- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The son of Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer said it pained his father during his final years to observe declining morals around the world.

Boyd K. Packer died last week at the age of 90 from natural causes. His oldest son, Allan Packer, said Tuesday that his father suffered from aftereffects of polio, which he had as a young boy.

“He had been most places in the world and could see the moral decline,” said Allan Packer. “His calling was one to be a worldwide leader. So, he ached for people all over the world.”

A public funeral is planned Friday in Salt Lake City for Boyd K. Packer, the second high-ranking Mormon leader to die in the past two months. Packer was next in line to become president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a group modeled after Jesus Christ’s apostles that serves under the church president and his two counselors.

Allan Packer said his father’s greatest accomplishment was the family he raised with his wife of 70 years, Donna. They had 10 children, 60 grandchildren and 111 great-grandchildren.

He said his father loved to shed his suit and tie and get dirty in the outdoors to hunt, fish and camp. He was also an avid painter and sculptor. Most of his artwork is on display at a museum at Brigham Young University in Provo.

Allan Packer said his father’s legacy as a church leader will be that of being a great teacher of the gospel and church doctrine.

“He has great love for people, which is probably not well understood,” said Allan Packer, a member of the religion’s Quorum of the Seventy, the governing body below the Quorum of the Twelve. “That was the motivation for the teaching.”

Packer was known for being a staunch advocate for a conservative form of Mormonism, making him an idol for like-minded, devout Latter-day Saints but also a target of frequent criticism from gay rights groups.

Asked about those criticisms, Allan Packer said, “He was most concerned to do what Heavenly Father wanted him to do and to teach the gospel principles found in the scriptures.”

Quorum member Russell M. Nelson, 90, now becomes next in line to take Mormon President Thomas S. Monson’s place because he is the most tenured of the group. Monson is 87 years old, and church officials have said he’s feeling the effects of his age.

Replacements for Packer and Perry on the quorum will be chosen sometime in the coming months by Monson, considered the religion’s prophet. Members of the faith believe those decisions are guided by inspiration from God. Some past quorum members have been moved up from another governing body, the Quorum of the Seventy, while others have come from leadership posts at church-run universities.


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