SpEdEp 10 – ROT IN HELL!!! Boyd K. Packer
Talk to the All-Church Coordinating Council
Boyd K. Packer - The Mantle is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect (full speech)
To Young Men Only Oct 2, 1976
This is a special edition episode on the life and ministry of Boyd K. Packer. There are a lot of quotes from BKP circulating online that seem like they might be out of touch, or somewhat bigotted or closed off. Well, these are single quotes, taken from massive talks and lectures at General Conference, or firesides, or other speaking engagements he's performed during his career in the church. Well, the quotes we see may be entertaining, or surprising, or might get a quick laugh, just thinking about how disconnected from the real world the quote is, but unfortunately for us all, they are often taken out of context. I've spent the last week and a half reading a different talk from BKP every night, to compile the script for this episode. I'll be honest, this has been a very rage filled week and a half for me. It's hard to explain, but I feel closer to BKP than I ever thought I possibly could, and waaaay closer than I ever wanted to be. Some of the things that come from the mind of this man have made me yell "FUCK YOU!!" at my computer screen, others have made me try to physically pull my hair out of my skull, while others have left me completely speechless jaw clenched, shaking my head in disbelief. A small portion have made me simply laugh in hysterical disbelief. I thought that some of the one-liner quotes that spawned this research, would be mired in huge diatribes about how wonderful the church is, but the more I read, the more I started to see the real picture.
I think the most infuriating thing about the talks, was the anti-intellectual, and anti-questioning undertones in almost every fucking line he spat. I may have been taking the talks too personally, but almost everything he said seemed like he was talking down to any person that is stupid enough to question the church, spirit, prophets, history, or their own testimony. One main line I kept yelling over and over was, "If your fucking church is actually true, than scholarship and honest study should help it, not diminish people's faith in it!", or something along those lines.
And that's the crux of it. That's the entire problem with the church, it's fear of honest inquiry, and real scrutiny. Everything has to be tainted with a presumption of the church being true, before inquiry can begin. Anything that's learned about the church, that doesn't seem to be in line with the rosey, wonderful doctrine and history that the church itself projects, isn't even worth mentioning, talking about, or paying attention to. If a believing member gives one second of thought to critical scrutiny of some information they learn, they are either forced to swallow the church's version of it, or fall into the same obscurity as apostates, because that's where real inquiry always leads.
How can the church question why members are leaving in droves? The people are sick and exhausted of being told their questions don't need to be answered, or that they're asking the wrong kind of question. If a member, especially one of prominence, gives a speech that doesn't fall in line with the cardboard narrative that the church tries to hold up, they are corrected. That correction can mean any number of things from a condescending talking-to, all the way up to a full on excommunication, depending on how blasphemous it was. And just think about that for a minute. Blasphemy. Something that has historically been treated with beheadings, or exile, and is now treated with bespiritings, and forced apostasy. Blasphemy.... A perfectly victimless crime. The simple excercise of free speech against an oppressive power, usually religious in nature, blasphemy.... It's the motherfucker of all sins.
If you pay attention to Mormon news, look at John Dehlin, and Kate Kelly. The two most recent vocal dissenters of church doctrine, and stances on history, womens rights, and other challenging church topics, and they were excommunicated for just speaking out. Blasphemy is one small tool that the oppressed have against their oppressors, and we're lucky enough to live in a time and place where it won't get your head cut off, or your hands and feet nailed to some wood, or your body burned at the stake. The only real consequence of open blasphemy nowdays against the Mormon church is a complete cutoff from your friends, family, business acquaintences, and condescending neighbors.
I feel like I've overextended the vitriol I usually contain in my rants, but I'm trying to convey just how pissed off reading these talks made me. It felt like I was 15 again, stuck inside for 4 hours, watching general conference on a beautiful April Saturday, being told that I'm a worthless sinner, and separated from God unless I stop masturbating, repent, and get back on track to go on my mission again. I haven't felt these emotions in a very long time. I've done nearly countless hours of research for this podcast, and have never had my blood boiling this much from a single topic. So, I've decided to do this episode a little differently. Instead of scripting everything like usual, I'm just going to read massive chunks from talks that Boyd K. Butt-fucking Fudge Packer has given in the past, and comment on the fly. Most of this episode will be just reading pieces from the talks, because I want Fudge Pack-it-in-there-farther to speak for himself. I hope that no listeners have any strong ties to Boyd K. Butt-Pucker, because I have no problem speaking ill of the recently deceased when they were such a piece of biggotted dogshit, that oppressed and silenced so many people in their lifetime. People that did nothing but ask for help, or raise legitimate questions. Every one of them were squashed, or cut off like a common genital wart. Hopefully, by the end of this episode, you as the listener will empathize with the title of this episode, as it was literally the only phrase that could bring some level of appreciation to my exploding brain, while I was reading these disgustingly fucked up speeches.
Boyd K. Packer - The Mantle is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect BYU CES August 22, 1981
This problem has affected some of those who have taught and have written about the history of the Church. These professors say of themselves that religious faith has little influence on Mormon scholars. They say this because, obviously, they are not simply Latter-day Saints but are also intellectuals trained, for the most part, in secular institutions. They would that some historians who are Latter-day Saints write history as they were taught in graduate school, rather than as Mormons.
First Caution: There is no such thing as an accurate, objective history of the Church without consideration of the spiritual powers that attend this work. There is no such thing as a scholarly, objective study of the office of bishop without consideration of spiritual guidance, of discernment, and of revelation. That is not scholarship. Accordingly, I repeat, there is no such thing as an accurate or objective history of the Church which ignores the Spirit
Those of us who are extensively engaged in researching the wisdom of man, including those who write and those who teach Church history, are not immune from these dangers. I have walked that road of scholarly research and study and know something of the dangers. If anything, we are more vulnerable than those in some of the other disciplines. Church history can be so interesting and so inspiring as to be a very powerful tool indeed for building faith. If not properly written or properly taught, it may be a faith destroyer.
Second Caution: There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful. Historians seem to take great pride in publishing something new, particularly if it illustrates a weakness or mistake of a prominent historical figure. For some reason, historians and novelists seem to savor such things. If it related to a living person, it would come under the heading of gossip. History can be as misleading as gossip and much more difficult—often impossible—to verify.
The scriptures teach emphatically that we must give milk before meat. The Lord made it very clear that some things are to be taught selectively, and some things are to be given only to those who are worthy. It matters very much not only what we are told but when we are told it. Be careful that you build faith rather than destroy it. President William E. Berrett has told us how grateful he is that a testimony that the past leaders of the Church were prophets of God was firmly fixed in his mind before he was exposed to some of the so-called facts that historians have put in their published writings.
What that historian did with the reputation of the President of the Church was not worth doing. He seemed determined to convince everyone that the prophet was a man. We knew that already. All of the prophets and all of the Apostles have been men. It would have been much more worthwhile for him to have convinced us that the man was a prophet, a fact quite as true as the fact that he was a man.
The sad thing is that he may have, in years past, taken great interest in those who led the Church and desired to draw close to them. But instead of following that long, steep, discouraging, and occasionally dangerous path to spiritual achievement, instead of going up to where they were, he devised a way of collecting mistakes and weaknesses and limitations to compare with his own. In that sense he has attempted to bring a historical figure down to his level and in that way feel close to him and perhaps justify his own weaknesses.
That historian or scholar who delights in pointing out the weakness and frailties of present or past leaders destroys faith. A destroyer of faith—particularly one within the Church, and more particularly one who is employed specifically to build faith—places himself in great spiritual jeopardy. He is serving the wrong master, and unless he repents, he will not be among the faithful in the eternities.
Third Caution: In an effort to be objective, impartial, and scholarly, a writer or a teacher may unwittingly be giving equal time to the adversary. Someone told of the man who entitled his book An Unbiased History of the Civil War from the Southern Point of View. While we chuckle at that, there is something to be said about presenting Church history from the viewpoint of those who have righteously lived it. The idea that we must be neutral and argue quite as much in favor of the adversary as we do in favor of righteousness is neither reasonable nor safe.
In the Church we are not neutral. We are one-sided. There is a war going on, and we are engaged in it. It is the war between good and evil, and we are belligerents defending the good. We are therefore obliged to give preference to and protect all that is represented in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we have made covenants to do it.
There is much in the scriptures and in our Church literature to convince us that we are at war with the adversary. We are not obliged as a church, nor are we as members obliged, to accommodate the enemy in this battle.
We should not be ashamed to be committed, to be converted, to be biased in favor of the Lord. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith pointed out the fallacy of trying to work both sides of the street: “You may as well say that the Book of Mormon is not true because it does not give credence to the story the Lamanites told of the Nephites” (Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Apr. 1925, p. 55).
A number of years ago, professors from Harvard University who were members of the Church invited me to lunch over at the Harvard Business School faculty dining room. They wanted to know if I would join them in participating in a new publication; they wanted me to contribute to it. © 1981 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA CES Symposium on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History • 22 August 1981 • Elder Boyd K. Packer They were generous in their compliments, saying that because I had a doctorate a number of people in the Church would listen to me, and being a General Authority (at that time I was an Assistant to the Twelve), I could have some very useful influence. I listened to them very attentively but indicated at the close of the conversation that I would not join them. I asked to be excused from responding to their request. When they asked why, I told them this: “When your associates announced the project, they described how useful it would be to the Church—a niche that needed to be filled. And then the spokesman said, ‘We are all active and faithful members of the Church; however, . . .’” I told my two hosts that if the announcement had read, “We are active and faithful members of the Church; therefore, . . .” I would have joined their organization. I had serious questions about a “however” organization. I have little worry over a “therefore” organization. That however meant that they put a condition upon their Church membership and their faith. It meant that they put something else first. It meant that they were to judge the Church and gospel and the leaders of it against their own backgrounds and training. It meant that their commitment was partial, and that partial commitment is not enough to qualify one for full spiritual light
Fourth Caution The final caution concerns the idea that so long as something is already in print, so long as it is available from another source, there is nothing out of order in using it in writing or speaking or teaching. Surely you can see the fallacy in that.
Several years ago President Ezra Taft Benson spoke to you and said: “It has come to our attention that some of our teachers, particularly in our university programs, are purchasing writings from known apostates . . . in an effort to become informed about certain points of view or to glean from their research. You must realize that when you purchase their writings or subscribe to their periodicals, you help sustain their cause. (Mark Hoffman)
There are qualifications to teach or to write the history of this church. If one is lacking in any one of these qualifications, he cannot properly teach the history of the Church. He can recite facts and give a point of view, but he cannot properly teach the history of the Church. I will state these qualifications in the form of questions so that you can assess your own qualifications. Do you believe that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ personally appeared to the boy prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., in the year 1820? Do you have personal witness that the Father and the Son appeared in all their glory and stood above that young man and instructed him according to the testimony that he gave to the world in his published history? Do you know that the Prophet Joseph Smith’s testimony is true because you have received a spiritual witness of its truth? Do you believe that the church that was restored through him is, in the Lord’s words, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased” (D&C 1:30)? Do you know by the Holy Ghost that this is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints restored by heavenly messengers in this modern era; that the Church constitutes the kingdom of God on earth, not just an institution fabricated by human agency? Do you believe that the successors to the Prophet Joseph Smith were and are prophets, seers, and revelators; that revelation from heaven directs the decisions, policies, and pronouncements that come from the headquarters of the Church? Have you come to the settled conviction, by the Spirit, that these prophets truly represent the Lord?
