Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Boyd K. Packer on the real test of life

President Boyd K. Packer (1924-2015) served as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve (a position that no longer exists) from 1961 to 1970, when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  He served as president of that Quorum from 1994 until his death on July 3, 2015 at age 90.
"The crucial test of life, I repeat, does not center in the choice between fame and obscurity, nor between wealth and poverty. The greatest decision of life is between good and evil.
"We may foolishly bring unhappiness and trouble, even suffering upon ourselves. These are not always to be regarded as penalties imposed by a displeased Creator. They are part of the lessons of life, part of the test.
"Some are tested by poor health, some by a body that is deformed or homely. Others are tested by handsome and healthy bodies; some by the passion of youth; others by the erosions of old age.
"Some suffer disappointment in marriage, family problems, others live in poverty and obscurity. Some (perhaps this is the hardest test) find ease and luxury.
"All are part of the test. And there is more equality in this testing than sometimes we suspect....
"What, then, do we want you to do? Simply this:
"Be good!
"Study the gospel.
"Live it!
"Stay active in the Church.
"Receive the ordinances.
"Keep your covenants."
- Boyd K. Packer, "The Choice," Ensign, November 1980, pp. 20-22
Click here to read the full talk

We face so many choices every day.  Many are trivial and of little lasting import.  Some have far-reaching implications. We may or may not recognize the decisions of the second kind; some of them seem like the first kind! Elder Packer points out that the most crucial of all decisions are those between good and evil:

I think the list he provided of some of the "tests" of our mortal experience is fascinating.

  • poor health
  • a body that is deformed or homely
  • handsome and healthy bodies
  • the passion of youth
  • the erosions of old age
  • disappointment in marriage
  • family problems
  • live in poverty and obscurity
  • ease and luxury (perhaps the hardest test)

Each of those varied conditions can be a test or trial, requiring us to choose how we will respond. The right way to respond is by simple goodness, obedience, faithfulness.

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