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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Elder Robert D. Hales Celebrates His 85th birthday

Hello, all! I am back, as promised three days ago, with a post written in tribute to Elder Robert D. Hales, who is celebrating his 85th birthday today. What has brought this man to this milestone? Let's explore that.

Robert Dean Hales was born on August 24, 1932 to John Rulon (an artist who worked in advertising) and Vera Marie Holbrook Hales in New York City, New York. He married Mary Crandall on June 10, 1953 in the Salt Lake Temple. They have two sons. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard. In between earning his two degrees, he served as a jet fighter pilot for the United States. He served several companies in many executive positions, both in and out of the United States.
His extensive Church service has included being a high councilor, a branch president’s counselor in Seville, Spain, a branch president in Albany Georgia; Weston Massachusetts; and Frankfurt Germany; bishop in Weston Massachusetts, Stake President’s counselor, president of the England London mission, and regional representative. He was sustained an Assistant to the Twelve on April 4, 1975 and to the First Quorum of the Seventy on October 1, 1976. While a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, he served as First Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency from July 1981-July 1985. He was called as Presiding Bishop of the Church on April 6, 1985. He was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 2, 1994, and was ordained an apostle five days later. He has served faithfully despite numerous health problems.
In fact, it would be very fair to say that the health problems Elder Hales has had over the years, and especially in recent years, have served to mold him into the wonderful servant of our Heavenly Father that he has become. Over the course of his ministry in general Church leadership, he has, if I have counted correctly, spoken 58 times in General Conference (with 15 of those given as a seventy and Presiding Bishop, and 43 given since his call to the apostleship). It should be noted that he has missed several General Conferences in view of his health issues: if it weren't for that, he would have a few more talks. Looking back at his speaking record, it appears that he last missed General Conference in April 2011. To review any of these 58 General Conference addresses by Elder Hales, click here.

Primarily because of his ill health in recent years, he has been the first apostolic speaker in whichever conference session he has spoken. The last time he was not the first apostolic speaker in a conference session was almost three years ago, in October 2014, when he spoke in the Sunday Morning session.

Because of his ongoing health issues, it is anyone's guess how much longer Elder Hales will be with us. That said, he has carried on much longer than many have expected. And because I have been in his shoes somewhat (in terms of having quite a few health challenges myself), I know that Elder Hales is one whose life has been extended by the grace of the Lord. It is obvious that Elder Hales still has things to teach us, through both his example and his conference talks. As with the words spoken by any of the Brethren, I hope that we will give heed to the wise counsel of Elder Hales. In the meantime, I hope he had a good day today.
That does it for this post. Though I fully expect to have additional things to post about before the end of this month, and that I will be doing several more posts in the first week of September, you can be sure that, if nothing else, I will be back on September 8 (15 days from now) and the day after that with birthday tributes to Elder Cook (who will mark his 77th on the 8th) and President Nelson (who turns 93 the following day).
In the meantime, thank you for the privilege of your time. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Until my next post, I wish you all the best.