Subject:

My Meeting with L. Tom Perry

Date:

Nov 08, 2006

Author:

Cr@ig P@xton


Several years ago as a member of my old stake’s high council, I was interviewed by none other than “Special Witness to Jesus Christ” L. Tom Perry. L. Tom or as I like to refer to him, “L-Cool T”” was in my stake to pick a new stake president. As a member of my stake HC I was a potential candidate for the new job which warranted an interview. At the time I was an “Off the Richter Scale-Uber-Mormo-Nazi-TBM.

All my life I had been taught that these men had special super-human powers which would allow them to look deep into the souls of any man and see their inner core. I honestly believed that L. Tom could use his X-Ray vision to look deep into the recesses of my heart and see any and all hidden sins I had never confessed. (not that I had any). The reality of this belief gave me pause and caused me to make an assessment of my life. Was there anything that I needed to confess prior to my meeting? Upon reflection I decided that I was worthy of my interview and proceeded.

Members are often under the impression that each new Stake President is called by the inspiration of God. That God whispers the anonymous name of the new Stake President into the ears of the Apostle assigned to the reorganization. However, like many other general Mormon misconceptions, reality is quite different than general perceptions.

Prior to my interview, a special meeting was held by the departing stake presidency and the current stake high council. In this meeting the SP announced that his tenure as SP was coming to an end and that L.- Cool T, I mean L. Tom, would be attending our next stake conference to reorganize a new stake presidency. He then asked each member of the high council to “write down” names of potential stake members that "we" thought would make good candidates for the next Stake President. WTF??? OK I was nieve’, but this procedure blew me away. I was on the HC but I didn’t think I was qualified to submit names to a member of the 12. I thought that God would tell him who the next stake president would be by the gift and power of God. That he could merely look at a list of the Stake membership and God would highlight the name of the next SP for him. Not that "I" would be telling him who to consider. Boy was I in for a surprise.

So as instructed and being the good soldier that I was, I wrote down the names of all my enemies in the stake, just kidding, I wrote down all the names of guys I thought would make a good stake president. The mere fact that I was Exed only a few years later may go to the heart of my ability to submit qualified names. But surprise of all surprises...one of the guys whose names I submitted was called as the new SP.

Any way back to my interview...

At the appointed time for my interview I arrived early in a crisp white shirt, conservative dark gray suit and dark blue non-descript tie carrying my quad. My hair was cut missionary style and I tried to fake the part of a potential SP candidate. L. Tom, dressed in his best “Mr. Mac” suit was accompanied by Billionaire John Huntsman. Yeah it was kind of surreal.

As I sat, L. Tom introduced both himself and Huntsman. He then used his super-human powers on me...sliding his glasses to the end of his nose and leaning forward ... he asked... Bro Paxton, are you morally clean. I stopped and thought when the last time was that I played with my little factory... I determined that it had in fact been long enough of a lapse so I told him that I was indeed morally clean. He then asked me to bare my testimony. I proceeded to declare my utmost belief in all things Mormon, that the BoM was indeed a history of the inhabitants of the America’s, that God had indeed restored his true gospel and that Christ was the head of this church...but even in my spiritual fervor...I somehow detected a slight ting in L. Tom’s eye. Perhaps it was the spirit talking to Tom, telling him that sitting in front of him at that very moment was a future apostate of the church or maybe he was merely passing gas, but somehow I could tell that I didn’t pass his test and didn’t measure up in his eyes.

He thanked me for my testimony and gave a secret password to John Huntsman that he had rejected me as a candidate...where upon Huntsman started to tell me about his family and how he had hired a gardener to take care of his yard when he was poor so that he could spend more time with his family. I kid you not; this billionaire hired a gardener to care for his yard when he was poor...I wanted to ask him what his definition of poor was...but I knew it didn’t matter, I hadn’t made the grade...God must have told L. Tom that I had played with my little (its big to me) factory, once too often to be found worthy.

But I take heart in knowing that both L. Tom and I picked the same man to be the new SP....

 

Subject:

Re: My Meeting with L. Tom Perry

Date:

Nov 08 13:37

Author:

DeAnn


I never cease to be amazed by the rich stories that appear on this board.

 

Subject:

Wonderful story, Cr@ig ...

Date:

Nov 08 13:45

Author:

Lucyfer


I would bet that the look you saw was in fact caused by passing gas.

