up here and asking the question. I have received it from several people, and every time I get it I wonder if it was real or not.

    It seems to include too many folklore elements to be real, IMHO.

  3. ben
    October 20, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    One of the emails I got came with the following introduction:

    Dear Family,
    > It’s Fast & Testimony Sunday in our ward today, so we gathered
    > together in prayer and fasting, prepared for the regular Sunday
    > services. Instead, as our Bishop rose to announce the meeting
    > program, he said…
    > “I was sitting in my office this morning before Church, just pondering
    > things, when President Packer walked by and asked if he could address
    > us this morning. Of course, I thought about it for a few minutes…
    > [laughter] Actually, I didn’t have to think about it at all. What a
    > blessing it is to have President Packer as a member of our ward and to
    > be able to serve with him and be counseled by him. We’ll turn the
    > balance of the meeting over to President Boyd K. Packer.”
    > President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve
    > Apostles, then addressed us for the remainder of the meeting.
    > Attached are notes of the comments, thoughts, and counsel he shared
    > with us…

    It then had a nice pdf format of the “talk” with footnotes and everything. Again, especially with this introduction, it seems to set-up to me.

  4. ben
    October 20, 2008 at 12:08 pm


  5. Big Al
    October 20, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    I received this yesterday. My initial reaction was that if this was truly something he did in a fast and testimony meeting, how did the writer transcribe his words is such detail? Seems a little too well written for someone who might have been taking notes on what he said. Maybe they knew shorthand. My guess is that he probably did say something to this effect, but that it has been embellished by the author.

  6. October 20, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Not to mention how extraordinarily out-of-process this would be, were it accurate. Seems like it would be an enormous faux pas.

    ( And I got this, too. )

  7. October 20, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Helpful information can be found here and here.

  8. Matt Evans
    October 20, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    The language and sentence structure certainly sounds like Elder Packer’s speaking style, but isn’t Packer one of the proponents of “testimonies are for bearing pure testimony, not telling stories”? It’s an idea I don’t care for (sitting through 40 minutes of “conclusion-only” testimony would be painful), but I think he’s advocated it before — as well as the equally painful advice that memorial services shouldn’t focus on the deceased. I’d like this account to be true if only to show that Packer doesn’t actually believe testimonies have to be conclusion-only.

  9. PTiger
    October 20, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    If the Lord were going to begin governing the church through email forwards and speculative Internet rumors one would think He’d have mentioned it by now.
    (Email forward = modern-day Hyrum Page seerstone?)

  10. ben
    October 20, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for the info, Chris.

  11. October 20, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    It’s totally fake.

    I got an email from my aunt’s nephew on the other side of the family, forwarded from a friend of his in the Content Lowland 47th ward. Elder Packer spoke at their Sacrament meeting on Sunday and said the content of that email was completely spurious. He also took the opportunity to say that he’s backing Obama, and no faithful Mormon can vote Republican, and that everyone should get a year’s supply of Noni.

  12. Julie M. Smith
    October 20, 2008 at 12:30 pm


  13. Steve Evans
    October 20, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I got that email too. It’s clearly at best someone’s notes, and not a transcript or anything verifiable or reliable. Toss it in the circular file.

  14. Mark B.
    October 20, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    What I want to know is, why don’t I ever get any of this dreck in my email? I never get the Obama is a Socialist Islamicist baby killer ones either. I feel sort of left out–but not so left out that I want any of you to start forwarding this stuff to me.

  15. Kaimi Wenger
    October 20, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Useful info.

    I told my mom yesterday that it couldn’t be entirely legit; the two cited scriptures are both wrong. I’ll have to pass this along.

  16. October 20, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    One of the FAIR folks said the following. It probably deserves its own post…

    “Anybody else led to wonder just how many of our current pauline epistles and other letters of the new testament had no better (and perhaps much worse from hand copying) beginning as this talk from Bro. Packard? A talk or letter to one group gets written and passed around…


  17. Kaimi Wenger
    October 20, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    The misspelling in that quote is ironic, Nitsav.

