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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Funeral set for President Boyd K. Packer/My article featured on lds.org's home page

I am posting today for a couple of reasons. First of all, I learned today that funeral services have been arranged for President Boyd K. Packer, who died yesterday of causes incident to age. The funeral will be held on Friday July 10 @ 11:00 AM MDT. Further details, such as which TV stations will carry the funeral proceedings, will be announced in the coming days. President Packer will be buried in the Brigham City Cemetery. The graveside service will be private. Now that the details of the funeral have been announced, I wonder who might be called upon to speak at the funeral. It's been quite a while since a President of the Quorum of the Twelve has died in office. The last time was when President Marion G. Romney passed away on 20 May 1988. That was 27 years ago. Of the 27 men who have served as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one was excommunicated (Thomas B. Marsh) which is why his tenure ended.

15 Quorum Presidents have become President of the Church, which is the reason for the end of their tenure. One (Orson Hyde) had his tenure end due to a readjustment in apostolic seniority. (It was determined by Brigham Young that seniority in the apostleship was to be determined by longest continuous service rather than the date on which an apostle was ordained. Hyde had previously been disfellowshipped for brief periods of time in 1839 and 1846. Additionally, from 1847 to 1868, Hyde was actually the third most senior apostle. The second most senior apostle was Heber C. Kimball, a member of the First Presidency. If current practice were followed, Kimball would have been President of the Quorum and Hyde would have served as Acting President during this time period. However, Kimball was never called as President of the Quorum of the Twelve.)

One man (Brigham Young Jr.) served twice as President of the Quorum, with his tenure interrupted by the return of Joseph F. Smith to the Quorum following the death of Lorenzo Snow. (At the beginning of Young's tenure, George Q. Cannon was the second most senior Apostle in the Church. However, Cannon was a counselor in the First Presidency and was never called as President of the Quorum. If today's practices had been followed, Cannon would have been called as Quorum President and Young as Acting Quorum President. When Cannon died in April 1901, Young remained the President of the Quorum despite the fact that First Presidency member Joseph F. Smith was then the second most senior Apostle.) One Quorum President, Joseph F. Smith. only served in that capacity for the week between the death of Lorenzo Snow and the reorganization of the First Presidency, with Joseph F. Smith become the next Church President. When that happened, Young resumed his service as Quorum President.

8 men who served as Quorum President died in office. Additionally, 5 men who served as Quorum President were serving in the First Presidency during the entirety of their tenure, and the next most senior apostle not in the First Presidency served as Acting President. During President Marion G. Romney's tenure, he was in ill health, so Howard W. Hunter served as Acting President during Romney's entire tenure. When Romney died, Hunter became Quorum President.

The one man I haven't mentioned in this brief history of Quorum Presidents is Russell M. Nelson, who became the de facto Quorum President at the death of Boyd K. Packer yesterday. However, Nelson has yet to be set apart for this position. I hope I haven't bored anyone with this Church history lesson, but I find all this fascinating.

 There is one other thing I wanted to note in this post. I went onto lds.org a couple of days ago. I was surprised to discover a link to an article on the site's main webpage. The link read, "Christ Has Felt Your Pain." I could think of only one article that had a similar title, and that was the one that I wrote. So I clicked on the link, and, sure enough, it led to the article I had written that was published in the July Ensign. So my work has been and is currently being featured on lds.org's home page. I couldn't be more pleased and proud that the Church is finding additionally uses for my article. And I hope that more people will read it as a result and that it will make a positive difference in their lives. That's all I wanted to post about. I've "sounded off" enough for now. Until I blog again, all the best!

President Boyd K. Packer passes away/Other Church News

Many of you have heard the news by now, but President Boyd K. Packer passed away today from causes incident to age. He was 90 years old and was serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the time of his passing. He becomes the second apostle to pass away this year, the first being Elder L. Tom Perry on May 31. With his passing, Elder Russell M. Nelson succeeds President Packer as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. And that now leaves two vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Those vacancies could be filled at any time, but most likely will be taken care of during the October General Conference. It has been 11 years since two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles died within a short time of each other. I  mused over an interesting bit of trivia regarding President Packer's passing. Now the two most senior apostles are separated in age by 3 years (President Monson will be 88 on August 21, and President Nelson turns 91 on September 9), but their ordinations to the apostleship took place a little over 20 years apart (President Monson in October 1963, and President Nelson in April 1984). This is the longest time span between the ordination of the two most senior apostles in the history of the Church especially in light of the fact that they are so close in age.

The question of who might fill the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles still remains. I will, of course, support and sustain fully the two newest apostles as much as I tried to sustain President Packer and Elder Perry. But I personally would love to see a couple of younger men,  with perhaps one or both of them being international. It will be interesting to see whom the Lord calls.

There have also been one or two other items of Church-related news that I wanted to touch on briefly in this post. The leaders of the Church at the top level have called for better observances of the Lord's holy day, Sunday. The Newsroom article on that subject states: "Recommendations include wider participation in planning worship services and holding these sacrament meetings and other classes. Elder Ballard said the proposed changes are recommendations that may be adapted to local needs. 'We have to maintain flexibility. The Church all over the world has different circumstances.'"

A committee made up of four members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (though the article didn't reveal which apostles were on the committee) and the Presidency of the Seventy is also on the committee. One major change the committee is asking local Church leaders to do is for bishoprics to involve the ward council in the planning of Sacrament Meetings. Elder L. Whitney Clayton, who is the 2nd most senior member of the Presidency of the Seventy, said, "The contribution of all ward council members will add spiritual insight to the plans being considered by bishoprics, while bishoprics will be responsible for approval of plans. There's a great deal of freedom to move within that recommendation. What we hope is that bishoprics will bring in suggested plans for sacrament meetings, out into the future — we're talking two, three months out into the future — and that members of the ward council will offer suggestions. They may have a suggestion about who should speak or a refinement about a particular topic or a suggestion about a hymn." The committee has suggested that among other appropriate Sabbath Day activities are: doing acts of service, reading the scriptures and spending time with family.

“What we hope is that the Sabbath will become a delight for people at home, that they'll love what happens in their homes on Sunday. It will be a time to draw apart from the world, to just give ourselves some rest from the things that are always before our eyes the other days of the week, with the work week, all the things we worry about. And then on the Sabbath we could think about the Savior. What we hope is that the Sabbath will become a delight for people at home, that they'll love what happens in their homes on Sunday. It will be a time to draw apart from the world, to just give ourselves some rest from the things that are always before our eyes the other days of the week, with the work week, all the things we worry about. And then on the Sabbath we could think about the Savior.”

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom is quoted as saying: “When we consider that is His day, then what we do is in connection to Him and for Him. But that doesn't mean we can't load our children in our cars and go visit grandparents or family or relatives. It doesn't mean that we can't take time to laugh together.” Additional Sunday-appropriate activities could include writing in journals and to missionaries, as well as sharing the numerous resources the Church has available online with family. The news release shares a couple of great quotes from Elder Russell M. Nelson's April 2015 General Conference talk, "The Sabbath is a Delight". I would encourage all my readers to review that address.

The news release says, "Training on improving Sabbath day worship and gospel learning within families was given to general authorities, area seventies and general auxiliary presidencies during the week of general conference. That training is now being extended to the level of local congregations as training occurs throughout the year. "Training materials focused on improving Sabbath day worship at church and in the home are being distributed to local leaders for upcoming leadership meetings; the principles will then be taught to the full membership of each congregation." Thus ends the news release.

I am grateful for the emphasis that is being placed on Sunday as being a holy day. I hope that those who need to examine their Sabbath day observance will be benefited by this training that will take place. It is my hope and prayer that a reverence and respect for the Lord's holy day may be cultivated and enhanced. and my fervent testimony that blessings come from treating Sunday as a different day and not just another day like any other day of the week. That we may properly observe the Sabbath Day and reap the blessings that come from truly keeping the Lord's Day holy is my prayer as I close this blog post for now in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.