L. Tom Perry, An Uncommon Life, Vol. 1: Years of Preparation, 1922-1976

by Lee Tom Perry

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Hardcover SKU 5103970

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Elder L. Tom Perry, a senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is fond of describing himself as being "as common as dirt."

Yet his life is uncommon by any standard. After spending most of his early years in his hometown of Logan, Utah, and additional years on a mission and in the military, young Tom Perry launched a twenty-year professional career that took him from his first job as an internal auditor in Boise, Idaho, to executive positions in retailing on the west and east coasts of the United States. Soon after his fiftieth birthday, he was surprised to be called as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve. Not long afterward, President Spencer W. Kimball extended to Elder Perry the call to join the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Perry has now served for forty years as a General Authority.

For Elder Perry, the value of life's experiences is determined primarily by the lessons they teach. As the story of his life shows, his positive attitude has created positive lessons that we can learn from. He has lived a life of faithfulness to God, family, and country, and he continues to be blessed with faith-promoting experiences.

This first volume of Elder L. Tom Perry's biography extends from his birth on August 5, 1922, through his marriage to Virginia Clare Lee, the births of their children, and his career in the world of retailing to the time of his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the passing of his beloved Virginia.

Uplifting and inspirational, this story of a remarkable man of faith encourages us to live better lives by drawing closer to God, selflessly serving others, and leading our families along the path of righteousness.

About the Author

Lee Tom Perry

Lee Tom Perry, son of Elder L. Tom Perry, is the former dean of the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business (2013-2018) and the Marriott Distinguished Professor of Leadership. He holds a PhD from Yale University, and he also served twice as an associate dean at BYU Marriott (1998-2005; 2012-2013).

Brother Perry presently serves as a Sunday School teacher in his home ward. He is the author of Righteous Influence: What Every Leader Should Know about Drawing on the Powers of Heaven, as well as the first volume of this biography, L. Tom Perry: An Uncommon Life: Years of Preparation. He also wrote the lyrics of the Latter-day Saint hymn "As Now We Take the Sacrament."

Brother Perry and his wife, Carolyn Bench Perry, live in Orem, Utah. They are the parents of six children.

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Average rating:

(based upon 8 reviews)

Inspiring and Captivating
By , Submitted on 2015-06-15

Sometimes the application of doctrine sinks so much deeper! I loved every story about this remarkable man and how he followed Jesus Christ. I hope his son publishes a second installment.

Truly inspiring and a must read!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I'll admit I had this one on my shelf for a few months before I really started reading it. Now that I've finished the book, I can't believe I waited so long. This is a truly inspiring biography because Elder Perry is a truly inspiring man! His son did a superb job articulating the lessons to be gleaned from the rich experiences throughout Elder Perry's life. Even on paper, his enthusiasm is infectious. I dare you to read this book and not catch it!

a wonderful read!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Written to commemorate his 90th birthday, this biography is written by Elder L. Tom Perry's son Lee Tom Perry. In the book he says, "My father has given me little direction about his biography, but he has made one request - it should have a purpose. In other words, it ought to teach something to everyone who reads it." Don't worry Elder Perry, it does!

Following L. Tom Perry's life from birth to present we are blessed to see how his life experiences have shaped the amazing man that he is today. Did you know he was in the Marine corps? How cool is that? Did you know his first name is Lowell? And, seriously, his smile is contagious don't you think?? Through all of his life he has maintained a positive attitude and by taking this peek into his life we can learn valuable lessons. He is such a faith-filled man and he shows you through his example how to draw closer to God and live a better life by giving service to others.

An Incredible man; An Uncommon Leader
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Elder Perry is such a great man! Brother Perry's biography of his father moved me deeply. I loved reading about Elder Perry when he was a young boy, how close his family was, and the influence they had on each other. What a remarkable man Elder Perry is, and has always been. To be able to take a peek into the life and upbringing of one of our beloved leaders is a gift worth mentioning and recommending. The author has a gift of storytelling which made this book hard to put down. I laughed and cried throughout. Thank you Brother Perry for this biography, and thank you Elder Perry for the example of your life so far! I loved this book!

By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I am always amazed at how the Lord prepares his leaders. Even from early on they seem to be trained to one day lead the church in a specific way and in a specific era.

L. Tom Perry is an amazing man. I loved reading about his ancestors and how they shaped his life. I enjoyed reading about his early life and his shyness. I really liked reading about his work history, his church service, and his family life. What a great example he is to all of us.