  18. Matt
    October 20, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    I’m a former neighbor of one of Pres. Packer’s sons (Wow, I just wrote the perfect introduction to an internet rumor). I asked his wife about this, and she forwarded me this email from Pres. Packer’s secretary:

    “The email you received has been spreading farther and wider as the days go by this week. President Packer did speak at his ward testimony meeting on Sunday. Someone either recorded it or took notes and has passed them along to all of her friends and family. The notes capture the essence of what he said, but they are not his words. They are the words of the writer. We have been referring people to his conference talk given just last week which taught how to keep our families safe during perilous times.”

  19. October 20, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Who’s going to start Mormon Snopes? (Dang! is taken; is available, though.)

    Dick and I were talking after church yesterday about “wouldn’t it be fun to know what the Hiram Page ‘revelations’ were?” And then we thought they probably began:

    “You were generals in the War in Heaven and one day when you are in the spirit world, you will be enthralled by those you are associated with. You will ask someone in which time period they lived and you might hear, “I was with Moses when he parted the Red Sea,” or “I helped build the pyramids’” or “I fought with Captain Moroni.” And as you are standing there in amazement, someone will turn to you and ask you which of the prophets’ time did you live in? And when you say “Gordon B. Hinckley” a hush will fall over every hall and corridor in Heaven, and all in attendance will bow at your presence. You were held back six thousand years because you were the most talented, most obedient, most courageous, and most righteous.”

    Also, anyone else find it funny (SO RUDE!) that the pronoun in the “email” from “President Packer’s secretary” is feminine? (see Matt’s comment)?

  20. maria
    October 20, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    This email was quoted by our mission president’s wife during her stake conference address yesterday (that would be the Naperville, IL stake).

  21. David
    October 20, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    It was also quoted in our Elder’s quorum lesson (Utah county), by an instructor who should know better.

  22. Gerald Smith
    October 20, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Subject: Talk given by President Boyd K. Packer on Sunday, October 12, 2008

    Please send the following information to all personnel in your area!

    The Church Correlation Department has indicated that the report of President Boyd K. Packers talk of Sunday, October 12, 2008, that is being distributed is not accurate. President Packer has not approved the report of his talk or authorized it’s distribution.
    It is recommended that individuals follow the instruction, counsel, and spirit of his recent October 2008 General Conference talk.

    As a reminder please review the following:

    A First Presidency letter of May 13, 2004 provides this counsel and official instruction: “…members of the Church [are] to never teach or pass on… statements without verifying that they are from approved official sources… Any notes made when General Authorities, Area Seventies, or other general Church officers speak at regional and stake conferences or other meetings should not be distributed without the consent of the speaker. Personal notes are for individual use only.” (See also: Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1 (2006), pg. 173.)

  23. October 20, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Cool. This is just like New Testament times when people wrote epistles and signed them with the name of an apostle to lend them authority.

  24. October 20, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    My father tells me that High Priests started off with the instructor reading an email about how Congress had gone into secret session and had been informed that the US was going to collapse, etc. This excited some remark.

  25. Tim P.
    October 20, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    yeah, we are in trouble take away the computers…I got this e-mail from my mom….

  26. Matt Evans
    October 20, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Who at the Church Correlation Department authorized the transcription of the parable of the Good Samaritan and it’s translation into Greek?!

    Any guesses how much time Jesus spent authorizing the various transcriptions of his sermons and parables? I suppose I’ll have to ask Church Correlation for the official answer. : )

  27. October 20, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Is that comment really by you, Matt E.? Can I quote it?

  28. Tim P.
    October 20, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Matt Evans You are opening a BIG can of worms with that one…

  29. Starfoxy
    October 20, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    The only salacious thing about this talk is this:
    It’s about time the Lord taught us a lesson. A great catastrophe is
    coming. Now I probably shouldn’t say that because then it will
    happen. But it is going to happen. That’s what it will take
    to turn our hearts to the Lord. And we will learn from it.

    But that’s buried deep down in the middle of the talk.

    I’d bet that if I picked a random talk off of and passed it around at face value most people wouldn’t read halfway through it (certainly not as long as it took to reach that nugget I quoted), and they certainly wouldn’t forward it. On the other hand if I made up a cover story (it was given by so and so when he randomly visited my little brother’s girlfriends parents ward) the ‘not for your ears’ aspect of it would make it sound so much more appealing and it’d spread like wildfire.

