“THE EARTH SHALL TEACH THEE: The Lifework of an Amateur Artist," by Boyd K. Packer, BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book, $44.99, 178 pages (nf)
As a young boy, Boyd K. Packer wanted to go on a safari to Africa rather than play cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians like the others in his neighborhood.
"My interest in nature evolved into an interest in art," President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote in "The Earth Shall Teach Thee: The Lifework of an Amateur Artist." This coffee-table-size book includes some of his early sketches on lined paper, sketches from the notebook he had during his military service in Japan, and his later paintings, drawings and carvings. His formal art education was a high school art class.
"As I painted or carved, I was able to work things through my mind and resolve whatever it was that was weighing on me," wrote President Packer, who professionally was a Church Educational System instructor. "I have a list of which general conference talks came from which bird carving during the years."
Several of the sketches include an explanation of the lesson they represent. He also includes a summary of his methodology in creating several of the pieces. Most were created with surplus materials the family had or materials gathered from friends or neighbors.
His hobby wasn’t just an individual pursuit. His children helped craft a pioneer-theme fireplace mantle and grandchildren assisted with the Noah and the Ark carvings.
President Packer also shares his love of nature. His family created a pond in the backyard for ducks and other fowl.
"All of my observations confirm to my soul that there is a God who created it all," President Packer wrote.
Many of his art pieces were on display in the Museum of Church History and Art in 2004, and at one point, President Packer and a few family members toured the exhibit. A DVD of the tour is included with the book.