'There is no fear in the work we do,' says Pres. Packer

Priesthood leaders from 13 stakes gather for counsel from Brethren

Priesthood leaders of 13 stakes in Layton, Utah, gathered on Saturday, Feb. 25, to receive instruction from President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Elder M. Russell Ballard, also of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Elder Tad R. Callister, recently-appointed member of the Presidency of the Seventy, also provided instruction. Joining these Church leaders were Elder J. Roger Fluhman, Area Seventy; President Douglas L. Callister, president of the Bountiful Utah Temple and a former member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy; and Utah Ogden Mission President R. Brent Olson.

Among the 137 leaders attending the leadership conference were stake presidents, their counselors, and all bishops and branch presidents in 13 stakes in the Layton area. The meeting was held in the Layton Utah Layton Hills stake center.

The conference represented the continuation of a previously established pattern of conferences held throughout the world.

Elder M. Russell Ballard explains a point of the gospel at a priesthood leadership training conferen
Elder M. Russell Ballard explains a point of the gospel at a priesthood leadership training conference in Layton, Utah. | Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Elders Ballard, Callister and Fluhman provided instruction in the first two hours of the conference, focusing on the challenge of increasing the spiritual power of Church members, achieving real growth, strengthening families and quorums of the priesthood and maintaining personal spirituality and righteousness.

President Packer, who has served 42 years as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, provided instruction in the second half of the conference, drawing upon his experiences of more than 50 years as a General Authority.

The priesthood leaders assembled were invited to raise questions, with answers coming from President Packer, Elder Ballard and the other visiting leaders.

During the concluding hour of the meeting, President Packer spoke without notes and encouraged leaders to simplify and reduce the time demands upon the members of the Church, in order that families might spend more time together.

"We need to let them be families," he said.

President Packer also emphasized the need for cleanliness and worthiness, which he illustrated by relating an incident in the life of George Albert Smith (1870-1951), who became the eighth president of the Church. He said that President Smith recorded a dream in which he thought he had passed to the other side and found himself standing on the shore of a large lake and started up a path where he met his grandfather, George A. Smith, whose name he bore. His grandfather, who had been a counselor to Brigham Young, asked, " 'What have you done with my name?'

"George Albert Smith said his whole life ran before him in a panoramic view and finally he said, 'I have done nothing with your name of which you need be ashamed.'

"He said his grandfather then stepped forward and took him in his arms. Then he awakened. He said his pillow was wet with tears of gratitude that he could answer, 'I have done nothing with your name of which you need be ashamed.'"

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve greets attendees of a Leadership Training Meeti
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve greets attendees of a Leadership Training Meeting in Layton, Utah. | Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Speaking on the priesthood, President Packer told the local leaders, "You have all the priesthood I do and all that Brother Ballard does. We have different offices, but you have the same priesthood with the same responsibility and the same authority and the same privileges.

"Brigham Young said a number of times, 'We live far below our privileges.'

"If you brethren knew and understood who you are and the calling you have, you would know that all of the powers of heaven are available to you. When you struggle with the problems with the ward or stake or with the family or with quorums, you know that the power is there.

"The scripture has this phrase, 'For the power is in them' (Doctrine and Covenants 58:28), and it is in you.

"You can be worried and sad and disappointed, and all of the rest of it, but you are not privileged to be afraid. There is no fear in the work that we do. Fear is the opposite of faith, and if you have faith, you do not have fear. Those two things do not — cannot — exist simultaneously. So when you have a worry and a fear, you erase it with faith.

"That is why the Alma the Younger, was saved 'because of the prayers of thy father' (see Mosiah 27:14).

"The members of your stakes, the priesthood quorums, should know that they are not confined to themselves if they have a child in Florida or somewhere else that is in trouble. They can send messages, not just messages but power to sustain them. We are not confined to what we can see just around us. That power we exert always in the name of Jesus Christ."

President Packer and Elder Ballard concluded with their testimonies of the latter-day work and invited the blessings of heaven to be upon the leaders and those under their care.

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