Inspirational Words and Memories From the Life of Elder L. Tom Perry
Elder L. Tom Perry Touched Lives Wherever He Went
Since the recent passing of Elder L. Tom Perry, social media sites have been flooded with stories of how he touched the lives of individuals and groups of people that he met.
I know that even though I never knew him personally, he always inspired me with his optimism and his contagious smile.
I did have an opportunity to meet him briefly on one occasion, and I was touched by the love and kindness I felt from him during that brief encounter.
I was singing in a small choir ensemble that was put together specifically to sing for some apostles that were going to be visiting the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo, and Elder Perry stopped in to visit with us missionaries in the choir for a few minutes.
I can't remember whether he talked to us before or after our performance, but I do remember the light in his eyes and the spirit that I felt as he shook my hand and told me to keep singing my whole life.
I know that was just a small and simple encounter, but I was touched that he took time to shake my hand and talk to me even if it was a very brief meeting.
As I shared that little bit of time with him, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ who had been called of God.
While I appreciate his advice to keep singing throughout my life, there are many thoughts from Elder Perry that I treasure even more, and those are some of the words that I want to share with you today.
Elder Perry Encourages Us to See the Best in Ourselves
In a world where we are surrounded by negativity, it can be a struggle to see the best in ourselves, but Elder Perry told us several times that it is important that we value ourselves for the great people we are. He also encouraged us to challenge ourselves so that we can better understand what we're capable of.
I think that most of us can appreciate a reminder from time to time about who we really are and what our potential is, and Elder Perry provided us with that reminder in the following quotations.
- "Every one of our Father in Heaven’s children is great in His sight. If the Lord sees greatness in you, how then should you see yourself?"
- "You are not competing with anyone else. You are only competing with yourself to do the best with whatever you have received."
- “One of the greatest weaknesses in most of us is our lack of faith in ourselves. One of our common failings is to depreciate our tremendous worth.”
- "If you don't raise the bar, how will you ever know your potential?"
Elder Perry Taught Us to Choose to Make the Most of Our Lives
Agency is an amazing gift that we have been blessed with and Elder Perry reiterated over and over again, that we have choices to make in our lives.
We can choose to be people of good character, we can choose to create a home where people feel happy and safe, we can choose to keep the commandments and trust in the Lord's promises, and we should live with enough confidence to choose what happens in our lives rather than just letting life happen.
I find great joy in knowing that I can choose to be the person that I want to be. As a daughter of God with divine potential, I have the ability to have a powerful impact for good on the world, but I can only do that if I choose to do so.
- "A good character is something you must make for yourself. It cannot be inherited from parents. It cannot be created by having extraordinary advantages. It isn’t a gift of birth, wealth, talent, or station. It is the result of your own endeavor. It is the reward that comes from living good principles and manifesting a virtuous and honorable life."
- "Homes should be an anchor, a safe harbor, a place of refuge, a happy place where families dwell together, a place where children are loved. In the home, parents should teach their children the great lessons of life. Home should be the center of one’s earthly experience, where love and mutual respect are appropriately blended."
- "Have more confidence in yourself than allowing your decisions to happen just by chance."
"Obedience is a choice. It is a choice between our own limited knowledge and power and God’s unlimited wisdom and omnipotence."
Elder Perry Shares His Testimony of Christ's Gospel
Although Elder Perry left a strong and amazing legacy with his words of wisdom on a wide variety of topics, his testimony of Jesus Christ is what he is best known for. As a special witness of Christ, his most valuable words came in the form of his optimistic message that through Christ we can have hope and peace.
The overarching theme in all of the talks that he gave was that as people follow the principles of Christ's gospel, they are able to experience greater joy and blessings in this life as well as in the life to come.
- "We can't predict all the struggles and storms in life, not even the ones just around the next corner, but as persons of faith and hope, we know beyond a shadow of any doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the best is yet to come."
- "The only way to find lasting peace is to look to Him."
- “If I keep my promises to the Lord, He will always keep His promises to me. He [will] always fulfill His end of the bargain—and much, much more—if I fulfill mine.”
Elder Perry's Testimony of the Restoration
Elder Perry's Smile Could Speak for Itself
If you are anything like me, when you picture Elder Perry, you always picture him with a huge smile on his face. To me that smile is a representation of the joy that comes from truly living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
My favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon is Mosiah 2:41 where we are instructed to "consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God." Elder Perry's life was certainly a testimony of that scripture.
I'm sure the people who were closest to him knew that his smile could speak louder than words in a lot of situations.
I included the video below, because it made me smile, and I'm betting that it will make you smile too. I hope you enjoy this quick six second moment with Elder Perry.