No - actually he discerned that you had a sense of humor - Instantly, you were rejected! Sorry, there is NO HUMOR ALLOWED IN THAE STAKE PRESIDENCY!!!!

In all seriousness, perhaps your family tree did not connect to all the right people./ that seems so important to the Morg. Also - maybe you did not have a fancy enough job, or did not earn sufficient dollars to make the grade. it is all about the really important stuff, you know.

Jeez, the old man's club is just so pathetic!

 

Subject:

This helps explain...

Date:

Nov 08 14:00

Author:

Stray Mutt


...why the same sorts of men get called to leadership positions. It's not that the Lord knows of some exceptionally spiritual man humbly toiling in the background who would make a fine SP and guides an apostle to seek him out. It's that the leaders look around the room and recommend guys very much like themselves.

 

Subject:

Choosing a bishop

Date:

Nov 08 14:07

Author:

substrate


Back when I was elders quorum president, our bishop built a new home and was moving out of the ward. One Sunday morning, I was asked to prepare a list of men I would recommend to be the new bishop. I was kind of shocked, as I felt that as a lowly guy in his 20s, I was in no position to recommend anyone. But I dutifully complied.

When I got to the stake center, the high priests group leader was just coming out of the SP's office. I went in and gave them my list. They asked a couple of minor questions about the names and then asked me what I thought of the current bishop's first counselor. I said, "He's been in the bishopric for 9 years. You need to give him a break." But they asked me specific questions about his capabilities and personality.

Later the HP group leader said that they had done the same thing with him (and he had given the same answer I had). We both knew who would be the next bishop and were thus not surprised the next week when he was sustained.

 

Subject:

Re: Choosing a bishop

Date:

Nov 09 01:53

Author:

feeling better


I had always felt second rate in the church back when I was attending due to the fact that I was never called to any sort of position, in fact I was a junior companion my entire mission, I just figured I wasn’t up to par. After reading these threads however I realize that I just didn’t fit in with the in crowd and didn’t have my nose up the right peoples asses and that inspiration had nothing to do with anything! I am actually glad now that I never made the grade its all starting to make more sense.

 

Subject:

Exactly! There is no mystery or inspired discernment. It's about resumes and personalities.

Date:

Nov 08 20:54

Author:

Son of Abish


They're looking for:

(1) A person who looks like a leader.

(2) A person who projects confidence.

(3) A person with a good resume as an administrator and manager.

(4) A person who is a bit bland and buttoned-down--no loose cannons.

(5) A person who clearly demonstrates unswerving loyalty to the hierarchy.

(6) A person whom the GAs feel comfortable being around.

(7) A person with a good family pedigree and preferably someone they know well or who has connections with people whom they know well.

I realized on my mission that there was no magical mystery Holy Ghost inspiration involved. Mission presidents are typically presumed to have GA-like powers of discernment and inspiration with respect to presiding over their mission.

I served under three different mission presidents.

One MP was from Salt Lake City and, I kid you not, half of the Elders selected to be APs were guys who this MP knew or who were from families that the MP knew in SLC. Some had been student body presidents at their high schools before serving their missions. It was pretty apparent that the MP was just choosing people he was comfortable with and with whom he would have a good rapport, and was probably also looking at their records the way any potential employer would look at resumes. The MP had been fairly high up in the SLC public education system, so that may also have explained his penchant for choosing former student body presidents. (As a side note, one of the guys he chose was from a very prominent family in SLC and had been 100% certain from the beginning that he would be an AP--almost like it was an entitlement. Sure enough, he was selected AP, even though all of his statistics, including memorization of discussion (foreign language mission) were relatively abysmal. It was quite hilarious actually, as he was made AP relatively early on and was given the authority to "pass" or "fail" other missionaries on their mastery of foreign language discussions, even though he himself had failed to master all but 2 out of the 7 that were required.

Another MP was from a farming area from a western state and, wouldn't you know it, his first AP selection was a guy from the same area.

My third AP was a tall, athletic guy who had been quite the studly and manly man in his younger days (but a bit overweight as MP) and had tall, strapping sons. It seemed that every guy in the mission who was over 6'2" and athletic automatically was appointed to be an AP. Shorter, less athletic guys were appointed only when there weren't enough tall basketball players available.

