By Suzanne Briggs
President Boyd K. Packer, the Acting President of the Council of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will speak at a Church Education System fireside in the Marriott Center at 6 p.m. Sunday Feb. 2.
President Packer was born to Ira and Emma Jensen Packer on Sept. 10, 1924 in Brigham City, Box Elder County.
After he graduated from high school, President Packer enlisted in the army cadet program of the Air Force. He attended pilot training at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., and graduated as a pilot when he was 20.
“It was in the military service that I came to know for sure that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, that there stands at the head of the church a prophet of God,” President Packer said in the May 1987 Ensign.
He was later stationed in Hawaii and the Philippines. In October 1945, he was sent to Japan. He spent his spare time helping servicemen teach the gospel to the Japanese people. During that time, he decided that he wanted to teach for a profession.
“It meant that I couldn”t be wealthy, that I couldn”t have a lot of material resources, that I would live as a teacher in modest circumstances,” President Packer said in the July 1975 Ensign.
When President Packer returned home from the military, he attended Weber College and then graduated from Utah State University with Phi Kappa Phi honors.
He married Donna Edith Smith, a childhood friend, in the Logan temple in 1947, and they have 10 children.
President Packer continued his studies at Utah State University where he received a masters degree in education and then went on to earn a doctorate degree in Educational Administration from BYU in 1962.
He worked for the church education system as a teacher, supervisor, and administrator before he was called as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve in 1961. In August of 1965 he was called to preside over the New England Mission. On April 6, 1970 he was called to be a member of the Council of the Twelve.