Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Boyd K. Packer on living with the light we possess

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 are expected to use the light and knowledge we already possess to work out our lives. We should not need a revelation to instruct us to be up and about our duty, for we have been told to do that already in the scriptures; nor should we expect revelation to replace the spiritual or temporal intelligence that we have already received—only to extend it. We must go about our life in an ordinary, workaday way, following the routines and rules and regulations that govern life.
"Rules and regulations and commandments are valuable protection. If we need revealed instruction to alter our course, it will be waiting along the way as we arrive at the point of need. The counsel to be 'anxiously engaged' is wise counsel indeed (see D&C 58:27)."
- Boyd K. Packer, "The Quest for Spiritual Knowledge," talk given at a seminar for new mission presidents on June 25, 1982; see New Era, Jan. 2007, pp. 2-7
Click here to read the full talk

I remember being struck years ago as I read the counsel of President Marion G. Romney, a member of the First Presidency for many of the years of my youth:
"We have heard enough truth and direction in this conference to bring us into the presence of God if we would follow it. We have been taken on to the spiritual mountain and shown visions of great glory." (Conference Report, Apr. 1954, 132–33)

Elder Packer echoes this concept in this quote. We have been given sufficient information in the scriptures and teachings of Church leaders to guide us in most of the decisions of our lives, if we will only learn and heed. We can "work out our lives" based on the "light and knowledge" we have, without requiring new revelation on every little decision. Occasionally additional insight will be given to extend our understanding. But our basic need is to more faithfully act upon the things we already know.

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