Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer remembered for humor, wit

A mourner touches the casket of Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer during a memorial service at the Tabernacle on Temple Square Friday, July 10, 2015, in Salt Lake City | AP photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — High-ranking Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer was remembered Friday at his funeral as an unwavering defender and teacher of church gospel, but also for his quick wit and humor.

Packer seemed to always have an appropriate quip in all situations, M. Russell Ballard, a fellow member of a top governing church body that Packer led, said. Ballard recalled how Packer once said about aging, “Usually my memory is sharp but I don’t remember things that did not happen.”

Pallbearers carry the casket of Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer during a memorial service at the Tabernacle, on Temple Square Friday, July 10, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Packer's death on July 3 at the age of 90 from natural causes left the religion with two openings on a high-level governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. | AP Photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News
Pallbearers carry the casket of Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer during a memorial service at the Tabernacle, on Temple Square Friday, July 10, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Packer’s death on July 3 at the age of 90 from natural causes left the religion with two openings on a high-level governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. | AP Photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

Packer died on July 3 at the age of 90 from natural causes. As the president of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Packer was next in line to become the church president and prophet.

Church president Thomas S. Monson told the thousands of mourners in attendance Friday that Packer had a gift to boil down complex gospel concepts into words easily understood by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“He was inspired and talented as a teacher,” Monson said. “He taught with power and with authority.”

Packer was known for being a staunch advocate for a conservative form of Mormonism. That made him a model for like-minded, devout Latter-day Saints but also a target for gay rights groups and some more liberal Mormons.

Packer is remembered for giving a speech in 1993 in which he warned that the religion faced the greatest threat from three groups: feminists, homosexuals and intellectuals. In 2010, he denounced homosexual attraction as unnatural and immoral.

But none of Packer’s controversial remarks were discussed Friday during a memorial at the religion’s historic Tabernacle in Salt Lake City where he was canonized for his lifelong devotion to the religion. He served on the quorum for 45 years.

Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the quorum, said Packer taught by example, showing his fellow quorum members to be entirely loyal to the teachings and decisions of the church president.

Oaks said Packer was resigned to his fate as he dealt with his ailing health. Packer suffered from the aftereffects of polio, which he had as a young boy.

“He felt he would be just as happy teaching and testifying on either side of the veil,” Oaks said.

Packer leaves behind a family so large they filled 10 1/2 pews in the Tabernacle. He and his wife of 70 years, Donna, had 10 children and have 60 grandchildren and 111 great-grandchildren. The last one was born last week.

His oldest son, Allan Packer, spoke about the Mormon belief that families are for eternity. He told Packer’s grandchildren they will see their grandfather again shortly, so long as they are worthy.

It was the second recent funeral for a church leader. Fellow quorum member L. Tom Perry died on May 30 from cancer at the age of 92.

People attend a memorial service for Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer at the Tabernacle, on Temple Square Friday, July 10, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Packer's death on July 3 at the age of 90 from natural causes left the religion with two openings on a high-level governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. | AP Photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News
People attend a memorial service for Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer at the Tabernacle, on Temple Square Friday, July 10, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Packer’s death on July 3 at the age of 90 from natural causes left the religion with two openings on a high-level governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. | AP Photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

Replacements for Packer and Perry on the quorum will be chosen sometime in the coming months by Monson, considered the religion’s prophet. Members of the faith believe those decisions are guided by inspiration from God.

During one of many mentions to the afterlife in the funeral, Monson said about Packer: “He has gone to that paradise for which he is so well qualified. He leaves to his family and all of us who knew him a legacy of Christ-like love and devoted service.”

Story by Brady McCombs, Associated Press

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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8 Comments

  • beentheredonethat July 11, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Intelectuals? Might we have figured out the cult? HMMMMMM……interesting!

  • Simone July 11, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    “Packer is remembered for giving a speech in 1993 in which he warned that the religion faced the greatest threat from three groups: feminists, homosexuals and intellectuals”. Is anyone else surprised that he said people who want to be treated equally and actually use their brains were a threat his “religion”?

    On a side Note: Personal thoughts about Mormonism aside, My thoughts are with his family, may he rest in peace. 🙂

  • Lastdays July 11, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    The intellectuals he speaks of are the progressive liberals who have infiltrated the universities across the nation and are indoctrinating the students with their cancerous philosophical ideals. There is no wisdom in college anymore, students fear the professors opinions and are being forced to cooperate and graduate.

    • 42214 July 12, 2015 at 11:11 am

      You can say the same thing about BYU only to the right. When I went to college I wasn’t “debriefed every year to make sure I was following the “Doctrine”.
      Literally everything you say about “Liberal” colleges can be said about BYU on the other side of the political spectrum.

    • Simone July 12, 2015 at 4:46 pm

      Well, well looks like someone here is really buckin’ for Packer’s old spot. Isn’t that true, LASTDAYS?

  • radioviking July 12, 2015 at 7:42 am

    “Packer is remembered for giving a speech in 1993 in which he warned that the religion faced the greatest threat from three groups: feminists, homosexuals and intellectuals”. Wow, let’s interpret that literally and apply what Boyd Packer taught for decades in its modern application for society: turn off your rational reasoning and thinking (just believe blindly without questioning), women must submit themselves to men (their fathers, husbands, and/or older brothers), and gays …..well, you can just imagine (he did take the bible literally, so the death sentence applies here). Kool-aid anyone?

  • 42214 July 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    In the immortal words of Freddie Mercury, “Another one bites the dust”

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