What General Authorities Say About Fatherhood

L. Tom Perry

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

L. Tom Perry with his children. Photo from LDS.org.

A story from his family life, from "Called of God":

My children taught me a great lesson many years ago. Our family had moved from California to New York, where I had accepted a position with a new company. We began the process of finding a new home by looking in communities closest to the city. Gradually, however, we moved farther away from the city to find a home in a neighborhood that suited our needs. We found a beautiful home some distance from New York City. It was a one-story house nestled in the lovely deep woods of Connecticut. The final test before purchasing the home was for me to ride the commuter train into New York and check the time and see how long the commute would take. I made the trip and returned quite discouraged. The trip was one and one-half hours each way. I walked into our motel room where our family was waiting for me and presented to my children a choice.

“You can have either this house or a father,” I said. Much to my surprise they responded, “We will take the house. You are never around much anyway.” I was devastated. What my children were telling me was true. I needed to repent fast. My children needed a father who was home more. Eventually we reached a compromise and bought a home closer to the city, with a much shorter commute. I changed my work habits to allow me to have more time with my family.

In the words of his son, Lee, from "What Are Prophets?":

Tom Perry made spending time with his family, which included his wife Virginia and three children, a real priority. Elder Perry involved his family in his Church activities whenever possible. Over the years they typed and proofread talks, made copies for him, found quotes and stories, and served as timekeepers.

His son, Lee, spoke of the times he accompanied his father as a timekeeper on speaking assignments while his father was a high councilor in the Sacramento area.

“He would give me his watch, and I would sit in the center of the congregation, a few rows from the front. We used the signs of the three monkeys—see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. If he wasn’t standing straight, I would cover my eyes. If he was speaking too loudly, I would cover my ears, and just before his time was up, I would cover my mouth,” Lee said.

Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com