"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
September 23, 2015
Elder Packer's Faith, Testimony Shine in Three Compilations
by Laurie Williams Sowby

The words and teachings of Elder Boyd K. Packer, who was serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve when he died July 3, 2015, after nine decades on this Earth, are preserved in several books, including three treasures published in the past three years by Deseret Book.

The three most recent — all in a uniform 9 x 6 hardcover format — are reviewed here, newest first. (The next two are excerpted from Nauvoo Times reviews that ran near the time the titles were first published.)

Truths Most Worth Knowing: An Apostle’s Witness is a timely tome, considering it was in the process of being published when Elder Packer passed away. His passing gives his words that much more impact as we reflect on a life well lived.

His brief declaration that some truths go beyond being valuable to being crucial to happiness introduces four basic topics: “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement,” “The Holy Ghost and Revelation,” “Anchored to Principles of the Gospel,” and “The Scriptures — The Key to Spiritual Protection.”

This compilation of material from Elder Packer’s General Conference addresses, Church Education System and BYU devotionals, firesides, and Ensign articles of the past decade offer personal stories, examples, and even bits of humor on durable, artistically laid out pages. The powerful testimony of an Apostle rings through each chapter.

A good index makes Truths a valuable resource (230 pages in hard cover, $25.99)

From Nauvoo Times Oct. 22, 2014:

President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve celebrated his 90 th birthday this year, and he’s still calling it as he sees it. His words continue to direct and inspire an increasingly complex world in A Refuge from the Storm: The Priesthood, the Family, the Church, new from Deseret Book.

(It follows closely the format of In Wisdom and Order, released a year ago, with a similar collection of talks and excerpts from talks.)

By his own description having lived a long time and traveled widely (2.5 million miles) across the world, he echoes a familiar refrain that harks back to the home and the way priesthood and church are intertwined with family. Briefly referencing scriptures, Church history, and a few personal experiences, President Packer typically but unapologetically offers more counsel than narrative in these 24 chapters under the three headings outlined in the subtitle. It’s a spiritual how-to guide.

Although most of the content comes from General Conference talks (all are noted on the first page of each chapter), the book also includes the occasional talk given at a training session or BYU Women’s Conference. An index provides a good topical guide (2014, 210 pages in hard cover, $25.99)

From Nauvoo Times Feb. 12, 2014:

Boyd K. Packer borrows a phrase from King Benjamin for the title of his new book In Wisdom & Order (Deseret Book 2013, 260 pages in hard cover, $25.99). It’s a collection of 28 talks from General Conference, CES firesides, mission presidents’ seminars, and funerals over a quarter century.

President Packer has always told as it like it is, boldly and without apology, and the talks here are no exception. Under sections titled “Gospel Foundations,” “Principles for Perfection, Priesthood,” “Youth and Family,” “Teachers and Servants,” and “Lessons from Our Leaders,” subtopics include “planned” parenthood (meaning deliberate parenthood and parenting) and spiritual self-reliance. His classic 1997 talk on finding balance between family time and too many Church activities should be reread: “No service in the Church or community transcends that given in the home.”

The book appeals to audiences of various ages, from youth to parents to mature members of the Church. The author quotes snippets of poems and hymns he’s recited in talks, as well as words from other General Authorities. A real treasure of this collection is the talks he gave at the funerals of Presidents Benson, Hunter, and Hinckley, as well as his Ensign biography of Spencer W. Kimball. The origin of each talk is given in a footnote on the first page of each. Also helpful is a good index.

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About Laurie Williams Sowby

Laurie Williams Sowby has been writing since second grade and getting paid for it since high school. Her byline ("all three names, please") has appeared on more than 6,000 freelance articles published in newspapers, magazines, and online.

A graduate of BYU and a writing instructor at Utah Valley University for many years, she proudly claims all five children and their spouses as college grads.

She and husband, Steve, have served three full-time missions together, beginning in 2005 in Chile, followed by Washington D.C. South, then Washington D.C. North, both times as young adult Institute teachers. They are currently serving in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs

During her years of missionary service, Laurie has continued to write about significant Church events, including the rededication of the Santiago Temple by President Hinckley and the groundbreaking for the Philadelphia Temple by President Eyring. She also was a Church Service Missionary, working as a news editor at Church Magazines, between full-time missions.

Laurie has traveled to all 50 states and at least 45 countries (so far). While home is American Fork, Utah, Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have provided a comfortable second home.

Laurie is currently serving a fourth full-time mission with her husband in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs. The two previously served with a branch presidency at the Provo Missionary Training Center. The oldest of 18 grandchildren have been called to serve missions in New Hampshire and Brisbane, Australia.

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