    Maybe they should start doing this with the FP messages from the Ensign- I think more people would actually read them that way.

  30. airay
    October 20, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Please send the following information to all personnel in your area!

    The Church Correlation Department has indicated that the report of President Boyd K. Packers talk of Sunday, October 12, 2008, that is being distributed is not accurate. President Packer has not approved the report of his talk or authorized it’s distribution. It is recommended that individuals follow the instruction, counsel, and spirit of his recent October 2008 General Conference talk.

    As a reminder please review the following:

    A First Presidency letter of May 13, 2004 provides this counsel and official instruction: “…members of the Church [are] to never teach or pass on… statements without verifying that they are from approved official sources… Any notes made when General Authorities, Area Seventies, or other general Church officers speak at regional and stake conferences or other meetings should not be distributed without the consent of the speaker. Personal notes are for individual use only.” (See also: Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1 (2006), pg. 173.)

  31. Marianne
    October 20, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Good idea Starfoxy! Maybe it would make the VT message more interesting!

  32. Trevor
    October 20, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    The rapid spread of this email tells me that there is a longing in the church for these sorts of eschatological warnings. It makes for a much more thrilling adventure then what we get in general conference.

  33. WillF
    October 20, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    #23 and #31: How do we know that the statement from the Church Correlation Department is authentic? It is being spread the same way. Why would they use the same mechanism for tamping down the rumor as the rumor? Why don’t we see anything on

  34. Jack
    October 20, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Has anyone ever gone back to the General Conference reports from the late 1920\’s to see what warnings were given about the impending Great Depression?

  35. Mary Siever
    October 20, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    I can find out the source, but my mother was passing it around, I emailed her back saying I was skeptical and she later found out it isn’t true :) I can see where she verified that if you would like.

  36. Jonathan Green
    October 20, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    I’m disappointed. Within a few weeks of election day, I’m expecting something more along the lines of a prophesied day of wrath and burning when the land is ruled by a veiled stranger whose true name is hidden, but who is known as B*rack O*ama. Better urban legends, please.

  37. RRG
    October 21, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Nice, Mr. Green.

  38. RB
    October 21, 2008 at 12:17 am

    The correlation department is not necessarily a model. The correlated curricularized institutionalizaion of Mormonism and dogma is not the source of inspiration. Furthermore, the Church will not necessarily tell everyone a play-by-play of what is coming. We already have ample warning and notification at a very low level of consciousness so all may take heed and act. However, as we know from sad experience, if the Nephites aren\’t a good example: people don\’t act or listen because they are so stuck in old thought patterns and paradigms. Awake and arouse your faculties! Quit relying on spurious accounts. Did any of you see the 2000 foot Pleiadian spacecraft over Alabama for three days, the anticipation of which caused the Asian stock markets to rise in hopes of an ET intervention to help us through the current crisis?

    It is time to be prophets yourselves. This does not supplant the current Prophet for the Earth. It does instead affirm your own power to become a Son of Light. If nothing else, confirm this yourself, and don\’t yield your right to power and inspiration to anyone else, for that is a sin against the Holy Ghost also!

  39. October 21, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Haven\’t people learned by now that pretty much anything you learn in a chain email is at least partially false?

  40. October 21, 2008 at 12:32 am

    “A loan was made, a mission served, and the loan repaid.”

    Sounds like somebody accidentally switched out of “Packer”s voice

  41. TrevorM
    October 21, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Cchrissyy: as they say on the internets, your post was full of win!

  42. Mark B.
    October 21, 2008 at 8:41 am

    This is the dead giveaway:

    So I was laying there hurt and

    Everyone knows that Pres. Packer wouldn’t commit such a glaring grammatical error.

    What was he laying? An egg?

  43. October 21, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Matt, may be, the correlation department cleared the publication of the parable of the good Samaritan at the council of Nicea.

  44. ldds
    October 21, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    If you doubt the statement from the coorelation department you can call the church and ask for extension 22833. They have a recorded message of the response from Pres. Packer’s office.
    The number to the church headquarters is 240-1000. I called yesterday because of questions from some in my ward and was transfered to the response.
    What is written above is accurate, but always good to hear from an original source, right?

