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Sen. Mike Lee: Elder L. Tom Perry — booming through the world

Editor's note: The following is the speech Sen. Mike Lee delivered on June 3, 2015, on the Senate floor in honor of Elder L. Tom Perry.

Mr. President,

I rise today to pay tribute to Elder L. Tom Perry, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Perry passed away on Saturday, May 30, 2015, at the age of 92.

L. Tom Perry was a giant of a man with an even larger soul. His enthusiasm for life energized and inspired all who came under his extraordinary influence. It has been said that ideas go booming through the world like cannons, thoughts are mightier than armies and principles have achieved more victories than horsemen or chariots. Inspiring ideas, transformational thoughts and powerful principles — these were the driving force in Elder Perry’s life and ministry and what made him such a positive force for good in the world.

It is true that Elder Perry’s booming voice carried his words far and wide, but it was his spiritual strength and positive perspective that sent his cherished ideas on faith, family and freedom booming to the four corners of the world and into the hearts of millions.

As a Marine, businessman and ecclesiastical leader, L. Tom Perry was committed to helping people elevate their thoughts and lives. He was a man who knew what it meant to dream big, be bold and never accept anything less than your best. His passion for life, people and service was contagious. He was among the first wave of Marines to arrive in Japan as the war drew to a close. Though he entered as a member of the occupation forces, his thoughts were focused on elevating those around him. He convinced a number of his fellow servicemen to spend their free time rebuilding a decimated Protestant chapel. Later while in Saipan, he similarly lifted others by repairing a Catholic orphanage. Throughout his service as an LDS apostle, he was known for praising positive performance. Yet, he also made sure that thoughts and sights were forever lifted up so that individuals, families and communities would strive to do, be and become even better. Elder Perry proved that thoughts are indeed mightier than armies.

L. Tom Perry was a man of principle — and he was a man who recognized that believing in, living by and teaching true principles was the key to success in every area of life. He taught that the family is the bulwark of society and central to the strength and vitality of communities and nations. He believed that the principle of freedom was universal and that all people should have the privilege to live in liberty. He declared that freedom was not a spectator sport and that we all have a sacred duty to defend and protect it. The principle of faith was truly the essence of L. Tom Perry. His faith carried him through difficult days and trying times. The principle of faith helped him help others. Elder Perry simply believed, believed simply and showed that positively and enthusiastically believing was a better way to live. He believed in people — even, no especially, when they didn’t have the faith to believe in themselves. His life demonstrated that true principles have achieved more victories than horsemen or chariots.

Elder Perry often claimed that he was just an ordinary man — yet his ideas, thoughts and principles enabled him to live an extraordinary life. As an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he traveled the world sharing his profound testimony of Jesus Christ and his love for people from every walk of life. Elder Perry reminded us that we are to live our lives not by days but by deed, not by seasons but by service.

I am thankful for the life and ministry of Elder L. Tom Perry — he made a difference for his family, his community, his church and our nation.

Mr. President, I finish where I began — ideas go booming through the world like cannons, thoughts are mightier than armies and principles have achieved more victories than horsemen or chariots. The booming legacy of Elder L. Tom Perry will echo in the hearts, reverberate in the minds and warm the souls of many for generations to come.

Mike Lee is the junior U.S. senator from Utah.