As General Conference continues this weekend, I am missing more and more the voices of three beloved friends: President Boyd K. Packer, Elder L. Tom Perry, and Elder Richard G. Scott. I miss the wisdom and spirit and calmness they brought with them, the rich emotional tenor of Elder Scott, the sly smile of Elder Perry, and the humble consistency of President Packer.
I find myself waiting for them to just still be there, and while I’m excited and eager for the three newly called Apostles of Jesus Christ, there’s still that lack.
I’ve had the extreme good fortune of meeting Perry and Scott in person, and my memories are rich and full. Both visited my mission while I was serving in Brazil, and both left a lasting impression on me. Perry’s enthusiasm for missionary work and the gospel was contagious. Scott’s sobriety and commitment was palpable. He invited all of (four missions or ~800 people) to come one-by-one to shake his hand. I remember his size. He was tiny, and as he was so capable of doing, he seemed to look through our souls. He and Elder Christofferson (then of the Seventy) spent the next six hours pouring truth, light, and knowledge on us in a never-ending flood of teaching. It was then and remains now one of the deepest and richest experiences of my life.
And while I never met President Packer in person, I’ve long lived his unalterable consistency in testimony and faith. Surely few other apostles of the modern era have faced such constant criticism for the stances he took on marriage, family, and the gospel, and I loved him for it.
So as conference continues, I find my ears perking for that country drawl, the guttural rumblings, and the oddly paced potency of three beloved friends. I miss them.
P.S. As I listened to parts of Elder Scott’s funeral services, I had the clearest image of the reunion between him and his beloved wife, Janeen on the other side. My missing these three can’t compare in any measure to the reunion that just occurred!