Now a final lesson from Church history, one that illustrates the kind of thing from the past that builds faith and increases testimony. William W. Phelps had been a trusted associate of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Then, in an hour of crisis when the Prophet needed him most, he turned against him and joined the apostates and oppressors who sought the Prophet’s life. Later, Brother Phelps came to himself. He repented of what he had done and wrote to the Prophet Joseph Smith, asking for his forgiveness. I want to read you the letter the Prophet Joseph wrote to Brother Phelps in reply. I confess also that many times I have moaned in agony when I have thought of the many incidents of this kind that researchers have discovered when they have pored over the records of our history but have left them out of their writings for fear they would be regarded as not worthy of a scholarly review of Church history. Now the letter. “Dear Brother Phelps: . . . “You may in some measure realize what my feelings, as well as Elder Rigdon’s and Brother Hyrum’s were, when we read your letter—truly our hearts were melted into tenderness and compassion when we ascertained your resolves, &c. I can assure you I feel a disposition to act on your case in a manner that will meet the approbation of Jehovah, (whose servant I am), and agreeable to the principles of truth and righteousness which have been revealed; and inasmuch as long-suffering, patience, and mercy have ever characterized the dealings of our heavenly Father towards the humble and penitent, I feel disposed to copy the example, cherish the same principles, and by so doing be a savior of my fellow men. “It is true, that we have suffered much in consequence of your behavior—the cup of gall, already full enough for mortals to drink, was indeed filled to overflowing when you turned against us. One with whom we had oft taken sweet counsel together, and enjoyed many refreshing seasons from the Lord—‘had it been an enemy, we could have borne it.’. . . “However, the cup has been drunk, the will of our Father has been done, and we are yet alive, for which we thank the Lord. And having been delivered from the hands of wicked men by the mercy of our God, we say it is your privilege to be delivered from the powers of the adversary, be brought into the liberty of God’s dear children, and again take your stand among the Saints of the Most High, and by diligence, humility, and love unfeigned, commend yourself to our God, and your God, and to the Church of Jesus Christ. “Believing your confession to be real, and your repentance genuine, I shall be happy once again to give you the right hand of fellowship, and rejoice over the returning prodigal. . . . “Come on, dear brother, since the war is past, “For friends at first, are friends again at last. “Yours as ever, “Joseph Smith, Jun.” (History of the Church, 4:162–64.) Brother Phelps did return to full fellowship. He was a writer of hymns. The one we sang to open this meeting, 11 © 1981 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA CES Symposium on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History • 22 August 1981 • Elder Boyd K. Packer “Praise to the Man,” was written by Brother Phelps, as were “O God, the Eternal Father,” “Now Let Us Rejoice,” “Gently Raise the Sacred Strain,” “The Spirit of God Like a Fire”—to mention but a few.
To you who may have lost your way, come back! We know how that can happen; we have walked that path of research and study. Come help us!—you with your scholarship and your training, you with your bright, intelligent minds, you with your experience and with your academic degrees.
May God bless you who so faithfully compile and teach the history of the Church and build the faith of those you teach. I bear witness that the gospel is true. The Church is His church. I pray that you may be inspired as you write and as you teach. May His Spirit be with you in rich abundance. As you take your students over the trails of Church history in this dispensation, yours is the privilege to help them to see the miracle of the Restoration, the mantle that belongs to His servants, and to “see in every hour and in every moment of the existence of the Church . . . the overruling, almighty hand of [God]” (Joseph F. Smith, in Conference Report, Apr. 1904, p. 2). As you write and as you teach Church history under the influence of His Spirit, one day you will come to know that you were not only spectators but a central part of it, for you are His Saints. This testimony I leave, with my blessings, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Talk to the All-Church Coordinating Council
Thirty-eight years ago I came from Brigham City to the office I now occupy in the Administration Building to see Elder Harold B. Lee, who, next to President Joseph Fielding Smith, was the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve. I had just been appointed the supervisor of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. I knew there were serious problems in the system and I wondered why they had not appointed someone with more experience.
Elder Lee had agreed to give me counsel and some direction. He didn't say much, nothing really in detail, but what he told me has saved me time and time again. "You must decide now which way you face," he said. "Either you represent the teachers and students and champion their causes or you represent the Brethren who appointed you. You need to decide now which way you face." Then he added, "Some of your predecessors faced the wrong way." It took some hard and painful lessons before I understood his counsel. In time, I did understand, and my resolve to face the right way became irreversible.
One of the early lessons was also my first lesson in correlation. The seminaries were sponsoring speech contests. They were very successful -- much better than similar contests sponsored by the Mutual Improvement Association. It was an ideal gospel-centered activity for seminaries. They were succeeding beautifully under able teachers who could assist even the shy students. We were instructed to discontinue them!
There was something of an uprising among the teachers. They accused Superintendent Curtis of the Young Men and President Reeder of the Young Women of being responsible. Perhaps they were. The teachers wanted Brother Tuttle and me to plead their cause before the Brethren. The logic was all on our side. Nevertheless we remembered the counsel of Brother Lee, and really, just out of obedience, we declined.
Later I could see that the seminaries served then only a very small part of our youth; the MIA, all of them. A B-minus program reaching most of the youth would, in the aggregate, bring better results than an A-plus program which reached relatively few. It wasn't until many years later, when some other problems arose, that I could see that those contests, even though they were gospel centered, pulled the teachers into an activity-oriented mind-set and away from the less exciting responsibility of teaching the Old and New Testaments to teenagers. Finally I could see that the very success of the program was an enemy.
