Elder Allan F. Packer to Students: “You Are Needed”

Contributed By Rachel Sterzer, Church News staff writer

  • PROVO, UT

Elder Allan F. Packer of the Seventy sits on the stand accompanied by his wife, Sister Terri Anne Packer, prior to giving the weekly campus devotional at BYU on Tuesday, January 12.  Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Article Highlights

  • Be wise in choosing your own destination and path.
  • Work hard to qualify for your royal potential.
  • Decide on the most important things first.
  • Use the scriptures, the Brethren, and the Holy Ghost to help you find your way.
  • Study gospel principles in relation to other principles.

“If there is a trial of faith about one principle, we can rely on our testimonies of other principles and our testimony of the gospel as a whole.” —Elder Allan F. Packer of the Seventy

“You are needed,” Elder Allan F. Packer of the Seventy told students and faculty gathered in the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University on Tuesday, January 12.

“The war between good and evil is raging and intensifying,” Elder Packer said. “You must gain the skills, convictions, courage, wisdom, and confidence to help make a difference for yourself and others.”

In the weekly campus devotional, Elder Packer noted that many listening were in a “transition point” in life as they strive to make decisions regarding education, careers, marriage and family, and religious practices.

Acknowledging that many of those decisions are neither “clear” nor “easy,” Elder Packer shared a few lessons he has learned “that may help you find your way.”

Set your destination

Elder Packer talked about his experience as an assistant Scoutmaster in Seattle, Washington, where he spent a summer taking the Scouts on several hikes, including a 50-mile hike around Mount Rainier. They learned to use maps and a compass and how to set checkpoints along the trail to get to where they wanted to go.

“Our journey of life is like those hikes. We each choose our own destination and path,” he explained. “Wisely choose the best path as described by the plan of salvation.”

Earn royal heritage

Elder Packer said each individual has a “royal birth” as spirit sons and daughters of heavenly parents. “You are destined to become a king or queen, to have a family and royal responsibility. God is the author of the plan to qualify you for this royal birthright. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is here to help.”

While all can qualify, Elder Packer explained, each must earn it individually. “There is no entitlement or option to delegate this to someone else. No one else can do it for you, not even the Church. It is hard work, but it is worth it.”

Make decisions

Some individuals might delay making important decisions, waiting for perfect conditions. However, “the greatest mistake may be failing to act,” Elder Packer warned.

“Most important relationships or achievements do not come ready-made off the shelf. You must pay the price to achieve the outcome you desire.”

Elder Packer shared a story from the life of his father, President Boyd K. Packer, who went to Elder Harold B. Lee and told him that he saw no way to move in the direction he had been counseled to go. Elder Lee told him, “You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and take a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you.”

Elder Packer continued, “Deciding on the most important things first will help make other decisions easier.”

Follow the scriptures, the Brethren, and the Holy Ghost

Elder Packer explained that before each hike with the Scouts, they would study maps and guidebooks and talk to those who had already hiked the trails. The scriptures, words of living prophets, and the Holy Ghost “are the reliable maps, guides, and compass you need for life’s journey,” Elder Packer said.

“Our decisions and lives will be better by understanding and living the gospel as taught by the Brethren and witnessed by the Holy Ghost. This is the quest of a lifetime.”

Connect the dots

Elder Packer compared the gospel to a connect-the-dot diagram where the dots are like individual principles or doctrines and the lines are the relationships between the principles. “The picture that is revealed when all the lines are connected is an image of the gospel. The quality of the image depends on the number of dots and lines we know and understand.”

Gospel principles cannot be fully understood without being placed in the gospel context. “That would be like trying to see a picture with only one dot.”

Therefore, individuals should study a principle’s relationships to other principles. “Learn as much as you can,” Elder Packer advised. “Help others do the same. This will help strengthen testimonies. A testimony of the gospel is made up of the testimony of individual principles. Collectively they combine to create a powerful testimony of the gospel and Church. This testimony will sustain us. If there is a trial of faith about one principle, we can rely on our testimonies of other principles and our testimony of the gospel as a whole.”

Elder Packer concluded by explaining that just like in his hikes with the Scouts, “we can safely travel life’s journey by relying on the maps of the scriptures and words of the living prophets and the compass of the Holy Ghost. God’s plan and desire is that we all successfully reach our destination. Rise up and qualify for your heritage and destiny. You can do it!”

The BYU Concert Choir performs prior to Elder Allan F. Packer of the Seventy offering remarks for the BYU campus devotional on Tuesday, January 12. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU Photo.

Elder Allan F. Packer of the Seventy speaks during the weekly campus devotional at BYU on Tuesday, January 12. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU Photo.