A generation ago, Elder Packer delivered a classic General Conference address: Spiritual Crocodiles. In his address to BYU students earlier this week entitled Lehi's Dream and You, Elder Packer sounded many of the same themes, albeit without coining any new metaphors. Deseret News summarized Packer's remarks, including this quote:
"You live in an interesting generation where trials will be constant in your life," he said. "Learn to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It is to be a shield, a protection and a teacher for you. Never be ashamed or embarrassed about the doctrines of the gospel or about the standards we teach in the church."
There's an echo in that quote of the (alleged) ancient Chinese proverb, "May you live in interesting times." Here's another quote, giving Packer's rather elementary advice for staying on the straight and narrow:
"You will be safe if you look like and groom like and act like an ordinary Latter-day Saint," President Packer said. "Dress modestly, attend your meetings, pay tithes, take the sacrament, honor the priesthood, honor your parents, follow your leaders, read the scriptures, study the Book of Mormon and pray, always pray. An unseen power will hold your hand as you hold to the iron rod."
BYU NewsNet also reported on Packer's address. Here's a sample from that writeup:
President Packer described the perpetrators of the attacks on our morality and beliefs as atheists and agnostics - the modern day Korihors and Nehors among us. They attack today's generation indirectly through tactics such as mocking and jest. Concerning such attacks, President Packer said the members of the church must be mindful of their own language and conduct.
"All of the mocking does not come from outside of this church," he said.
One can speculate about exactly what the "mocking and jest" is and where inside the Church it is coming from. Is that a reference to speakers inside the institutional Church — over the pulpit or inside BYU classrooms? [Advice to BYU profs: no more home teaching jokes in class.] Or does it refer to lighthearted Utah newspaper columnists or editorial cartoonists? Or to satirical websites that parody and ridicule LDS beliefs and practices?
Trivia question: the Deseret News article notes that Elder Packer flew bombers in the Pacific for the Air Force during World War II. I know some readers get a little squeamish about things military, but not I. Anyone know what planes he flew? B-17? B-24? B-25? B-29?