SALT LAKE CITY — Fifty years and more than 2.5 million miles of worldwide travel later, President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, still has an ever-deepening interest in the seminary and institute programs of the Church, and more particularly in the youth of the Church.
"We invest in our youth," President Packer said during the Seminary Centennial broadcast held in the Conference Center on Sunday night. "We know of your worth and potential. I speak as one who has seen the past and would prepare you for the future."
The broadcast — which was transmitted to seminaries worldwide — gathered students, parents and teachers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the seminary program.
"You are growing up in enemy territory," President Packer said. "When you become mature spiritually, you will understand how the adversary has infiltrated the world around you. He is in homes, entertainment, the media, language — everything around you. In most cases, his presence is undetected. Pornography is just one example."
Speaking directly to the seminary students of the church, President Packer spoke of the things that are the most desirable and of the most worth that youth can do to stay strong — even in enemy territory.
It is through using the Holy Ghost as a guide and protective influence that individuals are able to do good and stay away from harm. In order to be guided and directed by the spirit, individuals must keep the lines of communication open, said President Packer.
"You cannot lie or cheat or steal or act immorally and have those channels remain free from disruption," he said. "Do not go where the environment resists spiritual communication. You must learn to seek the power and direction that is available to you, and then follow that course no matter what."
Sharing a "to do" list with the youth, President Packer described things individuals can do in their lives to have the direction of the spirit. He spoke about prayer, following the word of wisdom and keeping one's body clean. He also spoke of the importance of staying morally clean and the eternal nature of gender.
"This matter of gender is of great concern to the Brethren, as are all matters of morality," he said.
"A few of you may have felt or been told that you were born with troubling feelings and that you are not guilty if you act on those temptations. Doctrinally we know that if that were true, your agency would have been erased, and that cannot happen. You always have a choice to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and live a morally pure and chaste life, one filled with virtue. …
"You have ... agency. Use it wisely to deny acting on any impure impulse or unholy temptation that may come into your mind," President Packer said.
"The key word is discipline — self discipline," he said. "The word discipline comes from the word disciple or follower. Be a disciple/follower of the Savior, and you will be safe."
During the broadcast, a short video showed seminary students from around the world, as well as shared some words from President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency. President Eyring's mother was a member of the first seminary class held in 1912. Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy and commissioner of the Church Education System also spoke.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company