Other lessons followed, some of them hard ones. I was asked to write an article for the Improvement Era. It was returned with the request that I change some words. I smarted! The replacement words didn't convey exactly what I was trying to say. I balked a bit, and was told that Richard L. Evans, then of the Seventy and magazine editor, had asked that the changes be made. I remembered Brother Lee's counsel. I had to submit. Now, though that article is piled under thirty-five years of paper, I'm glad, very glad, that if someone digs it out, I was "invited" to change it.
Only last Friday while putting together some things for a presentation, I read part of it to some brethren from BYU. I noticed they looked at one another at one place in my reading, and I stopped and asked if there was a problem. Finally one of them suggested that I not use a certain scripture that I had included even though it said exactly what I wanted to convey. How dare they suppose that a member of the Twelve didn't know his scriptures! I simply said, "What do you suggest?" He said, "Better find another scripture," and he pointed out that if I put that verse back in context, it was really talking about another subject. Others had used it as I proposed to use it, but it was not really correct. I was very glad to make a change.
Now you may not need a correlating hand in what you do, but I certainly do. This brother lingered after the meeting to thank me for being patient with him. Thank me! I was thankful to him. If I ever make that presentation, it will only be after some of our Correlation staff have checked it over for me.
Now I give you all full credit for knowing more about your work than anyone else -- more, certainly than the staff of the Correlation Department. That is how it should be, for you are hired or called to be a specialist. I also know from experience how easy it is to get turned around, and, as Brother Lee warned, to face the wrong way.
The principle of correlation is a sound principle. Except for its having been established, we could not now possibly administer an ever-growing multi-national and multi-lingual church. The full purpose for its having been established, I know, is yet to be realized. If we neglect it, we will pay a very, very heavy price one day. The value of having struggled through those years, and there aren't many around who struggled through those years, will one day be apparent. The greatest use of this is yet to come.
It is so easy to be turned about without realizing that it has happened to us. There are three areas where members of the Church, influenced by social and political unrest, are being caught up and led away. I chose these three because they have made major invasions into the membership of the Church. In each, the temptation is for us to turn about and face the wrong way, and it is hard to resist, for doing it seems so reasonable and right.
The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals. Our local leaders must deal with all three of them with ever-increasing frequency. In each case, the members who are hurting have the conviction that the Church somehow is doing something wrong to members or that the Church is not doing enough for them. To illustrate, I will quote briefly from letters on each of those subjects. They are chosen from among many letters which have arrived in the last few weeks. These have arrived in just the last few days.
The Gay/Lesbian Challenge
The first is from a young man, possibly a gay rights activist:
"May 3rd marks my 18th year in the Church. As a gay Mormon, I have witnessed and experienced first-hand during those eighteen years what it's like to be a homosexual in a Church which is sometimes less than accepting of its gay members. My experiences have run the range from incredible, Spirit-filled and loving encounters with members, Bishops and Stake Presidents to a laughable run-in with a departing Mission President. May I share with you some of the more permanent and meaningful memories?"
After a page or two of those, he said:
"So in a spirit of friendship I offer that which I have to give -- the life experience of a gay Mormon. At your convenience I would be happy to meet with you to discuss the issues facing gay Latter-day Saints and the Church. The purpose for meeting is not to debate, or to presumptively call you to repentance, or to be called to repentance myself for being gay. The point is to meet together and share what we have for the good of The Kingdom and the furthering of the Will of the Lord on Earth."
The Feminist Movement
The next quotation is from a woman who is hurting, and perhaps wonders if anyone but the feminists care about her problems:
"I'm upset that I was always advised to go back and try harder only to get abused more. I need some comfort, I need solace, need hope, need to know Heavenly Father sees all that I have endured. What hope do I have for a chance to live with Heavenly Father? If temple marriage is the key to the celestial [kingdom], where am I? Outside gnashing my teeth for eternity? Help me."
The last is from a self-described intellectual:
"My concern is that the Brethren are contending with the church's own scholars. ... In the Catholic Church, the great scholars' efforts were used by the Church to refine and strengthen the doctrine (St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, for example). In our Church, the scholars are put down, even banished [and he names three of them, and they would be names all of whom you would know]. Once again I extend an offer to you to be a peacemaker between the Brethren and the scholars, if you wish me to attempt it, since I know so many in both groups. More than that, I understand the mind-sets of both groups."
These letters and hundreds more are from members who are hurting or leaders who are worried. I might say here that I can see in the last few weeks a change in the letters coming in. There isn't time to talk about it now, but out in the Church there is another growing group of the discontented. That is the rank and file who are trying to do what they are supposed to do and feel neglected as we concentrate on solving the problems of the exceptions.
Those who are hurting think they are not understood. They are looking for a champion, an advocate, someone with office and influence from whom they can receive comfort. They ask us to speak about their troubles in general conference, to put something in the curriculum, or to provide a special program to support them in their problems or with their activism.
When members are hurting, it is so easy to convince ourselves that we are justified, even duty bound, to use the influence of our appointment or our calling to somehow represent them. We then become their advocates -- sympathize with their complaints against the Church, and perhaps even soften the commandments to comfort them. Unwittingly we may turn about and face the wrong way. Then the channels of revelation are reversed. Let me say that again. Then the channels of revelation are reversed. In our efforts to comfort them, we lose our bearings and leave that segment of the line to which we are assigned unprotected.
Those fifteen words from Alma state: "God gave unto them commandments, after having made known to them the plan of redemption." There are many things that cannot be understood nor taught nor explained unless it is in terms of the plan of redemption. The three areas that I mentioned are among them. Unless they understand the basic plan -- the premortal existence, the purposes of life, the fall, the atonement, the resurrection -- unless they understand that, the unmarried, the abused, the handicapped, the abandoned, the addicted, the disappointed, those with gender disorientation, or the intellectuals will find no enduring comfort. They can't think life is fair unless they know the plan of redemption.
