L. Tom Perry
L. Tom Perry was born on August 5, 1922, in Logan, Utah. He was the oldest son. His parents were strong members of the Mormon Church and encouraged their children to participate by involving them in their callings. Elder Perry said of his family, “Growing up in the home I was in, it was hard not to have a testimony; it was woven into our lives by our parents.” In 1942, L. Tom Perry was called on a Mormon mission to the Northern States. On his mission he developed a great understanding of the Book of Mormon. Just six short weeks after returning from his mission, L. Tom Perry was drafted into the military. He volunteered to be in the Marine Corps, but when he arrived overseas he was put in an office job. He was one of the first to enter Japan after the atomic bomb was dropped and did all he could to help the Japanese people rebuild their country. His comrades in the army respected Elder Perry and many of them joined the Church because of his willingness to share the gospel with them.L. Tom Perry graduated from Utah State University in 1949 focusing on business. While there he met and courted Virginia Lee. They were married on July 18, 1947, and eventually had three children. Elder Perry found a job with a company in Idaho. Just after moving he was called to be second counselor in the bishopric. The family moved many times with Elder Perry’s job and he had new Church callings all along the way. He served as a seminary teacher, in bishoprics, on the high council, and in stake presidencies. Throughout it all Elder Perry maintained his standards, “Set your standard of values and never compromise it,” he said, “Have it grounded on the gospel. Don’t be afraid to let people know what you believe in and what you live by” (lds.org)
On October 6, 1972, Elder Perry was sustained as an Assistant to the Twelve Apostles and on April 11, 1974, he was ordained as an Apostle. As an Apostle he has served on the Temple and Genealogy Executive Council, the General Welfare Services Committee, and the Church Board of Education Committee.
In December 1974, Elder Perry’s wife Virginia passed away, and in 1983 their daughter passed away; his family has also unfortunately lost two grandchildren. Despite these trials Elder Perry puts his faith in Christ, “The Lord is very kind. Even though some experiences are hard, he floods your mind with memories and gives you other opportunities. Life doesn’t end just because you have a tragedy—there’s a new mountain to climb. Don’t spend a lot of time sulking over what you’ve lost. Get on with climbing the next mountain.” (lds.org)
In 1976, Elder Perry was introduced to Barbara Dayton and they were married that spring.