Today, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) offered a tribute on the Senate Floor to Elder Boyd K. Packer. The full text of the tribute can be found below:
I rise today to pay tribute to Elder Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who passed away July 3, 2015, at the age of 90.
Boyd K. Packer was both a man of principle and a man who knew the power of principles. He taught that talking about principles and doctrines changes behavior better than talking about behavior changes behavior. He boldly stood as a “watchman on the tower” proclaiming the principles that lead to faithful families, strong communities and better nations.
Trained as an educator Elder Packer was truly a teacher first, last and always. Whether interacting with an individual, speaking in front of thousands, writing one of his many insightful books or simply spending time with his beloved children – he was forever teaching. And to be clear, he wasn’t preaching – he was teaching – teaching principles that would instruct, inspire and improve all who came within the sound of his distinct and powerful voice.
Boyd K. Packer understood the important influence of simple stories in teaching. He masterfully wove priceless principles into powerful modern-day parables, keen observations from everyday living and spiritual lessons that were meaningful and memorable. Experiences such as tuning an old radio, getting his boys to stop wrestling in the living-room, visiting a small church in Denmark, carving and painting birds, learning about crocodiles in Africa or observing the pleadings for help from an orphan boy while a serviceman in Japan – all emerged as foundational stories from which to teach life-changing principles.
Faith and family were always at the center of Elder Packer’s teaching and he often illustrated that the intersection of faith and family is where critical lessons are taught and learned and where children are prepared to live nobly and serve selflessly. In describing how to prepare children for the challenges of life he taught that children should be provided with a shield of faith and that forming that shield of faith was of necessity a cottage industry. In his own words, “We can teach about the materials from which a shield of faith is made: reverence, courage, repentance, forgiveness, compassion… We can learn how to assemble and fit them together in many places. But the actual making of and fitting on of the shield of faith belongs in the family circle. Otherwise it may loosen and come off in a crisis.”
As a “watchman on the tower” Boyd K. Packer was perpetually ahead of his time. He could see around difficult societal corners and had a clear view of the blessings and benefits that flow from principled living. What some may have interpreted as a stern and serious speaking style was simply Elder Packer teaching out of both love and urgency because of what he could see and sense was on the horizon. It has been said that the ability to see ahead is both a blessing and a burden – a blessing because you can prepare and a burden because often the people you are trying to help can’t see what you can. Elder Packer’s ability to see ahead was unrivaled, occasionally underestimated, but always an unmatched blessing for those who chose to follow the visionary principles he taught.
Elder Packer was indeed a master teacher because he followed, studied and had come to know the Master Teacher. I am confident that the principles Boyd K. Packer shared with the world will continue to impact and improve behavior for generations to come.