That young man with gender disorientation needs to know that gender was not assigned at mortal birth, that we were sons and daughters of God in the premortal state.
The woman pleading for help needs to see the eternal nature of things and to know that her trials -- however hard to bear -- in the eternal scheme of things may be compared to a very, very bad experience in the second semester of the first grade. She will find no enduring peace in the feminist movement. There she will have no hope. If she knows the plan of redemption, she can be filled with hope.
The one who supposes that he "understands the mind-set of both groups" needs to understand that the doctrines of the gospel are revealed through the Spirit to prophets, not through the intellect to scholars.
"God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption." We face invasions of the intensity and seriousness that we have not faced before. There is the need now to be united with everyone facing the same way. Then the sunlight of truth, coming over our shoulders, will mark the path ahead. If we perchance turn the wrong way, we will shade our eyes from that light and we will fail in our ministries.
God grant that a testimony of the redemption and knowledge of the doctrine will be so fundamentally in our minds and in our hearts that we will move forward with his approval. This Church will prevail. There is no power in existence that can thwart the work in which we are engaged. Of that I bear witness, and of him who is our redeemer I bear witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
To Young Men Only
There are present in this priesthood session only brethren. I approach a subject that could not appropriately be discussed if there were others present. I have prayed fervently for inspiration as I speak to young men of Aaronic Priesthood age: to young men only.
I wish to discuss a subject that fathers should discuss with their sons. Because some young men do not have fathers and because some fathers (and some bishops) do not know how to proceed, I approach a very personal subject, one that is important to every young man.
You have been given a mortal body with which to experience earth life. Through it you will be tested. Your body is the instrument of your mind and the foundation of your character. It has within it powers which, if properly used, will contribute greatly to your exaltation. If you use this gift worthily, it will serve you throughout all eternity.
Never be ashamed of your body. No two are just alike. Some young men worry because they think their body is not well proportioned. They think they are too short or too tall or too stout or too thin or too something else. Physical proportions need have little to do with success, particularly spiritual success. Be grateful for your body.
Strive to keep it healthy through proper nourishment, rest, and exercise. Develop your body to full and useful capacity. Develop manly stamina and control. Take nothing into your body that would harm it. Do not use tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or any other harmful substance.
A young man should learn to rule his body. Like his temper, he should keep it always under complete control. That sometimes is not easy to do.
Within your body you have the power of creation. You will one day find a mate and desire greatly to express fully your love with her. The righteous expression of this physical love in marriage is approved of the Lord. She then may conceive and give birth to a boy or a girl, a baby of whom you will be the father.
This is a very sacred power. The Lord has commanded that you use it only with one to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. He has decreed serious penalties indeed for the misuse of it.
This physical power will influence you emotionally and spiritually as well. It begins to shape and fit you to look, and feel, and to be what you need to be as a father. Ambition, courage, physical and emotional and spiritual strength become part of you because you are a man. You become very interested in young women—and want to be with them. This is as it should be.
This power of creation affects your life several years before you should express it fully. You must always guard the power with manly wisdom. You must wait until the time of your marriage to use it.
During that waiting, what do you do with these desires? My boy, you are to control them. You are forbidden to use them now in order that you may use them with worthiness and virtue and fulness of joy at the proper time in life.
I wish to explain something that will help you understand your young manhood and help you develop self-control. When this power begins to form, it might be likened to having a little factory in your body, one designed to produce the product that can generate life.
This little factory moves quietly into operation as a normal and expected pattern of growth and begins to produce the life-giving substance. It will do so perhaps as long as you live. It works very slowly. That is the way it should be. For the most part, unless you tamper with it, you will hardly be aware that it is working at all.
As you move closer to manhood, this little factory will sometimes produce an oversupply of this substance. The Lord has provided a way for that to be released. It will happen without any help or without any resistance from you. Perhaps, one night you will have a dream. In the course of it the release valve that controls the factory will open and release all that is excess.
The factory and automatic release work on their own schedule. The Lord intended it to be that way. It is to regulate itself. This will not happen very often. You may go a longer period of time, and there will be no need for this to occur. When it does, you should not feel guilty. It is the nature of young manhood and is part of becoming a man.
There is, however, something you should not do. Sometimes a young man does not understand. Perhaps he is encouraged by unwise or unworthy companions to tamper with that factory. He might fondle himself and open that release valve. This you should not do, for if you do that, the little factory will speed up. You will then be tempted again and again to release it. You can quickly be subjected to a habit, one that is not worthy, one that will leave you feeling depressed and feeling guilty. Resist that temptation. Do not be guilty of tampering or playing with this sacred power of creation. Keep it in reserve for the time when it can be righteously employed.
You may already have been guilty of tampering with these powers. You may even have developed a habit. What do you do then?
First, I want you to know this. If you are struggling with this temptation and perhaps you have not quite been able to resist, the Lord still loves you. It is not anything so wicked nor is it a transgression so great that the Lord would reject you because of it, but it can quickly lead to that kind of transgression. It is not pleasing to the Lord, nor is it pleasing to you. It does not make you feel worthy or clean.
There are ways to conquer such a habit. First of all, you must leave that factory alone long enough for it to slow down. Resisting is not easy. It will take weeks, even months. But you can get the little factory slowed back to where it should be.
I have other suggestions. The power to prevent such habits or to break them rests in your mind, not in your body. Don’t let that physical part of you take charge. Stay in control. Condition your body to do the will of your mind. To do this you must keep your mind on worthy thoughts. Divert your thoughts from things that lead you into mischief. Vigorous physical exercise helps young men in many ways. You are most vulnerable when you are idle or when you are discouraged. This is the time to be on guard.
I know a way to keep your thoughts worthy. It has helped me, and I explained it on one occasion in a general conference talk. Let me repeat it for you.
Probably the greatest challenge to people of any age, particularly young people, and the most difficult thing you will face in mortal life is to learn to control your thoughts. As a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7.) One who can control his thoughts has conquered himself.
I had been told a hundred times or more as I grew up, that thoughts must be controlled, but no one told me how. I want to tell you young people about one way you can learn to control your thoughts, and it has to do with music.
The mind is like a stage. Except when we are asleep, the curtain is always up. There is always some act being performed on that stage. It may be a comedy, a tragedy, interesting or dull, good or bad; but always there is some act playing on the stage of the mind.
Have you noticed that without any real intent on your part, in the middle of almost any performance, a shady little thought may creep in from the wings and attract your attention? These delinquent thoughts will try to upstage everybody. If you permit them to go on, all thoughts of any virtue will leave the stage. You will be left, because you consented to it, to the influence of unrighteous thoughts.
If you yield to them, they will enact for you on the stage of your mind anything to the limits of your toleration. They may enact a theme of bitterness, jealousy, or hatred. It may be vulgar, immoral, even depraved. When they have the stage, if you let them, they will devise the most clever persuasions to hold your attention. They can make it interesting all right, even convince you that it is innocent—for they are but thoughts.
What do you do at a time like that, when the stage of your mind is commandeered by the imps of unclean thinking, whether they be the gray ones that seem almost clean or the filthy ones which leave no room for doubt? If you can control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. If you can learn to master them, you will have a happy life.
This is what I would teach you. Choose from among the sacred music of the Church a favorite hymn, one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration. Go over it in your mind carefully. Memorize it. Even though you have had no musical training, you can think through a hymn.
Now, use this hymn as the place for your thoughts to go. Make it your emergency channel. Whenever you find these shady actors have slipped from the sidelines of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, put on this record, as it were. As the music begins and as the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully away. It will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear. For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light.
Another thing will help both to prevent and to overcome such habits. At times of special temptation skip a meal or two. We call that fasting, you know. It has a powerful effect upon you physically. It diverts some of that physical energy to more ordinary needs. It tempers desire and reduces the temptation. Fasting will help you greatly.
In the scriptures, fasting and prayer are generally mentioned together. Prayer is a powerful instrument to bless young men. If a missionary, for instance, indulges in these unworthy practices, the Spirit of the Lord will leave him. When he is prayerful and will fast, the Spirit of the Lord sustains him. He soon develops a manly restraint and worthiness.
Resist those temptations. Do not tamper with your body. If you have already, cease to do it—now. Put it away and overcome it. The signal of worthy manhood is self-control.
This power is ordained for the begetting of life and as a binding tie in the marriage covenant. It is not to be misused. It is not to be used prematurely. It is to be known between husband and wife and in no other way. If you misuse it, you will be sorry.
Now a warning! I am hesitant to even mention it, for it is not pleasant. It must be labeled as major transgression. But I will speak plainly. There are some circumstances in which young men may be tempted to handle one another, to have contact with one another physically in unusual ways. Latter-day Saint young men are not to do this.
Sometimes this begins in a moment of idle foolishness, when boys are just playing around. But it is not foolishness. It is remarkably dangerous. Such practices, however tempting, are perversion. When a young man is finding his way into manhood, such experiences can misdirect his normal desires and pervert him not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.
It was intended that we use this power only with our partner in marriage. I repeat, very plainly, physical mischief with another man is forbidden. It is forbidden by the Lord.
There are some men who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist.
While I was in a mission on one occasion, a missionary said he had something to confess. I was very worried because he just could not get himself to tell me what he had done.
After patient encouragement he finally blurted out, “I hit my companion.”
“Oh, is that all,” I said in great relief.
“But I floored him,” he said.
After learning a little more, my response was “Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it, and it wouldn’t be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way.”
I am not recommending that course to you, but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself.
There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it. They are just “that way” and can only yield to those desires. That is a malicious and destructive lie. While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life. From our premortal life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits. Boys are to become men—masculine, manly men—ultimately to become husbands and fathers. No one is predestined to a perverted use of these powers.
Even those who have been drawn into wicked practices and are bound by almost unyielding habits can escape. If one of you seems trapped in that, escape. Go to your father or bishop, please. Your parents, your bishop, the servants of the Lord, the angels of heaven and the Lord himself will help redeem you from it.
Young Latter-day Saint men, do not tamper with these powers, neither with yourself alone nor with one of your own kind. Never let anyone handle you or touch those very personal parts of your body which are an essential link in the ongoing of creation.
Many of the world would, I am sure, be amused by this counsel. Let them be amused. They live by another standard, a lower one. We live by the Lord’s standard and continue to teach it.
It is normal and proper for a young man to become increasingly interested in young women, to begin to date, eventually to pair up. We encourage that, but be careful. Keep your relationships with young women pure and chaste. Reserve those life-giving powers for marriage.
Generally a young man is physically developed for marriage long before he is emotionally or spiritually or materially qualified for it. In due time, when all things are in balance, you will be ready. After you have kept yourself in physical control, after you are sufficiently mature emotionally and spiritually and have some resources materially, that is the time for marriage.
Then you can enter into the new and everlasting covenant. You and your sweetheart will be sealed together for time and for all eternity. These sacred life-giving powers will then be released for your use. They will become a binding tie in your marriage. Through them you will become a father.
But for now, you prepare and follow the instruction in the scripture: “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” (D&C 133:5.)
