President Packer
and the Ragamuffin

[author and source unknown]

Someone has said that the Church often sees President Packer as a strict disciplinarian. President Spencer W. Kimball wrote of an incident that gives the lie to that perception.

President Kimball told of a sacrament meeting that Elder Packer, then an Assistant to the Twelve, had attended in Cuzco, Peru, in 1964. President Kimball described the scene of a little boy who was dirty and dressed in tattered clothes - apparently an orphan who lived on the streets - who came to the open doorway of the chapel during the sacrament service. "Almost unobserved, he shyly came to the sacrament table and, with a seeming spiritual hunger, leaned against the table and lovingly rubbed his unwashed face against the cool, smooth white linen," President Kimball wrote.

The child was sent back into the street by a woman sitting on the front row.

"A bit later the little urchin, seemingly compelled by some inner urge, overcame his timidity and came stealthily, cautiously down the aisle again, fearful, ready to escape if necessary," President Kimball wrote.

"From his seat on the stand, Elder Packer caught his eye, beckoned to him, and stretched out big welcoming arms. After a moment's hesitation, the little Lamanite ragamuffin was nestled comfortably on his lap, in his arms, the tousled head against the great warm heart - a heart sympathetic to waifs, and especially to little Lamanite ones."

(edited by David Van Alstyne)
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