“Speaking Today,” Liahona, June 2006, N9–N12
President Packer Keys In on Personal Revelation
Looking out over a sea of graduates in a commencement address at Brigham Young University–Hawaii in December 2005, President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, recounted the first time he came to Hawaii’s shores.
He was but a few years younger than most of the 250 graduates he addressed and was stationed on the island of Kauai as a bomber pilot in the midst of World War II. A number of friends and classmates had already become casualties of war, and he said that his family didn’t know where he would be going or what would become of him.
Yet when news came that the war was over, his joy was only temporary. He thought he was going home, but instead, he was assigned to Osaka as an operations officer.
“I asked the Lord why—why would He do this to me?” President Packer said. He had earned the necessary points. He was eligible to be released. He had kept his standards. But he was denied the thing he wanted most. Looking back now, he knows why.
“If I hadn’t gone to Osaka then, I wouldn’t be standing here now in this capacity,” President Packer said.
In his new post, he met and was involved with baptizing the first Japanese members of the Church after the war.
From this experience, President Packer said he learned to love his fellow man, and he learned to recognize revelation when it came to him. He learned the importance of receiving revelation again in his capacity as a seminary teacher, as a General Authority—called at age 37—and as an Apostle of the Lord.
“Standing shoulder to shoulder with the Apostles, I’ve learned this: the pattern of our receiving revelation is no different than the pattern that is available to you,” President Packer said.
In a noisy world, Elder Packer told the graduates, they must learn personally, privately, and individually that revelation comes when the Lord speaks to our feelings. While telling them they have wonderful opportunities ahead in this marvelous time, he emphasized the need to learn to receive revelation.
“You are going out into a world that is different than the world I faced when I was your age—when I was 19, on my first visit to Hawaii,” he said, reviewing the calamities that have occurred in the last year alone. “You won’t survive spiritually unless you know how to receive revelation.”
“You’re baptized a member of the Church; you’ve had conferred upon you the gift of the Holy Ghost to be a companion and revelator to you. Go quietly into the world and quietly about your affairs. Learn that in the still, small hours of the morning, the Lord will speak to you. He will never fail to answer your prayers.”
Elder Perry Says Saints Should Be Involved
In a visit to BYU–Idaho, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told students that they must take an active role in the world to help prepare it for Christ’s Second Coming. He challenged them not only to be a light to the world, but to “turn up the candlepower and illuminate!”
Just as the Prophet Joseph Smith illuminated the world, this generation too must be a source of light in a time of ever-changing values, Elder Perry said.
He continued his address at the school’s weekly devotional by reviewing the events of the Savior’s life and death, the ministries of His Apostles, and the Apostasy, ending at the point where revelation came to a standstill. Turning then to the great events that prepared the world for the Restoration, he pointed to the invention of the moveable-type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg, which eventually led to the mass printing of an English translation of the Bible and the dissemination of scripture. These events, culminating with the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith, set the scene for the time when the Restoration could unfold.
“With the birth of the Prophet, it was just as if the Lord illuminated the minds of mankind to make it possible that technology and communications would be such that the gospel could be scattered throughout the earth,” Elder Perry said.
Bringing his timeline to present day, Elder Perry admonished students to “keep the light of the gospel shining in mankind.”
To do so, he said we must separate the two distinct parts of being “in the world” but not “of the world” (see John 17:11–14).
“Too often, I think we use them together and think of them as justification to remain somewhat detached, somewhat removed from the world,” Elder Perry said. “I would like to separate the two and just talk about being ‘in the world.’”
He spoke of the world’s need for individuals who bring solutions, who are physically and emotionally prepared to lift souls and increase the happiness of others.
“We will play no part in preparing the earth for the Savior’s coming if we refuse to make a contribution to the world,” Elder Perry said.
Elder Perry cautioned, however, that in this endeavor we cannot fall into “sins of materialism in the world.” Although many are embracing secularization, false ideas, and eroding traditions, Elder Perry recognized that this lifestyle has a spiritual and moral price for those who exercise it.
He challenged those in attendance not to be detached from the world. “Throughout your life, you must set an example of the principles and doctrines which bring about the blessings of the Lord,” he said.
Sister Barbara Perry accompanied Elder Perry in the January 24, 2006, visit, speaking at a fireside for female employees and wives of employees on the subject of “Joy and happiness from an LDS perspective.” Elder Perry also made brief remarks during the fireside.