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Elder Robert D. Hales, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks Oct. 3 during the Saturday afternoon session of the 185th Semiannual General Conference.

Speaking to the “noble youth and young adults” of the Church, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared a message of faith to help them meet the challenges of today’s world.

Reflecting on when he was a boy, Elder Hales shared the words his father would sometimes say to him as he was about to make a poorly considered choice — “Robert, straighten up and fly right!” In that same pattern of plain talk, Elder Hales shared ways young adults can “fly right” as they navigate life.

“You are living through a critical period of your life,” he said. “The choices you make — mission, education, marriage, career and service in the Church — will shape your eternal destiny. This means you will always be looking ahead — looking to the future.”

Elder Hales said that as a pilot in the Air Force, he learned the principle to never deliberately fly into a thunderstorm. Instead, he was taught to fly around it, take another route or wait for the storm to clear before landing.

“Beloved young adult brothers and sisters, I want to help you ‘fly right’ in the gathering storms of the last days,” he said. “You are the pilot. Your responsibility is to think about the consequences of every choice you make. Ask yourself: ‘If I make this choice, what is the worst thing that could happen?’ Your righteous choices will keep you from getting off course.”

He told the young adults when they are faced with temptation and evil, to “avoid it!”

Sharing examples of Joseph running from Potiphar's wife, Lehi taking his family away from Jerusalem, and Mary and Joseph fleeing into Egypt with young Jesus, Elder Hales said, “In every instance Heavenly Father warned these believers. Similarly, He will help us know whether to fight, flee, or go with the flow of our unfolding circumstances. He will speak to us through prayer, ... the scriptures, the teachings of living prophets, patriarchal blessings, the counsel of inspired parents, priesthood and auxiliary leaders and, above all, the still, small voice of the Spirit.”

Sharing some “practical counsel,” Elder Hales spoke of the importance of staying out of debt and learning to live happily within one's means — in addition to paying tithing and saving. When working towards an education Elder Hales encouraged young adults to seek out scholarships and grants, obtain part-time employment and, if possible, to help pay their own way.

“This will require some sacrifice, but it will help you succeed,” he said. “Education prepares you for better employment opportunities. It puts you in a better position to serve and to bless those around you.”

On the topic of marriage, Elder Hales spoke of the important process of dating. He encouraged young adults to have lengthy conversations with people they date, to learn everything they can about each other and get to know each other’s families, if possible.

“Your responsibility now is to be worthy of the person you want to marry,” he said. ‘If you want to marry a wholesome, attractive, honest, happy, hardworking, spiritual person, be that kind of person,” he said. “If you are that person and you are not married, be patient, wait upon the Lord. I testify that the Lord knows your desires and loves you for your faithful devotion to Him. He has a plan for you whether it be in this life or the next. Listen to His Spirit.”

mholman@desnews.com @marianne_holman

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