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Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Elder Robert D. Hales is helped from his seat by his brethren in the Twelve following the morning session of the 184th Semiannual General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

Elder Robert D. Hales died Sunday, Oct.1. He was 85.

Elder Hales, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had served as an apostle since April 1994.

Elder Hales was hospitalized early last week and did not participate in this past general conference.

Elder Hales often spoke about his own faith and how he came to know God, according to his obituary in the Deseret News.

"As a boy, I used to gaze into the starry sky and ponder and feel his presence," he said. "I thrilled to explore the magnificent beauties of God’s creations — from tiny insects to towering trees. As I recognized the beauty of this earth, I knew that Heavenly Father loved me."

Elder Hales left his mark on believers far and wide. We’ve collected a number of responses from readers on what their favorite Elder Hales message was and what impact he made on their lives:

Readers appreciated Elder Hales’ message about provident living:

  • “About being practical in spending. I always remember that in these times that money is (scarce). We must be wise in our spending but never forget our sacred obligation with the Lord to give our tithing and fast offering.”
  • “His talk about living frugally when he mentions his wife turning down buying a nice coat when things were tight, stating, ‘we can't afford it.'"
  • “I loved the message about living within your means. He talked about how he wanted to buy his wife a new dress but she reminded him that they couldn't afford it.”

Others referenced specific talks and memories:

  • “April 2017: We delight in the agency of others and the opportunity it gives them to grow ‘line upon line,’ ‘brighter and brighter until the perfect day.’”
  • “When he presided over our stake conferences in Germany, he was a great teacher to all members of the military stakes. We loved him dearly. He used to say to each of us, ‘you lift me, I'll lift thee, and we will rise together.’”
  • “In a sacrament meeting in Colorado in 1998, he assured baptized Latter-day Saints that if they kept their covenants and partake of the sacrament, there should be no doubt about their status in the kingdom of heaven.”
  • “I saw him bear his testimony in special witness of Christ and it was about turning our lives to the Savior. His testimony helped me gain my own because I was still very young and new to the church. He is my favorite apostle and always will be. I will love and miss him.”
  • “My favorite message came to me when Elder Hales along with President Hinckley visited the Montpelier, Vermont, stake in a Burlington, Vermont, theater (some 20 years ago). Although many of us arrived super early, the lights went off before the apostles entered the building. After nearly an hour and much praying, when the meeting was to be canceled, the lights came back on and the apostles arrived. The meeting was shortened, but I recall Elder Hales, who had recently undergone surgery, was sitting on the stand in what appeared to me obvious pain. Yet, he was there accompanying the prophet. I'll never forget that message of commitment he demonstrated to serve the Lord, even at personal sacrifice so far from home.”
  • “I served in the Germany Munich Mission from 1979-1981. Elder Hales came on board as the Area Seventy in July 1980. He came to Munich often, for whatever reason. Every message he presented was a favorite of mine.”
  • “When he was first called to serve as presiding bishop of the church.”
  • “Elder Hales presided over our stake conference. The Saturday night session was very personal as he walked the congregation. You could feel of his spirit and I had the witness come to me that he is one of God's apostles.”
  • “Elder Hales called my husband to be a stake president. When he extended the call, we were moving into a new home outside of our stake. He was so concerned with my feelings that we would have a nine-year wait to move in our dream home. I sat across the table from an apostle of the Lord, asking me if I would support my husband and do what the Lord was asking him to do. I saw the love and concern in his eyes and so needed the counsel he gave me. I have a deep appreciation and love for him, and how he changed our lives for the good.”
Readers also cherished his specific teachings:

  • “I love the talk where he told his grandson he wasn't old enough to see a certain movie. I have opted that line many times trying to politely explain why I can't go to certain movies. He will be greatly missed.”
  • “I loved his talk about standing strong in holy places, for it helped me to recognize the strength in home and church.”
Readers praised Elder Hales’ calm demeanor:
  • “His sweet voice is one that really stood out to me. Whenever he started speaking, I knew exactly who it was and could picture his sweet face. Such a soothing and calm voice. “
  • “You could always see the kindness radiating from his eyes and the meekness of his spirit. Just hearing his voice and seeing his temperament helped me want to live better.”
  • “He always was so kind and gentle and I felt the Spirit when he spoke.”
  • “His kind, calm and steady demeanor has been a great example to me.”