In short, I completely understand the MPs' desire to select people as AP that they would be comfortable with. But don't for a minute try to tell me that the Holy Ghost or any divine inspiration had anything to do with their decision-making process.

 

Subject:

Re: This helps explain...

Date:

Nov 09 01:37

Author:

stray dog 2


I would say that this is a dog's eye view, or maybe a view from the stray mutt's tail. Not much value there.

 

Subject:

Enjoyed your story

Date:

Nov 08 14:07

Author:

cl2


All these stories sure bring it all into perspective, doesn't it. I believed they could see everything, too.

All of you with these stories need to post more of them. They are very entertaining (even if maybe they aren't meant to be).

 

Subject:

I read a book about Mason rites

Date:

Nov 08 14:09

Author:

Anubis


In the book it talks about the guy writing and when he was about to become 33rd mason the head guy asked him a question about who he served. The book's author answer Jesus Christ and is told to enter the door on the left. His fellow 32 degree masons answer correctly by saing the Master Architech and are then sent to the door on the right.

My point being I bet you should have answered that "You know it's all a crock of shit and that you somehow still worship GBH." That would have been a instand enter to the door on the right answer and welcome to the GA's finest go-fers club (you know go for this go for that).

I bet the billionaire would have written you a check on the spot. "Welcome to the club."

Anubis

 

Subject:

They don't want sincere, unsophisticated believers in upper management.

Date:

Nov 08 21:08

Author:

Son of Abish


I don't think they really want unsophisticated, naively sincere true believers in upper management in the Church.

They want to see some indication of sophistication and nuance. They're looking for guys who can handle themselves in a press conference like a seasoned politician--someone who can seem to be saying something without really saying anything at all--someone like Gordon "I don't know that we teach that" Hinckley.

They don't want someone who can't cynically adapt to an audience. They want someone who can blather on in ecstasy about the Book of Abraham to a group of gullible Mormons one minute, and deftly downplay its importance to an audience of knowledgeable critics the next.

No more Bruce R. McConkies, ferchrissake! No more Brigham Youngs! No naively honest and frank leaders who can't pick up on the subtle clues indicating that they should be quiet about polygamy and the identity of the Lamanites and racial connections to pre-existence doctrine....

Commitment to the hierarchy and a willingness to twist and mangle the truth with a disarming smile--those are probably the things that L. Tom discerned were lacking in Craig.

 

 

Subject:

My meeting with L. Tom Perry (long and rambling)

Date:

Nov 08 14:42

Author:

Laszlo


In October of 1995, my uncle was shot and killed by a sniper at Fort Bragg, NC. He was a major in the US Army, and some crazed-out soldier from a neighbouring unit got hold of guns and began firing into the formation. My uncle was shot and killed.

During this great tragedy in our family, we had the opportunity to witness two different styles of LDS leadership. My grandma's bishop, whom I will continue to revere as a wonderful human being, did the upmost to help her through this. (He later handled my name removal in a painless and quick fashion.) He helped us deal with the media and ensured that our family was taken care of.

As my grandmother was living in SLC then, and as our family has Utah roots, it was decided that we would have my uncle's funeral service in the ward in which he grew up. We were informed that not only would the stake president be there, but Elder L. Tom Perry of the First Quorum of the Twelve.

The funeral took place on a lovely Thursday afternoon. We were told that Elder Perry missed the weekly Thursday meeting just to be with us. My family devoutly listened to everything he had to say and lapped it up. We also had the opportunity to meet with him afterwards.

I had already converted to Catholicism by this point, so I had lost whatever reverence for the GAs I had. Hearing my family gush over the presence of L. Tom Perry was quite embarassing to say the least. I found Elder Perry to be a rather cold and distant person. I would have much rather had him stay away. He seemed cranky and out of sorts. I was not impressed. We all got to meet him before the funeral and he just didn't seem to have that warm, grandfatherly demeanour that he has at Conference.

 

Subject:

Re: My Meeting with L. Tom Perry

Date:

Nov 08 15:03

Author:

Southern Man


He spoke at a regional conference in Macon several years ago. His wife spoke. The other three speakers were a GA named Naudauld (spelling?) and his wife, and one local. As soon as the conference ended, L. Tom bolted the conference center without speaking to anyone, which upset the local groupies who think shaking an apostle's hand is the closest thing to being exhalted one can experience in this life. I can't say I much blame him for getting out of the place, but I know that the members want their bosses to be personable.

