In the last week FAIR has received an increasing number of queries about the supposed transcript of a talk given by President Boyd K. Packer in the Forest Bend Ward on 12 October 2008.
We have been in touch with Church Public Affairs about this matter. Here are the facts:
- President Packer did indeed speak at the meeting cited.
- No official transcript of his talk was made and that the one circulating by email was typed after the talk was given and should not be considered to be authoritative.
- On 13 May 2004 the First Presidency issued the following letter to all Church units and leaders:
From time to time statements are circulated among members which are inaccurately attributed to the leaders of the Church. Many such statements distort current Church teachings and are often based on rumors and innuendos. They are never transmitted officially, but by word of mouth, e-mail, or other informal means.
We encourage members of the Church to never teach or pass on such statements without verifying that they are from approved Church sources, such as official statements, communications, and publications. Any notes made when General Authorities, Area Authority Seventies, or other general Church officers speak at regional and stake conferences or other meetings should not be distributed without the consent of the speaker. Personal notes are for individual use only. [emphasis added by FAIR]
True spiritual growth is based on studying the scriptures, the teachings of the Brethren, and Church publications.
This sort of thing has happened before. Eight years ago another statement attributed to President Packer circulated widely, claiming that today’s youth were “generals in the war in heaven.” President Packer issued a statement in 2001 denying that he made that statement. Earlier this year the First Presidency released a letter warning the Saints, “This is a false statement. It is not Church doctrine.”
If you receive a copy of the Forest Bend talk by email, please inform the person who sent it to you that it is spurious and should not be used.
Better yet, tell your friends ahead of time. If they haven’t received their own copy yet, they will soon.