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Boyd K. Packer
Photo of Boyd K. Packer
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 3, 2008 (2008-02-03) – July 3, 2015 (2015-07-03)
Predecessor Thomas S. Monson
Successor Russell M. Nelson
Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
June 5, 1994 (1994-06-05) – January 27, 2008 (2008-01-27)
End reason Became President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 6, 1970 (1970-04-06) – July 3, 2015 (2015-07-03)
Called by Joseph Fielding Smith
LDS Church Apostle
April 9, 1970 (1970-04-09) – July 3, 2015 (2015-07-03)
Called by Joseph Fielding Smith
Reason Death of David O. McKay and reorganization of First Presidency
at end of term
Ronald A. Rasband, Gary E. Stevenson, and Dale G. Renlund were ordained following deaths of Packer, L. Tom Perry, and Richard G. Scott
Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
September 30, 1961 (1961-09-30) – April 6, 1970 (1970-04-06)
Called by David O. McKay
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Military career
Service/branch  United States Army
Unit United States Army Air Forces
Battles/wars World War II
Personal details
Born Boyd Kenneth Packer
(1924-09-10)September 10, 1924
Brigham City, Utah, United States
Died July 3, 2015(2015-07-03) (aged 90)
Cottonwood Heights, Utah, United States
Alma mater Utah State University (BS, MS)
Brigham Young University (EdD)
Donna Smith
(m. 1947⁠–⁠2015)
Children 10
Parents Ira W. and Emma Packer
Signature of Boyd K. Packer

Boyd Kenneth Packer (September 10, 1924 – July 3, 2015) was an American religious leader and educator who served as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 2008 until his death. He also served as the quorum's acting president from 1994 to 2008, and was an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve from 1970 until his death. He served as a general authority of the church from 1961 until his death.

Early life and education

Packer was born on September 10, 1924, in Brigham City, Utah, the tenth of eleven children born to Ira Wight Packer and Emma Jensen. As a young boy, he contracted polio. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces in the spring of 1943. He graduated as a pilot in September 1944 and was assigned to bomber training. He was on Okinawa when World War II ended, and his unit remained stationed on Japan until 1946. After leaving the military, Packer initially attended Weber College (now Weber State University), where he met his future wife, Donna Smith (1927-2022). They married in the Logan Temple in 1947 and had ten children, including emeritus LDS general authority Allan F. Packer. After their marriage, Packer attended Utah State University, earning a B.S. degree in 1949 and an M.S. degree in 1953. He later earned an Ed.D. from Brigham Young University in 1962. Packer was also an artist and enjoyed painting birds.


LDS Church employment and service

In his career as an educator, Packer worked for the Church Educational System, where he held various administrative positions overseeing seminary and institute programs, including as assistant supervisor of the church's Native American seminary programs, general assistant administrator of seminaries and institutes, and later as supervisor of church's seminaries and institutes. Packer served a four-year term on the Brigham City City Council.

In 1961, Packer was called by LDS Church president David O. McKay to serve as a general authority as an Assistant to the Twelve (a position that no longer exists). While serving in the position, Packer was assigned to serve as president of the church's New England States Mission. He also served for a time as the managing director of the church's military relations committee.

Following McKay's death in January 1970, Packer, then 45 years old, was called by new church president Joseph Fielding Smith as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the church's April 1970 general conference. Between 1979 and 1981, he was on the committee that produced the new editions of the LDS Church scriptures. On September 12, 1991, Packer dedicated Ukraine "for the preaching of the restored gospel." In 1993, Packer read the dedicatory prayer in the Spanish language at the dedication of the San Diego California Temple.

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 Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson as his counselors in the First Presidency. Packer was the fourth apostle in seniority among the ranks of the church, behind Hunter, Hinckley, and Monson. This created a situation where the only apostles senior to Packer were members of the First Presidency. 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. Of the six acting presidents of the Quorum in the church's history, Packer served the longest in that capacity and is the only one to serve under two different church presidents.

In 1999, Packer dedicated the Regina Saskatchewan Temple. Packer became President of the Quorum of the Twelve on February 3, 2008, when Monson became church president. In 2012, Packer dedicated the Brigham City Utah Temple.

Teachings and legacy

Packer was well known for several talks and teachings, and several of his stories have been adapted into short films. His sermon about singing a hymn to drive off bad thoughts was adapted into the video Worthy Thoughts. His Parable of the Mediator (Jesus Christ) was adapted into the short film "The Mediator". "The Candle of the Lord" (1982) is well known for its analogy of trying to describe what salt tastes like to trying to describe what promptings from the Holy Ghost are like. Packer also taught the importance of following the rule before the exception and of hymn-centered prelude music for worship services.

Packer served as an advisor to the Genesis Group, a social organization of the LDS Church for African-American members and their families, and was also 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. He was involved in negotiations that same year with archivists and scholars at Jerusalem to microfilm Jewish records.


In May 2013, Weber State University, where Packer received an associate degree in 1948 and where he met his wife, designated a public service center for families the "Boyd K. and Donna Smith Packer Family and Community Education Center". Packer was also interviewed by PBS for its documentary on the LDS Church titled The Mormons.


Packer died at his home on July 3, 2015. At the time of his death, he was the second-most senior apostle among the ranks of the church and the fifth-longest serving general authority in the church's history. His funeral was held on July 10, 2015, and he was buried in Brigham City.

Selected works

See also

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