“I Have That Witness”

I miss President Boyd K. Packer greatly. It is hard to imagine never again hearing President Packer bear his profound witness of the savior.

One of the highlights of re-reading older conference talks is being able to see how the testimonies of the brethren develop and mature of the years. April 1971 was exactly one year after President Packer had been called to the apostleship. He spoke of his newfound “obligation to stand with those other living men who have been called as special witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the Earth.” And described how since his calling, he had frequently been asked the question “Have you seen him?”

President Packer noted that sacred spiritual experiences are not meant to be casually discussed, but instead are “to be harbored and to be protected and regarded with the deepest of reverence.” Such a question probing into such sacred experienced is inappropriate and it is one that President Packer never asked his fellow apostles.

President Packer observed that many wondered why the apostles are not “more explicit and more descriptive” in their testimonies of the savior. But he suggested that there is great power in the simple testimony shared by both primary aged children and Apostles, that “I know that God lives and I know that Jesus if the Christ.” This simple humble testimony is the most powerful one of all.

Nevertheless, President Packer noted that he had occasionally heard his fellow apostles bear powerful witness “under the prompting of the Spirit, on sacred occasions.” In particular, President Packer related two such testimonites: “I know from experiences, too sacred to relate, that Jesus is the Christ,” and “I know that God lives; I know that the Lord lives. And more than that, I know the Lord.”

Profoundly, towards the end of President Packer’s life, he bore that same witness:

“I bear my witness that the Savior lives. I know the Lord. I am His witness. I know of His great sacrifice and eternal love for all of Heavenly Father’s children. I bear my special witness in all humility but with absolute certainty, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

Even in this early stage in his apostleship, President Packer realized that he had been blessed with a special witness of the savior. After his calling, he wondered why he had been called even though there were others more qualified than he. But as he reflected upon it, he realized that he had “one single thing, one qualification” which justified his calling: “I have that witness.”

President Packer’s powerful witness “that Jesus is the Christ” and that “he lives” would be borne time and time again for over 40 years. His witnesses never failed. To his dying days, he continued to share that special witness. I am grateful for his unfailing courage and his willingness to bear witness of the savior.


Other posts from this session

Michelle Linford Gap Insurance
Walker Wright Escaping “The Box” Through Families
Ralph Hancock Knowledge — On Whose Terms?
Nathaniel Givens Saving the Lost Battalions
G The Secret Life of Mormons

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