The BYU Religious Studies Center, in cooperation with Deseret Book, has published a book by President Boyd K. Packer featuring a significant number of his paintings, drawings, and wood carvings. The book is titled The Earth Shall Teach Thee: The Lifework of an Amateur Artist.
President Packer is well known for his years of service as a teacher and leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many would say that his greatest contribution has been that of a teacher. His ability to teach principles with simple everyday examples is a gift. This gift came as a natural ability but has been refined by years of study, practice, and prayer. But what most people don’t know is that President Packer has had a pastime of painting and carving. This hobby has been used to beautify his home, teach his children, and provide needed relaxation. While he was painting or carving, his mind was carving out a sermon. He has created what some describe as masterpieces. To him, they are simply an attempt to capture the beauty of nature. The whole collection of his art consists of nearly six hundred original carvings, paintings, sketches, and drawings. He has used oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastels, charcoal, crayon, ink, and pencil. The collection covers seventy-seven years of effort, beginning in 1933 at age nine.
President Packer’s artistic bent and love of nature are as integrally a part of him as his spirituality, compassion, steadiness, and humor. His carvings of life-size birds in natural habitats are perhaps the apex of his artistic creations. Of more enduring worth, however, are the valuable lessons taught through his art, illustrations, parables, and example. Above all, his art expresses reverence for life. Through artwork he has shared the lessons of life with his family and with members of the Church. President Packer once wrote, “During those hours working with my hands, I pondered on the marvels of creation, and inspiration would flow. As I carved wood, I carved out talks.” His book will be available soon wherever LDS and fine art books are sold.