APRIL 15, 2010

Faith in the Valley: “If it glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ”

An interview with Bishop Terry Perrin of the Orofino Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

By Alannah Allbrett


   Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially began meeting in Orofino on Oct. 19, 1958. In those days, membership was not big enough to be considered a ward (which is what a local church congregation is called). It started as a branch, which Bishop Terry Perrin said, “We jokingly called a twig because there were so few people. They met in the VFW or whatever meeting place was available.”

   On Nov. 29, 1970, it officially became a ward. In 1970, the LDS built what is now the northern wing of their present building on Fremont Ave. In 1983, they were able to add the rest of the building which now houses their chapel, cultural hall, additional classrooms, kitchen and the ladies’ Relief Society room.

   Terry Perrin serves in the position of bishop, as a lay minister of his local ward. He was born in Gooding, Idaho, and raised in Glenns Ferry, Idaho where his dad worked for the railroad. As an adult, Terry later lived in Powell, Wyoming where he taught at Northwest Community College. He was a teacher of marketing, business, sales and management, as well as working in a cooperative educational program through Vocational Education.

   He always had the dream of someday having his own business – as he puts it; “I wanted to be master of my own rudder.” We both agreed that means one must work even harder. “There was an opening at State Farm Insurance in 1976,” he said. That brought him to Orofino where he lives now, close to his work in what he calls, “Smokey Bear Flats,” an area where a lot of forest service families lived at one time. He lost his first wife to cancer in 1992 and is now married to Susan Perrin. He is the father of sixteen children.

   “I was a hard-headed guy, when the LDS missionaries approached me. Through prayer and fasting and experience with the Holy Ghost, I felt the church had more to offer me – to get to God.”

   Tribune: “Would you explain the lay ministry?”

   Perrin: “The LDS Church is operated with the help of lay ministers. In the case of a ward, they are known as the Bishopric. That is comprised of a bishop and first and second  counselors – all of whom serve as volunteers. They serve two roles,” said Bishop Perrin: “first as the administrators of the ward and second ministering to the members. The church is based on all members carrying out the responsibilities of the ward and organization.”

   “The Lord has established several organizations within the church,” he said. “Most bishops serve an average of five to six years. The length of time is determined through inspiration by the Stake Presidency [the governing body over a group of wards in a geographical area].”

   “We try to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible. We utilize the Bible and the Book of Mormon which is another testament of Jesus Christ as far as we’re concerned. We look to Jesus Christ; Christ is actually the head of the Church,” said Perrin. Hence, the name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The title Latter-day Saints being added to the name to differentiate the saints at the time of Christ from saints in these days.”

   Tribune: “Some people say it is by our works we are saved and believe that of the LDS church.”

   Perrin: “We are saved by grace – after all we can do.”

   “Tribune: “What does that mean?”

   Perrin: “We believe that we must have faith in Jesus Christ, but also do everything we can to follow His example, teachings and commandments. With all we can do, we cannot achieve all that is needed to return and live with our Heavenly Father. Christ helps us to make up that difference if we have truly repented and served Him.”

   Tribune: “How do you put  faith into practice?”

   Perrin: “There are a number of ways. Young men and women, as well as older couples, choose to serve missions all over the world. Some proselytize and others help with humanitarian projects or teach practical skills. Other members do genealogy and temple work to help provide the ordinances needed to seal families together for eternity.

   “We serve each other, within the ward, in a number of callings such as the bishop, leaders, teachers, etc. We also assist each other in particular times of need when there is illness, death, or other things. From there, we join with others in the community to make it a better place. For instance, we participate in the Scouting for Food Drive and Community Clean-up Day. Those community activities give us a chance to serve, as well as develop cooperative relationships with other churches and service organizations. Following the earthquake to help the people of Haiti, the church, in cooperation with other groups, donated over 80,000 pounds of commodities, and the same type of efforts are going toward helping the people of Chile. Humanitarian aide is sent to many disaster areas around the world and distributed to people whether they are members or not. It is a matter of service and faith.

   Tribune: “What would a spiritual manifestation of faith be?”

   Perrin: “A spiritual manifestation of faith could be very different for different people. We are born with the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost can, in the right circumstances, teach, guide, and direct us in the ways that our Heavenly Father would have us go. After people are baptized into the church, they receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost to be with them always, depending on their worthiness. Most members of the church will tell you that their testimonies are based not on a vision or major manifestation, but were built a little at a time as they learned and practiced principles of the gospel and tested their truthfulness in their own lives. Sometimes the biggest challenge is to take the time and listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and then follow them.”

   Meeting times

   The weekly meetings are as follows: Sacrament is each Sunday at 10 a.m., Sunday School/Primary (for young children) are held at 11:15 a.m., and Priesthood/Relief Society are at 12:15 p.m. The Family History Center is open to the public on Tuesdays, Noon – 8 p.m., Wednesdays 4 – 8 p.m. and by appointment. Location: 13610 Fremont Ave. Phone: 208-476-3914. Website: