If you were given the chance to write or gather some words of wisdom before you died what would you include? It’s an interesting question to think about. Not many of us would have that opportunity but one who did was Boyd K. Packer.
President Packer was born in 1924, the tenth of eleven children. His life was filled with ups and downs, just as ours are. He contracted polio as a child, served in WWII, married and had ten children with his wife, Donna. He was an educator, a masterful one at that. Boyd K. Packer was called to serve as an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April 1970. He served for over 45 years until his death this past July. His death makes the choice of talks he gathered into his last book even more poignant.
Truths Most Worth Knowing, An Apostle’s Witness is a beautifully aesthetic book with thick glossy pages. Eighteen talks, all given by President Packer, are divided into four sections: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, The Holy Ghost and Revelation, Anchored to the Principles of the Gospel, and The Scriptures – The Key to Spiritual Protection. While all are available for free online, having them bound together and reading them in the order Pres. Packer chose provides some wonderful insights, at least it did for me.
Using stories from his life, Pres. Packer is able to teach doctrines and truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ in memorable ways. He speaks of having polio that went undiagnosed by a small-town doctor, having to learn to walk again, and how his muscles were so weak growing up he never could be an athlete. He received his patriarchal blessing which said in part, “You have been given a body of such physical proportions and fitness as to enable your spirit to function through it unhampered by physical impediments. You should cherish this as a great heritage.” Pres. Packer said, “All at once, I did not care what kind of a body I had. I had a body of sufficient capacity to let my spirit function through it. I had learned that a body is sacred.” He then goes on to teach how our bodies becomes instruments of our minds and the foundations of our characters.
My favorite talk in the book is the very first one, The Witness. I love it because Pres. Packer bears a powerful testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. “I know the Lord. I am His witness. I know of His great sacrifice and eternal love for all of Heavenly Father’s children. I bear my special witness in all humility but with absolute certainty.”
Now that he is gone from this earth life his teachings, especially those gathered in this book are even more special. David A. Bednar testified this past General Conference of the six apostles who have died while he has served as an apostle, “These men have had a sustained season of tutoring by the Lord, whom they represent, serve, and love. They have learned to understand the divine language of the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s patterns for receiving revelation. . . These servants shared with us in the concluding years of their mortal ministries powerful spiritual summaries of lessons learned through decades of consecrated service. These leaders imparted truths of great worth at a time when some may believe they had the least to give. . . the sum of their spiritual learning and life experiences enabled these leaders to emphasize eternal truths with absolute authenticity and great, penetrating power.”
This is exactly what you get in Truths Most Worth Knowing.
Disclaimer: Deseret Book provided me with a free copy of Truths Most Worth Knowing to review. All opinions are my own.