Sunday, June 19, 2011

LDS Quorum President Boyd K. Packer Suffers Fainting Spell During Dedication Of Longfellow Park Chapel In Cambridge, Now Fully Recovered

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reports that on June 19th, 2011, President Boyd K. Packer, who is President of the Quorum of the Twelve and the next in line to succeed President Thomas S. Monson, suffered a fainting spell while officiating at the re-dedication of the historical Longfellow Park chapel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Church reported that President Packer was hospitalized overnight for observation; on June 20th, he was released from hospital and flew back to Salt Lake without any complications. The Cambridge Chronicle has since published an excellent local report about the service. KSL news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of

President Packer, 86, was assisting President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, who was presiding over the re-dedication of the Longfellow Park chapel, which was gutted by fire on May 17th, 2009, causing an estimated $1.9 million in damage. The cause of the fire was an electrical malfunction. President Packer was once president of the New England States Mission, and President Eyring attended church in that meetinghouse while he was working on his doctoral degree at Harvard. It is unusual for more than one General Authority to participate in the re-dedication of a chapel. The re-dedication took place about three weeks ahead of schedule; in February, it was projected for July 3rd.

President Packer is said to be in declining health, although specifics have not been provided through official Church channels. Nevertheless, his mind is still alert and fully functioning, and he can express himself well. He is frequently portrayed as an "iron-rodder" (hardliner) on the Quorum, although this reputation is exaggerated by those discomfited by his vigorous defense of traditional marriage and his fervent promotion of strict abstinence outside of marriage. One person posted a comment to the Deseret News story indicating that President Packer had a soft heart beneath that seemingly-gruff exterior:

Mike Richards | 7:00 p.m. June 19, 2011 South Jordan, Utah:
Elder Packer holds a special place in my heart. One of his first assignments after he was ordained an Apostle was to my mission in Belgium. He was a kind and influential man who helped us understand even more fully our duties.

When I was released from my mission, I flew to London and changed planes. Elder Packer was on the plane that I took from London to Salt Lake City, with one stop in between. He treated us four returning missionaries as royalty on that flight. When we learned that Salt Lake was fogged in and that we would be spending the night in Denver, Elder Packer took care of us as if we were his own sons. He had each of us call our families and report that we were safe and that we would be leaving Denver the next morning.

Because he had to be in Salt Lake as early as possible, he took the first available flight, but before leaving, he had arraigned our transportation to the airport and our flight.

There was nothing that he could have done that he did not do.


Anonymous said...

"There was nothing that he could have done that he did not do."

If only treated gay people the same way. When Jesus sticks up and offers protection for a prostitute at the risk of his life, this is evidence of a kind heart. When Boyd K. Packer extends his personal service to make sure some missionaries returning home are comfortable in dealing with a flight delay, this is evidence of him looking out for his own.

Something so ordinary is some how divine.

Jack Mormon said...

There is no evidence that Pres. Packer has ever personally mistreated a gay person. Expressing disagreement with the practice of homosexuality, as he's done in a civil fashion in General Conference before, does not constitute mistreatment.

The Constitution of the United States does not guarantee freedom from being offended.