 

Subject:

That reminds me of three incidents.....

Date:

Nov 08 20:15

Author:

Randy J.


1. In the late '70s, Perry spoke at our stake training meetings. He related how he chose a new SP once. He went to a stake conference and was supposed to call a certain guy to the job. But before the conference started, he noticed that the guy he was supposed to call was setting up folding chairs in the overflow. So Perry told us that a guy who had such poor ability to delegate mundane tasks like that lacked the ability to be SP. So he called somebody else.

2. Once in the early '80s, all the active guys in my ward were asked to submit names for a new bishop once. We met with the stake presidency one by one and gave our advice. Surprise, surprise, the guy they chose was the one that most of us had named. So much for church leaders' repeated assertions that "Bishops are called by inspiration directly by the brethren in SLC."

That guy was bishop for only ten months because he had a job transfer. So when we needed a new bishop, the SP didn't poll us guys again. There was this one guy in the ward who was a nice tenor singer. I was the clerk, and he was the executive secretary. We had a stake event where the SP heard him sing. The SP was so moved by the guy's apparent spirituality as evidenced by his singing that the SP called him as bishop. Unfortunately, within a few months, the very spiritual new bishop had an affair with the RS president and felt up a teenage babysitter, so the ward needed yet another "inspired" bishop.

3. Shortly before we left the church in 1997, our stake was split. My wife, who is a good judge of character, predicted that our bishop would become the new SP, because he was the bigest prick jerk in the ward. My wife told that to all of her RS buddies (she was a counselor at the time.) After the conference where he was named SP, 5-6 of my wife's girlfriends called her saying "I can't believe they made that jerk SP!" My wife reminded them that she predicted it, and why. The gals looked up to my wife as sort of a prophetess after that, at least until we stopped going to church about 5 months later. :-)

And last I heard, the prick jerk is still SP, ten years later.

 

Subject:

Great illustrations of the lack of inspiration. The first one...

Date:

Nov 08 21:23

Author:

Son of Abish


particularly resonates with what I repeatedly observed.

As a naive kid in Sunday School, I got from the lessons the distinct impression that Heavenly Father and Jesus would want the pure in heart, the humble, the meek in spirit and those who are willing to serve in the most humble of tasks to be the sheperds appointed to guide his flock.

I was certain that HF and JC would definitely not want the proud, the arrogant, those who actively seek out power, authority and high position to be the leaders in the one true church.

But repeatedly, I've seen that the latter category is almost exclusively the pool from which higher leadership positions in the Church are filled.

What would L. Tom say about JC washing the feet of his disciples?

Probably something like: "Well, I was considering appointing that Joshua fellow. He seemed to be well-versed in doctrine and to care about the people around him. But then I saw him washing the dirty feet of several of those people whom we would expect him to preside over. I realized then that he didn't know how to delegate menial tasks nor how to command the respect needed for such a lofty position. How would people look to him for leadership after something like that foot washing business? They'd be more likely to ask him to polish their shoes. So we went with a more dynamic and confident person who had real leadership abilities. We're 100% sure that President Beelzebub is the right man at the right time."

L. Tom and the whole gang of LDS corporate hacks are just a bunch of elitist Pharisees who don't have the spiritual depth of a birdbath.

 

Subject:

The message you were supposed to get from that meeting . . . .

Date:

Nov 08 21:55

Author:

imaworkinonit


was that big shots in the church take better care of their yards than you.

That's why Cool Tom gave Huntsman the cue to tell you about the private gardener. You see, having your yard look nice is a prerequisite to greatness. Think of it like tithing . . . you just pay it, even if you are poor. That's why Mr. Huntsman had to let you in on that bit of his personal life.

I'll bet they drove by your house before the interview, and they didn't feel that you were keeping up appearances enough to be a leader in the Mormon church. If you just would have paid the private gardener, I daresay that not only would you have been the stake president today, but you might have recieved the finanical blessings that Huntsman has received.

In fact, I hear rumor that the church will soon be reading a letter in sacrament metting telling all members to hire private gardeners so they can ostensibly spend more time with their families.

