Friday, May 13, 2016

Boyd K. Packer on dealing with the struggles of life in the Lord's way

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.
"We live in a day when the adversary stresses on every hand the philosophy of instant gratification. We seem to demand instant everything, including instant solutions to our problems.
"We are indoctrinated that somehow we should always be instantly emotionally comfortable. When that is not so, some become anxious—and all too frequently seek relief from counseling, from analysis, and even from medication.
"It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, some disappointment, even some failure is normal.
"Teach our members that if they have a good, miserable day once in a while, or several in a row, to stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out.
"There is great purpose in our struggle in life....
"Bishop, those who come to you are children of God. Counsel them in the Lord's own way. Teach them to ponder it in their minds, then to pray over their problems.
"Remember that soothing, calming effect of reading the scriptures. Next time you are where they are read, notice how things settle down. Sense the feeling of peace and security that comes."
- Boyd K. Packer, "Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord's Own Way," Ensign, May 1978, pp. 91-93
Click here to read the full talk

It's clear to see the modern-day philosophy of "instant gratification." We like things in a hurry: fast-food, speedy service, quick answers. And, as President Packer discusses, "instant solutions to our problems." But that is not the Lord's way. We are not going to be "always be instantly emotionally comfortable." We are going to struggle at times. We will have disappointment, failure, even anxiety and depression—and those things are normal parts of life!

Of course, at times those emotions or challenges can become overbalanced and there is need for professional help. But in general, President Packer encourages us all to learn to cope with the daily challenges that come, knowing that they are given for a reason and will bless us if we allow them to.

President Packer goes on to identify prayer and scripture reading as two of the things that can help us regain peace and security in the midst of discouragement and discomfort. That is wise advice, and it works!


  1. It makes me sad that this is still a perspective on mental and emotional problems that is being championed by members of the church. This was counsel given in 1978. How about turning to more recent perspectives on Mental Health--from There are additional resources listed on this page--articles from the Ensign that address the topics of mental and emotional problems:

    1. I am sorry you feel that way. I have personally witnessed that President Packer's counsel works - for a large number of those who visit with bishops for help and counsel, or struggle in private. And as noted in the article, there are more serious cases where other resources and solutions are justified.


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