  45. Teresa T
    October 21, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Our stake conference was last weekend, 10/19. Our Stake President stood and addressed the congregation, telling us that this conference was \”directed\” by Pres. Boyd K. Packer and that, because of this, he had the opportunity to speak to him by phone. He then brought up \”a certain email forward that has been going around – with a talk by Pres. Packer\”. Our Stake President said that he asked Pres. Packer about this, and was told (by Pres. Packer) to utilize the DELETE key whenever you receive this email.

    As many mentioned before me, IF Pres. Packer actually gave this \”testimony/talk\” he was addressing one congregation (not the world OR the world wide web).

    Delete it!

  46. mike
    October 21, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Let me get this straight: (Correct me if I am wrong).

    1. Elder Packer did give a talk on that date and in that place.

    2. The talk was not recorded or written down for distribution by him.

    3. Notes were taken by someone.

    4. The essense of the talk was recreated and passed around using the tools available.

    5. The Church says that Elder Packer does not approve of the widespread distribution of the talk.

    6. We are referred to his General Conference talk.

    Does this strike anyone else as rather odd? Aside from the dooms-day content, can we deny Elder Packer said what he apparently said? Hundreds heard him say something along these lines. If badly and widely misquoted, should Elder Packer not publish his notes or his memory of what he said? What seems to be objectable is that someone in his audience actually listened, took notes and distributed his public statements.

    I think the statements have the potential to make him look ridiculous. I remember institute classes back in the 1970’s where we were taught that we would not live long enough to raise our children to adulthood. I specifically recall making a $1000 bet with my seminary teacher that the Second Coming of Christ would nothappen by the year 2000. I didn’t bother to collect this debt. I think we do not know how difficult things are going to get. Maybe very severe and maybe not that bad. We don’t know.

  47. October 21, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Not odd at all. Considering all the off-the-wall things General Authorities have said even in print or from the Conference pulpit, adding in local firesides would make things utterly impossible.

  48. mike
    October 21, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    About the time Harold B. Lee was ordained an apostle back in the late 1940’s he gave a dooms day talk. It was not the first nor the last one. I had a relative who didn’t like him and used to constantly ridicule him about this one talk predicting all of these dire consequences that was given before I was even born. I am going to channel with my cranky relative who is now in the spirit world and give you some of what his thoughts might be.

    Lets consider a typical member sitting in General Conference in 1950 listening to Harold B. Lee make comments similar to that quoted above. Let us presume our typical member is a 20 year old woman. Looking back we can see through her eyes what the church had already experienced at that time and what it will experience in the future. This might allow us to see the wisdom of these remarks by Harold B. Lee, or Boyd K. Packer.

    Our typical member was born near the beginning of the Great Depression in 1930. Hard times for almost everyone. She had been baptized only a year when Hitler invaded Poland and she had just entered the Mutual Improvement Association as a 12 year old Beehive when Pearl Harbor was bombed. She was about to turn sweet 16 when WWII ended and the economic condition of people’s lives began to improve. The missionaries followed the American flag and spread across the world like they had never done before. Our typical member had brothers and cousins who fought and a few who died in WWII and younger siblings, cousins or friends who served missions at the dawn of the modern post-WWII era. The Korean war was raging out of control in 1950 and some of her classmates would be fighting in it but it would soon fizzle out and hardly anyone remembers that. She would turn 21 years of age when David O. McKay became the Prophet and probably would have married somewhere around that time.

    She would be a busy young Mormon mother well on her way to having the average of 5.5 children when the Russians launched Spudnik in 1957 and Presidents McKay and Lee were jostling over the details of the Priesthood Correlation movement. Our typical member would be 32 when Kennedy was shot. Some of her older children would be old enough to become hippies but most of them would serve missions and marry in the temple. Her oldest son might have gone to Vietnam but less than 5% of those soldiers were killed. She might accidently have had a younger son on a mission during Watergate. Her children would have gone to their wedding receptions wearing those tacky colorful styles of the 1970’s. She would likely be in menopause by age 48 when the Blacks were given the Priesthood.

