The Inspirational Story Behind “I’ll Follow Him in Faith” by Janice Kapp Perry
In 2001 Janice Kapp Perry received a request from the Music Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to write a song for the first-ever Primary satellite broadcast, which would be held the following year. She was given a theme and suggested ideas of what she could include in her song. In her songwriting career, Perry has written over 1,000 songs, so we can only guess there wasn’t much doubt that she was up for the challenge.
Perry retreated to her mountain cabin, where she was always able to find a peaceful setting to write. In a Meridian Magazine article written by Perry on the origin of the song, she said, “I took time to study the subject, pray, and ask for the help I was sure would come. I was surprised at the guidance I received! I felt that I should write two different songs and submit both. I argued with myself as to whether that would be appropriate since they had only asked for one, but the feeling persisted so I followed it.”
During her stay at the cabin Perry wrote “Holding Hands Around the World,” followed by “I’ll Follow Him in Faith.” When she wrote “Holding Hands Around the World” she felt it might be a little too upbeat for the theme but finished writing because it came to her so fast. She began to write another song and later said, “‘I’ll Follow Him in Faith’ almost seemed to write itself and was finished on the same day. My husband engraved the songs, and I mailed them to Salt Lake with a note that said: “I felt I should write two songs: ‘Holding Hands Around the World’ is the song I hope you want. ‘I’ll Follow Him in Faith’ is the song I think you want.”
Perry left it at that and soon left for a mission to Chile with her husband. She watched the Primary satellite broadcast from a chapel in Talagante, Chile, with the local Church members. In an interview with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Perry said, smiling, “I kind of even forgot I wrote the songs and that’s what it was for, and they were both performed.” She added, “It was fun to sit there in the dark with tears in my eyes as we heard both songs sung by a wonderful Primary choir.”
During the closing session of the October 2016 general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang “I’ll Follow Him in Faith.”