Top rank­ing Mor­mon leader Boyd K. Packer dies at age of 90

Cape Breton Post - - IN MEMORIAM -

Mor­mon leader Boyd K. Packer, pres­i­dent of the faith’s high­est gov­ern­ing body, has died. He was 90.

Packer died Fri­day af­ter­noon at his home in Salt Lake City from nat­u­ral causes, church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a state­ment.

Packer, known for be­ing a staunch ad­vo­cate for a con­ser­va­tive form of Mor­monism, was next in line to be­come pres­i­dent of the Salt Lake City-based Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter­day Saints.

He had been a mem­ber of the church’s Quo­rum of the Twelve Apos­tles since 1970. The group is mod­eled af­ter Je­sus Christ’s apos­tles and serves un­der the church pres­i­dent and his two coun­sel­lors.

He is the sec­ond mem­ber of quo­rum to die in re­cent months. L. Tom Perry died on May 30 from can­cer.

Quo­rum mem­ber Rus­sell M. Nel­son, 90, now be­comes the leader who would take Mor­mon Pres­i­dent Thomas S. Mon­son’s place. Mon­son is 87 years old, and church of­fi­cials have said he’s feel­ing the ef­fects of his age.

Re­place­ments for Packer and Perry will be cho­sen some­time in the com­ing months by Mon­son, con­sid­ered the re­li­gion’s prophet. Mem­bers of the faith be­lieve those de­ci­sions are guided by in­spi­ra­tion from God. Some past quo­rum mem­bers have been moved up from another gov­ern- ing body, the Quo­rum of the Seventy, while oth­ers have come from lead­er­ship posts at churchrun univer­si­ties.

When Packer was cho­sen for the group, he was al­ready work­ing for the church.

Packer was born Sept. 10, 1924 in Brigham City, Utah, and was a bomber pi­lot dur­ing World War II. He earned an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree from Utah State Univer­sity and a master’s in ed­u­ca­tional ad­min­is­tra­tion from Brigham Young Univer­sity.

Dur­ing his 45 years as a mem­ber of the quo­rum, Packer be­came known as a fear­less de­fender of the gospel and master teacher of church prin­ci­ples, the church said in a news re­lease.

Fel­low church lead­ers called him a true apos­tle for the re­li­gion.

“From the crown of his head to the soles of his feet, he rep­re­sented the saviour of the world,’’ said quo­rum mem­ber M. Rus­sell Bal­lard in a news re­lease. “Pres­i­dent Packer al­ways felt that if we could read the words of the Lord we would be far bet­ter off and much safer than spec­u­lat­ing with our own ideas,’’

Packer spent most of his adult life work­ing for the church and earned a rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing a te­na­cious ad­vo­cate for his ortho­dox views on Mor­monism, said Pa­trick Ma­son, chair­man of the re­li­gion depart­ment and pro­fes­sor of Mor­mon stud­ies at Clare­mont Grad­u­ate Univer­sity in Cal­i­for­nia. Some called him a bull­dog, but Packer pre­ferred the bib­li­cal anal­ogy of “watch­man on the tower,’’ Ma­son said.

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