    She would have hit the big 50 when Reagan was elected and the church growth was really accelerating before the retention problems became more severe. Her husband if he was her same age would have reached retirement age when President Hinckley became the prophet in 1995. She and her husband might have been serving a couples mission on 9/11 as 71 year olds. Over half of the women of her same age would be widows at that point and she would be going to the funerals of decreasing numbers of her friends. She would probably also have a few great-grand children. Statistically she will die in her early to mid 80’s within the next decade, more often than not preceded in death by her husband by a few years.

    So please tell me what great trials the church was facing that Harold B. Lee was warning our typical member about as she sat there in General Conference in 1950? In 1960? In 1970? About the worst thing to happen was a rising divorce rate that is still below 20% for temple marriages. As many as a third of our typical member’s grandchildren remain as perpetual singles. Variable numbers of our youth have gone astray but that is no different than any other time. Each generation finds its own unique ways of going to hell. We’ve had a few historical challenges like the Michael Quinn’s and Will Bagley’s books. Mark Hoffman wrote the Salamander letters and blew up a couple people which made some of our leaders scramble on television. We are reported to use a bit more prozac than average and maybe have been too harsh to homosexuals. Our polygamist apostates are drawing national attention again as they did in the 1950’s. BYU football really stunk for a few years. New scientific perspectives that cause one to rethink their faith? That has been going on for 500 years.

    Nothing very bad has happened to the LDS church beyond the ordinary trials of everyday life in the last 50 years. When you compare our problems with the real growth, accumulated financial resources and rising social position, we have done rather well. We didn’t alienate 80% of our members and split into five branches like the Presbyterians or loose 100 million of the next generation like Catholics in Latin America. We didn’t completely unravel and cease to exist except in a few isolated strongholds like the whole communist movement.

    I expect the past will be no less challenging than the future. It will be different yet it will resemble some aspects of the past.

  49. October 21, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Mike, “Aside from the dooms-day content, can we deny Elder Packer said what he apparently said?”

    The problem is that the reports are simply not reliable. I’ve now seen multiple versions, which began with (paraphrased) “We’re entering a trying time” to “Salt Lake is about to face immanent catastrophic destruction.” You can’t ignore the “dooms-day content” because that’s what people are reading it and passing it around for.

  50. old49er
    October 21, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    “Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening called the moon? …when you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the ignorant of their fellows. So it is in regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain,” – Brigham Young,(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 271).

  51. Preston
    October 22, 2008 at 1:10 am

    The following was also circulated in an email that circulated after the talk:

    “A First Presidency letter of May 13, 2004 provides this counsel and
    official instruction: “…members of the Church [are] to never teach
    or pass on… statements without verifying that they are from approved
    official sources… Any notes made when General Authorities, Area
    Seventies, or other general Church officers speak at regional and
    stake conferences or other meetings should not be distributed
    without the consent of the speaker. Personal notes are for
    individual use only.” (See also: Church Handbook of Instructions,
    Book 1 (2006), pg. 173.)”

  52. mike
    October 22, 2008 at 9:36 am

    I have been thinking about why this tempest in a teapot. I am convinced that the source of the heat is the tendency of us Mormons to accept without question or doubt ANYTHING one of our upper eschelon leaders says. What if we were to alllow someone as wise and experienced as say President Gordon B. Hinckley to make a mistake every now and then and be wrong about a few things? Does our religion come crashing down? Does that discount 60 or 70 years of generally excellent advice and example? For me if 80 something year old President Packer gets up in his home ward and says a few things that don’t exactly make sense to me, then so what?

    We have a free-thinking guy in our ward who is quite the opposite of President Packer. He lives in a tree near the railroad tracks and brags about not watching any TV or ever being on the Internet and having not ridden in or operated a motor vehicle in a couple of decades. He is a convert and reformed drug addict and still struggles with alcoholism. At the age of nearly 60 he has finally gotten his act together enough to work on a lawn service and get off welfare and pay a little tithing. He has some cranky religious and political ideas. He had a vision that McCain would be murdered last August and he thinks Bush will start a nuclear war with Iran to prevent Obama from getting into the white house.

