Fellow LDS apostles remembered Elder Robert D. Hales as being loyal, a disciple and a friend to Jesus Christ at Elder Hales’ funeral service on Friday morning.
At the age of 85, Elder Robert D. Hales, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017.
Family, friends and fellow apostles gathered for the funeral service of Elder Robert D. Hales, an apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the Tabernacle on Temple Square Friday morning. All of the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles attended the funeral except for President Thomas S. Monson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.
Referring to Elder Hales as “Bob,” three fellow apostles — Elder M. Russell Ballard, President Russell M. Nelson and President Henry B. Eyring — spoke to express their condolences and shared memories of their fellow apostle.
“With the courage of a jet pilot, the tenacity of an athlete, humility and devotion of a disciple of the Lord, Elder Hales has completed his mission in a most exemplary way,” President Eyring said. “He has passed the tests of mortality and returned home with the highest honors. His apostolic responsibilities will continue there on the other side of the veil.”
From Elder Hales’ example, here are five lessons Elder Ballard, President Nelson and President Eyring thanked Elder Hales for teaching them.
Quick wit and insight
Elder Ballard, who knew and worked with Elder Hales for 40 years, talked about how Elder Hales was on the “fast track” to becoming a major CEO of a New York stock exchange corporation. The two would sit next to each other in meetings and Elder Ballard appreciated Elder Hales contributions in those moments.
“His wise counsel and depth, insights into what we are facing in the church today will also be greatly be missed by all of us,” Elder Ballard said.
President Nelson said Elder Hales bluntness and “New York-bred candor” was part of that strength.
How to endure health challenges
Throughout his life, Elder Hales dealt with multiple health challenges, including heart attacks.
“As we’ve sat together over these many years, I’ve witnessed the great courage and complete dedication of Robert D. Hales,” Elder Ballard said. “Many times I’ve reached over, touched his arm and held his hand, and in a small way felt the pain and the difficulty he was experiencing.”
Despite his illnesses, Elder Hales served in the church faithfully.
“Bob’s perseverance in the face of health challenges is legendary,” added President Nelson. “He carried on despite the seriously debilitating effects of unrelenting challenges to his health. We who have watched him have wondered how he could do it.”
Be a loyal friend
President Eyring shared a story of when he was called to the hospital to where Elder Hales was being brought in an ambulance. Watching through a doorway, President Eyring saw doctors working to revive Elder Hales with little hope. Elder Hales made it through and President Eyring was invited to meet with him.
Of that memory, President Eyring said: “He was lying on his back, he opened his eyes wide, reached out to take my hand, gripped it hard, and said, ‘They made me come back.’
“I have no way to know if he was deceased for a brief time that afternoon, or if it was a dream, but his I do know, he felt in the moment of intense testing that he was supposed to do something difficult and he was loyal to the command he had received.
“For me, it was another moment, just one of the many I had with him, when whatever the cost and how difficult the commandment, he was loyal to his family and friends, to the Lord and to the Lord’s prophet.”
Commitment to discipleship
Joking about being present for one of Elder Hales’ heart surgeries, President Nelson said, “I know Bob’s heart. Literally.” And then later added, “Having served with Bob for so long, I know that his spiritual heart is pure.”
President Eyring discussed Elder Hales desire to testify of Christ in this past weekend’s general conference saying he had worked tirelessly to write a short talk.
“His effort was so great that his strengths began to fail,” President Eyring said. Elder Hale was admitted to the hospital days before the 187th Semiannual General Conference began its Saturday Morning Session of conference. President Nelson expressed similar regards.
Read three sentences from that talk Elder Hales prepared here.
Love the Lord
Despite being a successful businessman, at the age of 42 Elder Hales received a call from the prophet and was asked to leave his career to serve in the church.
“To him, the call was not from a man, but from a friend to whom he was loyal,” President Eyring said. “To Robert D. Hales and Mary Crandall Hales, hearing a call from the president of the church was the same as hearing the Lord’s voice.”
President Nelson reference the hymn, “Softly and Tenderly,” as he thought of his fellow apostle:
“Each day as I watched Bob suffer and struggle through his final illness, words of a sacred hymn filled my mind. ‘Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me, come home, come home. … You who ware weary, come home, earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, (dear Robert, come home).'”