God bless you, our young brethren, as you strive to be clean. In doing so, you will please the Lord and his prophet, of whom I bear witness, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
That was only three talks from this sentient pile of semen infused human waste. These are merely the talks that Boyd KKK Pack a Punch is most known for. Keep in mind, this mutherfucker was a member of the general authorities since 1961, and was one of the twelve apostles from 1970 until his death on July 3rd, 2015. For anybody that doesn't understand the hiearchy of the church, that basically translates to him having access to the pulpit to give a talk in general conference, twice a year, for 44 fucking years. That's a lot of time he's spent spewing racist, homophobic, misogynistic, calculated verbal diarrhea. These talks have played no small part in shaping church stances, and altering the everyday average Mormon's opinions on things that are at the base of the human experience.
It's not only Packer-it-deeper that's done this. He's been one small part of this church that has been abusively effective at shaping the minds of young men and women to fit into, what they consider, to be the quintessential cookie cutter of human sexuality, and morality, and it's so fucking wrong. It's marred believer's understanding of the complexities of gender and sex, and it's forced, even the most fortified minds, to repress and fear their own desires and deep internal feelings and urges.
This isn't some old fucker spouting antiquated ideals from a bully pulpit that can be ignored. This is a man with a society that's explicitly insular, that listens to every word he says, and takes it to heart. I'm not just saying that because the shit he said seemed outrageous. I'm saying it because I've seen the real world consequences of this. As of right now, at age 24, I have more friends in Utah that were married to the first person they started to seriously date after returning home from their missions, than I have friends that experienced all the facets of a relationship, before commiting to a marriage. I would be willing to bet that most of the Native Utah listeners that grew up Mormon share this same phenomenon, or better yet, are one of those themselves.
In case that wasn't plain enough for some, I have more friends that never fucked or lived with the person they were married to until their marriage night, than I have friends that actually test drove the car before buying. I assume that some listeners may be somewhat divided on this subject. Afterall, if you know for a fact that if you are somebody's first, and they are your first, there really aren't any chances of STD's being transmitted. But, after a lot of reflection, I think the benefits of dual virgin marriage stops here. Proponents of virgin marriage may say that sex isn't everything in marriage. Well, I would argue that it's an integral piece that shouldn't be treated flippantly, or have it's part in a relationship downplayed. On the flipside, it's also a regular part of human biology that shouldn't be raised on this high pedestal, and treated as some kind of holy communion between partners. It's dirty and sweaty and natural, and it's nothing like porn.
When people repress their own sexual desires for years until exactly 15 minutes after the wedding reception, they will inevitably be dissappointed. Trust me, nobody looks back on their first time and says that was the best sex I ever had. It's awkward, it's weird, you aren't sure what to do, and it's impossible to keep it in for any longer than 4 thrusts because it all ends so ubruptly. It doesn't matter how much masturbation is done prior in preparation, the first time is nothing spectacular. In fact, it's often times a let down for one or both parties. But with practice, and persistence, you act like less of a misprogrammed robot during foreplay, and that 4 thrusts turns into 4 minutes, just like it should be, and you become one more participant in the average American sex life.
I've described the normal timeline for somebody growing up in the church, but let me briefly rehash it to make a point. You grow up, get baptized, go through all the offices of young men, or young women, then hopefully go on a mission at age 18 or 19, then come home and meet the person of your dreams, date for a couple months, then get engaged for a month or two, then get married, and then your life is over. The years leading up to the marriage are a very weird time for teenage and young adult bodies that are sexually maturing, and Ass-Packer made abundantly clear the Mormon stance on anything sexual before that wedding night. This level of organized repression leads to childish views of human sexuality, and really fucked up sex lives during marriage. It idealizes sex to be something much more than it ever is, or ever will be. If you spend your entire life wanting something, and expecting to get it once you've been righteous enough and held off until marriage night, you expect it to be the perfected possible version of what it actually is. It inevitably leaves that person disappointed. Even more than that, when men are so strictly forbidden to "fondle themselves", or release the pressure valve of their little factories, which they'll inevitably do, the guilt associated with it is soul crushing.
I remember the first time I started my little factory. It was a shower situation. I remember wondering what the fuck happened, and why I felt the way I just felt. Then it dawned on me. THIS WAS MASTURBATION!? This is what God hated so much? This is what my parents had been telling me not to do for so long? This is the sin that makes it so I can't go on my mission? The whole time, this is what my bishop, and church leaders, and stake president, and all the talking old guys on the television told me is something that added to Jesus' pain in the garden of Gethsemane? The personal anguish, and torment, and overwhelming guilt for my actions, hit me waaay harder than the rush of adrenaline and dopamine from my first cum only seconds before. It was a burden that I carried around for weeks, vowing to never touch myself again, even when married.
