Editor’s Note: There are only two days left to enter to win an amazing wedding giveaway in which a video by David Perry (the subject of the following article) is one of the prizes. Scroll to the bottom of the article for details.
In scouring the Internet for a wedding videographer for my recent nuptials, amidst a sea of (somewhat overwhelming) but very beautiful footage from various filmmakers, something caught my eye. I came upon a website where I saw scrawled in big letters right under the name of the videographer: “remember the temple.”
After observing a lot of Utah videographers that seemed to downplay their religious affiliation, I was surprised to find one that so boldly emphasized his priorities. I wondered who this man was and what made the temple so important to him that he would make it the slogan for his business.
Recently, I got the chance to ask him and the answer was even better than I had imagined.
His name is David Perry. He’s a talented and accomplished videographer, even being named one of the Top 25 Event Filmmakers in the world in 2009 and 2010. He’s done well over a thousand shoots at the temple and he says that, “without fail when people come out of the temple there is something different in their countenance.” Some might be quick to chalk it up to the glow of the newly-wed, but his personal experience with the sealing ceremony proved to him that it’s not that simple.
David wasn’t allowed to be sealed to his family until he was 18 years old. His birth mother, who had been estranged from the Church for years, wouldn’t give permission for him to be sealed to his father and his stepmother and so he had to wait. But because of the waiting he was old enough to observe an incredible change that came to his family relationships upon applying the sealing power after he returned home from his mission.
I was sealed at the Jordan River Temple and afterwards I went around to Smith’s around the corner and I was pushing my shopping cart down the aisle…and suddenly stopped in my tracks, and I said, ‘Something is different, something about me has fundamentally changed!’
Prior the sealing, I just couldn’t relate to my step mom. She would communicate with me but I just couldn’t get her. I even ran away from home as a teenager. But…suddenly I could get my step mom. In a matter of one ceremony, suddenly I could relate to her and I could understand her. The change was so profound that I said ‘I’m going to dedicate my life to the temple!’
This wasn’t the first time David had observed the unmistakable hand of the Lord in his life and in his relationships. A few years previous, when he received his mission call, his birth mother, who dealt with very heavy substance abuse issues, told him that if he went on a mission, she would kill herself. She was never one to say things that she didn’t mean, but he felt like he needed to answer the mission call and so he left, not knowing what would happen as a result.
On Mother’s Day after he’d been out over a year, not having heard anything from or about his birth mother, he was given a phone number to call to find out something about her. He called the number not knowing what to expect and introduced himself to the unfamiliar voice on the other end. It turned out to be his mother, unrecognizable for her wholeness and happiness. She told him that she was two weeks from hitting one year of being clean and sober. She had hit rock bottom in his absence and that turned out to be just what she needed to turn her life around.
These were truly miraculous manifestations in the life of the man who would decide to make his career about helping people to “remember the temple,” but the thing that surprised me about our conversation was his declaration that it wasn’t the miracles that gave him his testimony. It was reading his scriptures every day of his mission rather than that amazing Mother’s Day call that made his testimony.
True to his conviction that it is daily effort that truly changes someone, his latest daily effort has taken the form of an amazing 1,297 mile “Temple Walk.” It started with an overactive family dog that needed to be taken on a serious daily walk to calm down. Walking to the nearest temple regularly seemed like good canine exercise and then the thought came to David, perhaps he should put a ‘thought of the day’ on camera as he walked each morning. He initially resisted the idea, “Who has something to say every day? No one will watch.” But the Spirit persisted and so he began.
Along with the daily thoughts, he decided to try to walk the equivalent distance that the pioneers would have taken from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City by the end of the year. As of Thursday he has walked 1,261 miles. After a few short walks this weekend, Monday will see him finishing his goal by following the 22-mile journey that John Moyle, master stonemason of the Salt Lake Temple used to take each week from Alpine, Utah to Salt Lake City.
When David Perry first embarked on this journey, he wondered, “who am I to do a temple walk?” He didn’t think he had something particularly amazing to say. He has since learned that by merely taking action, amazing things can happen. He knows now that, “if you move your feet, then God can guide your footsteps.”
He’s found that bearing his testimony daily has strengthened his testimony daily. It has improved his attitude and changed his mindset. Reaching this milestone of 1,297 miles walked and a daily spiritual thought is no longer about just gritting his teeth until he reaches his goal and then reverting back to the way life was before. It’s about coming out the other side of this journey with a heart that is permanently changed.
Some of his daily videos have a couple of hundred views and some have a couple of thousand, but his greatest joy has come from hearing about the people who have told him that he said “exactly what they needed to hear” on a given day.
A wonderful woman named Mary who had recently lost her husband has been working to transcribe the Temple Walk videos for a deaf viewer who had requested the chance to read what was being said. Mary was surprised to find peace and comfort in the process of typing up the scriptures referenced and having a way to consider spiritual things each day.
Mary spoke of a day when she was particularly missing her other half. The loss was painful but she wrote the following note to David:
Today I sat down to catch up and as I was recording day 205 I could hardly breath. Don’t you EVER wonder David Perry if you are being led by the spirit because I promise you that you are. Neil knows that I will be transcribing your words and I very much believe that he was speaking to me through you…You have no idea how you help me. And now I’m teary and humbled and am thanking my Heavenly Father for this opportunity.
Despite these wonderful opportunities David has had, to touch individuals’ lives through his Temple Walk, he emphasized to me over and over that he wasn’t overly qualified or prepared or even special in any way. He was merely willing to take action.
We probably forget that the pioneers too, weren’t particularly qualified. They weren’t all born outdoorsmen or physically trained for the task. They weren’t even necessarily spiritually prepared for the struggles that lay ahead of them. They were merely willing to try. They were willing to do something.
We too must be willing to do something if we hope to become something.
“Life is hard and that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s rough and we’re weak and that’s ok” David told me. In our weakness, it can be overwhelming to know that we’re each aspiring to be like God and often falling so far short of that goal, but the journey of 1,297 miles starts with a single step.
Details of Wedding Giveaway:
The cash value of the prize is over $4,000!
TO ENTER TO WIN:
1️ Follow all three Instagram accounts. @abbeykyhl @davidperryfilms @alexcrabtreehairandmakeup
2️ Post on your Instagram account a photo of you and your fiancé and tell us the most fun thing you’ve ever done together and why you would love to win.
3️ Tag all three of us in your Instagram post and hashtag #marrychristmasgiveaway
You have until December 13th at midnight to enter. Finalists will be chosen on the 15th and voting goes through the 22nd. Also read all the rules and details in the first comment. #marrychristmasgiveaway