    Most people run the other direction when he starts up on these tangents. But I think he just needs someone to listen to his ramblings and challenge him weakly on one or two of his most obviously irrational points and generally accept him as a person in spite of his whacked out ideas. (Maybe some of y’all on this website think of me as the guy living in the tree, thanks). But from time to time he actually says something really good! So do we just asume EVERYTHING he says is wrong and dismiss him? Or do we allow him the possibility of being right some of the time and actually making a valuable contributuion to the discussion? If we can accept some of my crazy friend’s ideas then can we reject a few of President Packer’s comments if they don’t make sense? It says in Romans 3 that all of us have sinned and that includes the GA’s. If you actually believe the parable of the day laborers, my friend living-in-a-tree might be one of those who labors only for one hour and still gets the full salary of the miracle of the atonement.

  53. October 24, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Boyd K. Packer on Civilization Collapsing—All From General Conference:
    Boyd K. Packer, Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled , p.166:

    Notice those words again: wicked, virtuous, moral, malice. Words having to do with character and morality. They are not essential, perhaps, in teaching chemistry or mathematics, or geography, or vocational arts. They have more substance in teaching political science, home and family living, social problems, or history, and perhaps a casual meaning in teaching languages. But they are words that must be taught! And they will not thrive on their own. These are words that must be cultivated and nurtured. The ideals they represent are absolutely essential to the survival of civilization.

    Packer, Boyd K., On Zion\’s Hill, CR October 2005:

    I have lived a long time and watched the standards upon which civilization must depend for survival swept aside one piece at a time.

    President Boyd K. Packer, Do Not Fear, Ensign (CR), May 2004, p.77:

    The moral values upon which civilization itself must depend spiral downward at an ever-increasing pace. Nevertheless, I do not fear the future.

    President Boyd K. Packer, “The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected”, Ensign (CR), November 2003, p.24:

    The great plan of happiness enables family relationships to last beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants, available only in the temple, make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally. Marriage, the family, and the home are the foundation of the Church.19 Nothing is more important to the Church and to civilization itself than the family!

    President Boyd K. Packer, “The Standard of Truth Has Been Erected”, Ensign (CR), November 2003, p.24:

    Society is on a course that has caused the destruction of civilizations and is now ripening in iniquity. Civilization itself is at stake. You, our wonderful youth, are an example to untold millions of good people worldwide.

    Elder Boyd K. Packer, The Father and the Family, Ensign (CR), May 1994, p.19:
    The ultimate purpose of the adversary, who has “great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time,”1 is to disrupt, disturb, and destroy the home and the family. Like a ship without a rudder, without a compass, we drift from the family values which have anchored us in the past. Now we are caught in a current so strong that unless we correct our course, civilization as we know it will surely be wrecked to pieces.

    Elder Boyd K. Packer, Our Moral Environment, Ensign (CR), May 1992, p.66:

    When any effort is made to include values in these courses, basic universal values, not just values of the Church, but of civilization, of society itself, the protest arises, “You are imposing religion upon us, infringing upon our freedom.”

    Elder Boyd K. Packer, Little Children, Ensign (CR), November 1986, p.16:

    If these sins remain unchecked, civilization will be led unfailingly to destruction.

    The Catastrophe:

    D&C 1:17: \”Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments.\”

    Family Proclamation: \”We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.\” (IE California and Prop 8)

    Then read the Book of Revelation, Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Book of Mormon apocalyptic passages in 1 Nephi.

    On Faith-Promoting Rumors:

    Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams, p.518

    \”The Lord needs more people with listening ears. A man came in to see me and said that he had heard that some man appeared mysteriously to a group of temple workers and told them, \”You had better hurry up and store for a year, or two, or three, because there will come a season when there won\’t be any production.\” He asked me what I thought about it, and I said, \”Well, were you in the April conference of 1936?\” He replied, \”No, I couldn\’t be there.\” And I said, \”Well, you surely read the report of what was said by the Brethren in that conference?\” No, he hadn\’t. \”Well,\” I said, \”at that conference the Lord did give a revelation about the storage of food. How in the world is the Lord going to get over to you what He wants you to do if you are not there when He says it, and you do not take the time to read it after it has been said?\”

    \”The Lord is going to keep His people informed, if they will listen. As President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said in a classic talk, \”What we need today is not more prophets. We have the prophets. But what we need is more people with listening ears. That is the great need of our generation.\” (In Conference Report, October 1948, p. 82.) (64-04, pp. 159-60)

    Comfort In Times Of Need:

    Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy, p.90:

    I am just a couple of years older than most of you, and in those few extra months I have seen a bit more of life than you have. I want you to know that there have always been some difficulties in mortal life, and there always will be. But knowing what we know, and living as we are supposed to live, there really is no place, no excuse, for pessimism and despair.

    In my lifetime I have seen two world wars, plus Korea, plus Vietnam and all that you are currently witnessing. I have worked my way through the Depression and managed to go to law school while starting a young family at the same time. I have seen stock markets and world economics go crazy, and I have seen a few despots and tyrants go crazy, all of which caused quite a bit of trouble around the world in the process.

    So I hope you won\’t believe all the world\’s difficulties have been wedged into your decade, or that things have never been worse than they are for you personally, or that they will never get better. I reassure you that things have been worse and they will always get better. They always do-especially when we live and love the gospel of Jesus Christ and give it a chance to flourish in our lives.

  54. JP
    October 26, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Everyone would benefit from calling the Church Offices at 1-800-453-3860 and when prompted for extention dial \”22833\”

    Move on, discuss more important aspects of the gospel. Stop being tricked by every wind of doctrine.

  55. imua
    October 26, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    a followup email from the Bishop of Hillcrest ward:

    Brothers and Sisters of the Hillcrest Ward,
    I have received from multiple sources (from within and
    outside our Ward) an email with the text of a talk
    attributed to President Boyd K. Packer, President of the
    Quorum of Apostles, that states he gave a talk in a
    Sacrament Meeting in Salt Lake City last Sunday. I now
    that many of you have received the same email. I ooked
    into this (as did others apparently) and felt it was> important to contact you about this

    When a General Authority speaks in General Conference his message is for the entire world. As is stated in the church handbook, any other time he speaks in a Regional Conference, Missionary Zone Conference, Stake Conference, Sacrament Meeting or any other meeting, his message is for those in attendance only. Also in the handbook we are taught that members should never teach or pass on statements attributed to Church leaders without verifying that they are from approved Church sources.
    I recommend that ward members should call or email me or one of my counselors before teaching or passing on such statements. Please follow this even when the information appears to come from trusted sources such as family, other church members, or the media. The handbook also teaches that any notes we take personally during a meeting where General Authorities, General Church Officers or Area Seventies speak should never be distributed without the consent of the speaker.

    Elder Packer’s secretary at church headquarters confirmed for me by telephone on Friday that President Packer did speak in the Forest Bend Ward, Salt Lake City last Sunday and that the talk had had apparently been transcribed by someone in attendance and then distributed by email.
    She went on to say that the transcription ‘is not the
    word of President Packer’ and ‘contains many
    inaccuracies’. She told me that President Packer has not
    authorized the distribution of his remarks either accurate
    or otherwise.
    She also said that anyone who has passed this email along should send out a note to all who received it stating that the message is not authorized for distribution and ask those who have received it to please stop sending it out. You do not need to send this message of mine to others but please make sure anyone you forwarded this to and whoever sent it to you knows to stop sending it.

    In response to these notes being distributed President
    Packer, through his secretary, recommended that I encourage you to refer to his General Conference talk from two weeks ago (which was intended for the entire world) rather than the text of this email.
    A link to his talk is below.,5232,23-1-947-27,00.html
    I do not mean for anyone who originally forwarded this on
    to others to be offended by my bringing this to your
    attention. I felt that this was a teaching moment to help
    us all.
    I am daily reminded of the goodness and righteousness of
    the members of the Hillcrest Ward as I witness your constant and valiant Christ-like service to each other and those who live in our community.
    Thank you for your obedience in this matter,

    Bishop Fletcher

  56. Jeremy Stricklin
    November 9, 2008 at 7:37 am

    I have seen numerous replies, most negative. Thank you for publishing it. This talk may not me exact but, if read with the Spirit the truth can be seen. That goes for anything one sees and needs clarification for. Let the Spirit guide your thoughts. I am in the military and greatful there were members who honestly wanted to share a message that they felt was important, most likely the Spirit at work again. This talk has many good points that one can clearly see God\’s message to his people in. Read with the new eyes as Boyd K. Packer instructs. May the Lord bless us as we return to him and prepare for his return.

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