Craig wrote:
"He thanked me for my testimony and gave a secret password to John Huntsman that he had rejected me as a candidate...where upon Huntsman started to tell me about his family and how he had hired a gardener to take care of his yard when he was poor so that he could spend more time with his family. I kid you not; this billionaire hired a gardener to care for his yard when he was poor...I wanted to ask him what his definition of poor was...but I knew it didn’t matter, I hadn’t made the grade...God must have told L. Tom that I had played with my little (its big to me) factory, once too often to be found worthy."

 

Subject:

Stuffed shirts with little humility

Date:

Nov 08 22:04

Author:

Obi wan Kolobi


That has been my impression of most of the GA's I've known. Mormonism is a culture that values certain things. Material success and having what is considered a good pedigree is paramount.

Mr. Paxton, if you in your interview had said certain things in your testimony about respecting the bretheren and how much you value the inspired leadership of our modern apostles and prophets, and about how much you desire to emulate their example, you just might have made Stake President. In the end with them, it isn't the depth of what you believe, but whether you understand the culture and know how to conduct yourself consistent with membership in the club that matters.

 

Subject:

Yes, Boyd K. Packer has given a clue to people who aspire to high position.

Date:

Nov 09 00:49

Author:

Son of Abish


http://www.lds-mormon.com/face.shtml

http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon005.htm

Sure, you've gotta pay some lip service to the "Savior" and how much you love him and all that crap, but you get that out of the way as a pro-forma preliminary and then get down to the really important stuff, namely, how willing you are to jump through hoops for your superiors and how willing you are to squash the little people like bugs.

Bednar has also provided a sterling example of what the "right stuff" is for becoming a high-ranking leader. He's the one who, as President of BYU-I-Kiss A**, named a building after Gordon B. Hinckley and was then appointed to the lofty position of Apostle a short two years or so later.

 

Subject:

Re: My Meeting with L. Tom Perry

Date:

Nov 09 00:06

Author:

Baura


Gee, Cr@ig, what do you think the odds are that a name that shows up on most of the lists becomes the tentative choice. Then they make sure he has enough money and prestige and then tell the Lord to inspire them to pick him.

 

Subject:

OMG!! Color me naive-- (swearing)

Date:

Nov 09 00:28

Author:

Illusions


I am just floored by this thread.

I mean I knew it was an old boys' club, and I knew that callings weren't actually inspired, but I thought the GA's at least tried to be inspired--or at the very least pretended to be in their running of church affairs.

I mean, WTF was John Huntsman doing there? I see what you mean by surreal. Seriously, was Huntsman a member of your stake at the time? What did he have to do with the situation? I am completely floored at the inappropriateness and impropriety of LL-Cool-Tom (like the nickname Cr@ig) having a billionaire lackey come along with him to the interview. I don't even begin to get it. If Huntsman didn't perceive you as his potential monetary equal you weren't worthy? I simply cannot fathom a purpose in his being there!

And Randy J's story #1: According to LL-Cool-Tom the guy can't be SP because he actually helps do the daily shit that the Morg requires of its members. I mean WTF?! SP's are too good to set up chairs with the rest of the peasants? Each Stake is the SP's personal serfdom?

Wow, I just had no idea. Of course I'm female and am purposely kept blind, but even so--in my wildest imaginings I could never have come up with either of those two scenarios...

 

Subject:

In the running

Date:

Nov 09 01:51

Author:

neverknew


After learning how much GA's can make and what a cushy retirement plan they must have, DH and I have decided that I should keep my name on church records and "repent", while he "converts" so we can get in the game. This thread has provided us with valuable information about how exactly to go about getting "elected" as a GA. Once we are on the inside, we'll be sure to keep you posted on the twisted truths of the Morg.

 

Subject:

Re: My Meeting with L. Tom Perry

Date:

Nov 09 02:24

Author:

Werewolf


I had a similar experience, which completely surprised me. The current bishop was called as second counselor to the stake president. In a couple of days after the announcement, I got called to meet with the stake president at the out-going bishop's house. Not having any idea why, I arrived at the appointed time. In a private meeting with only me, the stake president and the out-going bishop were president, I was asked who I thought should be the new bishop for the ward. I was somewhat shocked. Of course at the time I was a TBM, now exmo. How would I know who should be the new bishop? I thought about it for about 2 seconds and asked: "Why are you asking me that question"? I have no idea. The stake president then said to me: "The Lord knows who HE wants to be the next bishop." This thought went thru my mind: WTF? And that ended the most ridiculous interview I've ever attended.

 

 

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