Thus saith Boyd K. Packer

I love reading and hearing Boyd K. Packer. I always have. The man is a conduit for those who love and those who hate the established, traditional ways of the church. I love tradition and am not fond of change. President Monson reminded us several times in this last General Conference that change is one of the most certain things we will deal with in this life. He also implied that change is coming.

By now you have probably received a copy of President Packer’s talk given the week following General Conference in his home ward in Salt Lake City. It is highly unusual for such a complete transcription of a talk not intended for public consumption to be so well documented. Ordinarily I would not write about a private talk like this. It goes against my judgment to just leave it alone.

Someone called church headquarters and asked it was real. They confirmed that he did speak, that they were aware that it has been circulating, but that it was not intended for anyone other than his own ward. In fact, they pointed out that it was not accurate, that he did not authorize the transcription and asked that we not pass it on. Such personal notes are for individual use only.

A great catastrophe is coming

Because this has been making the rounds and has been all over the world in the past week, I wanted to comment on one paragraph of his talk that seems to have received the most attention. Note that this is not a direct quote, but is from someone’s notes. It may or may not be accurate. However, it is timely and leads me to a subject I have wanted to address for some time now.

Here is the quote: “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.” Many in the emails and discussion boards have speculated on what that catastrophe will be and when it will happen.

As I watched President Packer speak in General Conference the week before, I noted a sense of urgency in his voice and his message. The title of his address was “The Test.” His message was that in troubled times, the Lord has always prepared a safe way ahead. He said that we are living in those “perilous times” of which the Apostle Paul prophesied would come in the last days.

Same sex marriage is a test

I swore I would not write any more about the involvement of church members in Proposition 8, but perhaps a few notes will help to illustrate one possibility of the test that is coming. I wrote previously about how one family in our ward has been targeted by the opposition for their contributions to the Yes on 8 campaign. Their methods of harassment display vicious hatred.

Others have been physically attacked for distributing Yes on 8 signs, with signs being ripped up during the night. While we stood on a street corner waiving signs the other night, someone got out of their car and verbally abused us with a profanity-laden tirade. Temple-goers in Oakland reported that protesters threw themselves in front of their cars, blocking the temple entrance.

We have been counseled by church leaders to be kind, patient and tolerant in stating our case to the world. Apparently the opposition does not play by the same rules. It seems that anything goes in an effort to shock, offend and intimidate supporters of proposition 8 into giving up the fight. They are behind in the polls 61-36% and not happy with the idea that proposition 8 might pass.

Economic meltdown in progress

I watch the news of the stock market, the bank failures and the credit crunch with somewhat of a distant detachment. I know it affects some right away who work in the financial area, but for most of us, there has been little effect other than a decrease in the value of our 401K portfolio. Some days the stock market is down by hundreds of points and other days it rises by hundreds.

The area where most of us will eventually feel the results of this financial meltdown that we are witnessing will be down the road as businesses fail and unemployment rises. It took a few years after the stock market crash of 1929 for unemployment to reach the highest level of 25%. We cannot say if this same pattern will hold true in our day. Perhaps it won’t take so long this time.

In his October 12th talk, President Packer said nothing new that prophets and apostles haven’t been saying for all of our lives and that of our parents and grandparents. Get out of debt, save for a rainy day, keep the food storage current, and learn to make do with what you have. We live in a day of extravagance where every want is met. That may all change in the very near future.

Catastrophes can be cataclysmic

Two of the definitions of the word catastrophe are a: a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth and b: a violent, usually destructive natural event (as a supernova). We know that such changes are prophesied for the last days. We should not be surprised when they occur. The Lord has warned us of imminent destruction that will come upon us suddenly, as a thief in the night.

I have written dozens of essays on the subject of upcoming catastrophes. Prophets of old saw our day and told us about the cataclysmic changes that would be occurring. They left us many clues in language that described events both life-threatening and destructive. One of my fellow bloggers has been sharing his essays on these changes in an effort to help us understand them.

Violence begets violence. When these violent events do arrive, they will impact society in a way that none of us can imagine. Students of the early history of the church are familiar with several statements by the early brethren where they attempted to describe the scenes of the breakdown of common decency in our society that were a result of the natural disasters that will come upon us.

