23 Powerful Quotes from Elder Robert D. Hales’ Life of Service


This past week marked just two weeks since a beloved member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Robert D. Hales, passed away in between sessions of General Conference, due to his declining health. As members mourn his passing word, his influence is still felt strongly, and it has been wonderful to reflect back on Elder Hales’ teachings and dedicated service in the church over decades, 23 of which he served as a general authority. In his gentle and caring way he knew the words the say and how to say them in a way that would help others gain the courage and determination to choose right and reform their lives.

In honor of those 23 years in which Elder Hales blessed the members of the church and the world in his capacity as a general authority, we’ve gathered 23 of his most inspired and powerful quotes given over the years, all of which are particularly of help for the challenges we presently experience.

Quotes on how we live our religion:

“For many, the call to be a Christian can seem demanding, even overwhelming. But we need not be afraid or feel inadequate. The Savior has promised that He will make us equal to His work. ‘Follow me,’ He said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ As we follow Him, He blesses us with gifts, talents, and the strength to do His will, allowing us to go beyond our comfort zones and do things we’ve never before thought possible.”

“And yet the standards of Christ and His Church have not moved. As He said, ‘The truth abideth forever and ever.’ When we understand and accept this, we are prepared to face the social pressure, ridicule, and even discrimination that will come from the world and some who call themselves friends.”

“Live your life to be a good example of what you believe—in word and deed. How we live our religion is far more important than what we may say about our religion.”

“By choosing to be in His kingdom, we separate—not isolate—ourselves from the world.”

“The Lord said, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15) Our obedience to the laws, ordinances, and commandments is the greatest expression of love and gratitude that we can bestow upon him.”

“What is the definition of a friend? Friends are people who make it easier to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.”

Quotes on repentance and the goodness of God:

“The Lord is the ultimate caregiver. We must surrender ourselves to the Lord. In doing so, we give up whatever is causing our pain and turn everything over to Him. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee” (Psalms 55:22). “And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son” (Alma 33:23). Through faith and trust in the Lord and obedience to His counsel, we make ourselves eligible to be partakers of the Atonement of Jesus Christ so that one day we may return to live with Him.”

“There will always be suffering and sorrow in sin, but to repent only because we feel bad or because we have suffered or because we are sorrowful does not show that we understand the goodness of God.”

Quotes on the Spirit:

“Choose to accept—truly accept—that you are a child of God, that He loves you, and that He has the power to help you. Choose to put everything—literally everything—on the altar before Him. Believing that you are His child, decide that your life belongs to Him and that you will use your agency to do His will. You may do this multiple times in your life, but never, never give up. Choose to put yourself in a position to have experiences with the Spirit of God through prayer, in scripture study, at Church meetings, in your home, and through wholesome interactions with others. When you feel the influence of the Spirit, you are beginning to be cleansed and strengthened. The light is being turned on, and where that light shines, the darkness of evil cannot be.”

“To the young members of the Church, I promise that if you will listen, you will feel the Spirit well up within you. The Lord will tell you what He wants you to do with your life.”

Quotes on dating and marriage:

“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.”

“Your responsibility now is to be worthy of the person you want to marry. If you want to marry a wholesome, attractive, honest, happy, hardworking, spiritual person, be that kind of person. If you are that person and you are not married, be patient. Wait upon the Lord.”

Quotes on obedience:

“Obedience makes us progressively stronger, capable of faithfully enduring tests and trials in the future. Obedience in Gethsemane prepared the Savior to obey and endure to the end on Golgotha.”

“How we conduct ourselves in this life will determine what we will be in all the eternities to come. To receive the blessings of the sealing that our Heavenly Father has given to us, we have to keep the commandments and conduct ourselves in such a way that our families will want to live with us in the eternities.”

Quotes on gratitude:

“In some quiet way, the expression and feelings of gratitude have a wonderful cleansing or healing nature. Gratitude brings warmth to the giver and the receiver alike. Gratitude expressed to our Heavenly Father in prayer for what we have brings a calming peace—a peace which allows us to not canker our souls for what we don’t have.”

“Gratitude brings a peace that helps us overcome the pain of adversity and failure. Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future. A recognition of and appreciation for our gifts and talents which have been given also allows us to acknowledge the need for help and assistance from the gifts and talents possessed by others.”

“[Heavenly Father] awaits our expressions of gratefulness each morning and night in sincere, simple prayer from our hearts for our many blessings, gifts, and talents. Through expression of prayerful gratitude and thanksgiving, we show our dependence upon a higher source of wisdom and knowledge—God the Father and his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are taught to ‘live in thanksgiving daily.’ (Alma 34:38.)”

Quotes on enduring suffering and trials:

“Suffering is universal; how we react to suffering is individual. Suffering can…be a strengthening and purifying experience combined with faith, or it can be a destructive force in our lives if we do not have the faith in the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. The purpose of suffering… is to build and strengthen us. We learn… obedience by the things we suffer. We should be humbled and drawn to the Lord.”

“Often we do not know what we can endure until after a trial of our faith.”

“We learn to endure to the end by learning to finish our current responsibilities, and we simply continue doing it all of our lives. We cannot expect to learn endurance in our later years if we have developed the habit of quitting when things get difficult now.”

“We may not know when or how the Lord’s answers will be given, but in His time and His way, I testify, His answers will come. For some answers we may have to wait until the hereafter. This may be true for some promises in our patriarchal blessings and for some blessings for family members. Let us not give up on the Lord. His blessings are eternal, not temporary.”

Quotes on God’s role in our life:

“Without God, life would end at the grave and our mortal experiences would have no purpose. Growth and progress would be temporary, accomplishment without value, challenges without meaning. There would be no ultimate right and wrong and no moral responsibility to care for one another as fellow children of God. Indeed, without God, there would be no mortal or eternal life.”

“If you or someone you love is seeking purpose in life or a deeper conviction of God’s presence in our lives, I offer, as a friend and as an Apostle, my witness. He lives!”

*Guest post contributed by Christian Bell, of Lifey.

We’re very fortunate that modern technology allows us the chance to continue to learn and be uplifted by his teachings as they have been recorded and preserved digitally throughout the years. Lifey is an organization based in Provo, Utah that offers people the chance to record free, browsable video life histories for themselves or members of their family in order to pass them on to their posterity. If you’d like to learn more about Lifey please visit here.

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