Every modern Mormon member mourned the passing of Elder Boyd K. Packer a little over two weeks ago. Since his passing, stories are randomly surfacing about how his inspiring influence and reach touched people's lives. As an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, he spoke with the authority and power of God, representing him in complete humility and sincerity. His words had power.
40+ years ago a young Aaronic 14-year old priesthood holder had an assignment to greet people as they entered the chapel for stake conference. It was his lot to shake the hand of Elder Packer before he made his way to the stand. Elder Packer returned the handshake and asked the young man a pointed question- “are you preparing to serve a mission?” The young man, taken off guard by the challenge, responded weakly, “well, yeah, I don't know, I guess I am.” Elder Packer's confident rejoinder was “of course you are.” Four small words, spoken with power.
Four years later, this same young man, enjoying his liberated status as an 18-year old adult, went to visit a friend for a weekend who set him up with a blind date. He enjoyed going to the movies with this girl but was a little uncomfortable with her attempts to become too cozy. That night, as he drifted off to sleep in the spare bedroom of his friend's house, his date quietly slipped into bed with him. At that moment, his raging teenage hormones were challenged by Elder Packer's four words spoken four years earlier- “of course you are.” He immediately told the girl that would not be able to do what she wanted to do that night, because he was preparing to serve a mission.
And he did.