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    10 Lessons from Elder Robert D. Hales (1932–2017)

    Elder Hales taught us a lot about returning with honor.

    While flying fighter jets in the U.S. Air Force during the 1950s, young Robert D. Hales flew with his motto emblazoned on the side of his aircraft: “Return with Honor.” This motto reminded him and his squadron to return to home base only after doing all they could to complete “every aspect of our mission” (see “The Aaronic Priesthood: Return with Honor”).

    During his 23 years as an Apostle and a lifetime as a servant of the Lord, Elder Robert D. Hales lived with that same determination to complete his mission on earth. He passed away on October 1, 2017. He has returned with honor.  

    Here are 10 lessons Elder Hales taught us about living (and returning) with honor.

    1. Who we truly are.


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    Read “Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service”.

    Elder Robert D. Hales

    2. YOU are some of the best gospel teachers.

    “Youth, you are some of our most effective gospel teachers. You come to church to learn so that you can go home to teach and serve your family, neighbors, and friends. Don’t be afraid. Have faith to testify of what you know to be true. … As you share your testimony of the gospel, your faith will grow and your confidence will increase!” (“‘Come, Follow Me’ by Practicing Christian Love and Service”).

    3. How to “fly right” in the gathering storms.

    “Just remember, you are a pilot, and you are in charge. I testify that as you come to yourself, your Heavenly Father will come to you. By the comforting hand of His Holy Spirit, He will help you along.” (Read “6 Self-Reliance Tips from Elder Hales.”)

    4. A few of the most important goals in life.


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    Read “How to Achieve Eternal Goals”.

    5. Why we have trials and how we can face them with courage.



    6. How to look for an eternal companion.

    Elder and Sister Hales

    “The track that leads to marriage passes through the terrain called dating! Dating is the opportunity for lengthy conversations. When you date, learn everything you can about each other. Get to know each other’s families when possible. Are your goals compatible? Do you share the same feelings about the commandments, the Savior, the priesthood, the temple, parenting, callings in the Church, and serving others? Have you observed one another under stress, responding to success and failure, resisting anger, and dealing with setbacks? Does the person you are dating tear others down or build them up? Is his or her attitude and language and conduct what you would like to live with every day?

    “That said, none of us marry perfection; we marry potential. The right marriage is not only about what I want; it’s also about what she—who’s going to be my companion—wants and needs me to be” (“Meeting the Challenges of Today’s World”).

    7. We can always have joy and peace.


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    Read “‘Come, Follow Me’ by Practicing Christian Love and Service’”.

    8. There is always a way back.



    9. How to not be deceived.


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    Read “The Holy Ghost”.

    10. How we can prepare to meet God.

    Before his passing, Elder Hales prepared a message for the October 2017 general conference, but was never able to deliver it. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared three lines from that message.

    “When we choose to have faith, we are prepared to stand in the presence of God. After the Savior’s crucifixion, He appeared only to those who had been faithful in their testimony of Him while they lived in mortality. Those who rejected the testimonies of the prophets could not behold the Savior’s presence, nor look upon His face. Our faith prepares us to be in the presence of God.”

    Share your experience

    What did you learn from Elder Hales? How will you live with honor? Share your experience below.

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