Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Robert D. Hales Robert D. (Dean) Hales

1932 - living

  • Born 1932 New York City, New York
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Married to Mary Elene Crandall 1953; two sons
  • Assistant to the Twelve 1975-1976
  • President of London Mission late 1970s
  • First Quorum of Seventy 1976-1985
  • Presiding Bishop 1985-1994
  • Sustained to Twelve and ordained Apostle 1994

   When Elder Robert D. Hales was sustained as the newest apostle in the Saturday afternoon session of general onference April 2, 1994, he filled a vacancy in the Council of the Twelve resulting from the death of Elder Marvin J. Ashton on Feb. 25.

    Elder Hales, 61, had served as Presiding Bishop of the Church since April 1985. He was called as a General Authority in April 1975, serving first as an Assistant to the Twelve and later in the First Quorum of Seventy, when that quorum was organized in October 1976.

    After the Saturday afternoon session, Elder Hales and his wife, Mary, were introduced to the media at a news conference in the North Visitors Center.

   "This is a unique time in one's life," Elder Hales said. "I just appreciate the opportunity of serving and having my wife at my side.

   "My feelings are very close," he affirmed.

    "Imagine what it means to be a young boy from New York who memorized the names of all the apostles when I was a deacon. I never thought I'd be among them."

    Elder Hales said he felt "very inadequate" in his new calling. "One of the beautiful things about the gospel is that you're always improving." He said that his apostolic call has taken him through a self-evaluation.

    At the news conference, he referred to two heart attacks that he has suffered. "I'm just grateful to be here. My doctor says I have defied the odds and seem to be doing well."

    Elder Hales mentioned his experiences in the business world before his call as a General Authority. "I'm glad for those opportunities. It was excellent preparation to be the Presiding Bishop of the Church."

    As a special witness of Jesus Christ, Elder Hales exclaimed: "I can tell you with surety that Jesus lives. Now it will be my responsibility to tell the world that I know."

    Elder Hales was born in New York City on Aug. 24, 1932, to John Rulon and Vera Marie Holbrook Hales. He grew up in Great Neck, N.Y., with an older brother and an older sister. The family attended Church 20 miles away in Queens.

    He loved baseball and was an outstanding pitcher. He went on to play for the University of Utah team until an injury ended his career. He earned money for his schooling working full-time for KDYL and KSL television.

    He met Mary Elene Crandall at Church in Queens while home from school. In the fall, he returned to the University of Utah and she went to BYU. They continued dating and were married during his senior year in 1953.

    After graduating from college, Elder Hales went into the Air Force, flying F84 Thunderjets and F100 Super Sabres in the Strategic Air Command and the Tactical Air Command. Following his military service, he attended Harvard Business School, where he earned a master's degree.

    During his distinguished professional business career he served in  executive positions with four major national companies. After joining the Gillette Co., he became president of the Papermate Co., a division of Gillette. Then he joined Max Factor Co., as a vice president, and later headed Hughes Television Network. Just prior to his call to be a General Authority,  he was president of the Chesebrough-Pond's Co.

   He moved around the United States and lived in several foreign countries.  That led to a diversity of Church leadership positions. He served as a branch president, bishop, high councilor and stake president's counselor.

    He was a regional representative for five years prior to his call as a General Authority. He was president of the England London Mission in the late '70s, and has served as first counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency.

    Elder Hales and his wife have two sons.

    Elder Hales spoke of his health problems as the first speaker in the Saturday morning session of the 170th Semi-annual General Conference held October 7, 2000.

    After recovering from three major surgeries which have prevented me from speaking in the past two general conferences, what a joy it is to be able to stand in this beautiful Conference Center today to teach and bear testimony to those who desire to hear the word of the Lord.

    In the past two years, I have waited upon the Lord for mortal lessons to be taught me through periods of physical pain, mental anguish, and pondering. I learned that constant, intense pain is a great consecrating purifier that humbles us and draws us closer to God's Spirit. If we listen and obey, we will be guided by His Spirit and do His will in our daily endeavors.

    There were times when I have asked a few direct questions in my prayers, such as, "What lessons dost Thou want me to learn from these experiences?"

    As I studied the scriptures during this critical period of my life, the veil was thin and answers were given to me as they were recorded in lives of others who had gone through even more severe trials.

    "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

    "And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high" (D&C 121:7-8).

    Dark moments of depression were quickly dispelled by the light of the gospel as the Spirit brought peace and comfort with assurances that all would be well.

    On a few occasions, I told the Lord that I had surely learned the lessons to be taught and that it wouldn't be necessary for me to endure any more suffering. Such entreaties seemed to be of no avail, for it was made clear to me that this purifying process of testing was to be endured in the Lord's time and in the Lord's own way. It is one thing to teach, "Thy will be done" (Matt. 26:42). It is another to live it. I also learned that I would not be left alone to meet these trials and tribulations but that guardian angels would attend me. There were some that were near angels in the form of doctors, nurses, and most of all my sweet companion, Mary. And on occasion, when the Lord so desired, I was to be comforted with visitations of heavenly hosts that brought comfort and eternal reassurances in my time of need.

    Though my personal suffering is not to be compared to the Savior's agony in Gethsemane, I gained a better understanding of His Atonement and His suffering. In His time of agony, He asked His Father, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matt. 26:39). His Father in Heaven sent an angel to sustain and comfort Him in His time of need (see Luke 22:43).

    Jesus chose not to be released from this world until He had endured to the end and completed the mission He had been sent to accomplish for mankind. Upon the cross of Calvary, Jesus commended His spirit to His Father with a simple statement, "It is finished" (John 19:30). Having endured to the end, He was released from mortality.

    We, too, must endure to the end. The Book of Mormon teaches, "Unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved" (2 Ne. 31:16).

    The experiences of the last two years have made me stronger in spirit and have given me courage to testify more boldly to the world the deep feelings of my heart. I stand before you today with a resolve to teach the gospel principles like the prophets of old--without the fear of man, speaking clearly with plain talk, and teaching simple gospel truths.

    Elder Hales continues to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at this writing.

   "News of the Church: Elder Robert D. Hales Of the Quorum of the Twelve," Ensign, May 1994, p.105
   "New Apostle Aware of Heightened Role," Church News Archives, April 16, 1994
   Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation, p.551
   2005 Church Almanac, p.27

Selected Discourses and Writings
Grampa Bill believes this to be the most complete listing available free on the web of Robert D. Hales' talks and articles. Please email the Grampa if you note any busted links, errors, or if you are aware of any Robert D. Hales talks or articles not listed here but available on the web.

