In the late 1980’s I attended a regional Priesthood Leadership meeting in Santa Monica California. I was in a bishopric at the time. Elder Packer was the speaker. He talked about how he should not need to travel to California to speak to us, that we were seasoned leaders, and that his time could be better spent in countries without multigenerational members. He particularly called out Mexico, where he had recently returned from forming a Stake. He lamented on the amount of boxes of “manuals and forms” that were delivered to this new Stake, and all the administrative stuff that now befell them.

His most interesting statement came when he was telling us we didn’t need Salt Lake to give us directions, but that we could get all the revelation we needed for our stewardship. He cautioned us not to hold out for a manifestations or audible voices when waiting for revelation for our calling. He then stated as best as I can remember: “I’ve never had a heavenly visitation, nor have I even heard an audible voice in answer to my prayers, and I know of none of my brethren that has had one either”. He then went on to emphasize the still small voice that comes to us.

I found it interesting that in light of the above statements, one could easy conclude that nether he or the rest of the Q15 have even seen a heavenly beaning, let alone the Lord. Yet 20 years earlier, when he gave his first talk as a newly ordained Apostle, he said the following

Occasionally during the past year I have been asked a question. Usually it comes as a curious, almost an idle, question about the qualifications to stand as a witness for Christ. The question they ask is, “Have you seen Him?”

That is a question that I have never asked of another. I have not asked that question of my brethren in the Quorum, thinking that it would be so sacred and so personal that one would have to have some special inspiration, indeed, some authorization, even to ask it.

There are some things just too sacred to discuss. We know that as it relates to the temples. In our temples, sacred ordinances are performed; sacred experiences are enjoyed. And yet we do not, because of the nature of them, discuss them outside those sacred walls.

April 1971 General Conference

But then we have Elder Oaks from a youth fireside in 2016. It was a questiona an answer format

Youth Asks:

What should we pray for to receive the same testimony and/or conversion that Alma the Younger experienced, for our friend who are not members?

Elder Oaks answers:

I’ve never had an experience like that and I don’t know anyone among the 1st Presidency or Quorum of the 12 who’ve had that kind of experience. Yet everyone of us knows of a certainty the things that Alma knew. But it’s just that unless the Lord chooses to do it another way, as he sometimes does; for millions and millions of His children the testimony settles upon us gradually. Like so much dust on the windowsill or so much dew on the grass. One day you didn’t have it and another day you did and you don’t know which day it happened. That’s the way I got my testimony. And then I knew it was true when it continued to grow.

There are also older quotes from Heber J. Grant and Joseph Fielding Smith wear they both deny ever seeing the Lord.

But again Elder Packer gave the following in 2016

After all the years that I have lived and taught and served, after the millions of miles I have traveled around the world, with all that I have experienced, there is one great truth that I would share. That is my witness of the Savior Jesus Christ.

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon recorded the following after a sacred experience:

“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him”

Their words are my words.

The Witness,” Ensign, May 2014, page 97

It is not just Elder Packer, many of the Q15 have given talks where they speak of experiences “to sacred to share” and imply it has to do with seeing the Lord. It was not too scared for Joseph Smith to tell of his seeing the Lord, AND his Father! This sacred experience is repeated probably thousands of times everyday by missionaries.

So why the equivocation today by the Q15? Are they afraid it will diminish their authority if they come clean and say point blank they have not seen Christ? And if they have seen Him, why not tell us?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay