We believe that marriage and family ties can continue beyond the grave—that marriages performed by those who have the proper authority in His temples will continue to be valid in the world to come.
Through the glorious resurrection, body and spirit will be reunited. We will have a perfect, immortal body of flesh and bones that will never be subjected to pain or death. But the glory we attain to in the next life will depend on our performance in this life. Only through the gift of the Atonement and our obedience to the gospel can we return and live with God once again.
One of our common failings is to depreciate our tremendous worth.
As Christmas approached, we sent letters home to our families asking that, instead of sending gifts to us, they send toys for the children in the orphanage. The response of our families was overwhelming! Toys arrived daily from our homes.
We found a tree suitable to use as a Christmas tree, but we had no traditional decorations for it. A lady taught us how to make little birds by folding square pieces of paper, and these became the major part of the decorations for the tree. The presents were wrapped mostly in discarded Stars and Stripes newspapers. I’ll never forget Christmas Eve with those children. I am sure many of them had never seen a Christmas tree in their lives.
We sang Christmas carols to them, but we weren’t very good at this. They had been rehearsing for weeks so they could sing a song to us in English. It was not a Christmas carol, but it was beautiful. They sang, “You Are My Sunshine.” We were deeply touched with the spirit of the children that Christmas Eve, especially as they opened the presents sent from our families. I suppose some of them had not had a toy in many, many years.
This is a Christmas I’ll never forget because we were learning the true meaning of this great holiday season. The greatest joy we can receive in life is giving—to bring into the life of someone else a little joy and happiness.
We want to encourage you to reach out and extend the hand of fellowship to them and bring the warmth of Christmas into every soul you possibly are able to touch.
Elder L. Tom Perry, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was called to his present Church position as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 6, 1974, after serving as an Assistant to the Twelve since 1972.
Elder Perry’s Church service began with a mission to the Northern States in 1942, after which he served for two years with the Marines in the Pacific. Subsequent Church positions include counselor in a bishopric in Lewiston, Idaho; counselor in a stake presidency in Sacramento, California; high councilor in the New York Stake; and president of the Boston Stake.
He was born August 5, 1922, in Logan, Utah, to Leslie Thomas and Nora Sonne Perry.
He received his B.S. degree in finance from Utah State University in 1949 and did graduate work there. His professional career was spent in the retail business, where he served as vice president and treasurer in companies located in Idaho, California, New York, and Massachusetts.
On July 18, 1947, he married Virginia Lee of Hyde Park, Utah, in the Logan Temple. She died December 14, 1974. They are the parents of two daughters and a son.
He married Barbara Taylor Dayton on April 28, 1976, in the Salt Lake Temple.
Elder Perry passed away on May 30, 2015 at the age of 92.
- Utah State UniversityFinance, 1949
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsQuorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1974 - present