Summary and conclusion

I hope I have not painted a bleak picture of what is to come. The apostates love to characterize President Packer as a man of doom and gloom. Isn’t that one of the functions of a prophet – to warn us of coming events and to help us prepare for what must surely transpire in the last days? I am convinced that President Packer is right – I think the Lord is trying to get our attention now.

I like the way President Hinckley taught us to be hopeful and faithful in spite of the signs of the times being fulfilled right before our eyes. He said he was planting trees and making plans for long-term events. We should do the same. Getting an education is still a great idea. Investing in our education and careers will continue to be profitable for us and our families in the long run.

There is still much to do before the coming of the Lord. The gospel must still go to all the world before the great and dreadful day. It hasn’t done that yet. President Monson is the man the Lord has prepared to lead us in these troubled times. I love his sense of peace and confidence. I trust in his direction and know that he will always show us the path of safety through changes coming.


Additional references:

1. Boyd K. Packer talk goes viral
2. Boyd K Packer talk not accurate
3. Times and Seasons: confirm or deny
4. Recorded on cell phone or shorthand?
5. Words of warning from Pres. Packer
6. Mormon Wiki: Hoax or urban legend
7. From the horse’s mouth (MMW)
8. SL Trib – Packer talk circles the globe

16 thoughts on “Thus saith Boyd K. Packer”

  1. I did not know any of this. Thanks. I often benefit by checking your pages.There are rough times ahead. Our best preparedness is to listen to our Apostles and Prophets. I am an optimist (maybe with a dash of pessimism). I will keep planting cherry trees, so to speak.

  2. okay, this “talk” is overstated. it’s not an accurate portrayal of the message given and church leaders have asked members to stop the circulation of it when we see it is out there.

  3. Yep, I only brought it up because so many people have been sending it to me via email and searching my blog to see if I had it. I think they hit my site because I have written about previous talks by President Packer. We live in a small Mormon online community. Things like this take on a life of their own, including additions of specifics like dates. Not cool.

  4. And just to be clear, I add this comment from LDS Media Talk:”President Packer’s Office indicates that the report of his talk is not accurate. He has not approved the report of his talk or authorized its distribution. His office recommends that individuals follow the instruction, counsel, and spirit of his recent general conference talk.A First Presidency letter (to be read in sacrament meeting) 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.)

  5. Let me add: Your essay clarified for me that the “Elder Packer” talk was unauthorized. It is helpful to have such clarification.

  6. Hi S. Faux – Amazingly, this essay just provided me with my first post-500 day of page views. It also set a record of new visitors at 271. Obviously, we as a people are concerned and anxious about the last days and are looking to our leaders for some reassurance and guidance.I echo the statement of President Packer’s office that we look to his conference talk to understand what the Lord wanted him to say to the church at this time. I tried to focus my comments on that talk. I stand by my essay that these are indeed trying times and will be a period of testing for many. That’s nothing new. We will continue faithful. Thanks to all for visiting.

  7. Tim:I don’t know about you, but to me the times feel a little different, even compared to last year. Yes, we LDS are anxious to hear from our leaders. Of course, the last Conference was especially powerful. I am grateful that we are NOT a doom and gloom Church. We believe in preparedness because we believe we can DO something about our situation. (Further, the arrival of Christ will involve setting up a new and glorious kingdom).Hmmm, and then we are building a temple in Clay Country. To me that was more significant than the Rome temple, which of course was plenty significant.So, there is something in the air — maybe just my anxiety.Anyway, I am glad you get so many visitors. My daily record is only about 150 hits. I average about 50 or 60 hits per day. I feel lucky to have been listed by MormonTimes several times the last few weeks.You have not complained about all my comments, and so I just keep commenting. But, if I am a pest, let me know.

  8. Elder Packer is an amazing teacher. When I was in CES I used to love using his advice in the classroom.I have been in a few meetings with general authorities that the teachings and council were ment for the people present and not the whole world. I think this is the cause for much of Paul’s writtings being misundrstood.

  9. Funny how “Christians” are all about these eschatological narratives…maybe that’s why they keep voting for morons who want to attack the middle east who have brought on this “crisis” with incredibly stupid economic policies. And so you know, I’m partially motivated to read your blog because of something I was told in Millet’s class at BYU for New Testament when he talked about anti-mormons “You can leave the church, but you can’t leave it alone.” Unfortunately, I’ve left the church, but it won’t leave ME alone. Once it does, maybe I’ll leave it alone.