More than the guilt, was the compiled fear of shame. This is something that's hard to explain to someone who hasn't experienced it, but the shame for what I did, and the fear of people finding out, was a level of anxiety that my young brain could barely deal with. I had commited a horrible sin. This meant that I had to talk to my parents, then they would set up a meeting with the bishop, meaning I would have to go into his office after church one sunday, and confess my sin with all the bare naked details. Then, I would have to go through some kind of discipline for my actions. And when you're in your early teens, you don't understand the gravity of the situation, you just assume the worst will happen, and it'll be straight to the ex-communication tribunal. Since masturbating would get me excommunicated, I wouldn't be able to receive the Melchizedik priesthood, nor would I be able to go on my mission, nor would I be able to get married in the temple, so I wouldn't be able to go to the highest level of the celestial kingdom when I died, or Jesus came back. Is that a healthy amount of fucking pressure for a 12 year old? Does that constant anxiety shed any light on the disturbingly high relative rate of male teen suicides/suicide attempts in Utah? Does that bring any perspective into Utah having the highest level of consumption of anti-depressants for teens in the entire United States? And that's just for masturbating! Compound it by about a fucking kajillion for pre-marital sex! And I had it easy!!! My parents were awesome about leaving me to myself, and not asking too tough of questions too often, and I had the added advantage of experiencing all of this as a striaght teenager. If all of this was too much for me to handle, I could never possibly wrap my puny mind around what a gay teenager must go through. Think back on Packer's vitriol for all those unnatural gays! Most of the ignorant, unfactual, hatefilled bullshit he said about them, are stances held by the majority of TBM's today. Most of them consider homosexuality as one of the ultimate crimes against god. How bad must that fuck up the minds of gay teenagers in the church?! No wonder Utah has one of the highest rates of homeless gay teens in the U.S. Mormon parents that have been repressed by the same homophobic, and sex-hating superstructure that these gay teens have to deal with, don't know how to handle their children when they tell them that they're gay. So the parents tell the teenager that it's a crime against god, and not only a decision, but a challenge that god gave them to test their strength in the church, and they can choose to either not be gay, or move out of the house. Any belief system that creates homeless gay teenagers, even as a byproduct, cannot be considered a moral belief system. It's systematically fucked up, and it needs to be abandoned, and held accountable for all the pain and anguish it's caused for millions of people.
Back to my original point. Boyd K. Packin' your brain full o' shit, and his position in the Mormon church has forever left it's mark on the collective psyche of the church's followers. Even after people leave the church, they have moral, and sexual baggage to try and combat with logic and understanding. I've been out of the church for half the amount of years I was in it, and I find myself having to shrug off ignorant, and indoctrinated perspectives of gender and sexuality all the time. I was taught to hate gays as much as murderers. I was taught that a woman is made worthless once her virginity has been taken. I was indoctrinated to believe that a marriage could only be successful if I save myself for my wedding night. I was pushed to have the goal of making my wedding day be my first kiss. I was forced into the mindset of living in sin, being a one way ticket to absolute exile from every friend or family member, because I had seen it many, many times with extended family members. Even to this day, I'm afraid to tell my parents that I lived with a girl for a while, because I don't want to have that conversation, and I don't want to feel their unspoken scorn for this horrible sin. To this day, I'll ocassionally fight the completely fucked up urge to point at a gay couple and scoff like they're some anomaly, or anthropromorphic tumor. I never would and I'm well on my way to overcoming that deeply wrong, and bigotted instinct, but that urge came from somewhere, because it didn't come from me, and it's something I have to conciously fight because it's not me. I feel wrong talking to friends and coworkers about my relationships, because I know that sexuality is something to be shared between loving partners and not another soul. My brain rips itself in half when I talk to a friend that's getting married to somebody they've been dating for less than six months. I want to tell them that they don't know what they don't know, and they won't know what they're getting into until it's too late. I want to scream rants of rationality and real world consequences at them. If they would just open their mind to the rest of the world outside of their indoctrination, they might discover that they could be making a huge mistake moving this quickly with somebody they barely know. I was only recently able to overcome the deeply engrained guilt after masturbating, god forbid if it was coupled with porn! I feel like I have to explain myself to any partner I'm with, just for the sake of excusing my odd mannerisms and lack of experience with the opposite sex during the formative years of my teenage sexuality.
Most of all, I don't know if I'll ever overcome the guilt of letting down my family. For not becoming the person I promised I would be, and for doing everything that I promised I never would do. I never went on a mission. I didn't save myself for my wedding night. I didn't go through the temple. I didn't ever baptize somebody. I didn't ever stand in a prayer circle. I didn't ever wear the sacred garments. I drink coffee and alchohol. I swear, sometimes profusely, or when it's inappropriate. I'll never regain my purity to get married in the temple. I'll never sincerely bear my testimony again. I'll never enter a church again, unless it's in support of a friend or family member, or to be ex-communicated. I'll never be back on the inside at family reunions. I'll never be able to have a genuine conversation, about something deeper than a puddle, with any believing friend or family member, because I'm an outsider now. And to crown it all, I'll never be able to take back the pain I caused my parents. All the prodding questions from fellow ward members, all the questions about their parenting skills, all the questions they must ask themselves about where they went wrong to have raised a sinner. None of those times can be taken back. None of the time they spent counselling church leaders for baseless advice on parenting can ever be recovered. But the worst part, the shining shit covered gem in this fucked up crown of family problems, built upon a mountain of uninformed, biggotted, ignorant, sexist, bullshit. It's the mechanism behind it all that drives overprotective parenting, and unbreakable indoctrination in the church. My parents deeply, and sincerely believe that they'll spend eternity without Bryce in it. I love my parents so much, and I know they love me. But the church has forged this massive casm between us. I feel like I can't be genuine with them, for fear of hurting them even more. Every conversation we have seems more shallow than the last, and it feels like this painful divide is only growing. I hate the church for what it's done to us. The deep seated anger that's rooted in the darkest corners of my conscious, will never be truly overcome. The damage the church has done to the relationships I used to have, and cherish, is something that I can never forgive, and refuse to forget. I say all this because I know I'm not the only one with these feelings. I had a very typical Mormon experience, and I got out before most that are born in the church do. There are millions that must feel like I do. I know this vitriolic frustration will slowly fade, and I'll get to a point that volcanic anger will no longer be the primary driving force behind my activism. But for now, it feels damn good to say rot in hell Boyd K. Packer, and with more sincerity than I have ever mustered before.... Fuck the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Copyright Ground Gnomes LLC subject to fair use. Citation example: "Naked Mormonism Podcast (or NMP), Ep #, original air date 07/31/2015"