Boyd Packer, the eldest member of the 12 Mormon Apostles, and next in line for Church President, known as the "Prophet", died on July 3rd. It was reported that he died from complications of old age.
Packer has always been the largest vocal opponent to any progress in the LGBT community with respect the LDS Church. Here are a few quotes from the late apostle with added emphasis on anti-gay statements.
One of the most explicit anti-gay messages Packer had was in a Priesthood talk in 1976, later published (and still used) as a pamphlet called "To Young Men Only":
Now a warning! I am hesitant to even mention it, for it is not pleasant. It must be labeled as major transgression. But I will speak plainly. There are some circumstances in which young men may be tempted to handle one another, to have contact with one another physically in unusual ways. Latter-day Saint young men are not to do this.
Sometimes this begins in a moment of idle foolishness, when boys are just playing around. But it is not foolishness. It is remarkably dangerous. Such practices, however tempting, are perversion. When a young man is finding his way into manhood, such experiences can misdirect his normal desires and pervert him not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.
It was intended that we use this power only with our partner in marriage. I repeat, very plainly, physical mischief with another man is forbidden. It is forbidden by the Lord.
There are some men who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts. If you are ever approached to participate in anything like that, it is time to vigorously resist.
While I was in a mission on one occasion, a missionary said he had something to confess. I was very worried because he just could not get himself to tell me what he had done.
After patient encouragement he finally blurted out, “I hit my companion.”
“Oh, is that all,” I said in great relief.
“But I floored him,” he said.
After learning a little more, my response was “Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it, and it wouldn’t be well for a General Authority to solve the problem that way.”
I am not recommending that course to you, but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself.
There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it. They are just “that way” and can only yield to those desires. That is a malicious and destructive lie. While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life. From our premortal life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits. Boys are to become men—masculine, manly men—ultimately to become husbands and fathers. No one is predestined to a perverted use of these powers.This vile and discriminatory talk outlines four hateful beliefs. (1) Homosexuality is forbidden perversion and of the devil. (2) It is more acceptable to resort to violence than to submit to homosexual acts. (3) God did not create homosexuals, and such tendencies can be overcome. (4) Males are to be masculine manly men, and there is no mistake as to a mismatch of physical and spiritual gender.
Another statement he made was in 1993 to the "All Church-Coordinating Council":
It is so easy to be turned about without realizing that it has happened to us. There are three areas where members of the Church, influenced by social and political unrest, are being caught up and led away. I chose these three because they have made major invasions into the membership of the Church. In each, the temptation is for us to turn about and face the wrong way, and it is hard to resist, for doing it seems so reasonable and right.
The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals.
This talk is commonly known as the "three enemies of the church" talk, where the very fundamentals of the LDS Church are unraveled by the social progress of gay rights, women's rights, and questioning history and authority with intellectual and scholarly research.
In October of 2010, Packer stated in his General Conference Talk:
If we're not alert, there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that will legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God's laws and nature ... what good would a vote against the law of gravity do? ...
Some suppose that they were pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember he is our father.The church later edited the text of the latter paragraph of the talk to say:
Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn temptations toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Remember, God is our Heavenly Father.Completely changing the tone and meaning of the statement. The first part also advocates that it is immoral to vote in laws that go against "God's Plan". Immorality is relative, and in no way should match the rules of any particular religion.
Many are relieved (inside and outside of the church) that the outdated opinions of this man didn't have a chance to rule the LDS Church in succession to Thomas Monson, current president. There are a few other LDS leaders that hold on to negative and destructive views regarding LGBT people, but the numbers are waning. Just like Spencer Kimball had to wait for several racist leaders to die to exclaim that the priesthood could then be given to black people, so will another LDS leader have to wait to exclaim similar changes for LGBT people.