Readers also shared how Elder Hales and his messages impacted their lives:

  • “Of course, he has a great impact in my life. He taught me to be happy while (in) mortality and the same time to be practical and balance this (with) spiritual aspects. I used to look at him with much respect and reverence. He truly has done his call as a teacher, leader and special witness of Christ.”
  • “His testimony from boyhood was impressive to me and strengthened me in understanding my own testimony and how I came to receive my testimony.”
  • “His gentle kindness powerfully showed us all how to walk like true disciples of Jesus Christ.”
  • “Since we had known him for many years during our time serving in the military stakes, the last time we talked he said that we need to get together and talk about the days we served in the military stakes. A great friend and a faithful servant of the Lord and he always remembered all of us, and taught us how to emulate the Savior.”
  • “ When I was a missionary in the Switzerland Zurich Mission from 1982-1983, I suffered greatly from my stuttering, a problem that had been with me since childhood. I wanted badly to serve and felt that my stuttering prevented me from serving the Lord effectively. The mission president, Douglas Bischoff, gave me the option to transfer to an English-speaking mission. I refused, telling him that I received a divine witness when my call came that Switzerland was my appointed field of labor. Shortly thereafter, Elder Hales came to our mission. He met with and counseled me. The interview ended with a priesthood blessing that promised me I would finish my mission with honor and bring many souls to Christ despite my speech problems. The blessing was fulfilled. In recent years, my own missionary trials have enabled me to counsel and encourage missionaries from my family and ward, helping them face and overcome the challenges they have faced. It has been over 30 years since Elder Hales personally blessed my life, but I have had a tender place for him in my heart ever since. God bless him and his grieving family.”
  • “Elder Hales has always inspired me to follow the Savior in a humble, unassuming way. Just going about the Lord's business.”
  • “He was a wonderful speaker and example of humility. He was a wonderful baseball player and successful businessman. … He was always someone to emulate.”
  • “He talked about being a provident provider at a time when I really needed to hear that message. It changed my life.”
  • “It is a special moment to meet an apostle and speak with him and look him in the eye while serving as a missionary. His message of salvation through baptism and never doubting your place in the kingdom of God as you repent and return to the sacrament has endured with me.”
  • “He attended a conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, when I was a little girl. He was about to walk past me, talking to some leaders, but then he walked over to me and took my hand and smiled for a while before joining the other leaders again. He made me feel important. I will never forget that moment.”
  • “He was dearly loved. He spoke at our stake conference one year. He was on oxygen and using a walker. I wondered how he could come and speak but when it was time, he spoke for 45 minutes with such power that we were all amazed. Then he stood and shook hands with all of us after the conference. We were truly blessed to be in his presence. I am glad he lived when he did because he presented us with such great teachings. I loved to hear him speak because of the sincerity of his message and his concern for others.”
  • “He taught me by his deep testimony, especially in his later years, his love of the Savior was so apparent. He taught us to live the Plan of Salvation and to endure to the end.”
  • “He gave me hope to do what is right. He had so much faith in the Savior and the Lord. He made such an impact in my life. Thank you, Elder Hales.”
  • “I loved the way Elder Hales expressed his testimony of the gospel. He kept his words simple and understandable and for myself, that truly helped my testimony. I am so grateful for the example he set.”
  • “His many conference (talks) and Ensign articles have shaped me to be the daughter of God I have become.”
  • “He taught with humility and he loved the Savior. He served God by serving us, his fellowmen. I will really miss hearing from him, but I am very grateful to have his teachings before me. I know they were inspired by the Holy Ghost."
  • “I am a teacher of college students in California, where Elder Hales once hosted a regional meeting for single adults and showed me an example of respectful, candid leadership in group settings.”
  • “I had been home from my mission for a little over six months and was really beginning to understand the sort of challenges that Elder Hales spoke about in his October 2015 general conference talk. I had prayed for guidance before that conference and heard what I needed in his talk and it gave me what I needed to press forward with direction then and that talk continues to help me today with what I've learned.”