Religion Professor Inspiring Students


    By Camille Tanner

    Professor Jerome Perkins” office is filled with pictures of his family. His wife and seven children smile down from shelves on both walls, in frames lined up neatly on his desk and as magnets on his filing cabinet.

    There”s a statue of a Brazilian cowboy on his desk, a token from his mission in Brazil. On the wall hangs a plaque from the BYU Jerusalem Center where he taught for two years.

    There are mementos from a humanitarian mission in Samoa and others from working with Help International in El Salvador.

    With one quick glance around this small room it”s easy to tell that Perkins has made a difference in the world.

    Perkins was working as a public relations practitioner in New York when he realized his career was not fulfilling him.

    “I would come home and ask myself, have I done any good in the world today? Usually the answer was no,” he said. “I started thinking about a career that would motivate me.”

    Perkins went back to school, got a degree in psychology, and spent the next several years counseling members of the church. He also worked as the institute coordinator.

    Then in 1993, Perkins received a phone call.

    “I thought it was my best man playing a joke on me,” he remembered with a smile. “I said ”Okay Don, that”s a good one.””

    The man on the phone said he wasn”t Don. He was the dean of the College of Religion at BYU and he wanted Perkins to come and teach.

    The new job was a good fit, he said.

    “Teaching here is a joy,” he said. “The students are fantastic, motivated and spiritual.”

    Students such as Stuart Larsen, from Broomfield, Colo., have enjoyed his classes.

    “He”s awesome,” Larsen said. “I took his Doctrine and Covenants class and loved him, so I”m taking the second half now.”

    Perkins said the biggest challenge he faces is teaching a class of 150 as if it were a class of 30.

    “I want to get everyone involved,” he said, “so they can feel the spirit, so it will be a powerful, motivating, life-changing experience for each one.”

    According to Brittany

    Bluth, of Alfreda, Ga., he”s doing a great job.

    “I think he really engages

    students,” Bluth said. “He”s animated and he gets them involved.”

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