Robert D. Hales
Robert Dean Hales was born on August 24, 1932, to John Rulon and Vera Marie Holbrook Hales in New York City, New York. The gospel of Jesus Christ was the center of family life for the Hales. Over the years Robert's father and mother served in various positions in the Queens, New York, congregation of the Mormon Church, located some twenty miles from the Hales' home. His parents also served a mission. In fact, at one time the entire bishopric was made up of people who had been converted as a result of the missionary work of Robert's parents. For a time as he was growing up, Robert lived in the same stake as Henry B. Eyring.
Robert D. Hales loved baseball and was an outstanding pitcher, eventually playing for the University of Utah team until an injury ended his career. He earned money for his schooling by working full-time for KDYL and KSL television.
Hales met Mary Elene Crandall at a meeting of the Church in Queens while home from school. In the fall, he returned to the University of Utah and she attended Brigham Young University. They continued dating and were married and sealed in the Salt Lake Temple during his senior year in 1953. Elder Hales and his wife have two sons: Stephen, born in 1955, and David, born in 1958.
Hales earned a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University. He also served in the U.S. Air Force as a jet fighter pilot and was an executive with four major national companies.
In the Church, Elder Hales served as a first counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency, the president of the England London mission, a regional representative, and in various other leadership positions including as a counselor in stake presidencies in the United States, England, Germany, and Spain.
Elder Hales was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976, and served in that position until he became the Presiding Bishop over the entire Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) in 1985. Elder Hales served in that capacity until his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in April 1994. He served on the board for the Church Educational System.
In 2011 Elder Hales suffered some setbacks in his health that affected his mobility and endurance, prompting the concern and prayers of the membership of the Church. Read about it here. He was hospitalized prior to the 187th semiannual General Conference and passed away soon after the conclusion of the Sunday morning session, October 1, 2017. His family and his quorum leader, President Russell M. Nelson were at his bedside. During his Sunday afternoon session address, Elder Neil A. Andersen read a portion of the remarks Elder Hales had intended to share if his health had allowed him to attend.
To see a video of Elder Robert D. Hales bearing testimony of Christ, click here.
Quotes from Elder Robert D. Hales
- "No family has reached perfection. All families are subject to the conditions of mortality. All of us are given the gift of agency—to choose for ourselves and to learn from the consequences of our choices. Any of us may experience a spouse, a child, a parent, or a member of our extended family suffering in one way or another—mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually—and we may experience these tribulations ourselves at times. In short, mortality is not easy. Each family has its own special circumstances. But the gospel of Jesus Christ addresses every challenge—which is why we must teach it to our children."
- “With All the Feeling of a Tender Parent: A Message of Hope to Families,” Ensign, May 2004
- "As a young man, I had an opportunity to serve in the U.S. Air Force as a jet-fighter pilot. Each unit in our squadron had a motto that would inspire its efforts. Our unit motto—displayed on the side of our aircraft—was “Return with Honor.” This motto was a constant reminder to us of our determination to return to our home base with honor only after having expended all of our efforts to successfully complete every aspect of our mission. This same motto, “Return with Honor,” can be applied to each of us in our eternal plan of progression. Having lived with our Heavenly Father and having come to earth life, we must have determination to return with honor to our heavenly home."
- “The Aaronic Priesthood: Return with Honor,” Ensign, May 1990
- "The Lord expects us to be as faithful, as devoted, as courageous as those who went before us. They were called to give their lives for the gospel. We are called to live our lives for the same purpose. In these last days we have special reason to do so."
- “Preparations for the Restoration and the Second Coming: ‘My Hand Shall Be over Thee,’” Ensign, Nov. 2005