  10. Hi Kalvin,Thanks for visiting my blog. You bet I’m interested in Eschatology. I think every good Christian is. Of course I want to know what is foretold to happen to the world and the people of it as the last days are upon us. In fact, the study of the last days is one of my primary topics of gospel study recently.Yes, what is happening with the current economic meltdown is awful. Of course, since I’m a conservative Republican, I see the hand of liberal Democrats all over this thing, but what can you expect from someone like me who takes at face value the evidence presented that Bush and McCain both tried to rein in those who wanted to loosen up the controls.And yes, this war dragging on and on in the Middle East is a pain, and there will always be some who hate the fact that we liberated a people who were oppressed by a tyrant. So ask the people of Iraq today what they think of being freed from a despot. War is terrible, and it takes lives of good people away from us. I am confident we will be seeing a lot more war in the years to come, no matter what the leaders of the U.S. say or do.I’m pleased that you keep coming back to read my blog and I appreciate your comments. We obviously don’t agree on a lot of things but I hope your respectful comments will be helpful to the dialog I am trying to promote. I’ve heard that about not being able to leave the church alone. Do you have family who are members of the LDS Church? I’m sure you know that you can have your name removed from the rolls of the church by a simple administrative action. All it takes is a letter to a bishop and for him to turn it in with the form.

  11. I hate to say that your understanding of the situation in Iraq seems beyond naive. There may be a decrease in violence, but there are massive walls within cities no, and citizens have virtually no freedom of movement. Additionally, others credit the decrease in violence to massive ethnic cleansing. The diaspora from Iraq is massive, and as bad as being under a despot may be, it is most likely better than being dead. Why is it not surprising that some of the main goals currently of the administration is making sure that Iraqi oil isn’t national and is instead open to foreign private investment. Where do you see the hands of liberal democrats in this? I admit that I partially blame Clinton with the removal of Glass-Stiegel act. We need a tax on derivatives. Even the sacrosanct Greenspan admitted he was wrong. The blame on Fannie and Freddy is misplaced as they were primarily NOT the originator of these predatory sub-prime mortgages. Quite honestly, both the democrats and republicans need to step up against corporate welfare and corporate crime. As for having my names removed, I’ve already done it. You are wrong about how easy it is. If you want to leave, the church won’t let you. Funny. I went to my home ward bishop in person, who then sent me to the college bishop whom I had never met, who read my letter and promised to deliver my names being removed, who I then returned to ask in person if it was pursuing and reminded the missionaries every time I saw them on campus to tell him to do it–all to no avail. Finally I had to threaten the church with legal action to have my name removed from the rolls. What I mean by not being left alone is that the soi disant “Saints” continue to try and abridge my fundamental liberties. This is wrong. Just as it was wrong for the mormon church to deny blacks the right to hold the priesthood, women to pray in sacrament meeting (I know, my mother tells me about that), for women to even hold a general meeting without being “presided over” by a male, to not allow women to voice their discontent with the system without excommunicating them.

  12. Hi Kalvin,I’m sorry to read about your difficulty in getting your name removed from the records of the church. As a ward clerk, I recently went through the procedure with a young man who came and visited with the Bishop and wrote his letter on the spot. The next Sunday, I filled out the form and the Bishop signed it and sent it in. It was as simple as that. Of course we were sorry that he did not find fellowship within the church but his request was honored right away.Yes, I suppose my knowledge of what’s what in Iraq is limited by what I read in the news and hear from my relatives who served there. I have no first-hand knowledge. All I know is what I have read from the many soldiers who reported stories of grateful citizens who appreciate their freedom.You’re correct that Fannie and Freddie are not originators of the sub-prime loans. But their underwriting policies, under the direction of both the Clinton and Bush administrations to provide more affordable (read riskier) home loans sure fueled the bubble. In fact it goes all the way back to the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 under the Carter administration.I’m sure you realize that women can and do pray in Sacrament meetings. Yes, I’m very much aware of several women who were excommunicated for various reasons back in the early 90’s, who have expressed discontent and written about spiritual or authoritative abuse. I’m sorry you feel that the vote on Proposition 8 is imposing on your fundamental liberties. If you have read some of my other essays, it is obvious that we disagree in this area. Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog. I get the impression from your comments that you feel that there is nothing good that the LDS Church can offer you. I hope it is obvious that I feel otherwise. My membership in the church has greatly enriched my life and filled me with gratitude to be a part an organization that provides hope and increases my faith as well as teaches me practical application of that faith in preparing for the events of the future, some of which I am certain are going to be traumatic.I think I have stated clearly in several of my essays that I equate the LDS Church with the Kingdom of God on the earth. I look to the leaders that the Lord has placed in this church to guide and to warn me of things for which I can and should be prepared in these last days. That’s why I wrote about this talk by Boyd K Packer and about his latest conference address. It is obvious that I am not alone in a desire to look to our apostles and prophets for guidance in these troubled times.

  13. I did receive this twice in my inbox and I’ve also received some recently from my family in another Christian faith. I liked some of the talks and stories in the Book of Mormon recently that have helped me be optomistic about everything going on. I recently wrote about it on my blog: feel free to check it out.thanks for this post.

  14. Our local radio station here on a show called RadioActive w/Steve Mitton ( ) broadcast the entire sermon today. president packer said a “catastrophe” was coming. it was actually very uplifting, they also broadcast the disclaimer from the church saying it was not an authorized transcript. right after he read it, a lady from arizona called on the air to report that elder packer said exactly the same thing yesterday nov.2 in arizona at an area question is, whay hasn’t the church denied the substance of the talk … that a catastrophe is coming and we should be prepared.

  15. I live in Mesa, AZ and also heard the talk given by Boyd K. Packer to our area via broadcast at the stake center in Nov 08. I remember talking to others about Pres. Packer’s talk in Utah prior to this. Some claimed it was a rumor. Then Pres. Packer spoke to us in AZ and said pretty much the same thing. He said things will drasticly change shortly. He said do not let your children fear. He mentioned the issue of same-sex marriage and how it is a moral issue. I felt the spirit witness to me the truth of these things. Any rational person just needs to simply look around the world to see what is happening. Get your years supply of food and get your life in order NOW.Someone here asked why hasn’t the church denied the substance of Packers talk. The reason is because it is TRUE. We as church members should be optimistic, however, we also need to be sober and realistic. Many members tend to put off the prophecies of the last days as if they will never happen while they are alive. I believe we will all shortly live to see things we never thought possible. I have always felt strongly about this even since I was a child. The US Govts days are numbered. But the Lord has known and planned for this all along. The Kingdom of God will be established in its fullness and spread to fill the entire earth. Keep in mind that a Kingdom is a government. A theocracy under the direction of Jesus Christ. At the same time you will have the Kingdom of the devil (New World Order) attempt to spread and you will see a battle like never before in the history of the world. But do not fear, because the Lord is on our side.

  16. Hi B-Dawg,You seem fairly advanced in your worldview for a guys who’s blog focuses on skateboards – not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’ll bet it was your mom Kristal that left this comment, for which I thank you. I enjoyed getting to know a little about your family from both of your blogs.Many people emailed me privately and expressed opinions on why they thought the Church did not deny what President Packer had said both in Salt Lake and in the area broadcast in Arizona. All they said was to focus on the official channels for direction outside the area where these talks were given – delivered in General Conference.Like you, I believe that President Packer was only repeating many things that the prophets have been telling us for many, many years. I am convinced that we will soon see fulfillment of prophecy like never before as we move into a world more wicked than ever before. We will be mocked for so saying but it is true nonetheless.There is a Russian political analyst whose views about the collapse of the United States have become very popular in other parts of the world. He has been predicting this for many years but has been getting a lot more attention lately because the time that he foretold is fast approaching.It’s amazing that the world will pay attention to someone like Igor Panarin and ignore what ancient prophets have been foretelling for millennia. And of course they completely ignore what modern apostles and prophets have said on the matter in this dispensation.So, B-Dawg, tell me where you learned so much about the signs of the last days and where I can read more about your writings on the subject. It’s one of my favorite things to discuss. And thanks again for reading my blog today.

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