After holding the title of acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve since 1994, Boyd K. Packer became president of the quorum Monday. He had become acting president when Elders Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson, both ahead of him in seniority in the quorum, were called to serve as counselors to President Howard W. Hunter.
President Packer's title as acting president of the quorum continued when President Monson remained in the First Presidency as a counselor to President Hinckley.
During his long period of service in the quorum he was called in April 1970 and had previously served as an assistant to the Twelve President Packer has gained a reputation as a champion of family values and an advocate for living church doctrines unswervingly and without dilution.
He also is noted for a profound sense of humility in his calling. In a 2000 conference talk, he said: "I do not like to receive honors. Compliments always bother me, because the great work of moving the gospel forward has in the past, does now, and will in the future depend upon ordinary members."
President Packer was born Sept. 10, 1924, in Brigham City, a son of Ira W. and Emma Jensen Packer. The family lived in humble circumstances, and young Boyd learned a stringent work ethic early. He was put to work as a boy pulling cockleburs out of the family orchard, collecting them in a little lard bucket.
After graduation from high school, he was a construction worker. World War II prevented his serving a mission for the church. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was trained to fly bombers. He was assigned to the Pacific Theater. On his return home, he enrolled at Weber College, now Weber State University, where he earned an associate degree. He furthered his education at Utah State University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees. He also was awarded a doctorate in education administration from Brigham Young University after he became a general authority in the church.
He fulfilled many callings at ward and stake levels and was an administrator in the Church Education System for a time, directing the development of a nationwide system of seminaries for American Indian students. He was called as an assistant to the Twelve in October 1961.
During his tenure in the Quorum of the Twelve, he has filled many assignments, including service on the committee that oversaw preparation and publication of LDS Scriptures that were extensively cross-referenced and made more usable to church members. He urged church members to make good use of the greatly enhanced works.
He married Donna Smith in the Logan Temple; they are parents of 10 children. He has often referred to his family relationships as being of the greatest value in his life.
Besides being continuously involved in church work, he served a four-year term as a city councilman in Brigham City. In 1947, the Brigham City Junior Chamber of Commerce honored him with its Distinguished Service Award. He has written a number of gospel-centered books and is noted as an artist, in particular for his carvings and paintings of birds.