One thing I learned about Elder Perry is that the "L" is for Lowell, his given name. And that he used to go by that name, but when Elder Perry's younger brother was born and couldn't say his name and called him Wo-Wo instead...Elder Perry pleaded with his family to start calling him Tom...and he has been L. Tom Perry ever since.

One of my favorite stories is when Elder Perry used to take his young son, Lee, with him on speaking assignments. To help his son be quiet and attentive, Elder Perry gave him the task of watching and then signaling like the three monkeys representing see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil...
If Elder Perry was not standing up straight the son was suppose to cover his eyes.
If Elder Perry was speaking too loudly the son was suppose to cover his ears.
And when it was time for Elder Perry to finish speaking the son was suppose to cover his mouth.

I especially loved reading about his love for his wife and children. And his love of the Lord and his willingness to serve where ever he is called.

I also loved that they included pictures...

I couldn't put it down
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Written by his son, Lee Tom Perry, An Uncommon Life begins with a brief history of a handful of his ancestors. I was amazed as I read about his ancestors. Even though we live in a very different time and place than those who lived so long ago, human nature and the struggles of raising a family transcend generational barriers. After leaving her family behind to build a life in the uncharted woods of Idaho, I couldn’t help but empathize with Elder Perry’s grandmother as she sobbed in her husbands arms, begging, “take me back where there’s singing and music and dancing; take me back to where there’s books and learning!” I’ve been there. I’ve felt that same loneliness.
After his family history we begin to read about L. Tom Perry himself. Born in 1922, he was raised by goodly parents who taught him the value of hard work and education.
Given the emphasis his parents placed on education and the example of his two brilliant siblings, you can imagine why Elder Perry felt “as common as dirt”. In his own eyes he was not naturally gifted and had to work hard to achieve his desired results. While this might have been kind of a downer for most of us, Elder Perry was quite glad of it. He felt that his situation of being “common” was an “opportunity for self-expression and initiative”. Of his father the author said, “he was grateful he was not as naturally gifted as others. He felt fortunate that things didn’t come easily for him and that he was given only enough natural ability when he was conscientious and applied himself.” Not being naturally gifted in anything, my successes are almost always are preceded by epic failures so I can’t tell you how inspiring that concept is to me.
Elder Perry left to serve a mission just as the US was entering World War II. After his two years were up he touched ground in his native Utah for just a few months before heading off to war. My laughter carried throughout the house when I read that L. Tom Perry chose the Marines over the Navy because of the uniforms, and Matt grinned when I read him the passage. (Matt has mentioned more than once that his only regret in joining the Air Force is that the uniforms aren’t as sharp as the Navy’s.) Elder Perry later finished school, married, started a family, moved to several different states during his successful career, and eventually ended up in New England near my old (and current) stomping grounds. His service in the church and the experiences he had with following the spirit allowed him to have a very successful career, and his enthusiasm and love for life helped him gain lasting and meaningful friendships with those around him.
For a more thorough review go to http://ordinaryhappilyeverafter.com/blog/2013/04/l-tom-perry-an-uncommon-life-review/

A compelling story of the Lord's preparation of one of his called and chosen apostles.
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I could not put Elder Perry's biography down. It stirred me deeply to learn about a humble man who the Lord took by the hand and led. This is a man who claims to be "as common as dirt" who is extraordinary in every way. The book begins by telling the incredible story of Elder Perry's ancestors and parents, moves to his boyhood, tells about his mission and military service. It provides deep insight into his professional career and years of church service in Idaho, California, New York, and Massachusetts. The book also provides revealing glimpses into Elder Perry's family life, and especially poignant stories about his first eternal companion, Virginia Clare Lee Perry. The span of the book covers Elder Perry's life through Virginia's tragic death, and practically up until the moment he meets his second eternal companion. Many of the stories told in the book are riveting and inspirational. This is a must read for all devoted members of the Church.

Candid life accounts that are spiritually edifying.
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I met him on my mission back in 2006 when He accompanied President Hinckley at the rededication if the Sanitago Chile Temple. He spoke to the Chile Rancagua mission then and also right before my two years were up. I shook his hand and was able to talk to him but this book gave me a greater opportunity to get to know him and his example he has set all throughout his life. My emotions were stirred and my spirit was uplifted throughout this book. Great perspective on his life from his son. I even went to youtube to watch his conference address from 1972 when he was called as an assistant to the twelve and then in 1974 as an apostle. I even was able to watch his address in 1975 after his wife Virginia, had passed away. It really tugged at my heart and made me realize how he really is a A Special Witness of Christ.

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