You will note that most are available only as text; some are available only in an audio (ASX, MP3, or WMA) format; while still others are available in both text and audio formats.
A Question of Free Agency
Note: This was Elder Hales' first General Conference Address as a General Authority. He was an Assistant to the Twelve.
General Conference, April 1975  
Freedom and Personal Liberty BYU Fireside, 6 July 1975  
We Can’t Do It Alone General Conference, October, 1975  
Families BYU Address, 1 August 1976 MP3
The Lord Offers Everyone a Way Back from Sin
Note: This is Elder Hales' first General Conference address after being sustained to the newly restored First Quorum of the Seventy.
General Conference, October, 1976  
Celestial Marriage-- A Little Heaven on Earth BYU Devotional, 9 November 1976 MP3
We Can’t Do It Alone New Era, January, 1977  
Friend to Friend: I Am a Child of God Friend, March, 1978  
Principles of Sacrifice BYU Fireside, 7 May 1978  
Return with Honor New Era, January, 1979  
“What Think Ye of Christ?” “Whom Say Ye That I Am?” General Conference, April, 1979  
Examples from the Life of a Prophet General Conference, October, 1981  
"This Is the Way; and There Is None Other Way" BYU Fireside, 10 January 1982  
Remember Who You Are And Act Accordingly Ricks College Devotional
16 March 1982
Every Good Gift New Era, August, 1983  
Your Sorrow Shall Be Turned to Joy General Conference, October, 1983  
The Mantle of a Bishop
Note: This is Robert D. Hales' first General Conference Address as the newly called Presiding Bishop of the Church.
General Conference, April, 1985  
Lessons from the Atonement That Help Us to Endure to the End General Conference, October, 1985  
Welfare Principles to Guide Our Lives: An Eternal Plan for the Welfare of Men’s Souls General Conference, April, 1986  
The Bishop New Era, June, 1986  
The Prince of Peace: "Peace I Give unto You" BYU Fireside, 1 June 1986  
The Divine Law of Tithing Ensign, December, 1986  
The Church in the British Isles Symposium: Plenary Session BYU Symposium, 31 January 1987 MP3
Prince of Peace Ricks College Devotional
17 March 1987
What Think Ye of Christ? New Era, April, 1987  
“Some Have Compassion, Making a Difference” General Conference, April, 1987  
Commencement Address Ricks College Graduation
16 April 1987
Understandings of the Heart BYU Fireside, 15 March 1988 MP3
Making Righteous Choices at the Crossroads of Life General Conference, October, 1988  
The Aaronic Priesthood: Return with Honor General Conference, April, 1990  
Return with Honor Friend, March, 1992  
Gratitude for the Goodness of God General Conference, April, 1992  
Learn Wisdom in Youth Ricks College Devotional
23 March 1993
Gifts of the Spirit BYU Fireside, 1 August 1993 MP3
How Will Our Children Remember Us? General Conference, October, 1993  
The Unique Message of Jesus Christ
Note: This was Elder Hales' first General Conference Address after being sustained as a member of the Twelve.
General Conference, April, 1994  
A Testimony of Prophets BYU Fireside, 5 June 1994  
The Importance of Receiving a Personal Testimony General Conference, October, 1994  
Hear the Prophet’s Voice and Obey General Conference, April, 1995  
Blessings of the Priesthood General Conference, October, 1995  
Jesus the Christ Friend, February, 1996  
Belonging to a Ward Family Ensign, March, 1996  
“If Thou Wilt Enter into Life, Keep the Commandments” General Conference, April, 1996  
The Eternal Family General Conference, October, 1996  
Friend to Friend Friend, November, 1996  
"That Ye May Be the Children of Light" BYU Fireside, 3 November 1996  
“When Thou Art Converted, Strengthen Thy Brethren” General Conference, April, 1997  
Keep the Commandments Friend, October, 1997  
In Remembrance of Jesus General Conference, October, 1997  
In Remembrance of Jesus Friend, April, 1998  
“Behold, We Count Them Happy Which Endure” General Conference, April, 1998  
Healing Soul and Body General Conference, October, 1998  
Strengthening Families: Our Sacred Duty General Conference, April, 1999  
Commencement Address Ricks College Graduation
24 April 1999
Return with Honor Ensign, June, 1999  
The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom General Conference, October, 2000  
Couple Missionaries: A Time to Serve General Conference, April, 2001  
Fulfilling Our Duty to God General Conference, October, 2001  
Return with Honor New Era, November, 2001  
Gifts of the Spirit Ensign, February, 2002  
Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light General Conference, April, 2002  
How You Can Know New Era, August, 2002  
Special Witness: Of His Kingdom Friend, October, 2002  
Tithing: A Test of Faith with Eternal Blessings General Conference, October, 2002  
Special Witness: Baptism Friend, January, 2003  
Faith through Tribulation Brings Peace and Joy General Conference, April, 2003  
Living Life by Axioms BYU Commencement, 14 August 2003 MP3
Teaching by Faith Ensign, September, 2003  
Receiving a Testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ General Conference, October, 2003  
Channeling Your Creativity New Era, February, 2004  
With All the Feeling of a Tender Parent: A Message of Hope to Families General Conference, April, 2004  
Finding Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ General Conference, October, 2004  
What Think Ye of Christ? New Era, December, 2004  
Special Witness: Keep the Commandments Friend, December, 2004  
“Achieving Eternal Goals Despite Life’s Storms” BYU Idaho Graduation
11 December 2004
Integrity and Values: A Discussion with Elder Robert D. Hales Ensign, April, 2005  
Couple Missionaries: Blessings from Sacrifice and Service General Conference, April, 2005  
Preparations for the Restoration and the Second Coming: “My Hand Shall Be over Thee” General Conference, October, 2005  
Temple Blessings BYU Devotional, 15 November 2005 MP3
Preparing for a Heavenly Marriage New Era, February, 2006  
To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency General Conference, April, 2006  
Go Forth to Serve BYU Commencement, 27 April 2006  
Holy Scriptures: The Power of God unto Our Salvation General Conference, October, 2006  
Ten Axioms to Guide Your Life Ensign, February, 2007  
Untitled BYU Idaho Devotional
20 February 2007
To the Aaronic Priesthood: Preparing for the Decade of Decision General Conference, April, 2007  

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