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Robert D. Hales
Works at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Attended University of Utah
Lives in Salt Lake City, UT
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Robert D. Hales

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When we are marred spiritually or physically, our first reaction is to withdraw into the dark shadows of depression, to blot out hope and joy—the light of life that comes from knowing we are living the commandments of our Father in Heaven. This withdrawal will ultimately lead us to rebellion against those who would like to be our friends, those who can help us most, even our family. 

But worst of all, we finally reject ourselves. Those who are alone and lonely should not retreat to the sanctuary of their private thoughts and chambers. Such retreat will ultimately lead them into the darkening influence of the adversary, which leads to despondency, loneliness, frustration, and to thinking of oneself as worthless. After one thinks of himself as worthless, he then ofttimes turns to associates who corrode those delicate spiritual contacts, rendering their spiritual receiving antennas and transmitters useless. 

What good is it to associate with and ask advice of someone who is disoriented himself and only tells us what we want to hear? Isn’t it better to turn to loving parents and friends, who can help us reach for and attain celestial goals?
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In the story Alice in Wonderland, Alice approaches the Cheshire Cat and asks, “Would you please tell me which way I ought to go from here?”

The Cheshire Cat replies, “That depends a great deal on where you want to go.”

Alice says, “I admit, I don’t much care where.”

The Cheshire Cat then says, “Then it doesn’t really matter much which way you go, does it?”

“Just so I get somewhere,” responds Alice.

Then the Cheshire Cat reveals an interesting truth, “Oh, you’re sure to get there if you keep walking long enough.”

What is the message? How many of us are going through life today telling ourselves, “If we keep going long enough, we’re going to get somewhere,” but are not defining exactly where that place is we want to be? 

“Somewhere” is not good enough. We must know where we want to go and be firmly committed to getting there. 
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Knowing who we are is perhaps the first and most fundamental truth we learn in this life. Our memories of our premortal existence, of our life in heaven as spirit children, have been forgotten. At birth a veil was drawn over our minds so we cannot remember living in the presence of our Heavenly Father. 

But the Holy Ghost can help us feel and know that we are truly the spirit children of our Father in Heaven, just as we are the physical children of parents on earth. This truth makes me supremely happy because it helps us know how to act and gives meaning to everything we do.
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When the challenges of mortality come, and they come for all of us, it may seem hard to have faith and hard to believe. At these times only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement can bring us peace, hope, and understanding. Only faith that He suffered for our sakes will give us the strength to endure to the end.
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True friends do not try to make us choose between their way and the Lord's ways. True friends don't hold us back spiritually or pull us down when we're trying to rise and progress. True friends protect us. True friends help us be better than we would be on our own. True friends make it easier for us to live the gospel by being around them.
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Robert D. Hales

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The purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences. How do we do this? The scriptures give us an answer in one simple phrase: we “wait upon the Lord.” 

Tests and trials are given to all of us. These mortal challenges allow us and our Heavenly Father to see whether we will exercise our agency to follow His Son. He already knows, and we have the opportunity to learn, that no matter how difficult our circumstances, “all these things shall [be for our] experience, and … [our] good” (D&C 122:7).
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Our friends are important at all times, especially in times of need when we are depressed with feelings of loneliness and despair. Choosing our friends wisely is important. 

In times of trouble, do your friends stand by you? What kind of a friend or companion are you?
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I testify that whatever challenges or hardships we have, they are provided for a reason—so that we can become and accomplish what we were sent to the earth to be and to do.

This truth is taught in the scriptures: that we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith. Sometimes that trial consists of seeking understanding or waiting for an answer from the Lord.
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We need to reach out to those who have experienced a tragedy in their lives. In this way we learn from their example of faith and strength. 

Also, in the same way the Savior thought of his mother’s care in the closing moments on Calvary, we learn we must reach out and help when we are hurting.
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Jesus, who exercised His agency to sustain Heavenly Father’s plan, was identified and appointed by the Father as our Savior, foreordained to perform the atoning sacrifice for all.

Similarly, our exercise of agency to keep the commandments enables us to fully understand who we are and receive all of the blessings our Heavenly Father has—including the opportunity to have a body, to progress, to experience joy, to have a family, and to inherit eternal life.
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The blessings we enjoy now are because we made the choice to follow the Savior before this life.

To everyone hearing or reading these words, whoever you are and whatever your past may be, remember this: it is not too late to make that same choice again and follow Him.
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The One who had power to calm the elements of earth has power to calm our souls, to give us refuge from the storm: “Peace, be still.”
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  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1994 - present
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Salt Lake City, UT
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Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Introduction

Elder Robert D. Hales was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 2, 1994.

Elder Hales received his call as a General Authority on April 4, 1975. He served as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and later as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He was Presiding Bishop of the Church from April 1985 until called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

He was a regional representative for five years prior to his call as a General Authority. He earlier served as a branch president, bishop, high councilor, and stake president’s counselor. He was president of the England London Mission in the late 1970s and has served as first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency.

Prior to his call to full-time Church service, Elder Hales had a distinguished business career, serving in executive positions with three major national companies.

Elder Hales was born in New York City on August 24, 1932. He is a graduate of the University of Utah and holds a master of business administration degree from Harvard. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a jet fighter pilot.

He married Mary Crandall, and they have two sons.

Education
  • University of Utah
  • Harvard University
    MBA
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Birthday
August 24, 1932