I’m not exactly a fan of Boyd K. Packer. I was at the All-Church Coordinating Council meeting when he said that gays, feminists, and intellectuals were the three great threats to the church. I wasn’t impressed that he read excerpts from private letters and then held them up to ridicule and raucous laughter in that meeting. Still bothers me.
But I learned one of the great lessons of my life from Boyd K. Packer at Temple Square. My roommate and I were waiting in line for the priesthood session of conference, and we were standing just on the inside of the south gate of Temple Square.
Just on the other side of the gate was a rather rabid anti-Mormon guy handing out pamphlets and insulting the church. You know, the usual. Just then, Elder Packer came walking down the sidewalk and through the same gate.
He stopped, shook the man’s hand, and called him by name.
“How’s business?” he asked, smiling.
“Not too good. No one’s taking my pamphlet,” the man replied.
“Can’t say I’m sorry to hear that,” he said, chuckling, and then wished the man a good evening.
The anti-Mormon guy smiled and returned the good wishes. Then he went back to the ranting.
But that’s stuck with me because it wasn’t how I expected someone like Elder Packer to act. I’ve tried to behave the same way since then, though from a lot of people it’s just earned me condemnation as a phony.
I guess I still have a long way to go before I can meet hatred with humor and kindness. But it’s worth trying.