Saturday, October 1, 2011

President Boyd K. Packer: The End is NOT Near

When I was a young missionary in England, I had dinner toward the end of my mission with a man who would someday become a member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy. We lamented the condition of the world, and wondered if the time was so short we would never return to our normal lives.

Said he, "If God does not soon destroy San Francisco, He will have to apologize to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah." The year was 1968. It was a funny joke back then, and made the rounds. Today it is reality -- we are living in Sodom and Gomorrah.

President Boyd K. Packer
Today, the Lord's senior Apostle, President Boyd L. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve, declared there is time and to spare to live our lives fully and without excuse based upon the signs of the time all around us. Wars and rumors of wars continue to persist, but he is not afraid and urged young people everywhere to live the gospel as the antidote.

Said President Packer, the youth of today can look forward with anticipation to "getting married, having a family, seeing your children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren."

No imminent apocalypse overshadows us, despite assertions by many about Mayan calendars, earthquakes and tsunamis. President Packer hearkened back to the days of his youth. As a 17 year-old high school student, World War II broke upon America with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Temptations, then as now, continue. He said we are living in enemy territory, but there is no doubt about the outcome: "Lucifer loses."

This year marks the 50th anniversary of his call to serve as a General Authority. This talk is his 100th talk at General Conference. He introduced his remarks with John Ciardi's poem, "About Crows":

The old crow is getting slow;
the young crow is not.
Of what the young crow does not know,
the old crow knows a lot.
At knowing things, the old crow is still
the young crow's master.
What does the old crow not know?
How to go faster.
The young crow flies above, below, and rings
around the slow old crow.
What does the fast young crow not know?
— Where to go!

"You young crows need not fly aimlessly to and fro, unsure of the path ahead," President Packer said. "There are those who know the way." He promised young people if they will follow the counsel of church leaders, "you will be watched over and protected, and you yourself will know by the promptings of the Holy Ghost which way to go."

Like my friend who matured to become a member of the Seventy (back in the day before they were even oragnized!), the future Apostle Boyd K. Packer surmised World War II might be the end of the world as foretold by the ancient prophets. In every generation since, the speculation continues about the timing of the Lord's return. So far, it appears, Heavenly Father seems content to let the world go on, providing ample opportunities for discipleship and mortal growth and testing. The wheat of His harvest is fully ripening as the tares, once resembling the early shoots of wheat, now look more like the miserable weeds they are.

"All at once our future was uncertain. We did not know what was ahead," declared President Packer, now 87 years old. In his generation the youth wondered, as they do today, "Would we live to get married and have a family?"

He leaned then on the testimonies of his Seminary teachers who were wiser, those he could trust, those who were spiritually mature.

Now I am an old man, having overcome all the uncertainties and fears of a young father of one who matured to become the father of thirteen and grandfather of a growing posterity of grandchildren we never could have imagined back in the late sixties. President Packer commented that he hears many who postulate, "The end of the world is going to come before I get to where I should be."

To that President Packer responded, "Not so!"

I add my witness. Lean on our testimonies until you obtain one of your own. You have time.

Live well.

New Provo Temple

Arriving late at the opening session, President Monson announced six new temples, including a complete restoration of the old Provo Tabernacle building that was destroyed by fire last year. The Lord's living prophets seem determined to plan for the future. They have no fear.

Neither should we. We win.

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